The outpouring of funds and fundraising efforts to provide relief to Haiti has been omnipresent lately. This not only greatly helps the Haitian survivors and hopefully makes recovery more manageable, but it also provides those proponents of the natural goodness of man argument quite a bit of support – 10 points to them. Last night, we were able to combine giving to a cause and having a good meal at the same time.
After my tennis lesson, Jim and I met up and headed to one of our favorite brunch spots (the gingerbread waffle is amazing) – Coastal Kitchen – for dinner. Coastal Kitchen dedicated 25% of yesterday’s sales to Mercy Corps. Mercy Corps deployed a team of emergency response experts to Haiti to work to meet the immediate needs of survivors (food, clean water, and sanitation services) and to set up programs to help the economy recover. One of the programs Mercy Corps is putting in place is the cash-for-work program. Under this program, survivors will be paid a daily wage to clear debris, repair basic infrastructure and restore buildings. A “hand-up, not a hand-out,” is my kind of program.
Upon arrival, we were greeted by Steve, from Mercy Corps and thanked for coming out. This was a very nice touch and, more importantly, prevented us from bolting to the Thai place two doors down when we learned the estimated wait time was 45 minutes. (What? We were hungry!) We read information about Mercy Corps’ efforts in Haiti and after a 20 minute wait, we were seated in a cozy booth in the back room.
In addition to their traditional offerings, Coastal Kitchen is currently featuring an “Italia Adriatica” menu. I took full advantage and ordered two appetizers “Figs in a Blanket” – kalamata figs packed with goat cheese and basil then grilled while wrapped in a rolled pancetta – and Roasted Mussels. Jim zeroed in on a traditional caesar salad, burger, and of course, fries.
The flavor of the Figs in a Blanket was very nice: smoky pancetta, tangy goat cheese and sweet figs. The texture at times though, was a bit off-putting. Maybe it’s because I took a botany class in college and know way too many things about figs. My rule of thumb, which I broke tonight, is stick to Fig Newtons – the more processed the figs the better.
The Roasted Mussels on the other hand, were sheer bliss. Fat, generous but not overly large, Whidbey Island Penn Cove Mussels, surrounding a risotto of artichoke hearts and potato and topped with pecorino and citrus. This dish was light, flavorful, fresh and delish. And although it was a “small plate,” it was generous enough to be an entree.
Jim enjoyed his Americana meal and we were sufficiently satiated to skip dessert. Plus, I can’t have sugar, which is kind of a problem when making dessert choices.
There are more dining out for Haiti events happening this weekend (Dinette on Sunday), or if you feel so inclined you can host your own, as Jack and LaV did.
No matter what our circumstances, we can all give something to others whether it be cash, time, encouragement, prayers (if you are spiritually inclined), or just holding a door open for someone. What little thing can you do today to make some small difference in someone’s world?