Go Eat: Great seafood with small town feel

Go Eat: Great seafood with small town feel
Coconut Lime Chowder, from Chef Pinski at Hotel Bellwether

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Looking for a great little daytrip out of the city? Just head north.

Bellingham may seem worlds away from Seattle, but it's only about a 90 minute drive. One of the nicer places to stay is the Hotel Bellwether, nestled in the quiet and scenic cove of Bellingham Bay. Robert Pinski is the chef at Hotel Bellweather's Harborside Bistro.

"It's a family restaurant. If you don't want to be home, you can come out and enjoy the ambiance. We know everybody who lives in this town and we just want to make sure that they feel at home," says Pinski, who's been with the Harborside for 8 years -- two of those years as the Harborside's Executive Chef.

Pinski has developed a menu that's heavy on fresh seafood. The most popular item that will never go away is the Coconut Lime Seafood Chowder.

"It's just a chowder combination; you don't want it to be saucy and soupy, you want it to be a chowder; you want it to have full abundance, nice rich flavors and big chunks of fish," he said.

In addition to the locals who flock to the Harborside (the staff knows most of the customers by name), Pinski gets inspiration from his hometown of Seattle, which he tries to visit as often as possible to keep his kitchen game sharp.

"I want to see what Seattle has to offer. I can bring that to Bellingham and bring the crowd from Seattle and tell them, 'You know what? This is a small town, but we're adjacent from Seattle.' "

Chef Pinski commutes every day from Fairhaven -- a charming little town on the southern tip of Bellingham you won't want to miss. Fairhaven features lots of historic architecture, shops, restaurants and a ton of cute little boutiques. And don't miss nearby Chuckanut Drive - one of the most scenic drives in the state.