I love a good field trip. I love to eat. And, I love to spend the day with folks who are downright passionate about food and travel. All the above bookended by round-trip seaplane flight with Pretty Fork? To say I was excited, doesn’t even come close.
The day started at Kenmore Air’s Lake Union terminal where I met with Joey from Pretty Fork. Instantly I knew the day would be filled with laughs and easy conversation. The rest of the party arrived, Joey in introduced himself and talked a little about what to expect from the experience:
The first rule of Pretty Fork Events is you don’t talk about Pretty Fork Events. The destination is a secret. If anyone asks, you just went for a hamburger.
Everyone felt like they were in this adventure together. Touché Joey.
The guests listened on as Joey told them that we were headed someplace in the San Juans via seaplane, however the exact location was a surprise. The excitement grew as we walked down the dock to the awaiting de Havilland Otter Seaplane. Another stroke of luck, we were flying with Anna on Kenmore Air’s custom painted Orca Whale Seaplane. Pilot Anna gave a quick, safety briefing and within moments we were off the dock. The plane glided along Lake Union and then took flight. We were off to our secret destination.
The plane ride was spectacular. It was clear for miles. The mountains connected to the waterways and the little islands dotting the vast open water. Passengers were pulling out the Kenmore Air route maps and pointing out landmarks all the while trying to figure out the big secret.
Where were we going?
The plane eventually turned in toward Orcas and gently set down outside of Rosario. We taxied in to find a host waiting with our first course, Oysters and Bubbly on the dock. We disembarked the plane and were greeted with a chilled glass of bubbly and a quick introduction to oysters and how to enjoy them Northwest Style. After a few slurps we walked up the dock toward Rosario Resort with excited anticipation on what was coming next.
We were greeted upon arrival by the General Manager of the resort, Christopher Peacock. He invited us to relax for a few minutes in the music room, where a 1900 Steinway Grand Piano rested. After a brief historical overview of the property, Christopher treated us to an original piece he had composed. It was heavenly.
Once Christopher had us at the brink of tears, he invited us to tour the library. While we’d been impressed by the piano, we were blown away by the resort’s 1913 Aeolian organ. Built into the structure of the room, it had 1,972 pipes! And, we were once again delighted by a musical piece. From music and history, we went to the dining room.
The excitement was building.
This is what we came for and yet this trip had already been so incredible. Was the meal going to be a sensory masterpiece to match the flight, the champagne arrival and the divine musical presentation?
We were seated in our own private space nearby the windows and the kitchen, fully immersed in the beauty of our destination. I loved looking out to the sea and then through the glass to the kitchen to watch the mastery unfold.
Executive Chef Raymond Southern introduced himself and presented us with the first course; Burrata and Famer John’s Tomatoes, a gorgeous local tomato topped with creamy, tangy burrata and tempura arugula. This simple dish answers the question, “How does a chef make a salad better than me?”
For starters, a chef can tempura a leaf of arugula that he grew 20 feet from his kitchen. To round out this course, we sipped on cucumber lemon soda with an arugula crema. So good. What’s next?
Mussels in Curry. This was another play on local bounty. The mussels had been harvested from Penn Cove and were served with local apples, mint grown in the chef’s garden and an apricot shrub. It was fabulously comforting with a zesty summer fruit finish. We then tucked into a bright salad picked from the chef’s garden that morning and offered simply with a light spritz of lemon and olive oil. (Can you see the pattern? Chef’s garden. Local products. Incredibly fresh ingredients.)
The savory courses began with rabbit. (It was local of course.) Joey playfully asked the table how many had tried rabbit; not a big show of hands. When the dish arrived, it was a perfect portion of warm, earthy comfort starring chanterelle mushrooms and rabbit loin in a delightful marsala sauce.
Not to worry Pacific Northwesters, the final savory course was our local hero, halibut. Gorgeous and simple presentation, chef Raymond knows how to let the halibut be the star.
Dessert was a masterpiece; a simple fried squash blossom filled with pineapple cheesecake. It was just two bites of sweet satisfaction. Amazing.
Shortly after dessert, it was time to applaud the glorious meal and the talented chef and head off to catch our flight back to Seattle.
This was an experience that literally hit all the senses. There was mystery, excitement, an amazing view, a unique culinary experience of local goodness served up by a talented chef and his team, an unexpected musical performance and a tour of a historic mansion all wrapped up with a seaplane flight.
I have lived in Seattle my entire life and this was a hometown experience I knew was going to be fun. However, I didn’t expect it to be breathtaking, amazing and unquestionably one of the coolest things I’ve done here.
Bravo Pretty Fork, Seattle is ready for what you’re serving up.
About the Author
Sara Satterlee is a Seattle-based photographer, specializing in wedding and portrait photographer. She’s quick to smile, loves to travel, and is full of pizzazz. Her knack for seeing unique opportunities – whether that be within the frame or in life – has made her a standout in the industry. She and her handsome husband live locally with their two kids and dog.