The Ol’ Slant ‘n’ Slide at Duke’s
Sometimes it’s fun to mess things up a bit. To push the boundaries of what’s considered “mainstream” or even “normal.” To boldly sip (and nosh) where no foodie has gone before….
O.K. – perhaps I’m exaggerating a bit here. But Duke’s Chowder House is adding a little fun to its warm-season Happy Hour menu. (Your Hedonista attended a media tasting at the South Lake Union locale a couple of weeks ago.) Think of it as the ol’ slant ‘n’ slide, where you can go topless – er, I mean where your wild Alaskan salmon slider can go topless. (Ahem!)
What exactly are the menu additions, you ask? The answer: “Seven Slanted High Balls and Seven Savory Sliders.” (Good thing I’m not the only one with an appreciation of alliteration, eh?)
First, the sliders, ranging from the high $2 to high $3 range, are both typical and atypical in selection – from the usual (tasty) cheeseburger made with grass fed beef and Tillamook extra sharp white cheddar slider to those far more interesting, those that boldly push the boundaries of what a slider is. For, to Duke, a slider is so much more than a small portion of meat wedged between two tiny buns. Rather -
“A Slider is mostly a small sandwich served in a bun. Sometimes called “mouth amusements” from the French term, amuse bouche. In reality, a Slider is anything with great flavor that slides down the gullet with grace and dignity.“
Gotta love Duke for his spunk, not to mention his phrasing. However, technically a slider is not an amuse bouche – which is indeed literally a “mouth amuser” – but is also actually a small hors d’oeuvre small enough to be consumed in a single bite/sip. The amuse bouche is never available for order by patrons on any menu but is, rather, a selection made by the whim of a given chef.
(As for the term “slider” itself, a good article is one by Robert Sietsema on Slashfood.com, entitled “The Short, Tangled History of the Slider.”)
Now that we’ve cleared that up, I have to make mention of a few of the slider-esque noshies now at Duke’s. The Goat Cheese & Pesto Slider is a nice vegetarian option that’s served on a mini flour tortilla. The Topless Wild Alaska Salmon Slider is coho salmon served on hearty molasses bread with sliced tomatoes and basil pesto. The Crispy Cod Slider is cod from the Bering Sea breaded in Panko and Mac & Jack’s beer and Duke’s signature tartar sauce. Another highlight was their Albacore Tuna Wasabi Slider in sesame seeds and served on one of those mini buns.
The cocktails, which all range in the $4 ‘n’ change to $6 ‘n’ change range, are each served in “a happy little slanted glass” (fun, but can be confusing after you’ve had a couple, if you get my drift). The drinks include Duke’s “Bloody Bloody Mary” (two jumbo prawns and a lime wedge, a salted rim, and house-infused Pinnacle vodka mixed with Demitri’s All-Natural Bloody Mary Seasoning); Mai Tai (Mount Gay Eclipse rum and Meyer’s Dark rum, Cointreau, limes, pineapple and orange juices); Bull Whipped (Red Bull and soda with Pinnacle Whipped vodka, Torani cherry lime syrup); The Official Navel (OJ with Peach Schnapps and Gordon’s gin); Katy’s Naughty Lemonade (lemonade with Smirnoff Raspberry, cranberry juice and Sierra Mist); and Lulu’s Margarita (El Jimado Reposado Tequila, sweet ‘n’ sour, Gran Marnier, and lime, OJ and cranberry juices).
But my fav culinary combo by far was their “All The Rootie” beverage made with root beer, Early Times Bourbon and local Tillen farms cherry juice. Not only does it taste like a cherry root beer, I was told by Duke Moscrip himself that it pairs perfectly with his signature “Award Winning” Clam Chowder.
Of course, I had to try it.
And Duke was absolutely right – pair perfectly it did – the richness of the chowder completely removed the taste of the alcohol, making this a deliciously dangerous duo (how’s THAT for alliteration). It was by far my highlight of the evenings libations and vittles.
So, in case you’re hankering for a real happy hour challenge – drinking your summertime fill without tipping/spilling the glass – the ol’ slant ‘n’ slide is this warmer season’s Happy Hour schitck at Duke’s, dear hedonists.