Back in the day, as administrators/co-founders of PSCS, Melinda and I tried to do something special when spring break rolled around each year.
This included a couple of trips to Mexico, memorable trips to La Jolla and Palm Springs, staying with family outside of San Francisco, and a trip to Portland. In fact, it was in Mexico in 2008 that we first conceived of what became our family’s 2010-11 sabbatical to France, and it was during spring break in San Francisco in 2010 that we got our French visas.
In 2014, to save money for a future trip, we stayed home, a staycation! For fun, we chose a different restaurant in Seattle each day and experienced that restaurant’s happy hour. For fun, I recorded each day’s outing as a way to make it even more special, much as I’ve recorded each day we’ve spent in France since the year of the sabbatical.
To read the happy hour posts in order, start here. Then click on the next post in the lower right. Or click on each one in order below:
If on Monday Melinda and I could have planned the perfect climatic happy hour for today, it would have included three specific elements: Chloe, Ella, a French restaurant.
When Chloe arrived home from college early in the afternoon, we got element #1. When Ella agreed to join us, we got element #2. And once Melinda suggested Bastille in Ballard, we had element #3.
So the fact that Chloe could actually have a happy hour cocktail with her parents and sister was secondary to the fact that the four of us were sitting together in a French restaurant pretending we were in France, both from a past and a future standpoint. Same with the cocktails and the food, even the moules avec pommes frites. Ella even had a croque monsieur and pronounced it better than the one (she only had one?) in France.
So, you know, part of the idea of this staycation was to save money, right? But going to restaurants every day kind of adds up money-wise. Especially when you order a couple of dozen oysters, like we did on Monday. So a focus for today’s happy hour excursion was to keep the costs down.
We pulled this off in fine fashion, to the tune of $23 including tax and tip, at Bitterroot in Ballard. Two cocktails and two happy hour food items!
Part of the fun of Bitterroot is its cowboy feel. There’s a chain link fence above the tables, a drink called a Montana Manhattan, and super-good BBQ.
We ordered the BBQ Nachos and some cornbread. Melinda had the Montana Manhattan and I had the Creamed Old Fashioned. We looked at the regular menu, too, and saw they have a macaroni & cheese that sounds pretty good. We’re pretty sure Ella could get into that.
The Whale Wins occupies a soft spot in Melinda’s and my hearts. It was where we had our last dinner with Christine & Bérnard in Seattle last summer before they went back home to Nantes. It was stunning on many levels, from how good the food was, to how good the company was, to how connected to France the owner of the restaurant is. So much so, in fact, that the restaurant carries Bérnard’s cousin’s wine.
Melinda and I haven’t been back since then, that is until today as part of our Spring Break Happy Hour tour. Of course we went back this week! We had to go back. It was time we went back. So we went back. We took lots of photos.
The Whale Wins has what may be my favorite cocktail. It contains calvados, a brandy from Normandy that Bérnard made sure I sampled when we stayed with his parents in Normandy three years ago. So I made sure to have that cocktail, Melinda had one of her own, and we ordered some happy hour munchies that filled us up.
Ella had a 4:15 dental appointment, prime happy hour time. And since either Melinda or I needed to be present to cover the co-payment, we thought we’d just find a suitable restaurant with a decent happy hour in the neighborhood of her dentist. While Ella was having her teeth cleaned, we’d get happy hour snacks and a drink. Simple, right?
No such luck.
We went into one restaurant and nothing but fried food choices didn’t appeal. To make matters worse, our nearly 70 degree weather and sunshine of yesterday was long gone. It was 20 degrees cooler and raining at 4:15 today. What happened to our spring break? It felt and looked like fall…
So, anyway, instead of an afternoon happy hour we ran some errands and decided to go to the LATE happy hour at Frank’s, our favorite Ravenna haunt. In fact, it’s 11:30 as I write this, just 30 minutes past the 10-11pm late happy hour. We split a dozen oysters, each had a cocktail, and Melinda ordered happy hour pork tacos. It was all delicious, just like the company. But it was cold and dark and damp.
What I have to show for it is this story and these photos.
Oh, for those of you keeping score at home, we rented “Gravity” from Redbox as one of our afternoon errands. So in the last two days we’ve watched “American Hustle” and “Gravity.” We’re making our Oscar rounds, or so it seems…
Let me just say that Melinda and I like oysters. I mean we really like oysters. So this morning I conducted a little Internet search and came up with this result for 8 Seattle-based oyster bars. Number 8 on the list is a place called The Walrus & the Carpenter, a restaurant Melinda has long wanted to visit. And with half price oysters from 4-5pm, away we went!
We ordered two dozen oysters, a king’s amount, a dozen for each of us, 4 of each of the 6 varieties they had. We ordered two glasses of Muscadet, a white wine from the Loire Valley in France, not far from Nantes, the city in which we lived for 13 months with our daughters in 2010/11. While waiting for the oysters, we sipped our wine and ate one of the best salads I’ve ever tasted, a grapefruit salad with fresh crab…
We also came up with the idea of visiting 5 restaurant happy hours in Seattle, one each day this week. This will make our spring break special and unique. It didn’t hurt that today in Seattle it was nearly 70 degrees.
The oysters were incredible, all 24 of them. We topped them off by sharing a cocktail called “I’m Your Huckleberry” that has huckleberry juice and a French liqueur called Avèze (gin and lime juice, too) that we had never heard of. Melinda referred to it as her “medicine,” so taken by it was she. On our way to a nearby Redbox site to pick up “American Hustle,” our entertainment for the night, we picked up a bottle of Avèze and are right now watching the movie and sipping an Avèze cocktail.
It’s spring break for us. While we’ve tried to get out of town each year to take an actual break, this year we decided it was prudent to save the travel money for a future trip. But to make it special, this afternoon Melinda and I decided we should celebrate each day by enjoying a Seattle restaurant’s happy hour.
So the next five posts will be dedicated to the next five days, on each of which Melinda and I will be experiencing a local happy hour. Buckle up, this is sure to be fun!