Sunday, August 05, 2012

My dinner with Raoul, in trendy Ballard

So, had a great time visiting Raoul.  (Also known as "Mr. Joy."  Pictured before here at KPC).

We visited the Ballard Locks, and salmon run ladders.  Amazing.

Drove at least half an hour looking for a coffee shop.  Now, remember, this is Seattle.  There are more than two coffee shops.  Per block.  But Raoul has standards.  I have to admit the coffee was pretty fine.  Notice that the word "Starbucks" is not coming up here, as an alternative.

Then to the brew pub, the Jolly Roger Taproom.  Beers were very fine.  Get the onion rings, called "Smokers."  Top three onion rings all time, for me.  Smashing.

Then to dinner.  I was going to describe the place, The Walrus and Carpenter.  But that wouldn't really capture the ambiance as well as this NYTimes review.  On the other hand, the food was really, really great, not expensive, and the servers were so hip they almost weren't hip, just naturally cool.  Since the restaurant is in Ballard, you have to be pretty hip just to get in.  I would never have made it, but Raoul talked to the staff and they let it slide.

I had six really remarkable oysters, from the al la carte menu.  It's printed daily, in case the oyster-nazi doesn't "like the look" of anything, and says, "You!  Can't have these oysters!"  Our visit, there were seven types of oysters, ranging from Samish Bay Sweets (mild) to Baywater Sweets (strong and briny, from Thorndyke Bay).  The other five were sorted in order of less mild to more briny, in between.  Except the oyster-nazi had apparently said, "No!  No Baywater Sweets! I don't like the look of them!"  The waitron actually told us this, then took a marker and marked through the Baywaters so that even idiots like us would understand that the oysters were not available.  (I'm not making fun of the server, btw.  Anyone who sees Raoul and me out on the town will NOT think, "There go some geniuses!")

The W&C is quite careful about its food, as the Times article notes.  My favorite part was the notice on the menu (remember, this is an oyster and seafood restaurant) that "Oysters and other shellfish are prepared in our kitchen."  Can't be too careful, I suppose.

Anyway, I had the Hammersleys, from nearby (!) Hammersley Inlet.  Very nice.  Extraordinary, in fact.  Came with a very mild shaved fresh horseradish, and an acidy citrus topping, on the side.  I used them.  Yum.

We basically did the tapas thing, ordering bread and butter, toasted almonds (a huge, spicy portion, still warm), simple sliced tomatoes with salt and olive oil (tremendous).  Excellent bread, as it should be, but it was.

Talked about our families.  Many college faculty have "interesting" families, I think.  Raoul and I are no exceptions.

A great night.  Raoul took me to the airport, to get ready for my 11:50 pm redeye.  Thanks, Seattle, that was great.


Anonymous said...

The NYT review links inexplicably to

Mungowitz said...

Fixed! Thanks...