When the weeks become busy with life, sometimes all you need to unwind is a girls night out. Not just any girls night, though. The kind of GNO where nothing is planned and you stay out late without texting anyone else because you’re having so much fun roaming around one of your favorite neighborhoods.
If you ask me, a good old GNO is a natural remedy for anything. Thanks to my girlfriends, D and C, we had a totally fun evening, catching up and unwinding from our busy lives.
Our night plan started out with C and I wanting to go watch the new movie, Me Before You. But guess what? The closest theater that was showing it was in Bellevue. SERIOUSLY? So we chose to go out to dinner instead of fighting the Friday evening traffic across town.
When choosing a place for dinner, C asked if there was a place I’ve wanted to try for Something Savored. The answer was yes. The answer to this question will always be yes. For this go around, since we live close to Ballard, I suggested Brimmer & Heeltap. D and I have been talking about trying this place out for months and we were finally going!
Brimmer & Heeltap is a lovely gastropub featuring Northwest cuisine. For all of you reading this that don’t live in the Pacific Northwest, you must be wondering what Northwest cuisine actually is. I cannot precisely or eloquently explain what it is. To me, it’s food that features seasonal, fresh ingredients from the farm, fishing boat, or forest not too far away from the restaurant you’re eating at. More often than not, it has a well stocked bar of spirits, wine, and beer from your new favorite local vendor.
The cozy and beautiful bar at the entrance, open kitchen, and the peek-a-boo wall creates an airy space. The pop of color from the teal seat cushions against the white walls brightened up the cloudy evening we were having.
I had quickly glanced at the menu online a few days ahead to attempt to make a game plan, however, excitement overwhelmed me. I mean seriously…I could stare at this menu all day.
They even make their menus mailable. Just write an address in the space provided and they’ll pay the postage for you. I asked if I could keep the menu instead. Save them 40-something cense, right?
D ordered the TAPIOCA PUFF CHIPS with chile-lime seasoning. If you’ve ever had those colorful puffy shrimp chips, these are exactly like those. Just more grown up. Don’t be fooled by the size of the bowl. It lasted us throughout our whole meal.
The seasonal kimchi offering was RED RADISH KIMCHI. Super crunchy, spicy, and a little sweet. Look how pretty it was, too!
We each chose one dish and shared family style, as we typically do at most friends’ nights out.
My choice: DUCK FRIED RICE. I don’t eat duck very often, but if/when I do I would want it prepared like this. Though it doesn’t look like it, there was a quite a bit of duck in here. Seasoned with berbere, which is a spice mixture key to Ethiopian cuisine, (and something that I first learned about from chef Marcus Samuelsson’s memoir, Yes, Chef – highly recommended) made this dish more than just Asian-influenced. It brought a number of international cuisines into one delicious bowl in Ballard. Also, those fried shallots were quite decadent and almost sinful.
D’s other choice: SEARED SCALLOPS with snow peas, pickled cipollini (a type of onion), and poblano aioli. When I see the word “aioli” I get a little nervous because sometimes that just means a thick, flavored mayonnaise. However, when it’s done right it can compliment and even make a dish worth the momentary lapse of fear, like it did for this dish. It was a great choice on D’s part, and thank goodness both my friends are OK with sharing food!
If you don’t know, D and I bond a lot over food. We both follow a number of food blogs, restaurants’ social media accounts, and we trust people often when it comes to suggestions for the best new eateries. Most of our conversations start with, “I want to try that new fried chicken place,” or “Did you hear about Ethan Stowell’s new spot?” Probably the most asked question between us, “When are you free to try out (insert restaurant/bar name here)?” We get along really well if you ask me, so I was glad she was free for this GNO at a place we’ve been eyeing for months.
C’s choice: GRASS FED LOCAL BEEF seasoned with Chinese five-spice and sou vide. There were two beef choices this evening, and our waitress explained the preparation of this option as prepared like char siu, a Cantonese barbecued pork. This was actually really good. And will you look at that finishing salt? Picture perfect.
The real star of this dish, though? The GRILLED KING OYSTER MUSHROOMS tossed in a BONITO AIOLI. A completely different aioli than the one from the scallops, but with so much umami. When I first learned about this flavor component, I said to myself, “How do you know when you’ve tasted umami?” After you read up on it, you’ll definitely know.
If it had not been cloudy that night, we would have totally dined in their “secret garden” area. I snapped a picture as we were leaving. More reasons to come back this summer!
I absolutely loved Brimmer & Heeltap. Their innovative menu and always-light ambience made it the perfect place to catch up with friends on a Friday evening. It was also the perfect place to start an impromptu night out in Ballard.
The next time you’re not sure what to do on a weekend night out, head on over to Brimmer & Heeltap first. You might just get your next burst of inspiration
Brimmer & Heeltap | 425 NW Market St, Seattle, WA, 98107