Feels Like Summer! Local Fun & A Foodie’s Dream

summer in La Conner, WA
Lunch in La Conner, WA

Summer is almost here!!

Summer is fast approaching, and I am looking forward to it. My birthday is June 16th, which always coincides with the Opening of Summer for me! It is the time of year for Dads and Grads and lots of family celebrations. This month is always so festive!

We will be celebrating as well! Our son Nick will visit us in the Northwest to celebrate his Dad and Mom—my birthday falls on Father’s Day this year. His wife Kylie will stay in Southern California this trip, caring for a dear friend’s baby while the parents attend a wedding. I remember worrying about babysitting, ha, but no more! Now, I am the one to offer my services!

My recent local adventures

summer produce in Skagit Valley
Shuh Farms, Mt Vernon, WA

Craig and I drove to Skagit Valley on a warm, clear, sunny day. We visited my favorite local farms and food shops and had lunch in the picturesque town of La Conner. This destination is only 55 miles north of my house and an hour north of Seattle. My husband is so supportive, and he does like these adventures, but not half as much as I do. After almost 40 years of marriage, he gets me.

I love it there. I can get my “farm fix,” plus there is no better place to buy your fresh organic produce, specialty cheese, and wildflowers than from someone local!

summer in Mt Vernon
Blackburn Gardens. This sweet spot was created by Laura Ward in Mt. Vernon, WA, who transformed her backyard into a gorgeous wildflower garden and built this adorable farmstand. I have taken classes with her and purchased dried flowers as well as seedlings for my personal flower garden. She’s an inspiration.

Dinner at Cafe Juanita

fine dining in Kirkland

We began my birthday celebrations early by dining with our daughter Alex and son-in-law Brent at the incomparable Cafe Juanita in Kirkland. Without counting special house-made bread courses, there were at least six courses or bites to swoon over!

The service is exquisite, and the ambiance is comfortable yet chic in a mid-century modern setting—I loved it all! This is our third visit, and we have thoroughly enjoyed it each and every time! Cafe Juanita offers a curated dining experience with four prix-fixe tasting menus in four iterations: omnivore, pescatarian, vegetarian, and vegan. There is also a supplemental menu where you can add specialty dishes as well.  The kitchen is quite generous and flexible, and each diner can swap one dish for another on any of the menus!

We splurged on special wine pairings! (It is my birthday, after all.) Craig enjoyed the classic wine pairings, and I enjoyed the Reserve! The cuisine celebrates the foods of Northern Italy, and the wines come from small Italian wineries. They were some of the best I have tasted. Seriously!

dining at Cafe Juanita
A divine Caesar Salad interpretation
summer in Washington
Handmade pasta with morel mushrooms
Gorgeous halibut in brodo with leeks

Summer Plans on the Podcast

summer travel tips

Last week, I announced our summer travel plans on the podcast and offered three helpful suggestions for improving your summer travel. In our next episode, I will interview my daughter Alex, and we will share all of the details of our Alaskan Cruise on the Celebrity Edge.

Summer Travel is around the corner!

Craig and I are heading to Italy, beginning with Rome, where we will be enjoying my favorite country for a couple of weeks. You can follow along on my Instagram here if you wish. There won’t be a newsletter until July 12th, when we return!

Ciao for now!






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