mainRight_chefChef Matt Costello is cooking hyper-local, avant garde and insanely delicious food out of a small kitchen in a 30-seat restaurant, and it’s the next place you must go for a weekend away.  The Inn at Langley is hardly a secret – even though the owners don’t advertise, the Whidbey Island destination was recommended to me on several occasions by friends and colleagues.  I was expecting a relaxing weekend away with my wife, but I was not prepared to have one of most surprising, innovative and delightful meals I’ve had in quite a while. 

A few weeks back, my wife and I booked our stay at the inn, cashing in a Rue La La deal we had purchased a month prior.  The deal included a night’s stay at the Inn at Langley as well as dinner and wine pairing for two at the attached restaurant.  Even from my first call to make our reservations, I could tell that this place exuded the type of warm hospitality that is often absent in the typical passive-aggressive Seattleite interactions.  When we arrived and were shown to our room, we were stunned in disbelief – the “cottage suite” included in our package was a 1400 square foot apartment overlooking the sound, beautifully appointed and peacefully serene.  And, if this were a travel blog, I’d go on and on about the room, the amenities of the inn and the charming little town scattered around it.  But, you’re here for the food, so I’ll get right to it.

Dinner started quite leisurely, just as the sun was falling low in the sky.  We were the first to arrive for the night’s seating, and we were greeted warmly by Stephen McClure, the restaurant’s sommelier.  He handed us each a glass of champagne dotted with basil seeds and we took a seat in the garden as the other guests trickled in.  Sitting in that manicured garden, watching the sunset and sipping champagne, I felt a million miles from home: relaxed, refreshed, civilized, and centered.  It’s a great way to begin any meal.

We were shown to our table which was one of just a handful in the restaurant’s petite dining room.  The room is divided by an oversized stone fireplace, and flanked by tables of two and four laid out around the perimeter.  However, the main focus of the room is

Reading time: 8 min

ziploc vacuum bags
Even if you managed to find an inexpensive solution for cooking sous vide at home, it used to be the case that you were still on the hook for a vacuum sealer, and the $150 FoodSaver was the de facto appliance for the job.  Sure, for short cooking times, you can immerse a zip-top bag in water and force out most of the air, but that strategy doesn’t let you safely cook-then-chill foods for reheating later.  Furthermore, as the small amount of remaining air expands in non-vacuumed bags, they tend to float to the surface and cook unevenly.  However, Ziploc recently introduced a line of vacuum seal bags that use an inexpensive hand pump and achieve nearly the same results as that pricey FoodSaver.  Read on for my head-to-head test and conclusions…

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canlis Carrots

Last night I had the pleasure of getting together with Brian Canlis (of Canlis Restaurant) to shoot some food.  Brian and I are both pretty enthusiastic about the subject, and the release of the Canlis Spring menu provided a great opportunity to photograph a handful of Chef Jason Franey’s stunning dishes.  The best part, though?  Not letting the “props” go to waste.

I have to say, I was very impressed with the artistry and complexity of each dish.  They look great in photos, but they’re even more impressive in person.  Canlis may be an old school establishment, but Jason Franey’s food is about as forward-thinking as it gets.

[I don’t have actual descriptions for each dish from the Chef, so I’m leaving the captions intentionally simplistic]

Above: Carrots
Below: Duck egg

canlis duck egg
Foie Gras, Rhubarb and Celery
canlis Foie
Halibut with Artichokecanlis halibut
Pork Chop
canlis pork

Tuna Crudo, Sashimi and Tartare canlis tuna

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