We started out a great day on Whidbey Island at the farmer’s market in Bayview. It was chilly out, so I was glad that they had moved it indoors for the winter. Boxes of beautiful, tiny Brussels sprouts caught my eye first and I loaded up. Then I saw fresh, bright orange baby carrots that I couldn’t resist. I was already picturing a bountiful fall dinner when I ran into my mom who was holding a gorgeous hubbard squash. A perfect food trifecta.

We went to breakfast at the Smiling Dog Cafe. After looking over the menu I asked if it was a vegetarian restaurant; it turns out that they used to be, but they have now added sausage to the menu. I was upset that they didn’t serve any bacon, but I got over it and ordered one of the few dishes with sausage: chilaquiles. I am a chilaquiles snob. After having them for breakfast and lunch everyday for a week while at the beach-front, open air restaurant in Puerto Escondido, I really should know better than to order them in the states. Even the ones I make at home don’t compare. Anyways, if you pretended that it was more like an egg scramble with a few tortillas and a chopped up hot dog, it was pretty good.

After breakfast we discussed what we should cook for the main dish that night. We were torn between a roasted pork loin or a roasted chicken. Then I remembered stories about a place where you can buy fresh chickens at a house somewhere on the island.

We almost drove right by it, all of us shouting “CHICKEN!” in unison when we saw the sandwich-board by the side of the road. We pulled into the driveway of a little red house and got out. There was no indication of where to go, so I headed up the hill to find what turned out to be the tool shed. I turned around and then spotted some freezers in the back of the garage. Once in the garage, the freezers were labeled with instructions to take your chicken and leave the money in a cigar box on the table. Someone hadn’t read the instructions and had actually left their money in the freezer.

I picked out an eight pound chicken (eight pounds!) for $16 and a six pounder for $12. You got a free bag of gizzards with every purchase, so I grabbed a hefty one. I left the money in the cigar box and then we were on our way—the proud owners of a turkey-sized chicken.

Afterwards, we tried to find the Mukilteo Coffee house because it roasts some of the best coffee I’ve ever tasted and I heard that they had a tasting bar. We got so completely lost that by the time we got there it was closed, but now that I know where it is I will have to make another trip out there.

Then we went for a walk on the beach at Double Bluff. The tide was on its way out and we saw lots of stranded jellies. Including a gigantic Lion’s Mane jellyfish that was about one foot in diameter. We also saw a really cool blue-green starfish, which Zach saved by hurling into the water.

We then went home to cook and eat a fabulous dinner:

Fontina Val D’Aosta and truffled cheese with quince paste from Italy
Roasted chicken with porcini sauce
Roasted hubbard squash stuffed with mushrooms and truffles
Braised baby carrots (which were so sweet they tasted like candy)
Brussels sprouts with bacon and shallots
Fudge from the farmer’s market