Ericka Burke Went From Seattle To The Bay Area For Oysters, Faux Gras

Chefs love to travel — for inspiration, to experience the cuisines of other cultures or just to get away from the heat of their own kitchens. When they return, we hit them with some questions — where'd they stay, what'd they do and WHAT DID THEY EAT?!

Chef/owner Ericka Burke is the force behind Volunteer Park Cafe, a neighborhood favorite in Seattle's Capitol Hill known for inviting comfort food and, this being Seattle, great coffee. Recently, she managed to get away for a few days to one of the best food regions in the country — other than her own. Here are some of the highlights, plus the truth about that little scene she caused at airport security.

Where are you just back from?

The Bay Area/West Marin.

Business or pleasure?


What were the highlights?

Spending time with my family, an amazing dinner at Sir and Star and time spent in Point Reyes (shopping at Cowboy Creamery). We also had a great lunch at Stellina that included a leek and oyster pizza and summer squash salad.


Missing my flight! I accidently put an expensive bottle of body cream, which was a gift for my sister-in-law, in my carry on. I thought I had enough time to exit security and mail the cream to my house. When I got to the mailing station they didn't have a bag big enough to ship it in. So, I told one of the security guys he should give it to his lady. He looked at me like I was handing him a bomb! It ended up in the trash.

What airline(s) did you fly and how was it?

Alaska. After spending four hours chasing my three and a half year old around the airport, it was great to get on the flight and sit down!

Where'd you stay and what's your mini-review of the place?

We stayed at Cottages at Point Reyes Seashore (formally Inverness Valley Inn). It is a small community with little cottages. Our unit was a bit small for my rambunctious family, but we made it work. I would have preferred to be on the beach. I like to stay at the Poets Loft in Marshall, but it was booked. Next time!

What was your best meal on the trip?

The star of the weekend was dinner at Sir and Star at The Olema in Marin. My dear friend/ex-boyfriend is the sommelier — he and I met in NYC a million years ago, fell in love and three weeks later moved to SF. Oh, to be a kid again! The room at Sir and Star is amazingly beautiful! I am in love. The mussels soup...What!! Brilliant. Faux Gras... are you kidding me?! I never wanted to leave! Veggie Bouillabaisse was divine. I can't wait to go back!

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