Unexpected offerings highlight menu at Stanwood’s Firelight

Stanwood is a bit out of the way for me. From Everett, it’s a drive, so I don’t often get up there.

It’s a lovely area, though, and my husband and I ventured up there recently for a lazy weekend day trip. We ended up at Firelight Bistro, and I now have a reason to head that way more frequently.

The bistro has an unusual menu. It’s hard to describe, but it’s a nice mix of entrees, small plates, sandwiches and the like. They also serve breakfast, Sunday brunch and a Sunday lunch. We, however, arrived in time for dinner.

We started off by perusing the drink menu, which is amusingly separated into brewed, casked and mixed. I went with mixed, and ordered a vodka flower ($6), vodka mixed with hibiscus lemonade.

My husband ordered the hibiscus lemonade by itself. The plain lemonade was a gorgeous, rich red color. It was sweet, with a great tang to balance everything out.

My mixed drink was also great. The vodka somehow softened the drink, making it very smooth and refreshing. The restaurant has a deck, and I’d love to come back in the summer and drink one of those in the warm sun.

Later in the meal, my husband ordered a Pepper Jack, which is their Pepper Elixir (similar to Dr. Pepper) served with Jack Daniels. It was a surprising but tasty mix. And rather potent.

For dinner, I ordered the pulled pork sandwich ($10) with a kale side salad. The pulled pork was lightly seasoned and nicely tender. It included a jicama coleslaw, something I’d never had before. It was delicious, and added a great crunch.

The ciabatta the sandwich was served on was ideal. The bread was substantial enough to hold up to the drippy sandwich, but it wasn’t tough.

The kale salad was fabulous; it was my favorite part of the meal. The kale was very tender, and it went well with crisp apple, dried cranberries, onion and gorgonzola.

It come with balsamic vinaigrette on the side. Go easy on the vinaigrette. It’s delicious, but if you use the whole cup it will overwhelm your salad. I dumped on about half and it was perfect.

My husband ordered the garlic shrimp on black rice ($12). The shrimp were tasty, although nothing particularly special.

I was, however, exceedingly fond of the pineapple salsa that was generously spread on top.

The black rice was great, too. I’d never had it before. It is truly black and it tastes a lot like brown rice, only even better. It has a rich, nutty flavor and nice, toothy texture.

The dish was simple but elegant, and rather attractive.

As a side, he order miso soup, which was one of the soups of the day. I forgot to taste it. I was distracted with my salad. He said it was solid, but, as he points out, it’s really hard to ruin miso.

The service was friendly and relaxed. Upstairs, the restaurant has more seating with a small area for kids to play. There’s also the deck I mentioned, which would be lovely on a warm day.

One detail we both noticed was that the whole place was incredibly clean. Normally, you only notice a restaurant’s cleanliness if it’s actually dirty. The Firelight Bistro, though, was an example on shining cleanliness.

I’m glad we turned off the main road for a trip here. It was a lovely way to end the day.

Next time, maybe we’ll start off there. The breakfast was awfully tempting, too. The breakfast menu is small, but everything on it looked tasty.

Firelight Bistro

10007 270th St. NW, Stanwood; 360-629-7575; www.firelight-bistro.com.

Specialty: American bistro.

Hours: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday and Monday; 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday.

Alcohol: Full bar

Vegetarian options: Many.

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