We spent the first weekend in April on Whidbey Island because Megan, Laura and I were running a marathon there. The race was fun, and beautiful, along country roads with constant views of the water, even starting with the closure of the Deception Pass bridge. Because there were only a couple of hundred marathoners, it was a completely different experience than any of our previous races. Fewer people to get tangled up in, resulting in better times, but best of all, our support team and friends had no problem driving to several points along the route and cheering us.

We stayed at the Inn at Langley, a hotel we’ve been wanting to visit for years. Each room has fireplace, a balcony with a beautiful view of the sound (where we saw two orca whales playing Monday morning – stupidly, no photos), and a jetted tub that also looks out the water, a great comfort to the post-race runner. Megan and I both got massages the next day at the spa there, as well. Best of all, we had dinner in the hotel dinning room that night. The dining room only seats about 25 people, and is open to the kitchen which is not much larger than our own. The chef is Matt Costello, who won a James Beard award for best New Restaurant in the nation when he headed up Tom Douglas’s Palace Kitchen, another favorite. He started the set menu meal by explaining why he loves to live and work on Whidbey, what being close to his purveyors means and the great food community that has been created on the island. He then detailed the menu, speaking specifically about where the ingredients were sourced. It was truly one of the best meals of my life, so I don’t want to forget it:

Marinated anchovy with caperberry

Foie gras with Sauternes gelee with baby carrot and anise hyssop

Citrus marinated salmon on leeks with caraway vinaigrette

Sweet onion soup with rosemary and bacon

Poached halibut on fingerling potatoes with fresh peas and Penn Cove mussels or Snake River Ranch beef on white corn “grits” with white asparagus

Pierre Robert cheese with kumquats and pickled beets

A tasting of rhubarb: a rhubarb crisp with vanilla whipped cream, an almond and rhubarb tart, and panna cotta with rhubarb sauce