Staying at Willows Lodge
Tucked in Woodinville’s wine country is one of my favorite places along the Sammamish River: The Willows Lodge. The moment you check in, you are greeted with a glass of local wine. Guest rooms feature stone fireplaces to cuddle and get cozy by. On a clear day, you can see Mount Rainier taunting its splendor from a distance. But above all, the Willows Lodge touts some of Seattle’s best chefs and premier restaurants in the Pacific Northwest. Executive Chef Bobby Moore heads the Barking Frog, a casual-smart bistro-esque dining atmosphere with an award-winning cellar stocked with Northwest and international wines. Just a few paces down is The Herbfarm, with its extensively unique, almost theater-like multi-course dining experience. With Chef Chris Weber and Sous Chef Jack Gingrich at the helm of this 5-Diamond restaurant, you are guaranteed the best culinary tour of delights that the Northwest has to offer.
Anniversary Celebration at the Barking Frog
For this particular visit, we celebrated our wedding anniversary and dined at the Barking Frog. Hitch started with an appetizer of Penn Cove mussels stewed in a coconut-curry broth along with Cotechino (a kind of tasty salami that requires cooking), bok choy and a plate of grilled naan. For myself, I sampled a seared ahi over a bed of daikons, cucumber, fermented black beans, soy glazed shiitake, seasoned with black garlic and sesame. For our main course, I dined on the Niman Ranch pork chop served with cabbage, apples, onions, apple chestnut sauce and bourbon maple glaze. Hitch supped on an 8-ounce center cut beef tenderloin served with brussels sprouts, chanterelles and with a blue cheese potato gratin and chateaubriand sauce. All of it was amazing, and the best tasting that a foodie like me could hope for.
In our room, service prepared a drawn bubble bath decorated with floating rose petals, a tray topped with chocolate dipped strawberries and a chocolate mouse with an espresso crust dessert for two. There was even champagne for two, romantic lighting and a romantic soundtrack. Well done Willows Lodge. Very well done.