Hand to Mouth

misadventures in eating

Bainbridge Island Adventure! The newest chapter in the Boxcar Children saga, obvs.

with 2 comments

Bainbridge Island, located in the Pudget Sound, is accessible by hour-interval ferries — and on it is a Pacific Northwestern Pleasantville. K, S, T and I made the trek out there Saturday morning — in part for professional reasons (K) and in part because it was Saturday and we all deserved a girls’ day out (S, T and I), and it was a perfect day to go: gray sullen skies melting into golden sunshine by midday.

Bainbridge is charming, it’s all bike-accessible, and the narrow streets are lined with deep forests and small shops, a post office, a high school. K meant to do an audio report on the location, and I went — like I go everywhere — to eat. We got started, after a trying journey in the car with a box of assorted Safeway donuts (in my defense, I only ate half a bearclaw and half a jelly donut, the rest were already gone by the time I climbed into the backseat), at the local coffee Shop, called the Blackbird, to load up on coffee and pastries. But mostly coffee. I mean, at least for some of us. Because clearly, some people were into the pastries:

Walking down the length of the island toward the waterfront meant walking past the downtown of specialty paper stores and the farmer’s market, a tiny strip mall that looked like battered beach property — and then destination: Doc’s Grill at the waterside.

Where we ate like kings.

Clams and mussels came perfectly steamed, tender, served in a white wine sauce with butter and lemon to drizzle and dip, with a side of foccascia bread. The shellfish were delightful, perfect, with a great bite to them, and the sauce was ambrosial: indulgent and richly briny, with a touch of garlic that made it an aromatic feast…which, guys, seriously, had us all moaning like we were chick-meat in a Ron Jeremy bonanza blowout flick.

K and I followed it up with clam chowder, which, while a little oversalted, was wonderful: creamy and thick from slow-cooking, and not overly-reliant on butter. The clams were plentiful but so were the potatoes and celery — Doc’s served the best chowder I’ve had in Seattle so far, and I had to go to a semi-sports bar famous for burgers to get it.

Sadly, the fish and beer-battered chips I ordered afterward was underwhelming: overcooked, overfried, and bland, although the french fries were delicious and the scoop of slaw that accompanied was divine. Light and not too heavy on the mayo, with the faint sweetness of the vegetables and their crisp perfectly preserved and not soggy like so many (many, many) coleslaws I’ve eaten in my long career as a Southern girl with an appetite.

And dinner, sadly, acquired in the international district at The Purple Dot Cafe was pretty craptacular — which was depressing after a pretty craptacular first half of the Seattle Sounders v. Minnesota Thunder soccer game.  (Aside: I find, and no one will convince me otherwise, that soccer is the most appallingly boring sport in the world to watch — I’m sure it’s loads of fun to play, I remember enjoying it as a kid — but as somebody sitting in the stands watching the ball zip up and down the field and no points scored, ever — ever — it’s the sports equivalent of stabbing yourself in the eye over and over again.  Give me baseball, give me basketball, give me a good hockey game — but my God, never give me soccer tickets at Qwest Field again.)

I’m always hesitant about ordering off the menu at Chinese restaurants unless I’m intensely certain about the quality of the food at that particular establishment (see: Evergreen Shanghai Restaurant, Chinatown Manhattan), so I can only really blame myself for the tasteless, misnamed, and overcooked Sechuan spicy beef noodles I ordered.

But there are things at the Purple Dot to be adored: their congee menu is extensive and generous, with enormous, deeply-filling bowls of subtly seasoned rice porridge available at less than $3 a pop — one is enough to stuff you for hours.  Couple that with the delicious if very Americanized garlic eggplant hot-pot (in no way Chinese, but still delicious), and you have a passable meal — but beware ordering: there’s a reason I only come to this place for dim sum.


Written by lshen

August 13, 2007 at 8:23 am

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. You deserved bad fish. 🙂

    Soccer invites passion in its supporters. It is a religion the world over. So much was going on in the first half besides ‘scoring.’

    Sorry you missed it.


    August 13, 2007 at 1:48 pm

  2. cprzhnmbd fiwvkbsh jaygflch wjdka zgldrqauv zphruwtyf tjemb

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    September 11, 2008 at 3:02 pm

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