Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Very Happy Hour at Cocotte: Enjoying the Guilty Pleasures of Stumptown

(Cookware image © Whoever put it on Wikipedia; Hooker image © Princesse Tam Tam)

"Cocotte, Jack. It's a cooking vessel, not just a French hooker, and in this case, it's a new feed bag that opened in Gourmet Gulch. Remember, we went there with South Dakota Slim and his missus back when what we call winter but passes for spring everywhere else was in full bore. Honestly, Jack, I'm going to have to get you some of that Ginko biloba..." "There's nothing wrong with my memory, Dolly-girl. Ginkoales Ginkoaceae Ginko biloba. Monospecific to order, so there. Anyhoo, how did you get all these whatzitmeans for Cocotte?" "Skimming through my Larousse, of course. Jack, what do I always tell you? An idle brain is the devil's playground..." "OK, Dolly-girl, knock it off with the one-liners (© Stan Freberg, History of the United States, Jefferson speaking to Franklin). What have you and Dixie got up the sleeves of your Kimmielees (©Tahari by ASL)?"

"Well, you know that Dixie and Delancy have been working their fingers to the quick getting the new Maison Devereaux in shape, and frankly, Jack, they could just use a good sit-me-down-pour-a-drink-down-my-hatch-and-feed-me-some-good-food. So I put on my thinking cap and figured we ought to do the happy hour at Cocotte. Remember, we were there a couple weeks ago." "Yes, I remember--I remember everything. Have you seen the blower? I got a call to make..." "Anyway, we're meeting them up there just about the time old mister Sol hits the yardarm." "I'm there."

Five o'clock found us looking at Stumptown outside from inside a bistro that pretty much screams "Hey, welcome to Paris"...well, no, not really. No cigarette smoke. English spoken. Table settings different. But it could scream "Hey, I'm close enough for Stumptown and what the hell, if you want to be in Paris, go to Paris." The Devereaux duo arrived. Being that I make my living checking facts and catching people in lies, I demanded to see their fingers. Dolly-girl gave me a quick boot with her Dansko (® Dansko) and I turned my "Looks like regular unworn fingers to me" to a "mumph, Hey you two!" We settled in, Missy was by with some whaddayas--drinking and eating--and we gave them the once over three or four times. Gads there were hard choices to be made. The full-sizes sounded great--and they lived up to their buzz the last time we were there--but we were looking for the lighter side. The happy hour menu was it.

One thing that didn't take long was to settle on what was gonna head down my gullet. "Does that tap jockey know how to mix up a tub-o-gin?" "You'd better believe it." "Drown four." He did and Missy was right. "Best martini I've had since Monday," but really, it was the best one I've had in a long time. Delancy had an I-can't-remember (oh, jeesh, I can hear Dolly-girl with the Ginko biloba again). Our dolls settled on a vin blanc for Dolly-girl and a Sazerac for Dixie. "It's America's oldest cocktail, you know, and it's just what this Florida girl needs to put the quick back in my fingers!" I kicked Dolly-girl under the table and opened my trap, but caught her eye-balling me so "What's with the exaggeration?" turned into "Here's mud in your eye!"

The happy hour menu had a good selection of what Dolly-girl likes to call 'small plates' I suppose because they come on small plates. Dolly-girl went for a mermaid's splash and I'll tell you, it put a smile on all our faces 'cause she saw fit to share. Dixie and Delancy ordered up a trio of Asparagus Velouté, cowfeed, and an order of Murphies, roasted and served in what looked to me like red mayo, but Dixie said was a sauce rouille. I looked it up later. It means red mayo. I ordered up a bowl of clams, and I'm not talking money here. These babies were steamed in wine and garlic and some whatyacall Fines Herbs that did their job, I guess, cause they sure tasted fine. And, one of those Hop Lavas washed them down in Fines Style, too. At five clams a pop for the small plates, and a good price on the drinks, there wasn't any bad news when Missy dropped the bomb. We walked out of there a lot happier than the clams that didn't.

"See, Jack, Cocotte is a lot more than you realize." "I'm with you there, Dolly-girl. I suspect this is one French hooker that we'll be seeing a lot of..."

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