Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Seattle Foodies First Friday Lunch Club at Café Juanita – Kirkland, Washington

Posted on: Monday 17 October 2011

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!

The Seattle Foodies First Friday Lunch Club this month was held on the Eastside at Café Juanita in Kirkland. It was a cheerful couple of hours with Carol, Shirley, Kimberly, Leslie and Erin.

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!

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6 Responses to "Seattle Foodies First Friday Lunch Club at Café Juanita – Kirkland, Washington"

I am still dreaming of that panna cotta! It was divine~
See you tonight!

Me too! I think we all made a noise after the first spoonful, and ate it slowly to savour it!

I’m so sorry to have missed this! LOVE Cafe Juanita and the menu was perfect. See you soon, M

Save the date for the November lunch, it should be on the first Friday!

[…] on the morning of the October Seattle Foodies lunch. I mentioned it to my dining companions at Café Juanita and Carol suggested that we drive to Redmond since we were already on the Eastside. I was curious […]

[…] the Seattle Foodies First Friday Lunch Club in November as I was home in Australia. The food lovers sampled every dish on the Revel menu and […]

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