Island Eats: Noshing on noodles

My concept of distance has changed since moving from Dallas where it used to take 20-30 minutes to get to our most convenient haunts. 

Living in the middle of Whidbey, also requires at least ten if not 20-30 minutes to get to a grocery store or restaurant. The bonus is that time isn’t spent sitting in bumper to bumper traffic or inching toward that annoying stoplight that doesn’t stay green long enough. 

But some days, traveling down the long, quiet State Route 525 makes the distance between point A and B feel longer…especially on a fall day when the majestic Cascades and Olympics are hidden behind the cloudy darkness.

In the cold, cloudy and dark I crave noodles. I crave Island Nosh. And so I make the 16 mile, 21 minute drive.

This little Clinton noodle cafe located just up the hill from the ferry terminal offers udon, ramen and curry all four seasons. Not interested in Asian fare? Then check out the Creamy Cavatapi or Crab Mac & Cheese.

In Dallas, I had a love affair with pho (sometimes traveling 45 minutes for a bowl of comfort goodness) so when dining at Nosh I tend to sway between the ramen or the udon. Either way, Island Nosh fills my belly with pure steamy noodle happiness. 

Today I needed a little extra comfort after a long work day that started at 6 a.m. to meet with east coast clients. Eight hours later, I’m worn down, and that protein shake that happened before my first call was long gone. My stomach was screaming for something hearty as well as healthy.

One Udon Bowl please. With a glass of Rousanne

After all, it’s Thursday.

Within a few more minutes a bowl filled with an aromatic broth, flank steak, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, jalapeños and chewy udon noodles arrived. I smelled the savory steam before tearing open the chop sticks.

No matter how hungry you are, you really should take time to take in all the flavors. The udon offers instant comfort as I unapologetically slurp. 

The noodles really are the main feature here. But don’t take for granted the spice from the jalapeños and the slight sweetness from the potatoes…their complimentary flavors and texture work well with the flank steak which is nestled into the dish.

Yes, Island Nosh is well worth the drive.

Relief from rain and darkness 

After a dry September we welcomed the weeks of rain that October brought us. Wild fires raged to the north and south of us and the crispy grass around our property made us uneasy. After just a few days of rain though, the brown landscape began to turn lush again.

And then we began to lose daylight.

Last year the lack of light didn’t bother me, perhaps because I was still in my PNW honeymoon period. This year I’m finding it difficult to get up in the mornings. I haven’t even been to my Master Swim class since September. Some of that is related to east coast work meetings, but honestly, I can’t blame east coast clients for missing all of October.

It’s hard to get motivated on dark mornings. Add rain to the mix and I just want to snuggle deeper under the covers.

The past week however, we’ve had a reprieve. The mornings are still dark and days are still shrinking, but we’ve had sun and relatively warm weather. Saturday gave us clear skies and 60 degrees which made for a beautiful Ebey Bluff to Beach hike. I even took of my shoes and soaked my feet in the Sound.

Yesterday afternoon we enjoyed a hike in South Whidbey State Park. The setting sun filtering through the branches of the towering Cedars released the stress from the long day of work. This is why we moved here: to be more active than an hour at a gym in a city allows, to be outside, to breathe clean air….to explore. I’m reminded that I need these forest baths possibly more often in the fall and winter.

Hikes have been less muddy and the recent sunny skies have helped me adjust to adding layers when I head outside. Perhaps Mother Nature is showing some kindness in my second PNW year….easing me into the wet winter and reminding me she has treasures even when skies are dark and stormy.