Road Trip. Vancouver Island, Highway 101, Olympia, Washington

Whether you prefer a Vancouver Island wine trip or an exploration of the various thrift stores along the way, a restful reward mid-island lies at the Crow & Gate pub.

Located on ten acres with beautiful gardens, the interior of the pub pays attention to authentic British pub detail with heavy wood tables, exposed beams, an open fireplace and scads of pub memorabilia.

I like to keep it authentic with a pint of Guinness and a pork pie with cheese, bread and salad.

A drive through Parksville revealed some Canadian spirit.

All aboard the Black Ball Ferry, that old reliable to Port Angeles, Washington, highway 101 and parts south.
The roadside attraction, Fat Smitty’s wakes up the landscape. Located at the turnoff to Port Townsend, Fat Smitty’s serves up burgers, milkshakes and other fried delights.

The interior is low-brow magnificent with hanging dollar bills covering the ceiling and walls, along with toys, knickknacks and a deep feeling of patriotism, laced with a bit of right wing Republican fervor.

The waitress delivers the Fat Smitty burger with implicit instructions to “press it down, grab it with both hands and don’t let go.”
She means it.
All that driving can make one thirsty, and The Brotherhood Tavern in Olympia, Washington welcomes us with open arms.
In contrast to Fat Smitty’s, the Bro’hood has a decidedly Democratic feel.
The actual reason for our road trip was Trinacria Ristorante Italiano. Our destination is a cozy unpretentious place owned and operated by Eugenio Aliotta. The menu is a tidy selection of Sicilian dishes, equally unpretentious.
From the making of pasta and bread to suggesting wine (great underpriced Italian gems), making a killer tiramisu and doing the dishes, everything is done by chef Aliotta with only the assistance of an ace server. Lunch and dinner. Everyday.
Meals are served up on a selection of Fiestaware and we suggested that perhaps chef would like to cook for us. Beginning with an antipasti plate of Sicilian coppa, olives and aged Asiago, he presented us with a selection of pasta dishes, finishing with a densely rich tiramisu.
Amatriciana came with Walla Walla onions, prosciuttto and crushed reggiano in a rich tomato sauce.
Housemade pappardelle showed with a classic aglio, olio y pepperoncino.
Lovely bowtie bread.

The Adriano is my favourite: spaghetti, pine nuts and cracked black pepper, the pepper an out front, integral ingredient. (sorry, no photo, it was too delicious to stop).
Penne with basil, tomato and eggplant.
Chef Aliotta generously allowed me to take a photo of him, something he is not known to do.
Before leaving, chef announced that he could do up pappardelle con vongole for lunch the following day, if we wanted. If we wanted??
So the next morning, in anticipation of lunch, we took a tour of the Olympia Farmers Market to get an idea of their bounty.

And to visit the purveyor of the vongole.
Butter, white wine, a touch of tomato and parsley. The pappardelle was velvety, the clams perfectly cooked, plump and meaty.

Reservations are highly suggested, as chef has been known to turn people away. This ain’t the Olive Garden.

Trinacria is located at 113 Capitol Way North, Olympia Washington. 360-352-8892

One Response to “Road Trip. Vancouver Island, Highway 101, Olympia, Washington”

  1. Matt R. says:


    That looks like a perfectly divine summer road trip – now that’s what I call a weekend.

    I am usually happy with a trip to a mall that’s not Tillicum, and actually having two full days away from work in a row. We are heading to Ukee/Tofino in a couple of weeks time for a few days, courtesy of the OBMG, and will surely report back.


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