European Battlefield Tour

MagoGuide’s European Battlefield Tour Book for Sale

2014 marked the 100th anniversary of World War I. Team Mago spent two weeks in the early summer of 2014 exploring the fields of valor that made up The Western Front of The Great War as well as many of its antecedents and successors. This book takes you to battlefields and other military artifacts not typically found in guidebooks, providing detailed context, analysis, and local knowledge that enhance the experience for both travelers and readers. With over 350 photos as well as reviews of restaurants, hotels, and chateaus, this book both entertains and enlightens. If you are planning a visit to coincide with the centenary of the First World War War or are a student of military history, MagoGuide’s European Battlefield Tour is a must read.

Fried calamari

Storm Shelter

Shelter is a typical Tofino restaurant; upscale rustic setting, way nice wait staff, and good food. Warm chevre salad composed of braised greens, Okanagan goat cheese, double smoked bacon, caramelized onion, roasted garlic, and apple cider vinaigrette was the best dish of the evening. MagoGuide will certainly return to Tofino–perhaps during a less hectic time for the local eateries, such as storm watching season—when we will once again seek Shelter.


A Jewel Box B&B: Wildwood Manor

If you are planning a trip to the San Juan Islands, Wildwood Manor is a must stay. Be sure to book early for the well-attended summer season, and if possible splash out for one of the suites. Tell Michael and John that MagoGuide, not TripAdvisor, sent you.

Eggs with a "man cake"

Bummed About Besaws? Stroll over to Stepping Stone for Breakfast

Stepping Stone serves the best breakfast in NW. Its fare includes excellent hash browns, biscuits, and sausage gravy. The sausage gravy is exemplary; you can really tell that some one took the time to make a genuine flour-based gravy as opposed to the vile glue one finds in many diners, even good ones. And don’t pass up the “smothered badass.”


You Can Skip McMillin’s

Don’t bother eating at McMillian’s. If you want to go to Roche Harbor (and Mago Guide does not recommend this crowded and spendy mini-resort and condo cluster on San Juan Island), eat at the downstairs Madrona Bar and Grill, which serves much better, simpler, and cheaper food. The wait staff is much nicer and more attentive there as well.

Scallops with sweet pea semi-fredo

As Easy as Duck Soup

Duck Soup is a small, pleasant, and intimate restaurant in the midst of San Juan Island. The location alone makes it a desired dining destination. Unfortunately, everything about Duck Soup from the wait staff to the wine list to the kitchen is just a little bit spacey. Scallops with sweet pea semi-fredo was the best thing we were served. The tomato fennel soup, however, was too thin and the fennel too dominant.

Scallops in a beure blanc sauce

Backdoor Kitchen to Tasty Food

Backdoor Kitchen is the best restaurant we tried on San Juan Island.

Scallops in a beure blanc sauce were perfectly cooked while the shitake mushrooms acted like sponges for the sauce. Soy sesame glazed cod was the best piece of fish I have eaten in a long time.

Don’t fail to give them a try if you’re ever in Friday Harbor.

St. Mihiel poster

BBC: WWI’s Forgotten Photographs

Germanicus sent us a YouTube video from the BBC entitled “Hidden Histories: WWI’s Forgotten Photographs.” The stories are fascinating and the photographs haunting. Germanicus features in our upcoming book MagoGuide’s European Battlefield Tour scheduled to be published before the end of the month.

Steamed gooseneck barnacles, boiled octopus tentacles, and raw scallops wrapped in sage leaves

Wolf in the Fog or Cruise Ship on the Rocks?

Six fabulous courses, each paired with an excellent wine, two superb chefs, and one amazing location. Tofino’s vibrant boat-to-table cuisine was on display at Wolf in the Fog restaurant’s recent wine pairing dinner featuring the cuisine of local chef Nicholas Nutting and Vancouver’s David Hawksworth. Their collaboration produced an all-seafood five course panoply paired with wonderful vintages from France, Luxembourg, Italy, Germany, and South Africa. Pastry chef Joel Ashmore supplied an etherial dessert to wrap up the evening’s festivities. All the seafood was very local and sustainably harvested. To top it all off service was flawless, professional yet personable in a very Tofino sort of way.


Bamboo Sushi: Excellent Sustainable Seafood meets Marginal Happy Hour

Bamboo Sushi has some of the best sushi we’ve eaten in the US. Try to get seats on the right side of the sushi bar. The head sushi chef’s station is in the right hand corner of the bar as diners face it. We had the pleasure of attending Chef Kevin’s station on our most recent visit and he added touches to our order that we did not experience at other locations around the bar.

Go elsewhere for happy hour, but be sure to hit the sushi bar, especially when it is not slammed.

Chelsea and Hanna Banana

Adrift in Anacortes Washington

The Adrift restaurant is a very good reason to visit Anacortes. The food is tasty, the staff wonderful, and the atmosphere just enough funky to be fun. Whether for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, Adrift is well worth a visit.

The oysters were a solid “A”. Pan fried rather than fryolatered, these Kumamotos were some of the freshest I have ever eaten. They were expertly cooked with a crunchy exterior giving way to a juicy unctuous U-freakin’-MAMI center. My quibble was with the breading, which consisted of panko breadcrumbs, toasted nori, and sesame seeds. The seaweed thing was pretty cool, adding a distinctive oceanic layer to the dish’s briny flavor profile.

Belgium beer at the Abbey Bar

Abbey Bar: Everything but Drunk Monks

With six rotating taps and a list of 250 bottled beers stored at optimum drinking temperatures (per beer type), the Abbey Bar can satisfy almost any yearning for a taste of Belgium brew. And the food is good too.

Merguez & clams made of spicy lamb sausage, chickpeas, and harissa

Le Vieux: A Delectable Work in Progress

Le Vieux has a pleasant atmosphere, excellent staff, a tasty wine list, and some really outstanding dishes including the best orzo I’ve ever eaten. Although there are problems with some of the dishes needing more salt and other seasonings, we expect these issues to be corrected over time. Le Vieux is a wonderful addition this Portland NW neighborhood and we wish Annette and Brian the best of luck.