Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Mead Me in the Marketplace

White Horse Trading Co., The Waterfront

There's a phenomenal SNL skit of yesteryear set in the Middle Ages wherein a still funny and less dramatically inclined Bill Murry exclaims with his left arm hanging off: " I had too much Mead and darted out in front of an Ox me!" Up until this week, when I stumbled upon the rather unassuming White Horse Trading Co while schlepping home bags packed to the brim with delicious marketplace food stuffs, this yelp was my sole association with the notorious libation of choice in our darkest of ages.

White Horse, nestled away in Post Alley on the Waterfront is as easy to miss as a poorly marked freeway offramp with its modest hanging wood sign boasting simply, and gloriously, "Books, Ale, Wine". Books. Ale. Wine. Hmmmmm....yeah, I think I'll give it a chance.

The place looks like the study that Alice falls down through in the rabbit hole: antique polished wood paneled walls adorned with oil burning lamps, dusty tomes of classic lit, and tattered things of nautical descent. All of this dim study aesthetic is brightened by the front wall of french doors and large paneled glass from floor to ceiling. Dark in the back, light up front. The spot itself is not much bigger than a studio apartment and about as cramped, though for White Horse it lends it the sort of comforting quality that one finds from an old photograph or a pair of broken in leather shoes. Belly up to the L-shaped creaky wooden bar space, or elect, as I did, for a wrinkly red leather sitting chair by a lamp to curl up in with a book (bring your own though, for after browing WH's selection I was disappointed to see NO Proust!!!)

The vibe was as if David Lynch had dreams rather than nightmares and owned a boat: serene yet surreal, dark and cozy, yet with a sense of pending shadyness. A total mishmosh of heads as usual in this hood: investment banker types, market drunks, hipsters, and me. I must say that my bike, with its uber modern quasi hipsterness looked a tad silly juxtapozed against the Tom Waitsian ruggedness of this spot but hey Seattle, DEAL WITH IT.

To drink? Simplicity is the mantra here. Three selections of artisan ales (all of english origin and all from a single maker), two wines (one red, one white but solid and ambitious selections- on my trip a barbera and a sancerre were featured), and, of course, the MEAD. What the fuck is Mead, anyway? Well, essentially its a honey beer and tastes as such I discovered after bravely turning down my beloved Sammy Smith's Oatmeal Stout for a pint of the sticky, sweet, just-begging-to- wreck-me-on-my-bike-on-the-way-home, goodness. I choked it down but it was not for me frankly, HOWEVER I can now add that notch to my belt and I didnt even need to get an arm torn off to do it!

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