Welcome back… to the forest.
The Pacific Northwest gets a bad rep for the “weather” but you know what? It makes the summer months so much more beautiful. Torrential rain = gorgeous greenery ripe for hiking, picnics and other hip outdoorsy shit. Just being in a park with my good friend from back home is all I really need to feel at peace, to recharge after leaving the desert heat. My short trip to the PNW really makes up for the intense summers that Las Vegas is notorious for. Join me as I walk you through just 24 hours in my hometown on the south end of Whidbey Island.
My older brother Yancy (yes, the most 90s name ever!) picked me up from the airport and we headed to my aunt and uncle’s house where they were cooking up a bbq for my homecoming. Any excuse to have a bbq in summertime, am I right or am I right? It was, excuse me, fu*king great feeling chilly for the first time since the dead of winter in Vegas. Oh, and my uncle broke out the *magic baked goods for dessert. Let this vacation begin…
You know how it goes, I immediately became STARVING when we got home…
Welcome back to the small seaside town of Langley. What’s great about this town is that there’s always movement. Though it’s sleepy little town that relies on its residents and tourists to keep small businesses thriving, new shops and restaurants are always changing, opening and closing in this shifting economic era. Another plus is that my folks make their own wine so there’s always a delicious assortment of libations.
Ultra House Ramen
Personally, the best freakin’ news that hit my hometown was when this cute RAMEN HOUSE opened. A little fact about me… I fu*king love noodles and the kawaii aesthetic. This cute building used to be a liquor store and has been vacant for years… until recently it became occupied by the town’s medicine woman/apothecary expert, Cherub and her hubby. They turned it into Ultra House, where they serve four staple ramen noodle soups and assorted Asian fusion appetizers. They have quite a selection of beers, sake and non-alcoholic staples like tea, Ramune and Calpico soda. Not to mention the candies! Hello Panda, Hi Chew, Pocky, Yan Yan, and green tea Kit Kat! I’m in freakin’ heaven.
I ordered the Vegetarian style ramen soup and Dad and I shared a Sapporo. Mom got vegetable gyoza, always a staple if you’re going for something small.
The Big Wierzbowski: The Food Abides
You know how foods trucks have became a huge sensation for, I don’t know, the past decade? I’ve seen the most concentration of food trucks in Portland, here & there in Seattle and in random neighborhoods of LA. But, hey now, Langley (South Whidbey) has their FIRST FOOD TRUCK! A remote Polish-centric truck called The Big Wierzbowski, The Food Abides. They serve traditional Polish kielbasa, pulled pork sandwiches, wraps and veggie options. I never thought I would see a food truck in my little town, but they are hoppin’ popular for lunch break. The Dude-tte Abides…
Old Soul Bazaar
My good friend Francesca from high school is well travelled. She and her mum, Fiona (Francesca and Fiona, how fu*king cute is that, like they’re the faeries from Cinderella) have always had eclectic taste in home décor and fashion sense. I would house sit for them occasionally and it was like staying in a homey South African Air bnb.
Francesca and I in her shop!
Ten years later or so, she and her mother opened up a shop called Old Soul Bazaar. This little hole in the wall has displays of “found” items, it’s like a small town version of Anthropologie, but carrying local goods, handmade jewelry by vendors in and around the PNW.
Thompson Quarter Horses & Farm near Lone Lake down the hill from home.
Though the corner store that we could walk to is gone, in its place is the Bayview Tap Room serving up comfort food and lots of rotating local beers. Next door, is Blooms Winery and a cute little donut shop with a small menu of breakfast items and coffee. The Bayview Corner is a walk away from the house I grew up in. I fondly remember Saturday Farmer’s Markets, Bayview Hall was where I went to my first dance in middle school and took salsa dance lessons with my Dad.
Though in my early twenties I didn’t appreciate it as much, as the entire town shuts down after 9pm. I still am grateful for where I come from… the forest. It’s magical. My family lives simply. Langley is simple and romantic. I appreciate it more and more as I grow older. Home is everywhere, even where I am in the desert, which in its own way is magical. Now, come with me to the city…