Epic Coastal views and idyllic cozy vibes have our team visiting the islands just beyond the Seattle skyline regularly these days. There’s something about Seattle and the surrounding area that has left a mark on us Angelenos and we’re hooked!
Our most recent jaunt to the Pacific Northwest included a trip to Whidbey Island and local’s favorite – plus travel press darling – the Inn at Langley. Named one of the top 500 in the world by Travel & Leisure, the Inn’s popularity has a little to do with its incredible two story suites just feet from the water and a lot to do with Chef Matt Costello. Chef Costello is a James Beard nominee who’s journey through the restaurant world has included a few of our favorite Seattle staples, including the Dahlia Lounge and the stunning Four Seasons.
Dinner at the Inn is served just once a night and includes seven courses of inventive and locally-driven dishes that would impress the most jaded of foodies. Our dinner with Chef Matt included courses of seafood so fresh it could bring a girl to tears, impressive wines from Washington and Oregon vineyards, a thin melting dome of chocolate, and a vintage purse full of edible hankies, coins, and other trinkets.
We asked Chef Matt to tell us his latest food inspirations, what he thinks defines the region now and what we can expect next on plates at the Inn at Langley…
Your cooking style in 3 words:
Familiar, modern-ish, fun (or some synonym of ‘fun’ that’s not silly).
3 favorite local ingredients:
Kid from the flats above Ebey’s landing; blackberries from the side of the gravel roads; and the crabs – Dungeness are everywhere.
Best food trend in 2016:
Not a 2016 trend, but I am so happy the small inn/restaurant destination is taking hold. Inn at Little Washington is a great starting place. It’s the first one I noticed starting out. I suppose Mansion at Turtle Creek was on my radar too. I just love how great Blaine is doing north of us on Lummi. It’s a shift from the big heady dinners in the metropolises. It allows a broader market and economy for small towns.
Worst food trend in 2016:
Okay, this is really not only for 2016, but I hate the term ‘food porn.’ God in heaven, stop using that term. It was dumb when it first started, still is. It’s grammatically incorrect and makes me not hungry.
Favorite dish you've made this season:
Grated sweet corn, coconut, brown butter crab, peanut, Thai basil, nepitella and garlic root.
The slowest food prep worth the wait:
We use the dehydrator a lot. Some foods do well with some of the moisture removed. Turnips are a great example.
The best quick snack ever:
Sweet-soy hot-smoked salmon and spicy mustard with sesame. Kinda like cheap Chinese barbecue pork. So good!
New York has pizza, Seattle has…
Too many of the exact same restaurants. They’re all good places, but pretty much a slight variation on Matt Dillion’s places, like Sitka & Spruce, etc.. To answer the question, I would have to say seafood. I mean, everything that comes out of the cold waters in the area is amazing, if cooked right.
Fave local coffee:
Those nutty hippies at Mukilteo Roasters. (We use their coffee at dinner.) It’s literally in the middle of the woods. Nothing around for five miles.
Fave Seattle food experience beyond the Inn:
I just had a killer meal at Eden Hill. About 10 years ago, Seattle had two reviewers for our daily papers and they hated anything new or out of the mold – and this set the course for the restaurant scene, I believe. (I miss Tom Sietsema; he is now at the Washington Post. He was a reviewer who knew his stuff.) With the daily papers on free fall and things shifting, I’m really singing the praises of this place Eden Hill, in hopes he does super well.
Seattle is a great town, really talented folks and a thriving economy, it should have great diversity. That’s the only thing I would change. We are a little self-conscious out here sometimes. It’s reflected in the lack of diversity in restaurants.