Dinner on the Shore

Photo Essay by Brandon Herrell

Despite on and off rain through the week, my friend Signe and I decided we’d chance it and take a Monday trip to Whidbey Island. We’ve been working on a cabin at our friends’ inn up there, and it was due for a checkup. There’s no kitchen at the cabin, so we planned an easy menu to cook outside, which was a breeze with Signe’s background in food and farming. We packed the car with my outdoor cooking and serving gear, and snagged a couple of rain hats at the last minute since it was drizzling in the city.
We wanted something light, vegetable forward, and Japanese inspired. We decided on the following:

Rice vinegar marinated cucumbers
Sesame & Nori rice
Caramelized carrots with Dukkah and scallions
Charred garlic bok choy with sesame ginger sauce
Miso marinated cod
In the frantic packing and preparing ourselves for whatever weather we may encounter, we hadn’t left much time to have a coffee in the city. Luckily, the 20 minute ferry ride to the island is the perfect setting to have a cup with the Salish Sea rolling by out the window. While it carried us to Whidbey Island, the ferry carried us also out of the storm, and into the sunshine. By the time we pulled up to The Captain Whidbey Inn and loaded into the Glasswing cabin, the sky was mostly clear over nearby Penn Cove.
Signe prepped most of the dinner the day before, so all we had left to do was cook. I made a coffee on the porch while Signe unpacked. I always haul around a packable fire pit with a built-in grill, so we decided last minute to cook and eat on the beach. The KINTO ALFRESCO dining set is stackable and light enough that we were able to carry our whole setup down at once.
As always when Signe cooks, each plate came together more beautifully than the last. First it was the Bok Choy, braised in a pan on the fire with fried garlic. I could’ve eaten only that and been perfectly happy. By the time the miso marinated cod came out of the dutch oven, we had a spread finer than almost any indoor meal I’ve ever eaten, plates balanced carefully on a driftwood log.
We got everything plated and served just before the sun started dipping below the horizon. We sat to eat in the sand, watching the last coals of our cooking fire smoldering. I couldn’t help but think of the hundreds of meals of my childhood eaten just like this: Down on a rocky beach, late in a summer evening - Only this time the food was much better.
Brandon Herrell

Brandon Herrell is a photographer and writer living in Seattle. Having grown up on the rocky shores of the Puget Sound, he endeavors to carry the serene energy of those landscapes through his work. Through his portraits, still life, and lifestyle photographs, he weaves themes of open space, nature, and introspection. What results is a window to into a lifestyle which is slow, intentional, and truthful.​