Snacking on San Juan Island – The Tastiest Way to Live the Island Life!

Snacking on San Juan Island – The Tastiest Way to Live the Island Life!

After being trip-deprived and running dry on blog material, I finally got my vaccine and was able to go back on a trip. We recently packed up and headed to the San Juan Islands! While I was on the plane, I was so excited to go on my trip that I was literally vibrating like an insanely happy cat, and, when I landed, I moved off the airplane and into the jetway so fast that I almost thought I had set a world record for fastest plane exit. When we got into the car, I wanted to split from Seattle to Anacortes and straight to the ferry dock. I was really craving lunch, so we stopped in La Conner, and our food was was both really delicious and in a great spot on the river (more on this in an upcoming post about the surrounding areas)! When we finally got to the islands, I was so happy I was worried I might explode, and I was so excited to start exploring the following day!

One of the best ways to enjoy the island’s fresh seafood is to catch it yourself (really, this is easier than it sounds). Crabbing is a surefire way to end up with a crab-ton of food! The first thing I wanted to do in the islands was get a lot of crab, and Corey at San Juan Adventures is the only guy on the islands that does this kind of fishing charter. Once you leave the harbor, you make “squid snow cones” with the bait machine by shoving a block of frozen squid in and watching it get shredded all over the deck and into the bucket. Corey then lets you stuff the shredded squid into a box and close it up. After this, you hook the boxes onto the trap, find a mudflat or sandy area, and toss the trap in the water.

After you toss in the traps, you can basically do anything you want out on the water while you wait for the crabs to get into your traps. We chose to go whale-watching, as there was a group of orcas on the water. We followed them for a while, then ended up going back to check the crab traps. The way you reel in the crab traps is by throwing the hook at a rope strung between two buoys, pulling the rope in, and attaching the rope to the trap winch to pull the traps up. The trap-checking process is extra suspenseful if you end up having to pull seaweed off the trap, and then it turns into a sort of “big reveal” scenario. We ended up only having one crab that was the correct size, actually had good meat, was not female, and was not a rock crab in the traps we set ourselves (although the one we got was the biggest crab I’d ever seen). Rock crabs are actually very territorial, and even end up killing and eating Dungeness crabs. They don’t taste as good, so we tossed them back like bony frisbees with claws attached. We were feeling pretty discouraged after only getting one crab, but Corey reassured us we would get 15 crabs, and we went out to the secret traps that Corey set overnight and ended up getting the max amount of crabs our fishing licenses’ actually permit (five crabs per person).

After we got back from crabbing, we had Corey steam our 15 crabs on the dock, where he tossed them into the seawater to cool them, pulled them back up, and then we chowed down. I think we definitely got too many to eat on our own, as our crab feast took up the entire top of the cooler and literally ended up with crab legs and pincers splayed everywhere. We brought the remainder of the crabs back to the hotel, and, when I got tired of eating crab normally, I made it into tacos that looked like there was a crab trying to get out of them (legs sticking out was the perfect touch to add to the as a joke).

If you don’t want to have crab for breakfast, lunch, and dinner every day of your trip here, (and this is totally understandable, I was tired of crab too) here are some other meal recommendations. For the first meal of the day, breakfast, I have first rate recommendations for you! We only went to two places, but they were so good we did not need anything more. First up was the Salty Fox, my personal favorite, they sold both savory and sweet breakfast, and both were excellent. For the first few days, I did not know they did breakfast burritos, so I had cinnamon rolls, scones, and croissants, but after I learned about the burrito, that was all I needed. It was a beautiful medley of flavors, and was extremely filling, so it made for a great power meal. The other breakfast place I loved was the Crow’s Nest. They had a lot of delicious smoothies in a ton of different flavors, and there were so many flavors that anyone could find one they liked! I got a burrito called the Islander there, and it was absolutely delicious! As for new breakfast discoveries, I learned I like Arnold Palmers, salsa, and onions (not together, of course, that would just be gross)!

As for lunch, I went to two main locations, the Bait Shop and San Juan Bakery. The Bait Shop had a lot of different types of fried seafood, everything even remotely similar to fish and chips was generally on the menu. I had shrimp and chips there, and it was absolutely scrumptious! The slight crunch of the battered crust and the deliciousness of the shrimp magnified together made an extremely satisfying meal, and the French Fries were good too! If you think you are more in the mood for pizza, you might want to check out San Juan Bakery, and it was delicious and fast! It may have just been the best combination of delicious and easy to promote it to the top spot on my lunch list. They also had a lot of odd variations that you do not find anywhere else, like a potato pizza, but I just had pepperoni, as it was too hard to stray from something I love. The pepperoni had the perfect level of spicy and gooey and crunchy, so it was extremely delicious to eat!

Now, to round it all out, the final meal, dinner! We actually went to a lot of places for dinner, and this means I can give you a broad overview of your options. First up, Downriggers, an easy and delicious dinner after a late whale-watching trip. I only had the fish and chips, but it was really good! The battered coating was a subtle flavor, so you could taste more of the fresh halibut, which was delicious with the quality of fish they used! My personal favorite, Duck Soup, had both a charming setting and exquisitely flavored food! I had a five-spice pork loin, and the flavor was just superb, as the spices they used created a delicate mural of flavors that was absolutely delicious! As for dessert at Duck Soup, we had a chocolate marquis, and it too was delicious, the chocolate was so rich and the raspberry sauce was just a perfect accent to add to the heavy and filling chocolate flavor. If you end up staying at Friday Harbor House, I think that their restaurant is a delicious and easy dinner for the first night. I recommend the burger, as it is just so juicy and flavorful that I may have gotten some juice on my shirt while I was trying to eat carefully. The best part about it is that it comes with… duck fat French Fries! The fries were so tasty, and the burger itself was just amazing too! Overall, I rate the food on San Juan Island as being 1,000,000/100 on the deliciousness scale!