Thursday, March 10, 2011

OYSTERS! by lucas clark

Rachel and I recently retuned from a few days in Vancouver BC. A short but sweet mini vacation as well as the opportunity to celebrate the successful conclusion to our first year of wedded-dom! Hard to believe, it is only one year since Sieb and Jenn shut down Prima and helped us throw the best party of our lives. During our trip, we shared many of the highlights from that day, including some of the hysterical toasts and speeches. Many of which I had forgotten. One of my favorite memories was the Herculean efforts of our self-appointed designated driver, Sam (the infamous wine rep from Noble Wines). Sam made sure that all those in need arrived back (safe and somewhat sound) to each nook, cranny and corner of the island (and China City). A personal note to Sam: if and when Rachel and I get married again, we promise you will get an actual invitation!  As long as you promise you don't wear that headband.

We stayed at an old (it was built in 1279 BC, or something like that) but beautiful hotel called the Victorian, on Homer Street in Gastown. However, we did opt for a suite rather than one of those classic European style accommodations with shared bathrooms. I am way shier than Rachel. We went with few plans except to visit a few museums and of course drink and eat (in that order). Somehow we never made it to the museums but were incredibly successful with the latter.

Leaving out the drinking, we did an excellent job of re-exercising our seafood taste buds, with a particular focus on oysters (it was a second honeymoon… of sorts). We ate them at nearly every place we went. The best, in our humble opinion, was a medium sized oyster from the Strait of Georgia, called a Gem, which we found at the Pourhouse Restaurant also in Gastown. I can only say that in every way we had a great time… thank you, thank you, you delectable and beneficial mollusk!  That's Rachel's dinner at Cork and Fin over there on the left.  She ate it all.

Speaking of oysters, we (Prima Bistro, you, me, all of us) are so lucky to have one of the greatest oyster resources on the west coast in our backyard… Penn Cove. Penn Cove oysters have won 7 of the last 8 Most Beautiful Oyster Competitions held each year at the Elliot Oyster House in Seattle – which, by the way, we beat in King 5’s Best Out Door Dining category, last year. I’ve had Penn Cove oysters at Bay 13 in Portland (Rachel’s former place of work), Zuni in San Francisco, Spago in Las Vegas and of course all over Seattle. They are the perfect ambassador for the flavors and beauty of Whidbey Island (except possibly the view of the mountains from Cascade Avenue on a blued sky afternoon). They pair exceptionally well with many of the fine white wines we have on our menu.  Pictured above are Penn Cove selects...served how we serve 'em...on rock salt, with a white wine mignonette and lemon.

In the 19th century Oysters (just like lobsters) were not the luxury item they are today; cheap and eaten primarily by the working class. Just another clue to my growing conviction, either I was born into the wrong class or, at a minumum, the wrong century! According to wiki, the first oyster beds to become word famous were located in waters around New York City and became popular in that city’s booming restaurant trade.
While oysters are traditionally featured in summer white wine events, I think they are delicious any time of year, even when there is a little snow on the ground. So, put on those mukluks (if necessary), come in for a little wine (maybe a Sam sighting), we’ll shuck you a dozen of Penn Cove’s finest, and the rest, well…

Saturday, March 5, 2011

What's new this month...

We are really excited about some of the new additions to the menu...namely we added a Cote de Beouf into the steak frites section after we received rave reviews and a few ultimatums that we put it on our regular menu - a 32 ounce bone in ribeye for 2 people - served steak frites style. Daily our kitchen crew is creating a $3.00 brochette (basically a shish kabob but don't tell Sieb I called it that) at happy hour - $4 after happy hour.  Today's brochette for example is hanger steak, new potato, red onion and portabello mushroom with a fire roasted red pepper harissa sauce.  Additionally we added a delicious winter salad of napa cabbage, kumquats, and blood oranges with a baked goat cheese crottin.  Also the blend of sangio, merlot and primitivo from Whidbey Island Winery under the label of Prima Red has been released, is available at Prima and is DELICIOUS! 
Label design by local artist David Gignac.

 We heard of the first sighting of a grey whale in Saratoga passage yesterday.  Throughout March and April these sightings are common place as they migrate north on their journey from mexico to alaskan/canadian waters.  I picked up a new pair of binoculars over at Wander on Whidbey (one of my favorite newer shops, filled with outdoor gear...our own mini REI) so if you see a spout ask your server for the binocs to get a better view!  The Welcome the Whales Day is April 23rd - a parade and lots of educational opportunities - a great weekend to come up... especially if you have kids.

Our music schedule has some changes this month:
Danny Ward (there he is in the photo playing last week, photo courtesy of Drew Kampion)
will be playing Thursday March 3rd, 17th, and 24th
Trio Nouveau will be playing Thursday March 10th and Sunday March 27th
Deja Blooze will be playing the 2nd Saturday rather than the 1st - March 12th, from 9-11
and James and Levi will be playing March 30th

side note...did you realize that Danny Ward was playing sax in that one scene in An Officer and a Gentleman...he's got some GREAT stories about Richard Gere and the crew of that film!

This is the first weekend of the month so that means new exhibits in the galleries and the art walk is tonight.  Brackenwood's show is entitled "A Feast For the Eyes." and features oil painter Gail Weir and textile artist Cary Ann Hamer - opening on March 5th.  And opening at Museo on the same day is a show featuring Dan Ishler's ceramics and Kandis Susol's encaustics.

Wica has some awesome upcoming shows - as does the Whidbey Children's Theater -
And we'll be teaming up with the Clyde next weekend when they show the Black Swan - we're going to try to replicate that tequila drink so come in before or after the show -

We will be closed for a fundraising dinner for the South Whidbey Children's Center on Sunday, March 20th

As always, thanks for the continued support and we hope to see you soon!

Jenn and Sieb