A Run for the Northern Border(A weekend in Port Angeles,Wa and Victoria, B.C.

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mr chips
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2009/06/02 11:29:54 (permalink)

A Run for the Northern Border(A weekend in Port Angeles,Wa and Victoria, B.C.

 Two weeks ago Trudy and I dropped Sam off for the weekend at a good friend's house and took one of Trudy's intellectually disabled clients to visit her relatives in Port Angeles, Washington. We were given 1 and 1/2 days to enjoy the area. We loved the scenery, didn't much like the food.
      The best meal of the trip was our first at the Burgerville in Centralia, Washington. We had planned to meet a fellow roadfooder in Centralia but our wires got crossed so went to an old favorite. Burgerville is a local Portland fast chain committed to locovorism and sustainability and seasonal local specials. Right now they are offering a Yakima valley  grilled asparagus and tomato sandwich and asparagus fried in corn-meal as a side. I opted for that and it was a great combination with the aioli and garlic dip that came with the fried  asparagus a welcome bonus. The Tillamook cheeseburgers my companions dined on were excellent as well.
        The Hood Canal Bridge on the Kitsap peninsula was closed so we hued to the west coast  of the canal and its curving road along the shoereline. Passing through the lovely named towns of Liliwop and Hamma Hamma , we worked our way to Port Angeles and dropped off Trudy's client.
       Dinner was a disaster. The 3 Crabs in Sequim( 20 miles from Port Angeles) was  reviewed in a couple of the early roadfood books and in a thread on the Port Angeles area on these boards. But roadfooder Flyseye had reported on the decline of the place and we ignored his warning at our peril.
      I didn't think it was possible to screw up fried oysters but the breading on mine was too sweet and left a bad aftertaste in my mouth. It is the worst meal I've had in several years. Trudy's steamed clams were acceptable but I was so disappointed in my meal that I couldn't enjoy them. The view of the lighthouse on Dungeness spit was wonderful but heed this warning: DO NOT EAT AT THE THREE CRABS IN SEQUIM. The food is terrible. Both of us wished we had heeded the  Flyseye(Frank) warning. End of Day 1. 
post edited by mr chips - 2009/06/07 11:38:33
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    buffetbuster
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    Re:A Run for the Northern Border(A weekend in Port Angeles,Wa and Victoria, B.C. 2009/06/02 11:37:05 (permalink)
    mr chips-
    So sorry to hear about your bad experience at 3 Crabs.  How disappointing that must be.  I have only been there once and that was in 2006 and my meal was quite good.

    Looking forward to the rest of your report.  Victoria is one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen.
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    Nancypalooza
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    Re:A Run for the Northern Border(A weekend in Port Angeles,Wa and Victoria, B.C. 2009/06/02 14:09:23 (permalink)
    I would love to hear more too chipsie--we're going to visit Seattle probably in August and I'm tempted to try and sneak a day or two in Victoria.
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    mr chips
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    Re:A Run for the Northern Border(A weekend in Port Angeles,Wa and Victoria, B.C.) 2009/06/03 10:29:26 (permalink)
    Day 2
             I don't know what the experience was like before recent travel changes but we had to check in on the international ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria 1 hour and 15 minutes before departure and the first question was about passports and if we had not had ours I suspect we would not have been allowed to board the ferry.
        The actual ride was about an hour and the view of the Olympics while departing Port Angeles is spectacular. The mountains seem close enough to touch and there is a lot of snow. There are curving ridges covered with snow which make for wonderful views.
         I love arriving by boat in a familiar harbor. Entering Victoria you see the parliament building, the columns of the old custom house(now a wax museum) and the impressively old school Empress hotel. Our journey to Butchart gardens was delayed by hunger pangs due an inadequate hotel breakfast. We stopped at the Alzu Cafe and had diner breakfasts of bacon and eggs and pancakes. I was disappointed that my bacon wasn't back bacon. We then had to get a new battery for Trudy's camera and finally got to Butchart Gardens. The place is one of the most beautiful gardens in the world and there were tulips galore of a plethora of colors. The sunken garden was stunning as were the the sturgeon fountain and the totem poles that had been added since my last visit 20 years ago. It was a warm day and it was a lot of fun. Trudy's camera was stolen while she was sitting in the cafeteria, a bummer because we lost so many pictures. We tried to find it but were unsuccessful. We then journeyed to the home of Emily Carr, about 6 blocks from the parliament building.
       Ms. Carr was an artist and essayist whose work was about the forest and customs of British Columbia's first nation people. The house is famous from its appearance in her memoirs and Trudy was excited to see it.
       Gastric distress led to cancelling our Empress High Tea visit and we spent the rest of the day people watching and enjoying the bands playing on steps of parliament for some holiday.
        On the ferry trip back we saw Mt. Baker and the marvelled at the Olympics beauty once again
         
    post edited by mr chips - 2009/06/04 10:39:59
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    mr chips
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    Re:A Run for the Northern Border(A weekend in Port Angeles,Wa and Victoria, B.C.) 2009/06/04 09:09:08 (permalink)
    Our final day in Port Angeles began with a visit to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. It is a 17 mile drive straight up, past trees, rocky slopes and close-up views of snowy peaks. At a couple points along the road you can gaze across the straits of Juan de Fuca and see Mt. Baker of the Cascade range and the shores  of Canada"s Vancouver Island. At the top of the ridge we were surrounded by jagged snow filled peaks and valleys filled with snow where people were cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the bright sunshine. We hope to return in the summer when mountain flowers bloom.
         On the drive down we saw a speckled grouse, its black and white tailfeathers aloft who did not seem scared and stayed along the roadside as we stopped and watched.
         Our next stop was the Crescent Lake portion of Olympic National Park. The lake is a glacial trough surrounded by the peaks of the Olympic range. On a sunny day, its water was a vivid blue color and the peaks provided a stark contrast. We discovered an old lodge along the lakeshore with boat rentals and old fashioned chairs which will become a place to visit on a future vacation.
           On returning to Port Angeles we lunched at Frugal Burger, a flyseye recommendation that was spot on. Hand-cut burgers and fries,the  place was a tasty alternative to the next door golden arches. The place is all take-out and we ended up eating in a cinema parking lot with lunch punctuated by periodic rifle fire from the Port Angeles Gun club across the way. 
           Our drive to Portland was uneventful through the Hood Canal was quite beautiful. It was a weekend of great scenery and not so great food.
    post edited by mr chips - 2009/11/04 10:17:50
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    momaphet
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    Re:A Run for the Northern Border(A weekend in Port Angeles,Wa and Victoria, B.C.) 2009/11/01 18:17:13 (permalink)
    We ate at 3 Crabs 15 years ago and thought it was overpriced and mediocre, back then. There's another place of its ilk in Port Angeles that is pretty much the same. I've learned to avoid Tourist Seafood Restaurants - ackkk. Port Angeles as a whole has pretty mediocre food though as you've said the Frugal Burger is pretty tasty. There used to be a tavern outside of town that made great Halibut fish and chips, but a mud slide took them out, and they have  never relocated to the best of my knowledge. By and large if traveling to PA - bring your own food.
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    vburget
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    Re:A Run for the Northern Border(A weekend in Port Angeles,Wa and Victoria, B.C.) 2009/11/02 11:28:48 (permalink)
    Mr. Chips, you made the deadline for passports by several days.  For several years air passengers going to/returning from a foreign country were required to have passports.  Now, even going to or returning from Canada, whether by land, sea or air, that same requirement applies (June 1, 2009).
    Be thankful you didn't drive from Vancouver, BC back to the Seattle area.  I had not been that way for a long time.  We came by bus (family was picking us up in Seattle).  What a screwed up mess.  We had to get off the bus, take our luggage inside to be X-rayed and we had to go through metal detectors just like the airport!  There were at least a half-dozen busses and probably 50 cars.  I remember when you stopped, showed your driver's license, answered a couple of questions and then on your way within a minute or two unless it was a weekend.
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    Scorereader
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    Re:A Run for the Northern Border(A weekend in Port Angeles,Wa and Victoria, B.C.) 2009/11/02 13:18:03 (permalink)
    On my visit to Victoria, we had high tea at the Blethering House. A nice setting. I got the sense that this place was truly a kept secret, but now gets a lot more tourist attraction than locals attention. Food was good - a bit heavy, even for high tea. I would've liked to have seen more little sandwiches and less sweets. Service could've been better, too. But, it was a good experience, and not at all as stuffy of $$$ as Empress' high tea.


    Too bad you didn't have more time in Victoria. We had tons of good eats in Victoria.

    I have so many beautiful pics from Butchart Gardens, I don't have enough picture frames to hold them. The most beautiful garden I've been to, for sure. Plus, we enjoyed the drive to and from there. Stunning sights, and we stopped at a small fishing village, which was super cute, and had fresh ice-cream.



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