Salmon is our deity, right? We live for it, it dies for us, and so on. At the Pike Place Market, they throw salmon around like baseballs. But where can you actually get a taste of salmon? At Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, you can buy go-cups of crab and shrimp cocktails, but in our town, the best you can do is a go-cup of chowder. (And piroshky, I know.)
However, there’s now an alternative. The venerable Made In Washington store at the heart of the Market has just put itself through a remodel, revamping, and rebranding. Some years back, MIW became part of SeaBear, and now the star of the renovation is SeaBear Wild Salmon: MIW has added cold case seafood product alongside their signature Smokehouse Tasting Flight – direct from the company’s smokehouse in Anacortes.
SeaBear got its start as a fisherman’s smokehouse, and over the years has grown substantially; it employs 100 people in Anacortes, and bought out a high-end smoked-salmon label, Gerard & Dominique a few years ago. They also took over the Made In Washington stores (originally in the Market, now five locations) founded in 1984 by Gillian and Jack Matthews.
For five bucks, you can treat yourself to a “flight” of smoked seafood, starting with the cold-smoked, European-style salmon (“Nova lox”) that G&D began offering when Gerard Parrat and Dominique Place created the company in 1990. Next up is the better-known “warm smoked” salmon from SeaBear; a smoked halibut mousse; a smoked scallop; and finally a SeaBear Smokehouse Slider (potato roll, Walla Walla sweet onion mustard, smoked salmon, topped with Mama Lil’s pickles). And then, of course, you decide to buy a pouch of whichever one you liked best. Walk away? That’s okay, too, but I’ll bet you don’t.
Oh, that glass of red wine: it’s a pinot noir (the variety that does the best job of matching up with salmon) from Chateau Ste. Michelle called “Fringes.” Why? Because the grapes grow on the fringes of the Columbia Valley, specifically the Columbia River Gorge. A limited release, well worth seeking out.