HOW TO EAT YOUR WAY THROUGH PORT TOWNSEND’S VICTORIAN WATERFRONT

fCalled “the city of dreams” due to its early aspirations of being the largest harbor city on the West Coast, Port Townsend missed that goal but ended up a quaint little town on the northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, an easy jaunt away from Seattle by car or ferry. Port Townsend has a thriving arts scene and hosts a number of festivals, with visitors coming year-round to see the Victorian homes, historical buildings, and views of the waterfront.

And while you’re here, you might as well eat well. Here’s our guide to doing that, though city slickers take note — Mondays and Tuesdays tend to be quiet in town, so you might find some establishments closed. Some are even closed on Wednesdays and/or Sundays.

8 a.m.: Early breakfast at Marina Cafe

If you arrive early, and you should, stop at Marina Cafe on the way into town. Owner Jen Takaki opens at 8 a.m. each weekday, though if you get there at opening time she’ll offer you a cup of coffee and ask that you wait while she gets the first batch of muffins into the oven. The ever-changing menu board shows scrambles and other breakfast items that all come with a buttered muffin (blueberry is her specialty) and coffee for $10. Help yourself to a coffee refill and take a gander into the kitchen. You might find other baked goods to try, such as empanadas.

Alternative breakfast (or lunch): Cafe Tenby

At Cafe Tenby, fresh-made bread forms the foundation for a hearty bite, be it avocado toast (spiked with za’atar) for breakfast or a sandwich such as the Caprese for lunch. There is a wide variety of tea choices available, the perfect accompaniment to a brown butter almond macaroon or, even better, the “proper” scone served warm with house-made clotted cream and some strawberry jam.

10 a.m.: Coffee break at Better Living Through Coffee

After strolling Water Street with its little shops, entrancing views, and “Whale on the Wharf” (a 42-foot gray whale skeleton exhibit), it’s time for a pick-me-up. Is there a better name for a coffee lover than Better Living Through Coffee? And are there any better places to sip coffee while enjoying the view of Port Townsend Bay? Locals and tourists alike gather at this popular coffee shop, where a number of roasts are available as pour-overs and more.

Noon: Lunch at Batch Brothers

Bunch together time at Fort Worden Historical State Park, a former military base, with lunch at Batch Brothers. This is the ideal place to get a protein fix ahead of an hour or two of trail-walking in the woods and along the beach. There is a variety of burgers, cooked to order and available with sides of steak fries or tots. The Batch Burger comes topped with Beecher’s cheddar, caramelized onions, a healthy handful of local farm greens, pickles, aioli, and smoked tomato and jalapeno jam. Chicken wings show off the kitchen’s hot sauce savvy; there are even 10 or so hot sauces available to purchase by the bottle.

3 p.m.: Savory snack at Dogs-a-Foot

After a stint in the salty air, indulge in a hot dog at the Dogs-a-Foot hot dog stand. The menu is split into Classic and Dogs Around the World — which range from a Seattle dog to Asian varieties that run the gamut from Korean to Japanese to Thai.

Or: Sweet snack at Elevated Ice Cream

Nostalgia is the name of the game at the Elevated Ice Cream and Candy Shop. Workers offer wooden stick samples of homemade ice cream (try the lemon chiffon), sherbet and Italian ices. In the adjoining space are homemade chocolate, truffles and fudge, along with a retail area of candy classics like jelly beans, Haribo gummies, Sour Smog Balls, Jaw Busters, and Jolly Ranchers.

5 p.m.: Happy hour at Propolis Brewing

Propolis Brewing produces ales that range light to sour to dark, all featuring locally grown fruit, flowers, and herbs. (Think bourbon nettle sour, for example.) The taproom is laid-back, a relaxing place to sample beer along with small nibbles, with dogs allowed in the outdoor garden.

7 p.m.: Dinner at Finistère

Ask and virtually everyone will recommend Finistère, and rightly so. Located up the hill in the wealthy part of town (when Port Townsend held promise to be the next big city, the waterfront was considered the place with the riffraff), it’s worth a walk around (perhaps alongside some deer) to see gorgeous houses and gardens pre-dinner. You’ll have wanted to book ahead at this highly regarded restaurant, where the chef Deborah Taylor previously worked at Eleven Madison Park, Per Se, and Canlis. Consider starters like oysters fried or on the half shell, luscious pea soup with crème fraiche, and the rich chicken liver mousse with red onion jam. Pasta is the main draw here, made in-house with several types that might range from pappardelle to bucatini to gnocchi. This is the fine dining option in town, with friendly service in a contemporary farmhouse-type atmosphere. While there’s a good wine list to accompany dinner, be sure to have a designated driver — even if you don’t want to, you’re going to have to go back to Seattle.

2024-06-24T16:12:31Z dg43tfdfdgfd