By Cassandra VanKeuren Special to the Herald
What is it about Whidbey Island that makes it a popular summertime family destination?
For me Whidbey’s attractions are the water and the food.
And summer weather and the long days make it not such a chore to hop on the ferry.
So last Saturday, I dragged the family out of bed about 7:30-ish — OK, that was kind of a chore — and told them to get ready for the day because there was a special pie place on Whidbey Island that I wanted to go for breakfast.
Whidbey Pies is at Greenbank Farm. I recently discovered that they also serve breakfast on summer weekends until 11:30 a.m. I have been to Whidbey Pies a few times and have had more than my share of delicious pie. So I was super excited about breakfast there.
The menu is pretty small with only about four options with a few sides. But I didn’t care. I knew exactly what I wanted.
I ordered the vanilla bean custard French toast ($8.50). Seriously, could you see that on the menu and say no? My husband ordered the cafe combo plate ($10) and my 9-year-old son decided on a side of bacon ($4.95) and a slice of apple pie ($4).
While we waited, the waitress promptly brought out our coffees (roasted locally) and a basket of whole grain toast with butter and jam. Nice touch. I had never eaten at a breakfast place where they brought out a basket of toast for the table to share. The coffee and toast were good.
My French toast arrived first and my thought was immediately: “How am I going to eat all that?”
The slices were huge. The bread was about 1½ inches thick and there were three slices dusted in powdered sugar. But I was looking for the custard on the plate. I didn’t see any. I took a bite anyway and instantly understood what was meant by “custard” — the inside of the French toast had the texture of custard. Comforting, tasty and filling.
I had the choice of maple syrup or fruit compote to top my French toast. I chose the fruit compote. Strawberry was the compote of the day and I found it slightly tart and quite fresh-tasting. It was the perfect topping for my French toast.
My husband’s breakfast combo consisted of eggs cooked to his liking, bacon and rustic red potatoes. Everything was cooked and seasoned perfectly. This day of exploring the island was starting out right.
My son’s indulgent breakfast was equally good. His apple pie was made with Granny Smith apples, a large dose of cinnamon and a flaky crust. Truly a classic done right. I had a taste and it reminded me of fall.
We finished off our breakfast with another slice of pie, this time loganberry.
Loganberry pie is the restaurant’s specialty. Of course, it was amazing. What I liked about this pie and all of the other pies they bake is that none of them is overly sweet. You can really taste the fruit.
Whidbey Pies offers many different pies all year, while also offering lunch, a full espresso bar, catering and dinner on the first Friday of the month. Much of what they serve is grown on Greenbank Farm or comes from a local supplier. So expect the menu to vary per season.
When you’re done tasting all that Whidbey Pies has to offer, you must explore the rest of Greenbank Farm. There are a few art galleries, a cheese shop, walking trails, a duck pond and an off-leash area for your dog.
Definitely a destination for that family day trip to the island.
765 Wonn Road, Greenbank.
Cafe: 360-678-1288; Catering: 360-222-3989; Wholesale pies: 360-678-3474.
Specialties: Pie; lunch and breakfast on summer weekends.
Hours: 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; first Friday of the month dinners 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Vegetarian options: Some