• Lunch Daily 11:30-4pm
  • Dinner Daily 4-close
Category: General

10 Must Do’s on Chuckanut Drive

1. The Oyster Bar on Chuckanut: Easily our top recommendation for lunch or sunset dinner.

2. If bird watching strikes your fancy, we recommended extending your drive south to the Samish Flats, prime turf for birding. See if you can spot bald eagles, red-tail hawks, at least a half dozen rough-legged hawks, falcons, merlin, peregrines, kestrels or prairie falcon. In the winter this area offers spectacular showings of snow geese and flocks of trumpeter swans.

3. Samish Overlook & Oyster Dome Trailhead. Gear up for at 5 mile round-trip excursion that is sure to lift your heart rate or skip the hike and get right to the top.

4. Say Cheese! Samish Bay Cheese is owned and operated by Suzanne and Roger Wechsler. This 200 acre farm is home to a mixed herd of Milking Shorthorns, some crossed with Jersey, Holstein, or Dutch Belted

5. Taylor Shellfish: “From tide to table, they’ve been farming high quality, sustainable shellfish
in the Pacific Northwest since the 1890’s.

7. Opt to Stop! Chuckanut drive is a curvy and narrow 2 lane road hugging the cliff line over looking Samish bay. This is a common destination or training ride for road bikers. We’ve identified two designated pull-outs to stop and take in the bay view.

8. Fill your day with adventure accessing the beaches near Larabee State Park or the moderate to steep hiking trails on the east side of the road. We’d recommend the Fragrance Lake look for casual hikers. Don’t forget your Discovery Pass if you plan to park here.

9. Chuckanut Bay Gallery offers a variety of artisan crafted infused and etched glass, beautiful glazed pottery, fine handmade jewelry, wooden crafts, cookware, games, textiles, art prints, handcrafted soaps and lotions; or peruse the gardens overflowing with sculpture, water features, lanterns, wind chimes, and bird houses/feeders.

10. Blueberry picking is the perfect activity and Skagit County is home to a number of farms producing some of the Washingtons’ finest blues.

Featured Winery: Leonetti Cellars

Loess Vineyard at the Figgins Family Wine Estate -(photo from Leonetti Cellars)

 

The Figgins Family Wine Estate has a deep history spanning over a century in Walla Walla Washington. The Leonetti Cellar was founded in 1977 as the valley’s first commercial winery. We’ve curated a collection of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon vintages ranging from 2004 to 2016. Join us for a bottle!

 

Flavor profiles from our Leonetti Cellars Merlot Collection:

Leonetti Cellars 2016 Merlot Wine2016:

“A classic vintage for Merlot. This wine has a delicious, creamy nose with jammy black fruits and mixed florals. It is incredibly broad on the palate–a distinctive characteristic of Washington Merlot. The finish is spicy, sweet, lively, and lengthy.”

2012:

“The wine is dark and saturated. In the glass, the wine explodes with an ethereal, complex nose of cinnamon, plum, pomegranate, clove, and a hint of spring pine forest. On the palate, the wine has delicious fresh ripe fruit, reminiscent of berry pie filling. Incredible richness but with a stunning levity that lifts. Quite simply an incredibly sexy, hedonistic wine.”

2008:

“The nose leads with complex spice, ripe fruits including strawberries, raspberries, and other bramble fruits, and has background aromas of mint, pine, white pepper, and juniper berries. Searching harder, there’s just a hint of earthy mushroom or forest floor. It is deeply lush, soft, and packed with caramel, vanilla, fruit, and chocolate on the palate. Its tannin and acid are in perfect balance and will help this wine age for at least ı5 years, though it is already drinking wonderfully.”

 

Flavor pofiles from our Leonetti Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Collection:

2016 Leonetti Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Wine2015:

“Nearly black in the glass. Intricate nose of licorice, lavender, dried herb, cold black coffee mixed with caramel, black fruits, and elderberry. Incredible purity of fruit. Massive, but plush, with a core of mouthwatering acidity and a polished finish.”

2013:

“Dark and brooding, the Cabernet has a beautiful nose of blackberries, blue fruits, spices, and black tea, perfectly framed by a light touch of toasted French oak. As a warm year in the Walla Walla Valley, Cabernet truly shined and yielded deliciously generous wine with a long, pure finish. This is a classic Leonetti Cabernet from a remarkable vintage.” 

2010:

“Saturated dark ruby to the rim. This  Cabernet has a tremendously pleasing nose of mixed berries, crème brulee, cassis, baking spices, and cinnamon. The palate is tightly wound yet plush, having simply perfect balance and length. There is a lot of ripe tannin here, but not a rough edge to be found. After 5 days open, the wine continues to develop and display remarkable purity of fruit.”

-tasting notes and wine descriptions sourced from Leonetti Cellars

2018 Best of Award of Excellence by Wine Spectator

Best of Excellence Award

Each year Wine Spectator awards a number of restaurants honoring wine programs by recognizing lists that display excellent breadth across multiple regions and/or significant vertical depth of top wines, along with superior presentation. Each wine lists selected features a well-chosen assortment of quality producers along with a thematic match to the menu in both price and style. Ranging in size from 90 selections to several hundred, these lists are well-focused and tend to emphasize discovery.

This marks the 28th year the Chuckanut Oyster Bar has received this honor. Each wine is carefully chosen and covers every major wine producing region in the world.

Explore our wine list here.

Join us for a taste on our patio overlooking Samish Bay this season.

Featured Wine: And Why am I Mr. Pink? Rosé

It’s only March but the first mouthwatering Rosés of the season are starting to arrive! We’ve selected a Washington wine. This rosé that comes from collaboration between two winemakers in the Columbia Valley. And Why Mr. Pink? rosé sets a scene for spring from our cellar to your table.

And Why am I Mr. Pink?

Mr. Pink Rosé

Wine makers Mark McNeilly of Mark Ryan Winery and Trey Busch from Sleight of Hand Cellars joined together for The Underground Wine Project. This collaborations created a perfectly pink rosé. It’s filled with the flavors of fresh picked cherries, crisp watermelon, pomegranates, and ends with a lip smacking acidity to balance out the mouthwatering fruit sweetness.

Pale peach in color, this wine drinks dry and has delectable tart cherry notes.  As far as pairings go this is going to be one of our more versatile wines, going nicely with most of our appetizers and fish dishes, the bouillabaisse in particular!

The Health Benefits of Lobster

The Health Benefits of Lobster

Lobsters, the crustaceans known as Homarus Nephrops (north Atlantic subspecies), have only in recent history been known as a delicacy. In the early 20th century Lobsters were primarily fed to poor people and prisoners. In one example, indentured servants in a New England town successfully sued their owners to create a “only 3 lobster meals per week” rule. We should be so lucky!

In addition to being delicious, lobster also boasts many nutritional benefits including protecting heart health, decreasing inflammation, boosting brain function, promoting growth, speeding healing, and increasing energy. In addition, lobsters are a great place to get many essential vitamins and minerals.

So, without further adieu, here are some important health benefits:

Cholesterol Balance:

The high concentration of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids can help your cholesterol balance, with moderate lobster consumption.

Brain Function:

Lobster features a number of unique minerals and vitamins including B12, which is directly linked with maintaining nerve integrity and the maintenance of your nervous system. Lobster is also a very good source of choline, a water-soluble nutrient that can increase the production of neurotransmitters.

Protein Boost:

Lobster features high protein content which is important for the growth and repair of cells, tissues, bones, and organs. Unused protein is stored or later use as energy!

Reduce Inflammation:

The protein and “good” fat content found in lobster can result in decreased inflammation of the joints. This can be a part of providing relief for issues ranging from arthritic conditions to cardiovascular and circulatory health.

Happy Thyroid:

Lobster possesses selenium, a trace element, which helps stimulate the activity of thyroid glands. Selenium protects against free radicals during metabolism too, which makes lobster a great food to eat if you’re trying to lose some pounds.

We’re serving live Maine lobster through the end of February. Have you ever wondered why “live” lobster is so important? One reason is that crustaceans like the lobster start to decay very rapidly after dying, so to ensure the best quality lobster experience, lobsters are kept alive as long as possible before being prepared.

So, get in soon and enjoy some lobster. It’ll treat you right!

Live Lobster Through February

Due to demand, we’ve decided to continue our fresh lobster plate specials through the end of February.

(February 13th and 14th will be excluded due to high volume in the restaurant, but you can look forward to these unique dishes for a little bit longer. )

As a reminder, we’ve got some great options for you to choose from:

 

Large plates:

Live Maine lobster which is served half or whole, and with Prime Top Sirloin Steak, Prime Filet Mignon Steak, or with Wild Gulf Prawns.

 

Small plates:

 

Lobster RavioliMascarpone, arugula pesto, toasted pine nuts, brown butter, shallots.

 

 

 

Lobster Bisque

 

Lobster BisqueGoat cheese gougere, fresh chives.

 

 

 

 

 

Lobster Carpaccio SaladThin slices of lobster, avocado, mango, passion fruit, vanilla bean vinaigrette.

 

 

 

 

Lobster Mac & CheeseTruffle cream, herbed bread crumbs.

 

 

 

 

Dessert: 

 

Lobster Ice CreamLobster infused cream, lemon powder, brown butter, cookie crumble.

 

 

 

The Oysters you eat at the Oyster Bar today, last night slept in Samish Bay

Samish Bay Oysters

A favorite saying around here, “The oysters you eat at the Oyster Bar today, last night slept in Samish Bay” has it’s roots in the history of the region.

The staff of the Taylor Shellfish Samish Island Farm regard their work as similar to their land based contemporaries, as farmers. The bay has been producing shellfish since the early part of the last century. Many of the harvesting practices are unchanged over time. Oysters are still hand-sorted, washed, and bagged by on site staff. The work is done at low tide, which, during the winter, is often in the middle of the night.

Oyster farming is hard, physical labor, in cold conditions. But the people who stick with it love it, just as we love what their labor produces.

A long standing tradition, fresh shellfish is sold on-site at the retail location along with charcoal for those who desire a beachfront picnic, barbecuing beside a colorful pile of oyster shells. The farm produces oysters, clams, mussels, geoduck and even local seasonal Dungeness Crab.

According to Taylor Shellfish President Bill Taylor, the demand for shellfish is on the rise. “We believe that demand for shellfish is going to grow both domestically and internationally. We see markets continue to be strong, demand typically outstrips supply” he told undercurrentnews.com.

Taylor Shellfish farms produces 60 million pounds of Oysters annually, 4-5 million pounds of clams, 1.2-1.5 million pounds of mussels and 700,000-800,000 lbs of geoduck across both the US and Canada.

According to the Governor of Washington’s Office, the state’s commercial shellfish growers employ about 2,700 people and contributed $184 million to the state’s economy in 2010.

Samish Bay itself is ground zero for expansion in the industry. The Washington Shellfish Initiative, initiated by Governor Jay Inslee, in concert with the Puget Sound Partnership, is in the second phase of a plan to add 10,800 acres to the region for shellfish harvesting by 2020, 4,000 of which are in Samish Bay.

Currently, a large portion of prime harvesting area in Samish Bay face random bouts of pollution (usually after heavy rainfall) which make them unsuitable for production. This is due to factors in the Samish River watershed-farms and livestock, manure-based fertilizer, failing of overloaded septic systems, even dog poop in the backyard.

20 government agencies are involved in monitoring the water level, and sampling shellfish from the bay to ensure that what consumers are eating is safe. We’re proud of or neighbors, the farmers and people of Bow who are banding together to modernize farming practices, upgrade systems, and pitch in as a community to improve a unique part of our heritage.

Here’s to enjoying shellfish for generations to come!

Valentines Day

Valentines Day Restaurant in Bellingham

Valentine’s Day is fast approaching!

For some, this is a reason to panic. You’ve gotta make plans for you and the apple of your eye. Flowers? Gifts? Dinner? With so many options, we’d like to help you simplify your life.

How, may you ask?

Reservations, that’s how!

We’re currently taking reservations for Valentine’s Day! Just a short drive from Bellingham, the Oyster Bar is the premier dining experience in Northwest Washington

Imagine, a romantic, candle-lit meal, with a glorious view of Samish Bay and the San Juan Islands. Appetizers like Cascadia Mushroom Gnocchi. An award winning wine cellar. The freshest seafood and most delectable flavors. Deserts such as Frangelico Creme Brulee and Pear Tart Tatin! Prepare to have a happy palate.

Make this a Valentine’s day you’ll remember for a long time. If you’re in Whatcom, Skagit, San Juan, or Snohomish county, we’re within an hour drive.

We also have gift cards, if you’re interested in encouraging your favorite couple to take a romantic evening.

Make a Reservation

To make a reservation, please call the restaurant at (360) 766-6185. We’re open from 11:30 am – 10 pm. Don’t put this off, we fill up fast, and we’d love to see you for this special day!

And what if you’re too late for the big V – day itself? Well, you can always come in the day before, or the day after. Your night will be just as special, just as romantic, and just as memorable.

Fish: A Cure for the Winter Blues

Fish Helps with Seasonal Affective Disorder

It is estimated that about 14% of the US population report feeling a little down and lethargic during the winter months, and an additional 6% suffer from the more acute Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD).

Bellingham tops out the list of cities in the continental United States with populations of over 50,000 which get the least amount of sunlight, and we all know the Pacific Northwest winter can get a little gloomy. No one likes getting up when it’s dark and going to work, only to finish the work day and be in the dark… again. However, there are some interesting options out there to fight the winter blues. We can take some cues from another group of people who seem to be doing quite well, despite living on the same parallel as even darker Alaska: the Icelanders.

In Iceland, the winter is even darker than our own and yet, the locals have little to no Seasonal Affective Disorder! Scientists and nutritionists who examined this phenomenon found that Icelanders have one highest per-capita fish consumption rates in the world. They eat, on average, more than four times as much fish as do Americans.

So what is in fish that helps prevent seasonal blues, or even SAD? Omega 3’s and vitamin D! Omega 3 fats have a critical role in brain health and documented effects on mood stabilization and anti-depression.

Omega 3’s are found in “fatty fish” such as salmon, trout, herring, and sardines. 3 ounces of Salmon per day provides a day’s worth of essential fat! Other seafoods, such as shrimp and tuna also have good fats and some nutritionists recommend at least two seafood meals per week.

In addition to being an excellent source of Omega 3’s, fish are also the top food source for vitamin D, which our bodies are able to make when exposed to the sun. During dark winter months, we are not only seeing less of the sun, we’re also more often indoors, so opportunities for our bodies to create vitamin D are reduced.

After several weeks of this, we will have depleted the stores of vitamin D, and our mood may be affected! This is where fish can some to the rescue yet again—the 3 ounce piece of salmon we mentioned earlier? It also provides your full daily value of vitamin D.

So we hope that you’ll all be sure to get out and get some exercise, make sure you catch some sun rays, and of course, eat your fish!

Supporting Our Working Waterfront

The Value of Bellingham’s Waterfront

At the end of September and Start of October, our staff had the distinct pleasure of attending the inaugural Bellingham Seafest, a celebration of our “legacy maritime heritage, bustling working waterfront, internationally-renowned fishing & seafood industries and unsurpassed culinary bounty.”

Needless to say, we owe a great deal of our own success to the largess of the local waters, and we are very supportive of our local fishermen. We thought it would be a great opportunity to draw some attention to the Working Waterfront Coalition of Whatcom County.

With a mission of promoting the “vitality and economic benefits of our working waterfronts for the people of Whatcom County”, the coalition aims to support the continued vitality of the maritime sector, and to conserve the cultural history and economic prosperity the industry creates.

Our region has always had a close relationship to the sea. At one point, in the 1940’s, Bellingham was home to the largest salmon cannery in the world, the Pacific American Fisheries Plant—which, at its peak employed over 5,000 people.

Pacific American Fisheries Plant – Fairhaven WA circa 1930’s

The Port of Bellingham has some great resources for learning about the history of Bellingham and Whatcom County’s waterfronts, and when you look out over Samish Bay from our restaurant, you can see some of Taylor Shellfish Farm’s oyster beds.

Here’s a snapshot of the economic benefits commercial fishing brings to our community (c/o the port of Bellingham):

  • 1,781 direct jobs with an additional 870 induced jobs generated through spending by the direct job holders with other businesses
  • $13.3 million of local purchases by the firms located at the Port’s marinas contributing an additional 165 indirect jobs, for products and services used by the commercial fishing industry.
  • The 1,781 direct job holders earned $94.5 million in wages & salaries.
  • $320 million in revenue from the purchases by the fishing fleet at the Port’s marinas (this does not include the landed value of the fish catch).
  • State and local governments received nearly $16 million of tax revenue from the activity generated by the commercial fishing fleet.

Of course, as a patron of our humble restaurant, you’re also a part of this economic equation. We love supporting our local working waterfront and we thank you for both supporting us, and the brave Fishermen who bring us the bounty of the sea!

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For Your Favorite Foodies

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Featured Wine: 2012 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

Founded in 1979, Quilceda Creek the top, consistently hits the mark as a top Cabernet Sauvignon producer. A world class winery right here in Washington State.

2578 Chuckanut Drive
Bow, WA 98232

info@theoysterbar.com

360.766.6185

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