You’d think that in a city like Seattle, with its Scandinavian heritage,

You’d think that in a city like Seattle, with its Scandinavian heritage, we’d have our own version of a Marcus Samuelsson, especially as Nordic cuisine becomes increasingly popular–evidenced, in part, by recently published cookbooks like North: The New Nordic Cuisine of Iceland, which won the 2015 “Judges Award” from The International Association of Culinary Professionals. Tom Douglas did recently open the Andra Loft and Bar in Belltown dedicated to aquavit, the Scandinvian spirit that’s similar to gin (but stronger and caraway- rather than juniper-forward) and Nordic bites. But with his parade of projects, we can hardly expect him to carry the torch.

Enter “Lexi” (she doesn’t use a last name) of The Old Ballard Liquor Co., which specializes in the distilling of aquavit. Determined to celebrate “the New Nordic cuisine of the Pacific Northwest,” she’s teamed up with former Bloom chef Jason Harris to create the “Tumble Swede” pop-up. (Bloom, a ramen restaurant in Ballard, closed recently and will live on as a home for pop-ups.)

Last night I went to the media preview of it at the former Bloom space, where Lexi (who lived in Scandinavia for a year and speaks Swedish) took some time to explain to us the similarities in ingredients between that region and our own–their lingonberries are akin to our huckleberries; their herring to our mackerel, their reindeer to our caribou.

Our dinner did not include caribou; rather it was focused on foraged ingredients and the sea. Opening with raw oysters from a Washington company you don’t often see on menus, Chelsea Farms’ “Chelsea Gems” were small but beautifully deep-cupped, like a shot glass from nature (due to tumbling done via buoys rather than machines). They tasted crisp with just a lingering note of brine on the tongue, and they paired well with her Askar aquavit mignonette.

Next came an arugula and watercress salad with radishes, Finn potatoes (a small, slightly sweet potato that’s not commonly used in the U.S., but is a go-to in Europe), and tiny roulades of smelt. This well-composed, bitter/sweet/savory dish was dressed lightly in a citrus horseradish vinaigrette. (At the upcoming dinner for the public, they’ll be smoking their own herring in place of smelt, to add heft and more protein to the salad.)

The main course was a round, eggy Nettle pie, similar to a quiche, served with a delicous, lemon herring roe crema on the side and a very generous pour of her Askar aquavit. (Lexi struggled to find herring roe; Uwajimaya and Ikea (!) were her sources, though she hopes to start working with Renee Erickson’s herring provider.)

Dessert was a take on a lemon bread pudding. A cardamom yeast bun was hollowed out and filled with lemon and marzipan whipped cream, topped with slices of almonds, and plated with edible rosemary flowers and a single cherry blossom. This, we learned, was the sort of dessert you’d eat at Easter in Scandinavia to celebrate the sun and warmth and to help get through the fasting of Lent. The cardamom wasn’t too heavy-handed, and nicely mellowed out the lemon. The crunch of the almond topping made it more texturally interesting than a traditional bread pudding.

The dinner opens to the public at Bloom in Ballard on April 17th, 18th, and 19th and costs $50/per person, including a sample or two of aquavit. Cocktails can be purchased for $10. For more info, visit their website. To buy tickets, click here.