Tossed Salads and Scrambled Eggs

Posts Tagged ‘weekend brunch

Summer is finally here in Seattle! We celebrate the long days of glorious sunshine by being outdoors from dawn to dusk on weekends, the city thriving with activities. There are festivals day and night, and restaurants have oiled the decks, hosed the patios and swept the courtyards for al fresco dining.

I love city parks, urban oases of fresh air, mowed lawns and pruned trees. Volunteer Park in Capitol Hill is a compact version of this. At its heart is the Seattle Asian Art Museum and at the top edge is the Volunteer Park Conservatory. We strolled through the serene greens to Volunteer Park Café for lunch.

I had sampled chef Erika Burke’s fare at Keren’s book launch party and Foodportunity, and was curious about the controversial eatery. Located a couple of blocks east of the park on a leafy street, Volunteer Park Café is in a century old building. Rusty azure chairs contrasted with the creamy yellow timber.

There are three sets of tables and chairs on the sidewalk, the one in the blazing sun is conspicuously vacant.

A blackboard easel listed daily specials.

Breakfast and lunch items were listed on three walled blackboards. Staff were frantically assembling sandwiches as we queued to order.

Discs of golden cookies in tin buckets, their flavours stamped on placards, were visual lures.

The centrepiece of the cosy space is the communal table. We pirouetted to sit by the window. It was a warm day, and the enclosed room was sweltering and amplified the cacophony of the crowd.

Layers of pastrami and caraway sauerkraut were accessorised with Swiss cheese and thousand island dressing. The thick rye bread was gently toasted. It was a moist and tender café Rueben, the tangy fermented cabbage moderated the savoury meat.

Steadied by a bamboo toothpick, the prosciutto and mozzarella baguette was a chewy delight. Peppery arugula, sweet fig balsamic, buttery prosciutto and milky mozzarella were a splendid combination.

We exited quickly and took our parcel of chocolate chip cookie and cinnamon swirl coffee cake back to the park, and shared dessert in quiet contentment.

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Our French friend loves eggs Benedict. The best I’ve had was at The Wolseley and we had breakfast there with her on our last day in London. Her favourite in Seattle is at B&O Espresso, her local café in Capitol Hill. In the neighbourhood for more than three decades, the building is approved for demolition and the closure of B&O Espresso is imminent.

A refrigerated glass cabinet displayed cakes and the espresso machine was gurgling. To the left of the entrance is a nook and to the right are two connecting dining rooms.

We were seated in the corner room which faces the intersection of Olive and Bellevue. The décor is quirky with stained glass panes, eclectic furniture, lime walls and vintage posters.

I spotted the Valencia mocha when I was perusing the beverages menu and it evoked a childhood memory of Jacob’s Club Orange. A latte with orange essence, nutmeg and Ghirardelli cocoa, it was an aromatic twist to a standard mocha.

A creamy mocha milkshake was topped with a sphere of cream and chocolate shavings.

Morsels of spiced kofta and molten pepper jack were folded into a just set three egg omelette. This was served with a generous side of tender potatoes and toast with Deer Mountain jam.

Soft poached eggs. Fluffy English muffins. Fresh Hollandaise sauce. The golden yolk cascaded and the pastel Hollandaise was viscous and tangy. It was a superb eggs Benedict, just how weekend brunch should be.

I hope B&O Espresso can continue to operate.

I love the rhythm of weekend meals. They can be spontaneous or researched and made with intention. We were vacillating about brunch when we serendipitously stopped outside Henry and Oscar’s. Owned by the Big Picture, Henry and Oscar’s is located next to Boulangerie Nantaise in Belltown.

The bar is at the front and the separate dining room is at the back.

A cosy lounge connected the bar to the dining room.

Their signature cocktails were enticing. Mr S selected the Bogart, muddled sage, lime, Tanqueray, Cointreau and lemon were shaken into a sea foam beverage poured into a martini glass.

My mojito was garnished with a vibrant sprig of mint and was appetisingly tangy.

Complimentary scones were warm flat discs served with generous scoops of marmalade and berry conserve.

The chicken Parmesan sandwich was messy to eat but satiating. Chicken breast, molten cheese and rich tomato sauce melded together in a crusty baguette. A little limp, the rusty fries were hand cut and starchy.

The last time I had a hot dog was at a New York baseball local derby a couple of years ago. A quintessential American sports experience, the hot dog was gobbled with a beer.

In a narrow poppy seed bun was a Vienna beef frank, neon relish, tomato slices, dill pickle, sport peppers, a squiggle of mustard and a sprinkle of celery salt. The Chicago style Oscar dog was a meaty and piquant combination of ingredients.

Henry and Oscar’s is open until late for supper and cocktails!

The weekend was slick with rain. We revelled in the precipitation after a week of snow, sleet, hail, ice, slush and sub zero Celsius temperatures. Salt and pepper mounds of ice were the melting remnants of ‘snow-mageddon, snow-pocaplyse, Western Washington winter walloping’.

We splashed up to Capitol Hill for brunch. Oddfellows Café was a convenient location for our hobbling friend on crutches.

Two chalkboards welcomed us as we shook off the raindrops. Bright and spacious, the café was buzzing with Seattleites sharing snow experiences.

I finally read the chalkboard, and realised we were blocking the entrance and not waiting to be seated. I queued to order while Mr S searched for a table. The menu was categorised into morning, salads, plates and sandwiches.

Scones, cookies, muffins, cakes and quiches were displayed at the counter to tempt patrons.

Adjacent to the counter was a wall pinned with Oddfellows Café branded merchandise. Below was a sideboard for tea and coffee condiments.

We huddled together at a table by the window and door. Every time it was opened, a gust of wind chilled the cosiness.

A salvaged star spangled banner fluttered proudly at the front alcove.

A cute posy of flowers in my favourite colour.

At a café or for take-away, Australian baristas love latte art. I appreciate the quality of coffees in Seattle but I’ve missed the rosetta adorned cups!

I selected the breakfast panini. Fried eggs, rashers of crispy bacon, slices of tomato and molten Provolone were sandwiched between griddled bread and served with a side of salad greens. The yolk oozed as I cut the panini in half and it was a hearty breakfast.

I neglected to request the Hollandaise sauce separately and the eggs Benedict was drowning in a lemon pool. A thick piece of country ham cushioned the perfectly poached eggs.

Ms C chose a healthy fruit salad with Greek yoghurt, and baguette with butter and jam. The jam was a confounding raspberry syrup but the bread was fresh and crusty.

A postcard of a vintage black and white portrait of regal gentlemen accompanied the bill.

Oddfellows is a deservedly popular neighbourhood café!

We had a full schedule for our recent trip home to Australia. We gallivanted from Sydney to Darwin and Brisbane over two and a half weeks. Our gatherings with family and friends oscillated between sentimental favourites to new recommendations. On our first day in Brisbane, we sought reprieve from the humid heat at The Gunshop Café.

Located in West End, an eclectic neighbourhood on the edge of the city, The Gunshop Café is renowned for breakfast and it was busy on a Friday morning. A handful of tables were positioned on the footpath and in the bay window nooks.

There were two rooms in the heritage building. The entrance was framed by a chalkboard specials menu and a vase of long stemmed flowers on the counter.

The main dining room was sparsely furnished and quirky busts were displayed in the gaps of the exposed brick walls. The latticed shades twirled in the gentle breeze and soft light shimmered throughout the room.

A cute posy decorated the table.

The serviettes were customised with the restaurant name.

Merlo Coffee is a local roaster and supplies many eateries in Brisbane.

Mr S ordered the classic of double smoked bacon, poached eggs, herbed Hollandaise sauce, sourdough toast and tomatoes. The glossy pastel coloured sauced was ladled over two perfect orbs balanced on two thick slices of browned bread. Crispy and salty, the rashers of bacon were delectable.

I selected the omelette of bresaola, caramelised onions and Fontina. The tanned parcel was drizzled with olive oil and plump with a generous amount of cured beef, a delicious contrast to the sweet caramelised onions.

I had spotted the coconut juice in shell on the chalkboard by the door. The refreshing beverage was served with a cocktail umbrella!

Both locals and visitors love The Gunshop Café!

Autumn is here. I love the transition between seasons, how the previous lingers and the next emerges. Crisp mornings and deciduous trees shedding their golden leaves, interspersed with surprise bursts of sunshine.

A couple of locals have mentioned Row House Café and we meandered over to South Lake Union for weekend brunch. Located on Republican between Fairview and Minor, it is away from the Westlake and Terry hub.

A homely house converted into a café, Row House is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner seven days a week.

The front room is warm and welcoming with chalkboard menus, cake stands and bottle lined shelves.

There are two dining rooms decorated with eclectic recycled furniture.

Salvaged mirrors hung on walls and it was fun to peek in them for interesting reflections.

Row House served illy coffee and I cozied up to a smooth mocha.

It was quiet on a late Saturday morning and service was efficient. The relatively small café had about a dozen items on the weekend brunch menu.

Mr S ordered the eggs Benedict with prosciutto. We exchanged a knowing glance when we noticed the uniform shape of the poached eggs. Deceptive in appearance, the eggs were perfectly poached and not rubbery. The Hollandaise sauce was a little bland and watery but the oozing yolk and cured meat were flavoursome.

I was tempted by the description of the hundred layer French toast. An interpretation of French toast made with a flattened croissant, it was buttery and soft.

The Row House website describes the café as a ‘conversation house’ and it is indeed a welcoming place to sip coffee and chat.

A weekend trip to Southern California was temporary reprieve from a wet and windy Seattle. We spent Saturday in Santa Monica and it was a delight to squint in the sunshine, wear flip-flops and splash in the Pacific Ocean again.

Our generation of Australians grew up with ‘Slip Slop Slap Seek Slide‘, a public health campaign against skin cancer, and sunglasses and hats are requisite outdoor accessories.

Ms D-R recommended Coast at Shutters on the Beach for brunch. With a panoramic view of Santa Monica Beach, the hotel is a sight to behold. Painted ivory and white, the building is resplendent against the blue sky and palm trees.

Coast is on the bottom level of the hotel with a beachfront entrance.

How apt that the hotel logo is a deckchair, symbolising an idyllic holiday!

The upper levels are One Pico and The Living Room, both with a spectacular vista.

Coast has counter seating, a communal table and a patio. The main dining room has wide beach frontage.

The communal table was laden with wine glasses for a cosy family gathering.

Nautical themed, the restaurant is spacious and welcoming. Our corner booth had vertical navy stripes. Framed black and white photos hung on the slatted walls.

A glass jar of Bonne Maman honey accompanied my pot of Art of Tea Earl Grey.

Mr S’s espresso was served in a daffodil yellow cup.

Ms D-R ordered the traditional eggs Benedict with the Hollandaise sauce on the side.

The chicken Caesar salad was rustically chopped and lightly drizzled with a tangy dressing.

Topped with yoghurt, cinnamon and berries, the granola parfait was a generous size with plenty of fruit.

I had a simple but tasty breakfast of fried eggs on toast at the hotel so I opted for spaghettini pomodoro. Tangled strands of al dente pasta were tossed with tomato, basil and garlic. It was well seasoned and scrumptious, hearty sustenance for an afternoon walk.

Santa Monica is a charming spot and I fell in love with Shutters on the Beach.


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