Friday, September 16, 2016

Clams and mussels

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Petaluma, September 15, 2016—

I CANNOT EAT crustacea, I'm sorry to have to tell you; they make me nauseous. It may be that I cannot eat any arthropods — I haven't really investigated. Crustacea, you know, are six-legged creatures with exoskeletons; those common to our diet are crabs, lobsters, crayfish, shrimp, and prawns.

But oh boy can I eat bivalves. They have no legs, and their blood, if they have any, is not based on copper. In season they make me very happy.

So when we agreed to meet a couple of friends in a central location, and they chose this place new to us in Petaluma — a town I thought of as drab when I was a boy seventy years ago, but which is now turning from eggs-and-chickens to tourism for its bread and butter — I looked the place up on the internet, and was pleased to see clams and mussels on the menu.

We began with a Caesar salad. It was okay but not marvelous. The romaine was chopped; the dressing involved egg yolk; there was only one anchovy and it a white Spanish boqueron, not a nice grey-pink salted one. But it was okay.

Then I moved on to the bivalves. They came in a rich saffron broth, with generous slices of toasted bread to soak up the juices. Most of the protein had moved out of the shells, but there all those delicious naked little creatures were swimming in the sauce, fresh and meaty. It was all pretty delicious. I'm sorry I didn't photograph the dish when it was set before me, but I forgot. Here are the empty shells on their plate, and below I'll set the dish as it looked under deconstruction.

Dessert: Rather a rich, delicious bread pudding.

Pinot grigio

Graffiti, 101 Second Street, Petaluma, California; 707-765-4567

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RESTAURANTS VISITED, with information and rating:  2016   2015

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