Sunday, September 13, 2009

A Necessary Stop

A week ago this morning, my sister and I opened the front seats of a little white Honda Accord, took a look back at the objects filling the seats behind us - suitcases, boxes, a snowboard, two long hand-wittled walking sticks, and spare cameras - and closed our doors with caution and excitement.

To save myself space and give you a little extra time in your day, I'll skip ahead to today and let you know that we are now in Santa Barbara, California. Our starting point was Lynden, Washington, and we've enjoyed a (mostly) leisurely-paced drive down the West Coast, taking more photos than I can quote in any sort of accurate quantity.


I will try to share a fair amount of photos and stories in the next few days. If that doesn't happen, I'll simply have to move on because on Thursday night I board a plane for Auckland, New Zealand, and twelve hours later I will touch down in a land and life that deserves stories all its own, brought to you with fresh photographs and still-forming perspectives.

For now, let me back up a few days earlier than last Sunday. It was Thursday, in a life where my sister and I still considered a two hour drive quite lengthy. We got on I-5 that morning and headed south to Seattle to visit friends and family, faces that needed to be seen in person before our departure.

Delancey, Seattle - 1

To finish off our day, we met with two friends at Delancey in Ballard. Now, you should know, this was not just a random dining selection. Ever since Molly, of Orangette, shared that she and her husband were planning on opening a wood fire oven pizza place in Seattle, I have been anxious to go. It worked out quite perfectly that by the time I made my way back to Seattle eight months later, the restaurant had been open for a couple weeks. Better yet, I had friends that were just as eager to try it (and a gluten-intolerant sister who was willing to 'treat' herself to a fluffy wheat-filled pizza crust just for the occasion).

The photographs I took sadly do not include any of the food we ate. By the time we got there, the light outside was fading, and when the food arrived, I decided I wanted to put my camera aside and really focus the food and conversation before me.

Delancey, Seattle - 3

Frankly, everything was superb. I loved the salad options available: a fresh corn and tomato one and one of lively dark greens and paper-thin slivers of radish, both with successfully simple vinaigrettes. Our pizzas were of the foraged mushroom and shaved zucchini variety. The first was the special of the day, but I don't recall many details beyond that for either pizza (I haven't found their menu online to jog my memory). Actually, I know the zucchini one had delightful little salty bites of anchovies and am fairly confident the mushroom one was finished with a topping of fresh marjoram. Knowing the standard of good food that Molly and Brandon hold (this is willfully shared through Molly's blog and book; I am not a stalker!), the sauce and cheeses used on their pizzas are very purposefully and wisely chosen, making for pizzas that belong with a glass of wine.

Delancey, Seattle - 4

We four girls shared a lovely rosé throughout the meal and two desserts to top the night off. I never thought of ordering a popsicle in a sit-down restaurant before, but when our waitress told us that Molly had picked the blackberries a couple days before and we saw cute little glasses, like tall, skinny shooters, arriving at other people's tables, we decided that was just what we wanted: a blackberry yogurt popsicle and chocolate chip cookie with grey salt. Both were delicious, but the popsicle was the surprise favorite.

The photos scattered throughout this post tell a story of the atmosphere of Delancey much more than the food, but when it comes to eating, the environment is often just as important as the food in the end. The decisions made at Delancey for a bar and its subsequent stools, an open kitchen, specials on a chalkboard wall, framed photography on the walls, and contrasting light fixtures hanging on long thin black stems from the ceiling make the entire place casual, yet classy, yet entirely unpretentious.

Delancey, Seattle - 2

I might just move to Ballard when I return from the land of the kiwi bird.

1 comment:

Michelle Stiles said...

Ohhh.... thanks for the post! Sounds like it will be the venue for my next big date adventure!