On any given sunny day in Seattle, you'll find a lot of Seattlites venturing to Bainbridge Island, just a 35-minute ferry ride from the city's Pier 52. I headed there for lunch on the only 80-degree day in April, and found more than one place to stop for a tasty treat.
When you first exit the ferry and walk to downtown Winslow's main street (called, appropriately, Winslow Way), turn left, which takes you to the heart of the town. On the right side of the street you'll pass Mon Elisa's (450 Winslow Way E; +1 206-780-3233) a small (it's got a table or two) pasta shop that makes delicious sauces and other Italian treats. To avoid claustrophobia, sit at one of their outside tables, or take your dish to go.
After another two blocks down you'll come to the Blackbird Bakery (210 Winslow Way E; +1 206-780-1322), an always-busy eatery that serves up delectable items like double chocolate cheesecake and oatmeal craisin pecan cookies. Inside can get noisy (folks are either satisfying their sweet tooth here or at Mora Iced Creamery around the corner), so grab a bench outside for a perfect place to people-watch.
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Turn right onto Madrone Lane and walk to Churchmouse Yarns and Teas, a high-end yarn shop that also has a great selection of specialty teas—take home a few ounces of the jasmine green tea (118 Madrone Lane; +1 206-780-2686).
Turn back onto Winslow Way and continue walking to your right. Across the street you'll see the more famous Cafe Nola (101 Winslow Way E; +1 206-842-3822), but the real treat is on the corner of Winslow and Madison. Emmy's Vege House (100 Winslow Way E) is a small (maybe 15 square feet) Vietnamese kitchen that serves up about 20 delicious vegan stir-fry dishes, all for $7.50. I ordered dish #6—stir-fry noodles and vegetables with two egg rolls—which was plenty for two people. Order your dish at the window (all beverages are $1) and the owner, Emmy Nguyen from Hue, Vietnam, will cook it up and bring it out to one of the outside tables. If you only have time to eat at one place while on Bainbridge, this is it.
Many eateries in Winslow provide takeout, so if you'd rather eat your meal outside, walk through the grocery store's parking lot and grab a bench at the local park. Eat up (as I did, above) and enjoy the view.
Photo: Rosemary Kimmel