Posts Tagged ‘porcini’
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!
There is a pattern to my notorious indecisiveness. At least once a week, we exchange a conversation like this.
Mr S: ‘Where would you like to go for dinner?’
Me: ‘I don’t know, let me think about it.’
Mr S: ‘Have you picked a restaurant?’
Me: ‘Here’s a shortlist, you decide.’
Exasperated, Mr S would say ‘let’s go here’. And then I would change my mind!
Inside is an open kitchen where you can sit at the counter and watch your pizzas cook in the wood fire oven.
There was some shade from the wide umbrellas with a panoramic vista towards Queen Anne and a clear view of the Space Needle.
We shared an antipasto and a pizza. The bruschetta had ruby orbs of Roma tomatoes resting on thick slices of crusty bread. Macerated in garlic, basil and sea salt, the tomatoes were juicy and flavoursome.
We’ve never sprinkled chilli flakes or grated cheese on pizza until we moved to Seattle. Condiment shakers are common here and the addition of chilli flakes gradually increases my spice tolerance.
Blistered and charred, the prosciutto e porcini pizza had a thin crust and a scattering of ingredients. Prosciutto cotto and porcini mushrooms were a meaty combination, and the mozzarella melted and bubbled into the crevices of the dough.
Our order was lost for a while and the waiter apologised for the minor delay with free dolce. Yes please!
Presented in a deep square bowl for two, the tiramisu was a sweet conclusion to the meal. Layers of espresso and liqueur soaked savoiardi and creamy mascarpone were slowly savoured as we watched the sunset.
The sun dropped behind the Space Needle, creating a shadowy dusk as day descended into night.