A pair with flair

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

If you’re looking for a great new place for a meal, make a beeline for Evolve Chocolate + Cafe, upstairs at Village Books.

The space formerly occupied by Bookfare Cafe has been renovated and improved by Chef Christy Fox and her wife, Shannon Fox, and the talented pair are delivering fabulous food at super-reasonable prices.

Christy was previously the chef at the helm of Northwater, the restaurant inside the Holiday Inn at Bellingham Airport, but she had Shannon had long dreamed of opening their own eatery.

“We were always looking for that perfect spot,” Shannon confided. “When Village Books called in February to invite us to take a look at the space, it was love at first sight.” At the time the former Bookfare space had lots of potential, but needed work. “The room wasn’t warm and inviting and there was no opportunity to see the view,” Christy says, pointing out the window to Bellingham Bay and historic Fairhaven.

The Fox duo called on Bellingham friends to help reinvent the room. One created wood baseboards to match the bamboo flooring, and the RE Store was tasked with upcycling wood tables for the restaurant. They did an awesome job—the table where we dined was made from Douglas fir dating back to the 1890s.

Two “green” walls filled with a selection of fresh herbs give the room freshness and deliver ready-to-go ingredients for the kitchen. Add a fresh coat of bright paint, warm brown drapes and interesting artwork, and Evolve Chocolate + Cafe was ready for Christy’s innovative pairings in late September.

We sat down for the weekly supper, a $30, three-course meal that changes each week and is available Thursday through Saturday.

“This supper is Christy’s creative space,” our server informed us as he delivered curried lentil planks, an appetizer made of baked red lentils served in a harissa coconut yogurt sauce with avocado crema. The two planks were spectacular: full of flavor, rich in texture and the kind of dish you could never dream of pulling off at home.

The rest of the meal continued to evidence Christy’s culinary flair. Blueberry cured wild salmon served with burrata cheese and chocolate chili vinegar. A tofu cashew korma of vegetables in a mild coconut curry, served with garlic flatbread straight out of the oven. A saffron lemon cheesecake with a to-die-for almond ginger crust and a heavenly rich chai tea to end the meal.

“This is the best cheesecake I’ve ever tasted,” my daughter declared.

The regular menu is similarly appealing. Evolve offers dishes such as Moroccan lamb pita ($11), curried lentil or vegetable rice bowls ($10-$11), and a surprise daily bento box that changes to reflect that day’s food inspirations. There are also breakfast pastries and sandwiches, and house-made desserts including a guava rose roulade ($7), a triple chocolate cake, a sundae and a malted coffee affogato.

The Fox pair have lots of plans. Next summer their 36-seat patio will open downstairs, with a smoker, a barbecue, to-go fare, cocktails, beer and wine. Shannon is also planning on starting a monthly book club, Life Between the Pages, with a prix fixe dinner of $60, in January. Participants will make reservations, receive information about the book ahead of time, and enjoy a five-course meal with cocktail pairings.

The atmosphere at Evolve is relaxed and you could easily browse the book selection nearby in between courses. But what’s best about Evolve is that nothing is the “same-old” or boring. Everything reflects Chef Christy’s passion, ingenuity and talent for innovative pairings. Come for date night, a satisfying supper or a quick meal on the go. Whichever meal you choose, you’ll leave feeling deeply impressed, as I did.

More Food...
A Bavarian blowout

Oktoberfest is about more than the drinking of beer out of oversized steins, and at a number of related events taking place in the near future, there will be plenty of opportunities to find out what else the seasonal soirees have to offer.

Although the annual Bier on the Pier happening…

more »
Downtime Taps
Pour your own in Ferndale

If you’ve ever had the yen to pour your own beer, cider or wine in a taproom, the good news is you can—if you head to Downtime Taps in Ferndale.

Located on Labounty Drive, the state’s first self-serve taproom is a warmly decorated, fun space. It opened in July with 1,900 square…

more »
An edible exploration

“Are you as excited for the next SeaFest as I am?” my first mate queried recently.

“For the record, it’s called SeaFeast,” I replied, reminding him that I’d had to make the same correction numerous times during last year’s festivities, when we spent a sunny September afternoon at Squalicum…

more »
Bellingham at Home Informational Meeting

1:00pm|Bellingham Senior Activity Center

Endangered Species Curator's Tour

1:30pm|Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building

Sedro-Woolley Farmers Market

3:00pm|Hammer Heritage Square

Prosecutors race is a referendum on reform


Creekside Open Mic

6:30pm|South Whatcom Library

Where the sidewalk ends


Walking to the End of the World

7:00pm|Village Books

Brian Dean Trio

7:00pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Climate Change and Forests

7:00pm|Sustainable Living Center

Modified documentary and Panel Discussion

7:30pm|Pickford Film Center

Parkinson's Dance Class

10:00am|Ballet Bellingham

Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Komo Kulshan Ski Swap

4:00pm|Bloedel Donovan

Jazz Jam

5:30pm|Illuminati Brewing

Camber Exhcange

5:30pm|1820 Scout Place

Falling Out of the Box Jewelry Challenge

6:00pm|Jansen Art Center

Squash Celebration

6:30pm|Community Food Co-op

Chuckanut Radio Hour

6:30pm|Whatcom Community College

Balkan Folk Dancers

7:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Nooksack River Travelogue

7:00pm|Whatcom Museum's Old City Hall

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Duck Variations

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

The Skriker

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Side Show

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Village Books Trove Web
Fall Craft & Antique Show

10:00am|Northwest Washington Fairgrounds

Komo Kulshan Ski Swap

4:00pm|Bloedel Donovan

The Duck Variations

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

How to Succeed in Business Without Really Trying

7:30pm|Anacortes Community Theatre

The Skriker

7:30pm|Sylvia Center for the Arts

Side Show

7:30pm|Lincoln Theatre

Wild Things

9:30am|Stimpson Family Nature Reserve

Cider Days


Fall Family Weekend

12:00pm|Western Washington University

Books and Bites

1:00pm|Blaine Library

Food Not Bombs

4:00pm|Downtown Bellingham

Spaghetti Feed

5:00pm|Ferndale Senior Center

Bread and Puppet Theater

5:00pm|Laurel Park

Paper mache and politics


Family Story Night

6:00pm|Fairhaven Library

Gore and Lore Tours

6:00pm|Downtown Bellingham, historic Fairhaven

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

7:00pm|Blaine High School

Friday Night Flicks

7:00pm|Van Zandt Community Hall

Pride and Prejudice

7:00pm|Lynden Christian High School

A Night with Miguel de Hoyos

7:00pm|Kennelly Keys

Laura Read and Friends

7:00pm|Village Books

Daily Dying

7:00pm|Bellingham Unitarian Fellowship


7:30pm|McIntyre Hall


7:30pm|Upfront Theatre

Teton Gravity Research

7:30pm|Mount Baker Theatre

see our complete calendar »

Siro Village Books Trove Web Cascadia Weekly Subscribe Ad 1