May 14, 2012

More spring cleaning finds — menus

Filed under: Uncategorized — theresaurus @ 11:53 pm

Ivar’s Acres of Clams, iconic Seattle restaurant. From three in the afternoon the Clam Digger Lounge has not only a Happy Hour, they call call it The Happiest Hour. When Sam and I visit in the summer we stop in before catching the water taxi across the bay to Alki. A wonderful bargain, everything half-price. The regular dinning room is always filled with tourists and it’s too expensive, I’ll take the lounge. But for kids the highlight of a meal there is the Diver Dan mask they give you that has the children’s menu on the back. They offer a tuna sandwich, clam chowder, fish & chips, a cheese sandwich, burger, chicken strips, and grilled salmon. I dislike these sorts of menus. Adult portions are plenty big enough to share, and eating out is a special occasion, they should try new things. I clearly remember going to Ray’s Boathouse with my parents and grandparents on my father’s side when our family first moved to the Pacific Northwest when I was six. Scallops in pretty white and orange shells! I’d never seen anything like it.

The bar menu is cute: “Rules of Conduct: We get very busy in the Clam Digger Lounge. Guests come from around the world to sample our unique libations and fabulous Happy Hour food. If we don’t get to you right away, keep clam. If your waitperson seems stressed out or in a hurry, it is because they are. We suggest giving your waitperson a $10.00 bill up front. This way they will know to pay more attention to you than they might otherwise. If you have a ferry to catch, do not wait until the last minute to order food, drinks, or ask for your bill. Your need to catch the next boat is, and will always be, superceded by our desire to have you miss the boat and stay another hour eating and drinking. Thank you and remember to KEEP CLAM!”

Sam and I asked our waitperson if he wasn’t going to be nice to us unless we slip him a $10.00 bill, and he said we were the only customers he knew of that actually read that part of the menu and noticed the joke. Selections of menu items:  Traditional Fried Calamari (“Just a fancy way of saying fried squid”); Ivar’s Fish Taco; Fish & Chips (“If you need an explanation on this, you need to leave. Now.”; Spicy Seagull Wings; Fresh Scallops and Tiger Prawns (“Honestly, if it weren’t for our upper crust Bainbridge Island customers complaining about the lack of ‘healthy choices’ on our menu, we would never serve this.”; Southwest Salmon Caesar; Steamed Penn Cove Mussels (“Classically prepared with essence of Puget Sound, lemon, garlic and butter”); Oyster Shooters; Ivar’s Clam Chowder. And a warning: “Don’t even think of asking for Happy Hour food to go!” On the last page, lyrics from a Pacific Northwest 19-century folk song that Ivar made his restaurant’s theme song: “No longer a slave to ambition, I laugh at the world and its shams, as I think of my happy condition — surrounded by Acres of Clams.”

The Old Settler’s Song:

I’ve traveled all over this country
Prospecting and digging for gold;
I’ve tunneled, hydraulicked, and cradled,
And I have been frequently sold

For one who gained riches by mining,
Perceiving that hundreds grew poor,
I made up my mind to try farming,
The only pursuit that was sure

So rolling my grub in my blanket,
I left all my tools on the ground
And started one morning to shank it
For country they call Puget Sound

Arriving flat broke in midwinter,
I found the land shrouded in fog
And covered all over with timber
Thick as the hair on a dog

When I looked on the prospects so gloomy
The tears trickled over my face,
And I thought that my travels had brought me
To the end of the jumping-off place!

I staked me a claim in the forest,
And sat myself down to hard toil;
For six years I chopped and I labored
And never got down to the soil

I tried to get out of the country,
But poverty forced me to stay
Until I became an old settler
Then nothing could drive me away

And now that I’m used to the climate,
I think that if a man ever found
A place to live easy and happy,
That Eden is on Puget Sound!

No longer a slave to ambition,
I laugh at the world and its shams
As I think of my happy condition
Surrounded by acres of clams


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