It was my birthday a week and half ago. I went back the Midwest for a wedding the weekend of my birthday and — because Chris is great — we did a little early celebrating the weekend before with a trip to Jacqueline, the SE seafood spot that has been hanging out at the top of recommended restaurant lists for the past few years. We skirted in just before happy hour ended to catch the $1 oysters, before putting in an order for the tasting menu and letting things come together from there.
I am forever impressed with the food scene in Portland for so many reasons, but the thing that gets me over and over and over again is just how fucking delightful and surprising a place can be, whether it’s my first time visiting or 100th. Jacqueline has sea-faring art everywhere, a move that could be regarded as tacky for a seafood restaurant, but from the portrait of Bill Murray in Life Aquatic to the minimalist mounted white-fish, I was just delighted. Chris and I sat at the counter looking back into the kitchen pasted a fish-print-covered tapestry, and spent much of our dinner discussing with great care what fish we might be if we were fish.
Beyond the restaurant itself hitting the exact right note in terms of aesthetic, the tasting menu blew me away. Now, as I write this, I am struggling to find words to describe it because quite frankly, all I have to say is fuckkkkkkkkkkk. At $55, Jacqueline’s tasting menu is totally reasonable for its 10 or so courses of incredible raw dishes, charred octopus, the often-mentioned decadent Dungeness Crab toast, and so many more. You should go there and you should eat the food that they make. I wish I could lay my head down and take a nap on that Dungeness Crab toast. I would eat it every day if I didn’t think that it would shorten my life span.
Actually, you know what, life is short, eat more crab toast.
Likelihood that I’ll Exchange My Pillow for Crab Toast: 99.99%
How Much More Charred Octopus I Want: Some for every day for the rest of my life
What Kind of Fish I’d Be if I Were a Fish: I’m not entirely certain, but I’d definitely be a silly one.