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2017 Food Trend: Snacking on Sardines

Sardines have had a bad (and undeserved!) rap for several decades, but 2017 could be the comeback year for this mild, oily, delicious, and protein-rich fish.

If you’re like me, you may have associated sardines with dusty, outdated packages in the corner of the grocery store you usually avoid. Or maybe you confused them with anchovies, the extremely salty and fishy little flavor grenades that are quick to ruin a good pizza. (In my opinion.)

The next time you see sardines on a menu, give them a try. They’re a great topper to toast and are a fantastic alternative to tuna. Here are four spots to test your sardine taste buds in Seattle.

The Whale Wins. Move over, Avocado Toast! Sardine Toast is the new toast treat in town. You can head to this Ballard favorite during Happy Hour for their popular Martiz Sardines on toast with curried tomato mayo and shaved fennel. Pair this umami bomb with a glass of Chardonnay for the perfect afternoon treat.

JarrBar. In 2014, Bryan Jarr traveled through Portugal and Northern Spain, researching traditional ways of preserving seafood. According to JarrBar’s website, “Bryan was inspired by the intimate neighborhood bars found in almost every city and town. Delectable anchovies and a plate of ham along with a cold beer made a great meal any time of the day. Thus, JarrBar was born.”

JarrBar is the best spot in Seattle for snacking on cured seafood and meats, along with great wine, beer and cocktails. The entire premise is based on snacking, so get a tin of Matiz Sardines, some Marcona almonds and a nice, cool glass of Estrella Galicia to feel like you’re relaxing in Spain.

The Walrus and the Carpenter. Sardines are excellent when grilled, and Ballard standby The Walrus and the Carpenter highlights this delicious fact in their dish of grilled sardines, walnuts, parsley, and shallots. Pair this savory dish with the tart Cranberry Beret, a delicious cocktail made with tequila, lime, cranberry juice, rosemary, and soda.

The Harvest Vine. This small Basque restaurant calls itself a kitchen “where collaboration meets craft and strangers become friends.” Plenty of places may make such a claim, but I’ve found it to be actually true at The Harvest Vine. The kitchen isn’t just open, it’s right in the center of the restaurant, giving you a chance to truly interact with the chefs. The menu is constantly changing, so watch for a sardine dish and then make a reservation.