This is the third in an ongoing series called “5 Favorites” in which we’ll explore a range of topics such as memorable anchorages, marina showers, fun things to do, ports, beautiful places, days of sailing, meals to make aboard and much more. The aim is not to make a list of “bests” or to rank things, but rather to provide an entertaining and insightful look at what we’ve enjoyed while cruising the Pacific Northwest. And since every boater has their favorites, we invite you to share yours in the comments below.
One of our favorite parts of cruising Puget Sound and the Salish Sea, among many other things, is stopping in port for a pint beer at one of the many local breweries and taking a full growler home with us.
Our trusty growler adorned in stickers from many breweries.
But because our region is so rich in delicious breweries to visit, this list was quite difficult to put together. How could I choose just five? Do I include breweries in Astoria and other stops during our voyage up the Columbia River? What about Seattle?
Well, I intentionally left out Seattle because from any marina in the city you can walk to five different favorite breweries or more. And I decided to just stick with the greater Puget Sound/Salish Sea basin instead of delving into the Columbia River … yet.
In no particular order, here are five of our favorite walkable breweries from a marina or anchorage.
Tofino Brewing Company — Tofino, British Columbia: Tofino itself is a paradise of sorts. Gateway to beautiful and wild Clayoquot Sound, its beaches are stunning and the backdrop of green mountains is awe-inspiring. We loved our stop there last summer, and between the surfing and ice cream tasting, we didn’t want to leave. But Tofino Brewing also ticked a notch in our belt as a great place to stop for a pint and to fill our growler. Continue reading
Who doesn’t love fresh fish tacos? They’ve been a favorite of ours since living in and cruising Florida and the Caribbean, but we haven’t been making them much lately — that is, until venturing into Barkley Sound.
The delicious dish has seemingly grown in popularity over the past few years, and so too have the number of excellent recipes to use when making them. (Including the winning recipe in the Three Sheets NW/Fisheries Supply Cruisers Cook-Off.)
While cruising Barkley Sound recently with our friends aboard Velella, we found that a key component to above average fish tacos is two things: catch the fish yourself and make your own fresh, warm tortillas. Of course, a good recipe goes along way, too, and we found this one to compliment our meal perfectly.
The crews of Velella and Yahtzee feasting on fresh tacos.
We have a running tradition aboard Yahtzee: Friday night is pizza night. Some weeks we deviate from it slightly, but if you dinghy over on a Friday evening, chances are good that you’ll smell the delicious aroma of Jill’s pizza wafting from the cabin.
The crispy crust cooks perfectly in our Force 10 oven and whether it’s with pepperoni and mushrooms or pineapple, ham and coconut shreds, the pizza is always a hit.
One pizza ready for toppings while the other waits its turn.
2 1/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup luke warm water Continue reading
One of our favorite parts of cruising around Vancouver Island this summer has been the ability to harvest shell fish along the way. We are especially fond of oysters, and though they aren’t everywhere, when we’ve happened upon them, the crew of Yahtzee has been quick to snap up these fresh delicacies to enjoy as appetizers aboard or over a campfire on the beach.
After a while, our same old oyster recipes weren’t cutting it, though, so we again dug into one of our most beloved cookbooks to find a way to make them a bit more interesting. And the boys love them, which isn’t surprising, but is very helpful come mealtime. Continue reading
Yes, you read the title right, we actually found some good dehydrated food — and it’s aptly named, Good To-Go foods.
Lets be honest for a minute, though, when most people think about eating dehydrated food, they don’t envision something that is going to taste even remotely delicious. But when friends Amanda and John Neal of Mahina Expeditions gave me a sample of Good To-Go’s Classic Marinara with Penne to try over the winter, I was shocked at how good it was and how well it fit into our meal planning while cruising.
Since then, we’ve tried four of their six meals aboard Yahtzee — Thai Curry, Smoked Three Bean Chili, Classic Marinara with Penne and Herbed Mushroom Risotto. (They have since come out with two more: Indian Vegetable Korma and Pad Thai.)
Over the past few months of cruising we’ve found that the pouches make great meals while underway, particularly when it’s cooler out. We simply boil water, pour it in the pouch, seal it up, let is stand for 20 minutes and we’re enjoying a hot and delicious meal in the cockpit.
As far as seafood goes, we love it all, but there’s nothing better on a summer’s evening than some fresh crab meat. During a recent stop in the Octopus Islands, we got four big ones and while cleaning and devouring the succulent meat in the cockpit, decided to save the rest for a few recipes.
A bowl of freshly cracked crab caught yourself is a thing of beauty.
We had some big mushrooms on hand and after digging through the cabinets to make sure we had all the right ingredients, we decided to go with this easy and delicious recipe. So, with crab season open in British Columbia, and open or nearly so throughout Washington, here’s a great recipe to give a try when you get a few fresh ones aboard.
Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
6 to 12 large mushrooms
1/4 cup butter
1 clove garlic, minced
4 green onions, minced
1 cup soft bread crumbs
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
1 cup cooked crab meat (preferably fresh)
1 tablespoon mayonnaise
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese (we used cheddar, which was delicious!)
- Wash mushrooms; remove caps and set aside. Finely chop stems and set aside.
- In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Saute garlic, onion and mushroom stems until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Stir in bread crumbs, parsley and crab meat. Gently fold in mayonnaise, lemon juice, salt and pepper.
- Stuff mushroom caps with crab mixture and place on greased baking pan. Garnish with cheese. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden. Serve hot.
Looking for a salad to go with your mushrooms? Try this one!
This recipe was adapted from Dawn Ashbach and Janice Veal’s excellent cookbook, San Juan Classics.
While cruising the beautiful waters of British Columbia, we’ve long noticed the green, string-looking plant known as sea asparagus that grows wild along the many tidal shores that we explore. Last summer, our cruising buddy Chris Troutner pointed out that the plant is edible and it took us until recently when we saw it as a prepared salad in the grocery store in Campbell River to finally harvest and make it on our own.
Apparently, sea asparagus only has a 6-week harvest period (all of June and early July) and, conveniently, we’re in it. In the fall it turns from a vivid green to a reddish brown.
Sea asparagus growing on a beach in the Broughtons
Last week, Jill and Porter went ashore and picked a bunch of the asparagus in the Pearse Islands (Broughton Archipelago) and we tried out this fantastic recipe. The asparagus has a salty flavor with a nice crisp that makes it a tasty green to add to your meals. Jill and I enjoyed it and both boys ate every bit that was on their plates. Give it a try!
Sea Asparagus Grilled Salad