If you came to my blog on Monday looking for a Pinterest Picks post, you may have noticed a birthday cake instead. I turned 27 on Monday and spent the long weekend gorging on yummy food and adventuring. On Tuesday Dan and I really wanted to celebrate by going to The Walrus and the Carpenter bar for a final birthday bash (we celebrated all weekend but why not, right?) But first we had to go to the DOL (Department of Licensing) to update my drivers license woohoo! (my birthday was President’s Day so it was closed on Monday) It wasn’t that bad, we were only there for an hour and my photo came out pretty good. You really can’t ask for more.
We had a lot of time to kill before dinner so we headed to Seastar in Bellevue for a cocktail and snack. It was dead because we were there between lunch and happy hour so we got chummy with the bartender and the time went by real quick. EG he was a ham and a little bored so he decided to pour free tastes of beer, vodka, and gin. Woof.
The real star of the day, and really the event I was anticipating all weekend, was dinner at The Walrus and the Carpenter bar in Ballard, an oyster bar that I’ve been dying to try for years. It’s a fairly small space and they don’t take reservations so you want to get there early. We got there right when they opened and there was already a small line. I’ve never been somewhere fancy with a line. While we waited I snuck a selfie of Dan and I before the guy in front of us caught me. You gotta capture those special, silly moments. :)
I didn’t realize I was in this shot so here you have our delicious oysters and a little side-eye from me. I wish I could remember what we ordered…I asked for a dozen and I believe we got baywater sweet, blue pool, and penn cove select. I preferred the sweeter oysters to the briny. Mmm. So fresh.
Our first course was lingcod carpaccio, probably the most interesting dish I’ve tasted. The very warm and rustic flavor of the mustard oil took me by surprise. I was expecting a fresh, light flavor. Totally different from anything I’ve ever had. The radishes were so vibrant and beautiful, like little flower petals. They added a delightful crunch and brightness to the dish.
I didn’t know I could love smoked trout and lentils this much. Ok, smoked trout yes. I’m a fan of smoked fish of all kinds but the fish, lentil, and onion combo was extremely good. This was rich, creamy, and decadent.
Not really pictured is the bread and butter. People often scoff at ordering bread but when it comes with incredibly light butter and slightly chewy perfectly salty rye bread, it’s worth it. The bar itself is really cool with a fun and lively vibe. There are maybe 25 seats, and very French marble topped tables and white tiled floors. The sun set directly out through the floor to ceiling windows that line the back wall, letting in this beautiful warm glow that really set the mood. The food (and alcohol) helped but this felt like an event.
Oh my gosh those clams! Those clams were the best thing we ate. I wish I could explain the broth that they came in but I can’t put my finger on the flavor. They were unlike any other clam dish I’ve had and I say that in the best way possible. I’ve had a lot of steamed clam dishes but these take the cake. Plus, the escarole and super soft Meyer lemon you could cut with a fork added even more flavor to an already flavorful dish. It was an ideal balance of spicy, briney, wine-y and clam-y. It tasted like happiness.
Not pictured because they were eaten before I thought to snap a pic were the grilled sardines. I’ve seen these on the menu every time I’ve stalked their website so I know they are a staple. I’d definitely order these again. They just tasted so light and summery.
And to finish the meal we ordered the little boy blue with citrus marmalade. So easy. So quickly devoured.
All in all it was a fantastic birthday meal. If you’re a fan of oysters, champagne, or creative yet subtly simple seafood then check out The Walrus and the Carpenter. Who knows you might even see me there because I am DEFINITELY going back.