A few weeks back, on that first full-on fall weekend day (by calendar and by weather), my buddy Keasa and I were in need of some comfort food for a weekend lunch date. (Side note – Keasa deserves a nod as the instigator of this very blog! Thanks, Keas!) We decided on Skillet Diner – the brick and mortar, tied-down location for the Skillet Street Food folks that airstream around the city and bring poutine and burgers to your neighborhood. We were met by gingham-clad friendly wait staff (I wish the friendly part wasn’t worth note or a surprise in this city – but they were all so lovely, I am compelled to call it out!). Simple by artfully prepared food was on the agenda as we ordered two sammys to split – 3-cheese grilled cheese with fries, and a grilled pb&j + banana with a side salad (at least one ‘healthy’ side had to be ordered!). The grilled cheese was with brie, cheddar and American cheese – with a swipe of the house bacon jam (we were bacon-curious vegetarians that day and tried it). Both on challah bread – and both very good, but if we had a wee change we would have made, it would have been to have maybe had the pb&j + banana on a slightly savory bread for contrast (grilled cheese and bacon jam on ever-so-slightly sweet challah was spot-on contrast!). Everything else that walked past us looked very good – including some refreshing brunch libations and other non-alcoholic ‘frivolous beverages’. Definitely worth sitting down in the cheery diner of these former nomads!
Okay, so, the Walrus and the Carpenter probably doesn’t need a lot more mentioning (one of the more high profile mentions here) – but we finally checked it out, and it is as good as everyone has been saying! The experience of the place is definitely half of it – the walk down the side hallway of the Kolstrand Building in Ballard to get to this tucked-away place gives it a bit of that speakeasy vibe, and the small lively dining room surrounding the open kitchen had a great energy to it. The platters of uber-local oysters on ice – with their wide-ranging definitive flavors and subtleties – are the focal point of the food side of things and a fun experience too. If you go for Happy Hour, which we did, the oysters are all half price, meaning about a dollar a piece, and with visitors in town, we ordered up four of each of the day’s list to taste. Incredibly different from each other in distinctive flavors and size – but all that super clean, simple taste of the sea. We washed these down with reduced priced yummy cocktails – my Moscow Mule in the traditional copper cup on the left – and balanced it out with some earthy Dinah’s Cheese from Kurtwood farm. It was a great place to grab a snack and a drink before a bigger meal for us – and with the happy hour deals, a great way to take baby steps into the world of bivalves!