Photo by Rina Jordan
Pearl is what most any grungy or grunge-loving Seattleite would imagine an Eastside restaurant to be: a swanky, people-watching place that smacks of a nightclub. The bar scene can be boisterous, full of beautiful Bellevueites, but this happens to be a restaurant that puts out some pretty good food.
Photo by Rina Jordan
While there are many options for seating areas, including tables ensconced by sensual black curtains, I recommend the chef's table where you can be close to the cooking action. You'll likely see servers picking up orders of Pearl's signature dish: sablefish in honey-miso marinade, Dungeness crab dumplings, and namya broth. Or maybe plates of Wagyu sirloin with blue cheese fritters and Yukon gold potatoes.
When you're eating at a place named Pearl and partaking in all the opulence, it makes sense to order a plate of oysters. Paired here with a champagne mignonette, they look dazzling, much like most of the diners enjoying them. And as oysters tend to be in this part of the world, they're simply delicious, each slurp a deep drink of an exotic ocean.
So what does Pearl's plate of oysters teach us about sex?
It's all about aphrodisiacal qualities, and related pearls of pleasure.
(Okay, this one was obvious. But, really, how could I not go there?)
Last week I was in Tofino, British Columbia, and had the fortune of visiting an oyster farm at Lemmens Inlet in Clayoquot Sound. A wise, old oysterman shucked oysters plucked fresh from the pristine waters, extolling all the benefits of the curious bivalve. He ended his sermon with a wink as he talked about the oyster being an aphrodisiac.
I'm often asked what foods are aphrodisiacs. Rather than focus on chemical qualities (like chocolate's phenylethylamine), I think about the arousing aspect of the physical action of eating certain foods. Typically this involves the hands: detaching a leaf from a steamed artichoke (and scraping your teeth along its surface), scooping up Ethiopian food with injera bread (and the practice of gursha--hand-feeding your partner), pulling apart a roasted chicken and devouring it without silverware. Similarly, eating an oyster involves taking hold of the half-shell, coaxing the meat to your mouth, and slurping all its juices. Mmm.
Given the sensual nature of oysters, it's not surprising that the word "pearl" makes its way into the lexicon of sexual play:
Like oysters at Pearl, there are plenty of potential pearls of pleasure well worth pursuing.