Port Orchard, on Washington state’s Kitsap Peninsula, is one of those towns you’ll want to visit during a weekend getaway or for a relaxing vacation. And, perhaps best of all, Port Orchard has a growing culinary scene.
Originally a successful lumber town named Sidney, Port Orchard became Kitsap County’s first incorporated city in 1890. Now, located just across the water from the Navy shipyards of Bremerton, Port Orchard, one of the best ways to arrive from Seattle is by Washington State Ferry. And then take the foot ferry from the Bremerton Ferry Terminal. You can also arrive from I-5, by crossing the Tacoma Narrows Bridge. Once you round the bend into Port Orchard, you’ll begin to slow your pace and relax. The simple main street will beckon you to explore.
Port Orchard is filled with quaint shops and offers quiet marina views. During the warmer months, the waterfront park hosts a weekly farmers market. The annual Taste of Port Orchard is held in August. We had the pleasure of attending last summer and encountered some surprising local culinary talents. The Bay Street Bistro, Port Orchard’s, favorite for fresh, innovative cuisine, was there with small plates including delightful savory blue cheesecake–not a dessert but an appetizer!
Strolling the small booths introduced us to a variety of succulent bar-b-q dishes, tacos and tamales and, my favorite, the salmon cakes from Central Dock. The lightly breaded salmon cakes were accompanied by a spicy mayonnaise blend. The Taste of Port Orchard is small but it certainly beats the lines and crowds found at mega-events such as The Taste of Portland and the Bite of Oregon. And in addition, it’s an opportunity to discover new talent in a relaxed setting.
After sampling a variety of dishes (all for a small fee) it was time for desert. We made our way toward the friendly faces greeting us at the Carter’s Chocolate booth. Hand-crafted chocolate ice cream was being sampled. The chocolate orange combination was creamy, filled with dark chocolate with a hint of sea salt. We found out that Carter’s had opened their candy shop at The Port Orchard Public Market so that was the next stop on our food-lovers tour of this lovely Puget Sound village.
The Public Market
The Public Market, at 715 Bay St, surrounds an indoor courtyard and opens to the street. The market is open year ’round and, seasonally, has fresh produce. There are interesting vendors, some permanent and some seasonal. For example, you may find a lavender vendor or vendors selling hand-crafted gift items. It’s an interesting eclectic place to explore.
The first shop we visited was a true butcher shop with specialty meats and fresh locally-sourced chops and steaks. Bay Street Meat Company provides not only locally-sourced meats, but also imported sausages and cheeses. If you want to put together a picnic meal, Bay Street Meat should be your first stop. Then head across the market courtyard to Northwest Seafood and Wine, stocked with local Washington wines.
Finally, peruse the beautifully decorated chocolate truffles at Carter’s Chocolates. They serve ice cream and hand-made candies. In the winter, stop by for a cup of steaming hot chocolate.
The Port Orchard Public Market, a mini Pike Place Market (without the fish throwing), exemplifies Port Orchard’s growing culinary scene. Art lovers and foodies alike will enjoy what Port Orchard has to offer. It’s just off the beaten path and well worth spending the day or enjoying a relaxing getaway weekend.
If You Go