By Cassandra Van Keuren Special to The Herald
My family and I often go to Camano Island to see the Northern Lights when we are having a solar storm.
We usually pack PB&Js for the trip. That’s not too appealing, but recently I found a darling little restaurant in Stanwood to fill our bellies right on the route to English Boom Reserve, where we go to see the lights.
The Chatter Box serves Asian fusion cuisine, a mix of Thai, Indian, Vietnamese and Malay foods. The restaurant serves lunch and dinner seven days a week.
The atmosphere is relaxed, with quirky decor. There is outdoor dining around a pool of water and several relaxing fountains.
When you enter, you are immediately greeted and directed to your table.
I was surprised by how many selections there are on the menu: appetizers, stir fries, noodle soups, curries, bento boxes, vegetarian dishes, fried rice, plus sandwiches, burgers, salads, a kid menu and desserts. The beer selection featured typical American beers and some Asian beers.
The waitress came quickly to take our order and I choose the most unusual thing for an appetizer: crazy rolls ($5.95).
Because of the hot day, my husband decided on the Malaysian Chop Chop Salad ($8.50), my son choose the kids corn dog meal ($4.95) and I picked the Malaysian black pepper beef noodles with 3 stars($9.95). I ordered fried banana ($5.95) for dessert.
Our crazy rolls were basically battered and deep fried salad rolls.
It sounds not quite right, but they were amazingly tasty. The middle of the salad rolls stayed cold while the coating was crisp and sizzling.
There were three to an order, served cut in half. Served with them was an equally amazing cucumber mint sauce. It was fresh, lightly sweet and tangy. I would put this stuff on everything if I knew how to make it.
My husband’s salad arrived next. The salad had lots of finely chopped veggies, with fresh basil, and grilled chicken with house made peanut sauce serve alongside the salad. It was crisp and fresh and my husband definitely thought it was the perfect dish for a hot day.
My son’s meal was two corn dogs and “the best fries” he has ever tasted. I asked for some cucumbers so my son’s meal was not all fried. They happily brought us a small dish of cucumbers to round out my son’s meal.
By the time I had got my pepper noodles, I was pretty full from the crazy rolls and sampling my husband’s salad and my son’s fries, but I made myself eat a few bites. The noodles were sweet and spicy. There were thin slices of steak and big chunks of shitaki mushrooms, all topped with fresh bean sprouts.
I thought it was really tasty, maybe a little too sweet. But I had to take most of it home. The leftovers were delicious the next day when I was hungry enough to enjoy them.
We had to wait a little while for our dessert. I think we all forgot we ordered it.
When we did get it, it was beautiful. Two bananas were battered and coated with coconut flakes and deep fried. The ice cream that was served with it was housemade coconut ice cream with little flakes of coconut mixed in. It was a really fabulous dessert for a little out-of-the-way restaurant.
I am so pleased with the Chatter Box. We will have to make it our family tradition to go there when we look for Northern Lights on Camano.
The Chatter Box
9819 270th St. NW, Stanwood; 360-629-0600; thechatterboxrestaurant.com.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday; noon to 8 p.m. Sunday.
Vegetarian options: Many.