Intro

First of all can I just say how much I adore you people?! You continue to blow me away by your kindness, generosity and willingness to encourage me just when I need it most. I don’t take lightly the fact that you return here to read and look into my little corner. So, thank you for all the amazing comments filled with such wisdom and humility. And thank you for reading.

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After much checking and rechecking of the calendar, ensuring there was room for us in the inn, and lining up homes for three children for one weekend every other step of “Mission: Get away for a night” was simple.

We were set to spend a leisurely weekend on Lummi Island staying and dining at the Willows Inn. There is much to be said about that meal, and most likely you’ll hear about it from me in some way, shape or form as it left me very inspired and eager to recreate some of the dishes. One being the cocktail leading up to the meal. For now, I want to talk to you about lunch.

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It was an unexpectedly inspired meal that we had in La Conner which is just about an hour north of Seattle, nearly a hop, skip, and two jumps away from the Canadian border.

Resting peacefully in the middle of hundreds of acres of farmland, La Conner is on most days void of much excitement. In the summertime the streets are lined with eager tourists happily enjoying their ice cream as they weave in and out of antique stores and art galleries. On a gray day, such as the day we went, the sidewalks are nearly bare and the ice cream store is busy serving lattes in place of the cones.

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taking refuge from the gray in a little bookstore in La Conner

As per the recommendation by my mom and dad, who have recently moved to a small neighboring town, we found ourselves nestled into a narrow, dark wood lined booth with the only light being brought to us by the stained glass window casting an orange hue on the benches that seemed to have been ripped right out of a nearby church. It was Nell Thorn and it did not disappoint.

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I had set my prejudices on this innocent, mostly tourist town and had no expectations of a great meal. I sat there corrected as I slipped comfortably into our booth warmed both by the glass of wine and the fact that a very well used deck of cards was waiting for us on the ledge of the window.

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photo by gabe

Gabe heeded my nudges and ordered the pulled pork sandwich as the waiter sold it well boasting of the local pig and the smoking done right out back. With plans to eat a good portion of Gabe’s meal I ordered the Asparagus and Ramp bisque and a simple endive salad.

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Nell Thorn’s Endive salad

I’d like to say that the soup tasted like grass because that’s what I told Gabe after taking my first bite, but that just doesn’t sound good and that’s not fair because this soup deserves much praise. It tasted of grass in the sense that it was so fresh it was as if with each spoonful I was unearthing an herby, lightly reminiscent-of-onion scented form of grass. One in which I wish I could plant in my yard so that I could simply lay there and eat this flavor all day. I guess that would make me a cow.

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I made the right decision by insisting Gabe order the pulled pork. It was so good I wanted to go tell all the other diners that there is no need to look at the menu, you must eat this sandwich. It was perfectly smoky – like real smoke, not the kind sold by the bottle. And rather than being doused in a tangy red sauce that hides the pork itself this sandwich harnessed the fat from that cut of meat to act as the sauce. So all you tasted was perfectly tender and smokey pork made possible to eat with a soft brioche bun.

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What I’m really here to talk about is the endive salad because since eating at Nell Thorn just a couple of weeks ago I have recreated this salad at home and have eaten it at least five times. I just don’t think I will ever tire of it. It’s an impossibly easy salad that makes a weeknight meal feel as special as Sunday dinner. And although mama always urged not to eat with your hands I think she would make an exception as the endive creates its own edible bowl, forming a perfect valley in which to float a sharp vinaigrette, creamy goat cheese and well-toasted hazelnuts. That’s it.

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Maybe it’s just that I like to eat with my hands or it’s possible I can’t get enough of the bitter crunch leading into a smooth tangy cheese and then another crunch from an earthy hazelnut while all mingled in a bright dressing. Whatever the case may be I think it’s time you join me in eating this salad.

Continue for recipe

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Scallion Vinaigrette

1 scallion (green onion)

2 Tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon mustard (use a nice French mustard such as Maille)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Finely mince the white part of the scallion. You may slice and reserve the green part for garnish if you wish.
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the vinegar and mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to whisk. Taste and add salt and pepper.
If you want a touch of sweetness you may add a bit of honey. I tend to like a real vinegar punch.

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To arrange the salad you will need endive, toasted hazelnuts, and a good quality creamy chevre. I also used little parsley leaves and chive blossoms to garnish.
Remove about ¼” off the bottom of the endive and carefully peel of the outer leaves. Continue to cut of the end and remove the leaves until just the small interior leaves remain. If you prefer you could just simply slice the endive and serve as a less composed salad.
On each endive leaf place a hazelnut, about a half teaspoon of goat cheese and a light drizzle of the vinaigrette. Garnish with the herbs or just a touch of finely slice scallion greens.
Serve.
This makes a wonderful light addition to a cocktail party.

*Check out the other date’s.

Dating My Husband: Cacio e Pepe

Dating My Husband: Beet Pasta, Chocolate Pear cake

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Endive Salad with Scallion Vinaigrette

Scallion Vinaigrette

1 scallion (green onion)

2 Tablespoons Champagne vinegar

1 teaspoon mustard (use a nice French mustard such as Maille)

½ cup extra virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

Finely mince the white part of the scallion. You may slice and reserve the green part for garnish if you wish.
In a medium bowl, whisk to combine the vinegar and mustard. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while continuing to whisk. Taste and add salt and pepper.
If you want a touch of sweetness you may add a bit of honey. I tend to like a real vinegar punch.

 

To arrange the salad you will need endive, toasted hazelnuts, and a good quality creamy chevre. I also used little parsley leaves and chive blossoms to garnish.
Remove about ¼” off the bottom of the endive and carefully peel of the outer leaves. Continue to cut of the end and remove the leaves until just the small interior leaves remain. If you prefer you could just simply slice the endive and serve as a less composed salad.
On each endive leaf place a hazelnut, about a half teaspoon of goat cheese and a light drizzle of the vinaigrette. Garnish with the herbs or just a touch of finely slice scallion greens.
Serve.
This makes a wonderful light addition to a cocktail party.

*Check out the other date’s.

Dating My Husband: Cacio e Pepe

Dating My Husband: Beet Pasta, Chocolate Pear cake

35 Responses to “Dating My Husband: A getaway”

  1. Karin

    What a simple, but delicious idea, this salad. THanks for sharing. And,by the way, you look gorgeous and glowing in that picture :)

    Reply
  2. Katrina

    Love the salad, and now worries! We love supporting you! Your blog is great and you deserve the recognition :)

    Reply
  3. snippets of thyme

    Yes, I too love coming to your little world. What a lovely getaway you shared with us. That inn looked quaint and perfect. Don’t you love when you get fabulous recommendations?

    Reply
  4. Michelle

    This is a treasure! La Coner is a great little town when you can see past the tourists. I was raised in Bellingham so the mention on Lummi Island gives me goose bumps. I hope you guys enjoyed it! I adore the fact that you take the time to set aside for the two of you. Inspiring!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Michelle – I grew up in Bellingham too! We would go to Lummi often. In fact one of my closest friends had a beach house on the island where we would stay very often. Apparently the Willows Inn bought their old house because that’s where we stayed. hahaha.

      Reply
  5. melanie freisinger

    This looks absolutely divine! Thank YOU for sharing your life and love of food with US!! One question: those look more like almonds than hazelnuts? Is it just the pic that looks like that? I’ve only seen hazelnuts round like shape…..

    Reply
  6. Jessamyn

    So glad you discovered Nell Thorn! Casey and Susan are incredible chefs and they do more to support local food producers than anyone else I know.

    Can’t wait to hear about your Willows Inn dinner!

    Reply
  7. Mari

    Beautifully written piece. I agree, more people need to explore and embrace endive, especially with summer fruits and veggies coming into season. It’s merely an extension of your hand with loveliness tucked right in there to enjoy.

    Reply
  8. betsy

    i love laconner! i grew up about 5 miles away on fir island and miss it. we used to go to calico cupboard all the time for brunch (the cinnamon rolls are to die for) and would definitely spend some time in the bookstore waiting for a table. laconner brewing company is also quite good. and i used to work at rexville grocery, which is between fir island and laconner. check it out sometime – gourmet groceries and great sandwiches!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Betsy – I love Calico cupboard. I’ve never been to Fir Island. So much exploring to be done. I think I’ve been to the brewing co. before but it’s been awhile. Thanks for the tips!

      Reply
  9. JOy

    Super gorgeous photographs. It’s so nice that you guys are taking some alone time together to just relax and simply be! Everything looks so good.

    Reply
  10. Christina

    The perfect one-night getaway I have been dreaming about…dinner and a night at the Willows Inn. And now a great place to stop on the way! :)

    Reply
  11. rose

    ooooh, glad you loved Nell Thorn! I love it there too. Good to know about the pork sandwich, I’ll have to get it soon. I really enjoy their pancetta clams, mmmm! Beautiful post. Hope you’re well.

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Rose!!! I can’t wait to meet baby girl Mercy!! You better get yourself up there as the pork is limited time! I can’t wait to go back. I LOVE that my family is in Skagit now. So many great places to explore.

      Reply
  12. Heather

    I’m sure you’ve been asked this before, but where do you get your glasses? Cute!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Heather – Thanks! They are Eyebobs. Mine are actually reading glasses that I had converted into frames. Although, now they make all sorts, not just for reading.

      Reply
  13. Rebekah

    My friend Alice told me about your beautiful site, that I would find beauty and inspiration…I found myself reading about your date, your adorable life with three kids sneaking away for a weekend with your sweetie and savoring it so perfectly. Feeling that we are somehow kindred spirits – then I cracked up when I got to the picture of you since your wearing the exact same anthro shirt that I am wearing as I type – ha! Your blog is gorgeous I felt like I was with you at lunch and can’t wait to try this recipe and many more from your blog. Just wanted to say hello. I am a fellow Seattlite Mommy of three – blessed to find myself in your space this evening and feeling like you are a friend..is that weird? PS. I love Lummi Island haven’t been there in over ten years but LOVE it!

    Reply
  14. Crystal Malek

    What a blessing to get an overnight getaway!! My goodness, it’s been too long over here, and now with 5, I think the only chance we’ll have is if I split the kids up! And I will tell you again what a glorious idea “dating your husband” is. I can’t even remember how many people I’ve shared that with. And while we haven’t been great at sticking with it, at least we continue to strive toward consistent, at-home dates, weekly.

    As for your meal? Looks scrumptious!! I’ll certainly try the salad, and wish I knew how to smoke pork like that!! So glad you got to experience such sweet time w/your babe.

    Reply
  15. Mikaela Cowles

    I believe beyond a shadow of a doubt the reason my parents marriage has lasted nearly 40 years (not just lasted, but seems to blossom every day) is because they were determined to make it that way. Get aways like this fueled their marriage. I’m so glad you two found the time/childcare to make it happen. What a wonderful trip and amazing salad! I’ve been looking for a short car trip get-a-way. Perhaps this is somewhere I should look into. Thank you so much! Where did you stay? Any good B&B ideas?

    Reply
  16. Erin

    Wow. Sounds fantastic! I grew up in Mt. Vernon, WA, and my mom constantly talks of La Conner, La Push, etc. I was 6 when we moved, so I just have faint memories of double rainbows and San Juan Island… I haven’t been back there, since 1987. I have been inspired by you to visit though…!

    Reply
  17. J2Kfm

    I’m sold. Endive’s entirely new to this part of the world, or at least I would have imagined so. But pulled pork sandwich..yeah! Can almost attest to the great raves you have been going about.

    Reply
  18. LaeI

    I read about Nell Thorn a few months ago and filed it away as a fun day trip to La Connor, but it’s been bugging me because I couldn’t remember the name and had yet to take the time to do some research to recall it. I’m so glad you enjoyed it as much as I imagined I would (will!). That salad is perfect summer fare. Thanks for sharing!

    Reply
  19. Sarah

    Holy cow! You guys came into Breadfarm! Had I realized it were you, I probably would have embarrassed myself (and sent you away with a bag full of goodies), but I’m a huge fan! I’ve been planning on going to Nell Thorn for awhile but haven’t gotten there yet – now I know what to order when I go!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      @Sarah – oh boy, a bag full of goodies from Breadfarm?! Not much better than that. We’ll be in plenty. Make sure you say hi next time!! (Most likely we’ll be there Tuesday).

      Reply
  20. Lindsay

    This is a little embarrassing, but the shot of you in the striped cardigan and yellow shirt and beautiful necklace… would it be possible to please tell me where you got all of those (save the t-shirt, as I’ve got it, too) items? Just a gorgeous outfit! First time to your site… immediately putting it in my RSS!

    Reply
    • Ashley Rodriguez

      Lindsay – I’m flattered. :) The necklace is from Anthropologie. The black and white striped number was a gift from my mom so I’m not sure. Thanks for the comment!! Glad you found me.

      Reply

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