Seeds Bistro and Bar
Imagine a sitting under the state’s oldest beech tree. A string of twinkling lights illuminates the briny, fresh oysters you’re enjoying. But you don’t have to imagine. This place exists and it’s closer than you think—it’s Seeds Bistro and Bar in La Conner. Owned by restauranteur Linda Freed, the bistro complements her well-known breakfast and lunch-centric Calico Cupboard locations. General manager Brenda Schmidt explained that she and Freed had exciting menu ideas when the space became available. It was an opportunity for the food lovers to expand into a new space and further showcase the region’s ingredients. Seeds focuses on farm-to-table-style lunch, dinner, happy hour, and weekend brunch menus, all of which are prepared from scratch using fresh, local ingredients.
Housed in the historic Tillinghast Seed Company building, the bistro replaced the storefront of the first seed company in Washington, possibly even in the Pacific Northwest. Remainders of the building’s past life are everywhere: the original, well-worn floors, framed seed catalogs, mosaics made with seeds, and photographs of Skagit farmers working the fields decades ago. Fittingly, chef Jason Custer creates seasonal menus showcasing the area’s best offerings. It can be labor-intensive to create weekly specials, then switch up the menu just enough to appease the comfort-loving crowd and those who want to try different things, but Custer and his motivated team are up to the challenge. They regularly are “trying to cook with technique,” highlighting the area’s ingredients for what they are, and driven simply because “we all love food.”
From soups to sandwiches, salads (or “weeds” as they call them) and bigger entree options, Schmidt emphasized that “we have something for everyone.” There’s a carefully curated meat and cheese plate ($21) highlighting cheeses from places like Mt. Townsend Creamery and Acme Farms Cheese. The regularly rotated selections are garnished with candied nuts, crackers, and pickled blueberries from Bow Hill Blueberries. Try one of the seasonal pasta dishes made with fresh pasta, or an order of shucked oysters ($18) topped with a clean, cold horseradish “ice cream.”
Seeds honors the area’s culinary traditions not just by curating from local farmers and producers, but by preparing the ingredients in a manner that showcases their flavors. One of Seed’s fan favorites, the crab cakes, appear on every menu and for good reason: fresh Dungeness crab is studded with diced celery and red peppers then lightly panko-crusted and pan-fried. Nibble on them during happy hour ($9). End your meal with one of the house-made, intensely creamy, subtly sweet panna cottas ($7) garnished simply with ripe berries. You won’t regret it.
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