It was a rainy gray Tuesday, just about a month ago. One of those wet, sad, gloomy days that makes you feel like somebody died — and in fact, on that day, somebody had, sort of. We had all just been to the funeral of an old friend and co-worker. It was a lovely service, there was a waterfall in the background and it was a peaceful, reassuring setting. There were some good memories shared in that room. Laughter echoed through the tears. But when it came to an end, as the saying goes, we were left with that feeling. Life must go on.
Since the service was all the way out in Marin, and we were moments away from the Buckeye, we headed out for a lunch together. A little group food therapy. There is something uniquely comforting about the ritual of eating after a funeral. It seems to somehow be the life-affirming act most of us gravitate to immediately after that final goodbye. Like awaking from a bad dream, it brings living back home to the people affected by trauma in a very tangible way. It tells us we are still alive. It allows us to get back to the business of living.
Since our Partner in Food Crimes lives in Sausalito, he called ahead and got us a booth in the bar, and fetched his lovely wife and son to join us. Eating in the bar is generally his preferred way to best enjoy the atmosphere of most places where that is an option and the Buckeye was no exception. Our waiter seated us promptly and we wasted no time ordering a round of drinks. A toast seemed appropriate.
My BH had the Purple Rain, one of the house specialty cocktails. This one is a delightful concoction of Lemon-infused vodka with white cranberry and lime juices. Topped off with a dash of Creme de Violette and an orange twist, it is a deliciously subtle drink, sweet with a hint of lavender, the mild savory floral floating nicely around in the lemony vodka. We all raised our glasses to our fallen comrade. Sláinte. L’chaim. Cheers.
The dish itself consists of oysters still in their shells, topped with a broiled cheese mixture. We ordered two full platters of these lovely dairy-bathed crustaceons and ate them all. Take that you chefs who scoff at the wisdom of mixing seafood and cheese!
For my meal, I ordered the Lemon Crusted Salmon. It was billed as having brusssel sprouts shattered over bacon and a mustard and tomato sauce. This dish was just outstanding. The fish itself had a magnificent baked on crust and was laid out beautifully over a bed of delicious bacony-mustard greens, the sprouts providing a lovely extra crush of savory texture. The BH enjoyed his steaming bowl of Linguini with Clams, showered as it was in andouille, and bathed in a savory pinot grigio and garlic sauce. It was buttery, with the wine providing a variation on the classic Italian take on the dish he was used to. He found it absolutely delicious.
PFC’s wife had a gorgeous seafood salad, which looked scrumptious, but which I didn’t sample. PFC himself ordered the pulled pork sandwich without the bread, and it was also appetizing. I did taste the meat, and it was spicy with a hint of sweet, smoky flavoring wafting throughout. Well done.
For dessert, our PFC’s lovely wife ordered a simple sundae. The other three of us shared a gorgeous Coconut Cake over a delectable caramel sauce, and a version of pineapple upside down cake on a cornmeal-cake base, topped with vanilla bean ice cream. Perfection.
As we sipped our coffees, the delirium of the after-effects of a good meal began to replace the gloom of an otherwise difficult day. Food as ritual triumphs again.
I say check it out, and Bon Appetit.
15 Shoreline Highway
Mill Valley, CA 94941-3608
Dining time: leisurely
Table size: spacious
Noise level: TWO BELLS (not much problem hearing, and it was a bar. Well cushioned sound)