Sunny Sunday Afternoon

A warm weekend (At last!), chores done, homework finished…and just enough time left to hit the dock at Smarty’s. Weston was after the elusive, rare, trophy shiner perch under the watchful eye of his trusty assistant.

But the water called, and soon Skyla, her friend Ava, and Weston all took the plunge. Brrrr…Puget Sound in May! This old man stayed warm and dry on the dock.

Then it was time to dry off, warm up and dive into the snack bag. There’s nothing quite like a warm towel wrap and hot concrete after chilly water.

As the tide started running out, the shiner bite came on and Weston started putting trophies like this one in the bucket, which became a temporary aquarium.

Halo, who doesn’t believe in catch-and-release fishing, wanted at least a little taste before the shiners swam back to freedom. And anyway, by then, Smarty’s famous beef ribs were finishing up in the smoker, and it was time to head up for dinner. Beautiful day.


From Spring Break

We’ve been so busy with shrimp and razor clams I almost forgot to post these pictures from last month. We went to California to visit the grandparents, and had a fantastic time being tourists. I’m usually not much for zoo-type settings, but we loved the Steinhart Aquarium. Strangely, it made the kids and me want to go fishing!

Another highlight was the Exploratorium, with more hands-on science exhibits than anyone could do in a month. We did our best in one very full day of zooming from exhibit to exhibit, and still managed to squeeze in a great eating experience at the San Francisco Ferry Building, which is basically the Exploratorium of food. That’s Skyla and Weston below, trading places.

One more thing, even though I’ve posted about it before: Iyasare! One of my favorite lunch spots in the world, on 4th in Berkeley. If you are ever even close to the East Bay, go there. Enjoy the sumptuous braised-pork-belly ramen noodles with miso broth, but most of all, be sure to order the shredded-burdock-root-and-prawn “kaki-age tempura” pictured below. Crispy, savory, succulent…one of my Top 10 favorite things to eat. Ever.

 


Prawnapalooza!

The search for the elusive, wily, Puget Sound spot prawn launched (and concluded) Saturday. With just a four-hour season this year, there would be no messing around.

Three kids–Weston, Skyla, and Skyla’s buddy, Ava…

Five adults (that’s Neal putting all his crossfit training to good use)…

Two boats (Smarty, Helene, John and the girls on the hunt)…

One quick selfie in the brief moments before Weston returned to his customary job, napping…

…and 640 spot prawns. Not to mention countless great meals ahead.

Back at the dock, Weston woke up just in time to haul gear. “Going shrimping,” he said, rubbing his eyes and yawing, “is really relaxing.”


Banzai Razor Clams

Skyla has been wanting to dig razor clams all spring, but due to various other commitments–mostly volleyball and basketball–none of our free time matched up with the late-winter evening tides. But Sunday there was a reasonable mid-morning tide and both kids were stoked to go. Which meant up early to hit the road and a long drive to the coast. It rained most of the way there, but we hit the beach under bluebird skies.

The digging was incredible. We walked straight down from the car and hit pay dirt immediately, with clams showing all around us. We filled our limits in 20 minutes, without ever leaving a 30-square-foot patch of sand.

It seemed almost too good. We rinsed our gear, chased Halo around on the beach a bit, and piled back into the car for the haul home. And I kind of wished it had been at least a little more challenging to give us more time on the beach. But we weren’t complaining.

To cap off Halo’s best day ever so far (car-ride napping with family, beach, ocean, etc) we stopped for a burger on the way home and Weston treated her to some ice cream.

Then the real work started. With razor clams, finding and digging is the easy part. At home, we had sand and salt to clean off the gear, clothes, car and dog, and a serious clam-cleaning session. I couldn’t help but tally it all up in my mind: Drive for three hours, dig for 20 minutes, drive for 3 hours and clean for 3 hours. Later, when I related this to our friend Kate, wondering it it was all worth it, she came back with the perfect answer: “Memories for infinity.” Not to mention all the mouth-watering meals ahead.