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.
tried to go last nite. closed, sadly. they are now closing sundays instead of mondays. ballard is so far. what’s your other reason for going?
Oh, that’s a bummer! Were you trying to go to La Carta De Oaxaca or Sambar? (Those are my two reasons for going to Ballard.) If you go to La Carta De Oaxaca again make sure you arrive early, because the wait can be awful. The food is great though—make sure to try anything with mole (esp. the Mole Negro Oaxaqueno with chicken or the Tamale de Mole Negro with chicken) and the Entomatadas (my new favorite dish).
that was la carta that changed its close day.
Good to know… Thanks!
Just read your blog for the first time and your Hendricks gin post caught my eye–it’s my favorite, too. The next time you’re in Fremont, stop by the 35th Street Bistro. Not only is their food great (especially since it sounds like you’re a steak frites fan–they have great frites!), but they do a killer Cucumber Martini that’s Hendricks gin muddles with English cucumber. Really yummy!
Thanks for the tip! A friend and I were just lamenting the lack of places serving Hendrick’s. And yes, you’ve got my number… I love steak frites. I will definitely check out the 35th Street Bistro next time I’m in Fremont!
Hendricks gin changed my life. San Francisco’s Anchor Steam Brewing Company makes a gin that’s similarly outstanding, Junipero.
Wow Davey, that’s a bold statement. I would love to know how it changed your life!
Thanks for the tip on Junipero… I’ll look for it in the stores. Have you tried Plymouth Gin? That’s another favorite of mine for everyday type Gin. Um, not that I drink it everyday… hic.