Who loves birthdays?
(Raising hand in the air, waving it frantically back and forth) Meeeeee!!
Birthdays 'round here are welcomed with open arms and, in the month of January, it's my turn to celebrate. On the 15th I celebrated turning 29 with Bryce at a restaurant called The Whale Wins in Fremont (Seattle). It's nested in a building that shares space between several restaurants and stores. The interior is full of fun and function alike.
Girl rule: We get to sit on the booth side. This photo makes me laugh because the couple next to us so
kindly removed their faces from the reach of the camera. What friendly neighbors!
We began with a few adult beverages and the sea wolf and columbia city bakery bread and butter ($4). Two types of homemade breads, a pile of butter, and giant flakes of salt.
Quick recap: that's booze, carbs, and fat for the win!
The Whale Wins does an array of small plates and our next contender was the pantaleo cheese with boat street's pickled cherries ($9). If you haven't tried a cheese and cherries combo together yet, please don't go on living that way. It's a divine partnership and this plate was no exception.
It's a sea-inspired restaurant so seafood was a must, sorry King Triton! Bryce wasn't feeling up for the matiz sardines on toast so we agreed upon the hama hama roasted clams, squash curry cream, kale, leek, potato (small portion $18). This was one of the best clammy dishes I've ever had. The sauce was a bit zippy while also being creamy and partially soothing itself. The kale and potatoes made the whole thing more substantial while adding great texture. The clams themselves were tender and delicious.
The clams required a good bit of hunting and gathering skill and, proudly, I don't have any to show on my dress and/or in my hair. Before our next course arrived we were given this dinglehopper! So, I fixed my hair and we continued to eat... JUST kidding. [This whole thing is a Little Mermaid reference and if I've lost you please, please go watch that movie.]
The crazy tool was to assist with the painted hills marrow bones, jacobsen salt, golden raisins, caper and pickled shallot relish ($18). The presentation of this one was awesome! Bone marrow (of a cow, in case you're curious) is something I'd always wanted to try and have done so 3 times in the 1.5 years that we've lived in Seattle.
The bones were so super hot that you needed to hold them with your napkin while loosening the meat, like so.
The bone marrow was good, especially when slathered on the toast and topped with the salad and salt. The downside is that it wasn't as smooth as the other types I've had, making it harder to spread like butter across the bread.
I really try to embrace each year and not turn life into a negative by dreading "getting old." Each age has good and bad, right? The thing that I LOVE about being my age/ a grown up is that I'm not afraid to tell you how much I've grown to love vegetables! Roast them and feed them to me please. Of all of our plates, this cauliflower, chickpeas, caraway aioli, walnuts, radish, orange, marjoram ($13) was my absolute favorite. It was a menage of really charred cauliflower, a ton of other textures [including crunchy walnuts, dense chickpeas, and crisp radishes] and a blanket of cozy sauce. Will I grow up to be big and strong? Let's hope so.
Earlier in the day I was talking with a colleague about going to this particular restaurant and he assured me that the zucchini bread must be eaten. I wasn't so sure about that - vegetables, bread, and no chocolate for dessert? Our waitress recommended the exact same item so we trusted their judgement.
They call it the butter roasted zucchini bread, creme fraiche ($8), while I call it perfection. The top of the bread was a slightly crispy and very buttery. The dusting of powdered sugar and flakes of salt on top of the delicious loaf were the metaphorical icing on the cake. That comfy bed of creme fraiche was insanity! Every last bite was savored and I'll never step foot in The Whale Wins again without ordering this slice of
This wonderful meal was a great start to 29! In closing, there are two pieces of advice that I hope to remember all year long from two trusty men I know:
My Pap always said don't wish your life away
Sebastian, of the Little Mermaid, sang the seaweed is always greener in somebody else's lake
Bring it ON 29, I'm ready for you.