Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Le Panier – Pike Place Market, Seattle

Posted on: Thursday 19 May 2011

We were obsessed with bread during our first month in Seattle. Expats have told us American bread is sweet. I spent an extended period of time at supermarkets, reading the labels, comparing ingredients and analysing nutritional value incessantly. We tried two loaves that were failures. One was an organic sourdough – it tasted fine and was organic but at $6.50 a loaf, was too expensive. The other was a whole wheat loaf – we made toasted sandwiches for lunch on a weekend and the smokey, salty flavours of smoked salmon clashed with the sweetness of the bread. It’s edible when chased down with a cold beer.

Ms S had pointed out Le Panier on our city tour and on a day I was exploring Pike Place Market, I queued up for a pain aux graines, a multi grain loaf. The bread was fresh and soft, with a chewy crust. And not sweet. The wait time is quickened by the enticing baskets of baguettes and loaves, and the trays of baked goods. While Dahlia Bakery and Boulangerie Nantaise is more convenient, I have added Le Panier to the bread list.

On another day after a walk along the waterfront, I decided to hike up (why did I think Seattle was flat?) to Le Panier for a quick lunch. It was busy on a weekday, full of tourists, mothers with babies and toddlers, and locals and office workers, all with one eye on the menu, and the other on available tables.

I ordered a champignon feuilleté – puff pastry with mushroom in cream sauce, and a pistachio macaron. The birch colour table, the unbleached wax paper, the pale green macaron and the lightly browned puff pastry makes for an extremely drab photo! The feuilleté was crispy and flaky on the outside, and warm and oozing with mushrooms on the inside. It was a small parcel of savoury contentment. In contrast, the macaron was disappointingly overcooked and lacking in personality. It was brittle and shattered in one bite. Only the green dye identified it as being pistachio. Nevermind, I shall return for their breads!

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