Every now and then, we make the pilgrimage from Capitol Hill to Ballard specifically so we can eat fantastic Mexican food at La Carta De Oaxaca. I’ve been to Oaxaca, and this is the closest I’ve come to that kind of food in the states.
We ordered Birria (lamb stew), which is my favorite dish there, plus we got every plate that contained mole. Now normally I’m not a huge mole fan, but their mole is fantastic. The only problem with ordering all the mole dishes is that at some point they all start to taste the same, but it was so good that I didn’t care.
After dinner we were craving fancy drinks, so I suggested Sambar—the bar opened by Le Gourmand’s Bruce Naftaly. It’s a great, tiny bar, especially in warm weather when you can sit outside on the enclosed patio and feel like you’re in a different country. And they serve really good drinks.
I always order the Meli-Melo (vodka, cassis, grapefruit juice & an orange twist) because it’s delicious and because I’ve been trying to re-create the drink all summer, without much success. They have quite a well-stocked bar with lots of really unusual liquors and drink combinations. On our way out, we stopped and chatted with the super-friendly bartender. He told us about a bunch of drinks we should try (which I forget the names of now), but he gave us a sample of this cucumber gin. It was love at first sip.
As soon as I got home I looked up Hendrick’s Gin on the web. Not only do they produce a fantastic gin, but they have the cutest cucumber flash intro ever.
I have since scoured the liquor stores in the Seattle area—the only place I found Hendrick’s was at the Capitol Hill location, which just happened to have some in the back room because it had been special ordered by a customer. I bought the last two bottles they had left.
Now I have two reasons to visit Ballard.