Hot Dish

The fish next door . . . 

Queen Anne Hill already has one of the town's best butcher shops and one of its best wine shops operating in one and the same building; now A & J Meats and McCarthy & Schiering Wine Merchants have been joined by the one of the city's best fish purveyors, Wild Salmon Seafood Market. (Wild Salmon continues in operation at Fishermen's Terminal.) The new outlet at Queen Anne Avenue and McGraw Street came about in part through friendship—A&J's Rick Friar and Wild Salmon owners Paula Cassidy and Jon Speltz are neighbors—and partly through shrewd business calculation. "Our competition these days comes a lot from the one-stop big-box stores," says Cassidy. "We thought, 'Wouldn't it be nice to give our customers the same one-stop convenience?'" Sadly, Wild Salmon doesn't pay as much attention to sustainability as it does to freshness, offering endangered Chilean sea bass for sale alongside its trademark fresh salmon.

 . . . and the little oyster that could

America's voracious appetite for oysters in the 19th century nearly wiped out Northwest beds of dainty, delicate native oysters, and pulp-mill pollution just about finished the job. Recently there have been attempts to re-establish the native "Olympia," but it's been an uphill struggle. Now the Squaxin Island tribe of south Puget Sound has come up with a bright idea—tribal biologists are studying an ancient site on Eld Inlet where their ancestors shucked oysters over a period of 500 years, in hopes of learning how Olys seeded and grew in the days before pollution and competition from bigger, faster-growing cousins imported from Japan in the 1920s. They've already found that Olys seed and take up residence better on old shells of their own species than on the Japanese shells usually used by farmers. That may sound like common sense, but it's big news in the small world of oyster farming. "Finding out how Olympias evolved and survived for centuries is one of the best ways we can restore them," says tribe natural resources director Jim Peters. "The more we know about Olympias the better we can ensure that the small populations of Olympias [which still exist] will continue their comeback."

Atkins dystopia

A sad quartet of strawberries lounging lugubriously in milk. A naked, bubbling slice of cheese. Three lonely, lonely meatballs on an otherwise empty plate. Presented as "the low-carb versions" of your favorite foods, these arresting images—milk and fruit sans cereal, a breadless grilled-cheese sandwich, pasta-free spaghetti— represent the latest pro-carb push from the Wheat Foods Council (WFC), a Colorado-based organization struggling to reverse the national Atkins obsession and put starchy foods back in everyone's good graces. While its arguments tend toward the heavy-handed ("The truth is—life and health are not the same without grain foods"), the WFC is a nonprofit group that releases its information and graphics for educational use only. The "low-carb versions" campaign might simply turn a few heads—or it could signal the start of a serious carbophile backlash. Stay tuned to www.wheatfoods.org for details.

Food and/or beverage news? E-mail Hot Dish at food@seattleweekly.com.

 
comments powered by Disqus