As an herbalist, all the wildflowers, wild herbs and lavender fields were a sight for sore eyes. In Ohio, I am surrounded by Appalachian foothills and young forests, which are beautiful in their own right, but few places can compare to the Olympic region of Washington. The trees are huge, the coast is spectacular, the mountains are as striking as any I’ve seen, and the culture of Nature first really appeals to me, and I could easily see myself enjoying a splendid and simple life in the region.
First, I checked into my bed and breakfast, then I grabbed some supplies in the town of Port Angeles, before heading up the mountain to Hurricane Ridge. The drive was curving and stunning, but once I arrived to the visitor center, the clouds had descended, blocking all views. I hiked around for awhile, watching a field full of deer and rabbits out in the open, since there were few if any natural predators, then decided I would try again another day. Back down the mountain with a belly rumbling, I went to the port and stopped at the very nice Kokopelli Grill.
Kokopelli Grill is a nice place, and when I went it had to be the busiest restaurant in town. It took me 20-minutes to be seated even with a reservation. But the food was well worth the wait. They have a few levels of seating and a bar with a view of the port, and overall the aesthetic is nice, classy, but doesn’t have that exclusive feel where the everyday person isn’t welcome. I can appreciate that, as I’m an ever-accepting person. The place was booming and for good reason. They have fantastic seafood, among the best I had in Washington.
The staff was kind and personable, and I was a big fan of my server. He suggested I try the oysters, which were fresh from 45-minutes down the coast. They were good, and definitely fresh tasting, but not quite my favorite choice of seafood. My server suggested adding a little tabasco, which was an excellent suggestion. I’m not one for covering up my meats with sauces, but it added a rippling effect of flavors and cascading heat which was very pleasant. The bread was grainy but soft and the house-made butter made for a lovely starter.
My server also suggested to try the smoked salmon chowder, mentioning they are known for it. It was rich, smooth and full of flavor, and it was very creamy with chunks of salmon, which was a delight. I have only had one other chowder that I’d argue might be better. So well worth a try! For my entree, I chose the fire grilled salmon, and wow, was I happy I did. The salmon was beautifully moist and flakey with a crisp and flavorful herby crust, which I love to see. I cook my fish this way as well at home. The fresh local flavor came through like no inland frozen seafood can ever touch. The asparagus was a nice touch, and was cooked well, as was the rice. Rice and salmon go together like all the best duos. For desert, I was stuffed, but when I saw the menu read mango campote cheesecake, I jumped at the opportunity. It was a piece of art. Thick and so creamy, with the mango adding an amazing citrus punch to my taste buds. It was epic good! I’ll forever dream of this meal. So if you’re ever in this area of the world, don’t miss out on Kokopelli Grill.