Local shellfish, spinach, and bacon fill classic omelets at southern Washington's Shelburne Inn

Shelburne Inn’s Hangtown Omelets

For the grand breakfasts served at the Victorian-era Shelburne Inn, local ingredients are the byword. And here in Seaview, on southern Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula, you can’t get more local than oysters.

Oysters built the area’s first towns during California’s Gold Rush, when new wealth to the south fueled an appetite for Washington’s native bivalves. Today, the peninsula’s pristine waters nurture some of the country’s most productive beds of cultured oysters.

David Campiche and Laurie Anderson, co-owners of the Shelburne, serve oysters dozens of ways, but their Hangtown Fry, prepared as either an omelet or a frittata, marks the area’s historical connection with California’s goldfields.

The story goes that a Hangtown Fry, a scramble of eggs, oysters, and bacon, was created in Placerville, California (then called Hangtown because of three famous hangings). Campiche’s version has it that the miners who struck gold simply ordered the most expensive thing on the menu, the Hangtown Fry. In Old San Francisco, Doris Muscatine traces the fry to a condemned prisoner’s last request, one whose rare ingredients would delay the proceedings.

Whatever the origin, this version of the Shelburne’s recipe makes a simple but extravagant meal. For information on staying at the inn (rooms cost $99 to $169 per night), call (800) 466-1896.

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