Before I write anything, I must say how ashamed I am that this has taken so long to post. I drafted it and never completed it because well, life sometimes gets hectic. Which is no real good excuse at all. So, please accept my apologies.
After driving up the beach highway and sight seeing through some neighborhoods full of lovely beach houses, we made our way down Pacific Highway in Ocean Park. When we pulled into the parking lot of Nanci and Jimella’s Market Cafe, I took notice that it looked just as I almost expected it to: a small market store. We walked in the front door and immediately on our left are rustic shelves of tempting foods to purchase and bring home. There is a cooler full of local cheese, pasta, and seafood. What really caught my eye was the very large wine selection. Beautifully showcased in a large wood shelving unit that was probably custom made. It was Father’s Day and we were there to relax a bit and enjoy some brunch before we set off on more adventures for the day.
We arrived before the restaurant was officially open on that Sunday but a very pleasant waitress showed us to our seats and told us about the daily specials they were about to make. I ordered a seafood dish that included chorizo. The chorizo is what caught my interest because it is one of my favorite meats. It is spicy and you don’t need much of it to make a great meal. I probably didn’t hear much passed the waitress mentioning that the dish had chorizo in it because I was surprised when my piping hot plate was brought out and I saw … clams. I have nothing against clams. I love clams. I love seafood. I especially love fresh seafood. But as some of you may remember, I had a horrible experience in Astoria a few months ago in which eating clams made me severely ill for about four days. That food poisoning was probably the worst and most painful experience of my life. So, I could not help but be a little cautious, if not scared, about eating clams again. Once I took a spoonful of the chorizo with the tasty, yet simple broth – I was hooked. It was so delicious. The clams were fresh and had just a hint of the chorizo’s spiciness cooked in it. Everything just worked so well in the Skillet Clams dish to create this amazing one of a kind taste. The dish is cooked with Willapa Bay littleneck clams, leeks, tomatoes, and garlic. It didn’t take long for this dish to get me beyond my hesitation about eating clams again. This was not the kind of dish I envisioned having for brunch but boy, it was above and beyond any expectations.
While we were eating, both Nanci and Jimella came to our table to introduce themselves. What an honor! Nanci’s bubbly personality is so refreshing and inviting, it mixes well with Jimella’s more quiet demeanor. Before owning Nanci and Jimella’s Market Cafe, the chefs were the proud owners of The Ark Restaurant for 25 years! Their comfortable little market has what you’d need to bring home some delicious groceries after grabbing an excellent bite to eat. There is a bottle of wine to pair with probably any dish you’d be making yourself or enjoying at Nanci and Jimell’as Market Cafe. The Market Cafe has a wonderful bistro feel to it that I think makes it feel inviting.There is a wall near the restroom that is home to newspaper articles that have featured their cafe over the years. It was nice to see that their community has given them recognition for their accomplishments. Nanci and Jimella are also responsible for having created the Long Beach Garlic Fest. Nanci told us that she was heading over to the festival to sell their famous garlic ice cream and invited us to go see her. After we finished our brunch, we headed over to the garlic fest to try the famous ice cream. And now we know why it is so famous: it is delicious! Who knew that garlic would make such a fantastic flavor for ice cream? If you haven’t tried Nanci and Jimella’s garlic ice cream, please try it. You will quickly understand why I say it is so delicious.
Before we left the market, we purchased some of the very chorizo that was featured in my brunch dish. We also purchased some crackers and truffles. Nanci and Jimella’s Market Cafe is definitely a place that I wish was closer to where I live. I could imagine myself visiting the market cafe quite regularly for food, wine, and excellent company. There is just something that I love about locally owned establishments. I think the fact that the owners are accessible, friendly, and loving with all that they do that really speaks volumes. I think it is all of these qualities that has made Nanci and Jimella successful with all their endeavors.
Shortly after visiting with Nanci and Jimella, I found out that Jimella is currently going through chemotherapy and radiation for cancer of the esophagus. I just wanted to say we are thinking of you and wish you the best of luck as you continue your treatment.
Please stop in and visit Nanci and Jimella’s Market Cafe:
21742 Pacific Way
Ocean Park, WA 98640