On Eastlake, in Eastlake (in the old Sitka & Spruce and then Nettletown location), Blind Pig Bistro is one of Seattle’s hottest new restaurants. It’s got a great name (slang for a lower-end speakeasy), an intimate atmosphere, an intriguing menu board, and a superstar teaming of chefs Charles Walpole and Matt Fortner–both formerly of Stowell family fame.
All eyes are on the menu board, choosing dishes or figuring out what’s in them. I love the concept, with three and five-course tasting menus available, plus half-portions of many plates providing potential for variety. Walpole and Fortner serve up wonderful food featuring bold flavors, lots of acid, and great ingredient combinations. One such dish is something I don’t see often in non-Asian restaurants: cuttlefish. I’m not sure most Americans would gravitate toward the chewy, octopus-like texture of cuttlefish, but I encourage a try, especially as prepared here, with chorizo, escarole, grapefruit, and mint.
So what does Blind Pig’s cuttlefish teach us about sex?
It’s all about the cuddle–and embracing the other.
At Blind Pig, sometimes ingredients are a natural fit, like beef (flat-iron steak) and potato (confit), whereas other combinations are somewhat surprising, as in the cuttlefish dish. Either way, the flavors ultimately squeeze together, snuggling close and caressing each other, feeling good.
It’s the same with sex.
On the college lecture circuit, I talk about sexual arousal and refractory periods, which leads to discussion about what happens after orgasm. When I ask the students about men, they scream “sleep.” Regarding women, I expect the audience to shout “more orgasms,” but students occasionally yell “cuddling.”
Some say that women prefer the afterplay of cuddling to sex itself, while men see cuddling as mere foreplay. Humans have natural need for touch. While American women can get their touch needs met with each other (there’s less taboo about holding hands in public, for example), homophobia is more strongly at play for men. As a result, many men are touch-deprived, and quickly equate touch with sex. (“She touched me…she must want me.”) But I believe that as much as sex can be spectacular, a lot of men like the cuddling afterward, even if they don’t admit it.
And even if they don’t know how to do it. Luckily, we all can learn. In cuddling, we feel a connection to the other person. Embracing, nuzzling, and hugging–all reduce stress and make us feel happy. As happy as a pig in mud…or me in Blind Pig Bistro.
First published in Seattle Weekly’s Voracious on February 16, 2012.
And…here’s more from the meal:
The left side of the menu board.
The right side of the menu board.
Hamachi crudo with avocado, chilies, and apple. (Half-portion shown.) Brilliant knifework, incredible flavor combination. Spicy and yet soothing.
Manila clams with bacon and salsa verde. You’ll want to order a side of bread for all the salsa at the bottom of the bowl. Nice-sized clams, perfectly cooked.
Chioggia beets with blood orange, fennel, horseradish, and sorrel. (Half-portion shown.) Nice bite to this dish.
Sturgeon with Brussels sprouts, anchovy, pine nuts, and currants. (Half-portion shown.) Favorite dish of the night. Sturgeon is dry at many other locations; here, it was moist, slightly oily, and perfect. All the ingredients played together well.
Cuttlefish with chorizo, escarole, grapefruit, and mint. Intriguing, but actually my least favorite dish of the night. The chorizo overpowered the rest of the ingredients, and the dish could have used more seasoning.
Moulard duck with rice beans, red cabbage, and cherry tapenade. (Half-portion shown.) Another winning dish. (Light was getting bad, so used a different camera with a flash.)
Flat-iron steak with charred eggplant, black trumpet mushrooms, and potato confit. (Half-portion shown.) Solid dish, with the eggplant the highlight. It’s smeared on the plate. I wonder if I can order a plateful? (At this point, darkness defeated both of my cameras.)
Dessert was a chocolate mousse (oh, there was another name) with black pepper, sea salt, and olive oil. A decadent, delicious way to end a great dinner…