Sunday, April 15, 2007

The Ark

This is the tale our trips to The Ark, coming to an end, perhaps. In the 80's and 90's, The Ark by Willapa Bay in Washington was a destination restaurant, famed for their regional and seasonal cooking, always wonderful and delicious. The drive from Portland was equally beautiful, going through towns with names like Jewel and Mist, and passing through an Elk refuge. This photo of the refuge was taken on a trip to The Ark back in 2001. The elks were there today, but we didn't stop.

We went there for birthdays and anniversaries, or just for the drive. We took visiting relatives and one of Mike's French interns. One time, we took my parents, and they were impressed with the bridge over the mouth of the Columbia River. We measured it at about 4 miles long, although I don't have the official length.

And right after you cross over to the Washington side, there's the road side church. Because we're always passing by it at dusk when the light is just right, it always has a magical quality to it. This was also taken at 2001.

When you finally arrive at The Ark, you're greeted by the mountain of oyster shells at the parking lot, so you know you're some place where oysters are a big deal.

There's a garden by the parking lot, where they used to grow their own herbs and such. They might still do, I don't know. This photo was also taken in 2001. The view from the dining room is very similar to this, you look out into the bay, and as always, around dinner time the light is magical.

Well, somewhere along the line, after 2000, the food started to become not so interesting. We were disappointed on our last trip (2004, for Mike's birthday) and it took us a few years to make it back there. And again, we were disappointed tonight. For example, they could be serving all kinds of interesting seasonal vegetables, but what did we get? Yellow squash and zukes. I had my first taste of sauteed spring fiddleheads at The Ark years ago, and this is the right time for them, and they were nowhere to be seen. The entrees were passable but nothing to write home about. The desserts were served without frills.

The drive is still beautiful though. It's long enough a trip that by the time we got home from dinner, and I went for a short little walk to stretch my legs, it was time for me to eat again!

So that was almost the whole day. Did some cleaning before we left, but no studio time.

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