Saturday, May 06, 2006

The Inn at Ship Bay: Special Edition Food Worship

I'm here to testify today: Not only is the Inn at Ship Bay on Orcas Island a suh-weet vacation destination, but chef/gardener/proprietor Geddes Martin and crew do killer springtime salads, first courses and entrees that make the whole Orcas Island thing complete.

Now, the caveat of this article is that I'm a little prejudiced, since my buddy Luke is the innkeeper and all, and I stayed for free. Not that it did any good: I spent all that saved money at the restaurant.

Luke told me all about the charms of Orcas: the oyster farm, the views, the hikes...and oh yeah, the food at the inn's really good. I just didn't realize that 'really good' really meant really good.
As many ingredients as possible come from local growers, including fresh free-range lamb, broccoli, asparagus, peas, pears, plums and more seafood than you can handle. Judd Cove Oyster Farm is two minutes' drive from the kitchen door.

I'd been trying to catch up with Geddes for a couple of days. He was power washing a fence at one point; didn't want to bother him doing that. I saw him down in his arugula patch, but by the time I got down there, he was already gone. Finally I nudged my way into the kitchen and asked him a few questions while he cut up fresh ducks.

Geddes was the chef at another resort on the island when he came into the Inn at Ship Bay property as a manager with an option to purchase. More interested in the restaurant than with the Inn at first, he saw the rooms as a way to keep the restaurant's bills paid. But the inn itself is far from neglected. The Martins have repainted, reappointed and relandscaped. The result is a cozy retreat on a cliff that overlooks the bay with appropriately priced rooms and...did I mention the killer restaurant?

It's rare to get the kind of superfresh, high quality meat and produce and not pay out the wazoo for it. The Inn at Ship Bay is pricey, but you'll leave feeling like you got your money's worth.

What's that? You're dying to know more about these Judd Cove oysters? Why, sure! Check it out on my second blog, Cocktails With The Noonday Demon.



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