Ah, Autumn! That time of year when the leaves turn golden red and fall from the trees laying a comforting blanket on Mother Earth. It is harvest time for many prized fruits and vegetables The air turns crisp and the progression to winter begins. And of course, Fall season foods are on their way!
Coho Restaurant on San Juan Island doesn’t miss a beat though. The only changing there is a transition in the menu. Adding to year round favorites are Fall foods that bring a smile to your face. Whether you like them sautéed with butter, garlic and a smidge of Tamari, or breaded with herbs, flavorful grains and cheese, mushrooms will be marching onto your dinner plate this Autumn.
Did You Say Mushrooms?
Chanterelles, Morels, and Shaggy Manes have colors and shapes easily identified by the forest stroller. But don’t take that as permission to harvest your own unless accompanied by a local fungi expert. Even then, take the King’s taster advice to heart. Try only a small sample at first to make sure your body likes the experience.
Coho Restaurant in Friday Harbor has you covered by offering fresh, local mushrooms in what seems like endless varieties. Adding to the more common assortment, Coho Restaurant serves specialty mushrooms like Matsutake, or Japanese pine mushrooms. Given as gifts representing happiness and fertility, the Japanese prize these buff biscuits of the wild.
Decomposing leaves, bark and twigs, called forest duff, conceal the fascinating fungi. Brown and white caps burst up from the rubble in September and October. They only have one harvest date and need just the right trees to camp under. Oh yeah, there is also the matter of the competition. Small nimble critters like squirrels, rabbits and deer poke around the duff to find the telltale spicy aroma Matsutakes are known for.
Mama Bird Farm Produce
Mama Bird Farm, a second generation farm on San Juan Island, supplies us with beautiful heirloom tomatoes and baby greens. Although their heirloom tomatoes won’t be in season once Fall arrives, they will still be supplying us with their artisan mixed baby greens all the way until their plants stop producing! We love their local organic practices.
And what about Proteins?
Moving along the menus’ cast of characters, let’s answer the age-old question, “Which came first, the chicken or the egg?” Squab! The squab came first, at least in the domestication race. Long before people cooped up barnyard chickens, squab were the first poultry used in the ubiquitous chicken potpies and fabulous Italian rice and pasta dishes. Come and enjoy its succulently tender meat.
Tails and Trotters brand of pork is also featured on the menu this Fall. Emulating the process used in Spain and Portugal to raise pigs and let them forage in the oak forests for acorns, this company has put a Northwest spin on it.
Hazelnuts are native to our region of the world. Tails and Trotters (you got to love that name) provide this healthy nut to their pigs for the unique, delectable flavor it imparts. These “Sounders of Swine” (actual name for a group of pigs), are produced by farmers who respect and cultivate healthy pigs.
More of a beef lover? Try the Oregon Country Beef tenderloin. From cattle ranchers who manage their land, water and herd in a humane and ecologically sound manner, comes a beef product you can savor and feel good about.
Pair all of these fabulous sources of protein with an organically grown salad of baby lettuce, arugula and heirloom tomatoes. All locally grown!
Don’t Forget Dessert!
Cap off your Island fine dining with a berry sorbet or homemade ice cream dessert for an experience you’ll relish. We are always dreaming up and creating new sorbet and ice cream flavors. For an extra little kick, enjoy one of our sorbet cocktails as well!
And there you have it! In an artistry of flavor and presentation, San Juan Island’s Coho Restaurant orchestrates a symphony for your taste buds! Be sure to check in with us mid-September for our new Fall menu.