The words "You shouldn't eat here—the food's sort of dreadful" were barely out of my mouth when I saw something on the menu that I had to order. It wasn't a matter so much of wanting it; in fact, rather the opposite. It was for research, for posterity, and for you, people. I would do almost anything for you—including eat a Scotch egg at the Athenian on a hot afternoon.
The Scotch egg is the Holy Grail of bar snacks. Still available at pubs in Britain, it was popular at workingman's bars stateside in an earlier, simpler era but has since nearly vanished. It was thought to be obsolete in Seattle, where effete drinkers want fancier snacks, or lighter snacks, or snacks that do not sound completely disgusting—for a Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage, breaded, and deep-fried.
This is taking the power of the deep-fryer to its outer limit, clearly. Could its alchemic magic work in such a case? My order turned into a question without my volition.
"I'd like a Scotch egg?" I said.
Brad, the excitable waiter, got excited. "REALLY?!" he veritably screamed. "It's alligator—alligator eggs—YUM-MAY! You'll be needing more beer."
I didn't believe him about the alligator—he had already proven prone to flights of fancy. As for more beer, well, obviously, Brad. Beer is what makes it worth shoving your way through the tourists jammed into the Pike Place Market gawping at fish to get to the bar at the Athenian—for the beer here is the coldest beer in the world. Modestly, diffidently, they do not advertise it as such. They merely superchill glass mugs and fill them with beer so near freezing that, amazingly, tiny beerbergs form on the surface of your beverage. Drink it fast. Cocktail napkins are reduced to sodden shreds by the condensation produced by this magical beer, and then you've got a puddle in front of you that your next beer could possibly freeze, thus bonding itself to the table. Disaster.
The Scotch egg proved to be two hard, brown half-spheres about three inches in diameter. "The outside's buffalo scrotum and the inside's alligator!" Brad crowed. I was learning to love him, assisted by mug number two of the coldest beer in the world.
The Scotch egg was tapped on with a fork. As one half was turned over for inspection, the egg disengaged from its half-inch thick mantle in a disturbing way. The first bite evoked Stove Top stuffing/hard-boiled egg. Former naysayers wanted to try; a comparison to the flavor of a sausage McMuffin was considered and rejected; then everyone involved simultaneously realized the crust tasted exactly like Morningstar Farms–brand vegetarian sausage patties—surprisingly good for the most disgusting thing ever.
The bar at the Athenian Inn (Pike Place Market, Suite 1517, 624-7166) also has an absolutely stunning view of the water.