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    Culinary Adventures With Merle In Bellingham

    "Blame it on my experiencing destinations that people don't ordinarily go to. Chunkanut up to my love of fresh local foods including those that are Mt. Baker-ed. My cat Salmon I are both interested in seafood, but I told her that she would not be able to go. She hopes I have a whale-watcher of a time. I am a true chocoholic and nothing is better than dipping it in raspberries. May the Peace Arch be with you". 

    The above is what I wrote in order to indulge in a culinary press trip to the Bellingham/Mt. Baker area of Washington state aka Whatcom County, located between Seattle and Vancouver. Let's begin with Day 1 of the FAM tour - Forever A Meal.  

    Landing at the Bellingham airport (which would have been a two-hour drive from Seattle), I am transported to historic (sometimes hysteric) Fairhaven, a suburb of Bellingham, and checking into the Fairhaven Village Inn. I view the Wednesday Farmer's Market directly across the street as well as the surrounding Boulevard Park and boardwalk. 

    There is no time to rest in one of the 22-room quaint inn although do notice the amenities and check out the comfortableness of the bed. I am off to a lobby room to meet my fellow writers as well as the mucky mucks of tourism. Itinerary in hand, name badge on my shirt, we are moved to the terrace for a wine tasting and cheese plate.

    Ken Peck, owner and winemaker of Dakota Creek in Blaine, shares a red and white wine as we meet Connie Shannon, the owner of Fairhaven Village Inn who gives us a brief history of the inn along with some tales of Fairhaven. There is much discussion about the use of local foods that we will be pigging out on and will meet with Dirty Dan later.

    Now, that we've noshed, it is time for dinner at Fino Wine Bar. The restaurant is located at the Chrysalis Inn on Tenth Street and overlooking the waterfront. I view the hundreds of wine corks and think about Andra Douglas' parrot, Dina...her favorite toy.  

    Dirty Dan Harris and his sidekick come by to tell us all about the history of his discovery. We forgo dessert as we are bound for a "Dessert Crawl", where we will hit five different restaurants to indulge in the sweets. Chef Craig McDonald is thanked.  

    We walked off about a calorie or two as Dirty shares some great stories of Fairhaven's port and who he is. He continues to accompany us as we stop at the Farmer's Market area (which also shows outdoor movies on the wall) and meet Dirty's bronze replica. I youtube him as we are off to the first restaurant, Flat's Tapas Bar at 1307 11th St., followed by Big Fat Fish Company at 1304 12th St, Dirty Dan Harris Steakhouse at 1211 11th St., Colophon Cafe at 1208 11th St. and finally, Skylark's Hidden Cafe at 1308-B 11th St. that took us by surprise with their Bread pudding with whisky sauce, Macademia Mousse, and Espresso Cheesecake.  

    Getting There:

    Discover more dining, events, attraction, and recreation to enjoy in Bellingham by visit the Bellingham Whatcom County Tourism at http://www.bellingham.org/