Posts Tagged ‘chanterelle’
Posted Monday 17 October 2011on:
Lake Washington is a mental divider. Across the bridge is the Eastside, ‘over there’ is suburbia. Having lived in Sydney, driving for twenty minutes to get to a restaurant is considered fast! We don’t own a car here and we like the convenience of Zipcar. And we’re lucky to have generous friends who kindly drive us to and from places in exchange for our pleasant company!
Winner of the 2008 James Beard Foundation Best Chef Northwest Award, Chef Holly Smith opened for lunch just for us. In serene surroundings, the L shaped restaurant has windows with a view of leafy trees.
Next to the entrance are a long kitchen and a multipurpose bench.
Polished stemware is proudly displayed and muted tones are brightened by pastel mint accents.
We nibbled on fluffy bread with salted butter, and Parmesan and herb crisps.
Served in an asymmetrical oval bowl, the Alaskan king crab with green apple sorbetto and crab butter powder was artistically presented. The crustacean leg was succulent and the taste of the ocean contrasted with the tart sorbetto. It was a delightful pairing that whetted our appetite for Holly’s food.
The main course was rabbit braised in Arneis with chickpea gnocchi, porcini and house made pancetta. I don’t eat rabbit but my dining companions liked the tender meat and the texture of the gnocchi.
I had an alternative main of quail stuffed with house made ricotta and pancetta in reduction sauce with sweetbreads and chanterelles. A syrupy sauce simmered over many hours and reduced from litres to cups, it had a piquancy that complemented the other components of the dish.
The highlight of the meal was dessert. Resting in a puddle of Cardoon blossom honey, the panna votta was speckled with vanilla salt. It was a perfectly balanced dessert – creamy yet light, fragrant and sweet with bursts of saltiness. Matching wines were available and the Cascina del Santuario 2009 Moscato d’Asti from Piedmont intensified the flavours of the silky panna cotta.
October’s lunch concluded with brutti ma buoni. These ‘ugly but good’ hazelnut meringues crumbled and melted, and would be lovely with a cup of tea.
Sincere thanks to Darryl and Holly for an ethereal dining experience!
My only visit to Seattle prior to moving here was during winter a couple of years ago. A fog blanket cocooned the city the entire three days and it was the coldest climate I’ve been in except for skiing.
On our first day we exited the hotel in search of coffee. Shivering and waddling in bulky clothes, we nearly crossed the street for Starbucks to escape the chilly wind. Thankfully Mr S spotted Belle Epicurean in the Fairmont Olympic Hotel and we shuffled inside for breakfast.
It’s a charming café and I have fond memories of sitting in the bay window, drinking giant (by Australian standard) cups of coffee and eating pastries.
A bell chimed as I opened the door to signal my entrance. Belle Epicurean was near empty for my late lunch. Most patrons ordered food and beverages to take-away.
Sparsely furnished with marble tables and lacquered chairs, the chequered floor enhance the Parisian feel. The walls are decorated with framed reviews and the owner’s Le Grand Diplôme from Le Cordon Bleu Paris.
There are trays of baked goods on display and a refrigerated section with a selection of delectable desserts.
I sipped on Perrier as I waited for my lunch order. My mother likes sparkling water and the distinctive emerald bottles were omnipresent in my childhood.
I was in need of comfort food. A wintery meal of wild mushroom soup and roasted beet salad was satisfying. Dotted with flecks of puréed chanterelle and porcini mushrooms, the soup was earthy and warming.
A mound of cubed beets and sliced onions rested on a bed of mixed greens drizzled with balsamic vinaigrette. The salad was served with herbed chèvre crostini.
Each mouthful was a blend of sweet and acidic, a pleasant contrast to the creamy soup. Spread on a thick wedge of soft baguette, the molten goat cheese was fragrant and flavoursome.
Belle’s Buns was the genesis of the café. The owner, Carolyn Ferguson, sold these at her local farmers’ market before opening Belle Epicurean.
Brioche buns are the specialty of Belle Epicurean. There is a variety to choose from and I picked the mini cinnamon.
Tanned and tightly rolled with a dollop of cinnamon paste on top, the brioche had a light crisp shell and a buttery centre. A perfect size for a sweet addition to lunch!
Belle Epicurean was as chic as I remembered, and in a convenient location!