This is a series of guest posts I’ll have on my site while I’m in Greece September 13-30th. My 50 Food Truck Dates will commence when I’m back! Until then, enjoy the fruits of Katie‘s Bearded Clam Dipper labor…
“My parent’s friends are an untapped dating resource.”
Said no one, ever.
So when my mother told me her friend Debbie had someone she wanted to, “hook me up with,” for, “that truck, date thing,” my emotions were mixed. What had I done with my life to make my family (and their friends) think I needed help getting a date? Do I look that desperate? Am I going to end up single, alone, and left to die with my (many) cats? [Jeanna says: Yep. As long as it's before me].
“Soooooo, what’s his number?” I ask.
According to his application, “Mark,” a 34 year-old Seattle native, spent his free time perfecting his rapping skills and eating clam dip (What to do with this information?) I pick up the phone immediately – I’m sent to voicemail.
“Heeeey Mark, it’s Katie…..Katie Grimes…..My Mom gave me your number… Debbie probably told you I was going to call…….Hopefully?”
(Did I just say, My Mom gave me your number?)
“ANYWAY do you know what a food truck is?”
(This message is not going well)
“Well, I’m guest blogging for this, well, blog….”
(Double word use = fail)
“You know what? This might be the longest message ever. Why don’t you just call me back when you get a chance and I’ll explain more? Thanks.”
(He’s never calling back)
Apparently guys who dig clam dip eff-up my game.
Three days later, to my surprise, I get a call back from MC Marky Fresh (aka Mark aka Bearded Clam Dipper)… He’s been out of town, he’s very sorry and he can’t wait to go on our date. Sweet.
We go back to our mutual corners to research our dining options and decide on NOMAD Curbside, one of the few food trucks serving the West Seattle neighborhood, (were we both live…. separately! I’m not that quick people).
So at this point I’m feeling like I got this food truck dating thing on lock-down:
I’ve got the guy, (Check!)
The truck, (Check!)
Reliable transportation to said truck, (Check!)
All that’s left to do is show up, right? Eeeeeeh! Wrong. Not that simple. What I failed to remember is that this was still a first date…..a BLIND first date, which obv makes things 6 million times more likely to go wrong. How wrong did they go?
- We couldn’t find the truck: Which is kiiiiind of an important piece of the puzzle. And yes, I did check NOMAD’s website and twitter feed, as well as numerous other mobile food blogs JUST to be sure of the location. We were there, the truck was not. [Jeanna says: Food trucks are literally the definition of a "moving target" - this is a common problem when trying to schedule dates! I feel yah home girl].
- ‘West Seattle’ is apparently food-truck code for ‘SODO’: Now I’ll be the first to admit that the word, ‘neighborhood,’ is loose by definition (leave it) but come on, claiming Marginal Way? In West Seattle? Is there some loop back that I don’t know about? For those of you from outside of the Seattle area, the two areas are different, and easily differentiated by anyone with a map + brain (Oh, snap!).
- We did dinner: Which in Seattle, means our truck choices were limited to about three options (Most trucks are lunch-only and close at 2 or 3 p.m.) So no NOMAD, and nothing near by. Now what?
Thankfully, Bearded Clam Dipper was up for improvising, and agreed to meet me at Skillet Counter – a restaurant that started as a food truck….so it totally counts.
Thirty minutes later I wander into the Seattle Center Armory, AKA: The Center House, and brace myself for the wrath of a guy, whose just been drug from “West Seattle,” to Queen Anne in rush hour, and probably starving. But instead of Mr. H-Angry (That’s ‘hungry’ and ‘angry’ COMBINED), I got a Fabio** look-alike….in plaid. Don’t be jealous. [Jeanna says: I'm jealous. Also - I can't believe it's not butter].
Bearded Clam Dipper seemed unphased by the food-truck dating debacle and we fell easily into standard, but enjoyable, first date conversation. I find out that Bearded Clam Dipper is intelligent, funny – very unserial killer like. (You never know). At 7pm on a Wednesday, we had the bar at Skillet Counter to ourselves and when no one came over to greet us we figured out that (duh) you’re supposed to order at the Counter.
Fans of Skillet’s mobile menu will be pleased to see that the Counter serves a combo of old favorites – like the BACON JAM burger, and new (equally exciting) options like MAPLE-braised PORK belly & cornmeal WAFFLES (Waffles!!). [Jeanna says: God dammit - I have been dying to try that bacon jam].
Having tried their jammy-sammys (my new favorite phrase) I decided to do something I almost never do…I ordered a VEGGIE burger. The feeling of defeat washing over me just typing this says I should have trusted my instinct and ordered something I could (at least) create a combo word out of (jammy-sammys. Again!) but I figured, If there’s anyone who knows how to do a veggie burger, it must be Skillet, right?”
Eeeeh! Wrong again.
Actually, Skillet wasn’t wrong, I was. The fact is, I don’t really want to order a veggie burger….ever. Meat is simply superior to meat substitutes in every way (you don’t see meat trying to imitate grain, do you?). No matter how delicious the stand-in, it’s still not meat. [Jeanna says: I definintely don't try to ever substitute meat with beef curtains].
Bearded Clam Dipper, who’d also sampled Skillet’s burgers in the past, ordered the fried chicken sandwich. And when our food arrived, did his best not to look at my meal sympathetically. [Jeanna says: Now THAT is a man who'd love the bearded clam oh so gently, supple-y and sympathetically? Good!? Sure - go with it].
Both burgers came served on a Macrina-baked – yummy, yeast-y, soft – brioche bun slathered in house-made aioli. A combination of faro, mushrooms and other deliciousness, my only (non-meat-related) complaint about the veggie option was that the deliciousness refused to stay in patty form, crumbling out of the bun with every bite. Bearded Clam Dipper reported his chicken burger was, “good,” and I didn’t press him in fear that my jealousy would translate itself into something unattractive (Snarling,etc). Luckely, we got through dinner with me making a scene and agreed to try the whole thing again at a real food truck, sometime in the near future.
So what was the report I gave to my mother (and Debbie, and everyone they mentioned this date to) when they (all) called the next day? Although the idea of having my mother set me up with a ‘fella’ still makes me uneasy, I thanked them for suggesting Bearded Clam Dipper, who I had fun with/enjoyed meeting.
“So how was the food,” they’d inevitably would ask.
“I ordered the veggie burger…..”
I’m obviously not the only women in this world with a preference for meat…
[Jeanna says: MEAT! MEAT! MEAT!]
**Bearded Clam Dipper asked me how I planned to describe him in this post. I told him, “Fabio-esque.” He laughed…..