Monday, December 14, 2009

Oak's Bottom, NOT Muddy Rudder. . .

Sometimes it's difficult to meet up with friends. First, you each have to go through and approve all the arrangements, all agree on a time, place, day, etc. Then, when that's all done and it's finally the right day, you find that you're driving trying to find a place you've never been to before, while it's late -- well, OK, just REALLY DARK -- and you are absolutely SURE this is not the right street, and you end up across from a gelato place instead of a pub... Then you know you're lost. Sort of.
As it turns out, I was actually very near the place, but more on that later. So, I zoom off, sure that my friend got the wrong address, and I went to the place I was sure we were to meet. I walk in, it's so cozy, and feels like an Irish pub. Soft, Irish music. Very comfortable, reasonably quiet, and a fire near a nice, medium-size round table. I sit, I'm handed a menu, I barely glance at it, and immediately call my friend. Are you guys on your way? Ah, so you got my other message, I say, where I said I was across a gelato place. Oh!, she says, you were so close! It's kitty corner from the gelato place! But Kelly, I'm at -- and here's where I get a better look at that menu, especially its letterhead -- at, at..the Muddy Rudder.
I head back to where I was before, park, walk into Oaks Bottom Public House, and am immediately bombarded with LOUD sound. Interesting how acoustics change from one place to another. Good god, I almost want to turn around immediately and go back to the Muddy Rudder, I mean, how will we ever hear each other in this place? Then I see my friends, and they're smiling at me, and at my little mistake. OK, I'm here, I'm here! I sat, ordered a nice spicy holiday lager like my friend Pam had, and we were set. They each ordered the Oaks Bottom Salad, the famous salad I'd heard about when were were all trading emails and phone calls, and all the time I'd wondered, "What is this salad they keep talking about?" After looking at the ingredients of it, however, I decided to order the vegetable salad, with chicken (grilled) added, and thank god I didn't have to decide what salad dressing to order with it. It's almost as difficult as ordering a beer in a place you've never been before, and of course it's a microbrewery and pub, so they have all their own beers, which in itself is wonderful, but you have no idea what any of them taste like -- so, comfort & joy, you can always ask for a taste! Somehow it's just not quite the same when you order a salad: "Oh, and can you bring me a taste of the dressings? Like, all of them?" Right.
We got our salads, drank our respective beverages, caught up with each other's lives, had a few laughs, and already it was time to go. I finished every single scrap of my salad, while Pam and Kelly did a good showing on theirs as well. They were happy with theirs (although Pam said she likes that salad better with walnuts. They used to serve it with walnuts, but now it's hazelnuts). I was deliriously happy with mine; I don't care for cranberries in salads and theirs had the berries in them. The salad was very tasty, and lightly covered, not drowned, in the most unobtrusive dressing. It was so nice, I didn't even notice it, except that it fit so well with all the greens and the chicken without biting back or overbearing the salad itself. Pam and Kelly's salads looked a lot like mine, that is, there is a certain darkness to them, but the ingredients are different. I'm thinking the dressing darkens the greens, and all the salads have that really tasty quality; you only have to find the one with the ingredients you like best.
And even though it was harder to hear in there than another certain pub on SE Tacoma, I might very well return to SE Bybee for a second run at one of those wonderful salads. Hell, I even found a gelato place, how bad is that?

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