Sea and Smoke

Sea and Smoke

Flavors From the Untamed Pacific Northwest

Book - 2015
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"Sea and Smoke is a travelogue chronicling the plucky ambition of a young chef determined to create a world class dining destination in an unlikely place. A native of the Pacific Northwest, two-time James Beard winning chef Blaine Wetzel saw Lummi Island, with fewer than 1,000 residents, as the perfect vehicle for his brand of hyperlocalism: a culinary celebration of what is good and nearby and flavorful. Now, a reservation at The Willows Inn is one of the most sought-after in the world. The smokehouse, the fishermen, and the farmer yield the ingredients for unforgettable meals at The Willows, reflecting the foggy, sea-salty coast that surrounds the island. The tale of the restaurant's rise to the top is told by award-winning journalist Joe Ray, who immersed himself in life on Lummi Island for a year, documenting how it all comes together to make The Willows Inn one of the world's great destination restaurants."--provided by publisher.
Publisher: Philladelphia : Running Press, [2015]
Copyright Date: ©2015.
ISBN: 9780762453788
Branch Call Number: 641.5979 WETZEL
Characteristics: 267 pages : illustrations (chiefly color) ; 27 cm.


From Library Staff

More of a PNW coffee-table book than a practical recipe book, chef Blaine Wetzel's gorgeous book showcases the unique beauty and flavors of the Salish Sea. This book is an incredible way to get to know local ingredients, explore some more refined fire-cooking methods, and plate like a master. Get... Read More »

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Mar 24, 2018

Much like another PNW cookbook I just left a review on, I found this one to be more of a coffee table book than a cookbook I would find myself using.

The redeeming factor is that it is honest. Right on the cover "flavors from the untamed PNW". I can respect that it is giving me a heads up that I will have to either grow a lot of stuff I can't find in the market or that I will find myself trekking out for wild harvesting. Still, it is a bit overboard, even for a Seattle native that loves hiking. For example, one recipe calls for spruce tips, salmonberry shoots, salmonberry blossoms, and stinging nettles. At least you'll work up a recipe on your walkabout trying to gather everything.

Feb 29, 2016

"Sea and Smoke" is a beautifully crafted and meticulous cookbook that is more memoir than recipe tome. The first half is the tale of the chef Blaine Wetzel and how he came to command the innards of the Willows Inn on Lummi Island off of the shore of Washington state. This is a glorious book to have out on display for like minded friends to page through and glamour at all of the impossibly fantastic notions of what food is and what it could be. As a lover of high end food; dishes that are thought about, rehearsed, refined and developed, "Sea and Smoke" had me drooling over food I know I will probably never get to eat (unless this blog takes off and I get an invite from Wetzel himself...) and, really, that's about it.

If you think you can obtain even a fraction of these ingredients that are mentioned here, then, well, you live on Lummi Island and work at the Willows Inn. Super specific sea life, herbs, oils, flowers and the like that are only found in that area of the globe is what goes into the dishes that are presented in this book. So, if you are that ambitious and that skillful then go ahead and have at it. Otherwise, the rest of us will just admire the care that goes into each plate that chef Wetzel creates and sit back and read the rest of it. "Sea and Smoke" may be a bit pretentious (ok, it's kind of a lot of pretentious) but I just couldn't get over the style, craft and semblance of it all. I've been to Seattle and all but this thing makes me want to explore even further beyond the oaky beer bars and burger stands of that drizzly city and hopefully it'll inspire you to do the same.

But stinging nettles as a primary ingredient? C'mon man.

Jan 25, 2016

I'm always looking for cookbooks that are accessible for the NW home cook. This is one of those. It is easy for these authors and their editors to get a bit full of themselves, but I try to look beyond that to see what I can take away. There is a lot to take from this book.


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