Shellfish — mussels, clams, oysters, the elusive geoduck — are local, sustainable and, most importantly, delicious. For the first time ever, Dine Around Seattle puts on Shellfish Showcase, where nearly 40 local restaurants create a special menu featuring shellfish. While we often want to eat seafood on patios in the sunshine, now’s the best time for shellfish, who are happiest (and best for consumption) in cold waters. It's the perfect time of the year for oysters on the half shell from local farms like Hama Hama and Penn Cove, an experience Capitol Hill’s Coastal Kitchen touts as “like French-kissing a mermaid!” Other options include baked oysters at Ballard Annex Oyster House, roasted with tomato compote, caramelized fennel and goat cheese. Head to Madison Park’s Luc for Moroccan spiced geoduck, or try Turkish-style clams and mussels at Greenwood’s The Olive and Grape. Whatever you do, don’t leave a drop of broth — soak it up with bread or slurp it up with a spoon.
If you go: Shellfish Showcase, around Seattle, Jan. 7-25 (Sundays to Thursdays)
After 15 years of faithful reading and hero worship, I finally saw David Sedaris last year and it was even better than anticipated. For the second year, Sedaris returns to Seattle for a week of workshop readings — this time in anticipation of his next essay collection Calypso (due out June 2018) — in the Broadway Performance Hall. Sedaris sells out Benaroya every time he comes but this experience, where Sedaris is actively looking for feedback from a small audience, is really special. He signs books before and after the show, takes questions at the end of the reading and, in typical Sedaris style, seems to have all the time in the world. Some shows are already sold out so buy a ticket now.
If you go: David Sedaris, Broadway Performance Hall, Jan. 5-11 ($50)
Boozy Hot Chocolate Bar
Pike Place Market's bean-to-bar chocolate maker Indi Chocolate teams up with Capitol Hill’s OOLA Distillery for a Sunday afternoon dream event: a boozy hot chocolate bar. Learn about Indi’s products and practices with a tour of the factory (complete with tasting) and then make the boozy hot chocolate of your dreams. Start with rich, decadent Indi hot chocolate, spike it with OOLA’s Chili Pepper Vodka or Bourbon Whiskey and then top it with whipped cream, toasted marshmallows, sprinkles and more. Enjoy complimentary mini doughnuts from the Daily Dozen too.
If you go: Boozy Hot Chocolate Bar, Indi Chocolate, Jan. 7 ($25)
“Can eating bugs save the world?” asks the documentary Bugs, showing this week at the Northwest Film Forum. For Western foodies and environmentalists alike, the time to explore the world of bugs is here. This film follows a team of “food adventurers” from the Nordic Food Lab as they travel the globe, foraging, preparing and eating a sampling of the 1,900 species of edible bugs out there. Filmmaker Andreas Johnsen captures the exciting and innovative gastronomic preparations of insects, looks at the benefit of bugs as protein and asks questions about the long-term environmental and cultural impacts of industrially-produced bugs. I only saw the trailer (below), and I’m ready to try a termite taco.
If you go: Bugs, Northwest Film Forum, Jan. 3-7 ($12)
Museums on Us
On the first full weekend of every month, Bank of America cardholders get into museums across the country for free. Here in the Puget Sound, this includes SAM, the Northwest African American Museum, Wing Luke, Bellevue Arts Museum, and Tacoma Art Museum. This is a great excuse to head to SAM; while the Andrew Wyeth special exhibition (closing Jan. 15) is not included, it is worth the extra money to see 110 of Wyeth’s paintings. They're moving and breathtakingly detailed, and each encapsulates a place, era and person and Wyeth’s unique relationship to them. Over at the Bellevue Arts Museum check out Seattle-based, Pakistan-born artist Humaira Abid’s exhibit Searching for Home, which feature miniature sculptures and paintings that revolve around the experience of refugees.
If you go: Museums on Us, Museums around town, Jan 6-7 (Free)