Gluttony In Seattle part II
A Bistro in Ballard
After our first day-excursion in Seattle, we piled into a car and headed to our dinner spot: Cafe’ Presse. Dinner tonight would be with the parents of the bride and groom, bridesmaids and best men, close family and friends. Cafe’ Presse was a French style bistro that had a menu screaming some delicious ubiquitous-French delicacies at me - making my stomach ravenous.
We started with the always-necessary French bread and butter and the Assiette De Fromages. All the cheeses here came from the neighboring cities and states - delivering some amazing farm-to-table French-style gooeyness with a North-West twist. The Olives Aux Herbes De Provence (olives mixed with herbs, dried lemon and olive oil) delivered some seriously meaty olives cured in a delicious oil-film. I am a big fan of olives - and these olives were done right. The Rillettes De Porc (confit pork spread) was French-country-rustic, meaty, fantastic. Anything pork - I am sold. The accompaniment of mustard, pickles and it’s spreadability made it a potential meal in itself.
The cocktail of choice was very un-French, but fantastic nevertheless: Le Diable - Cazadores Reposado, Creme De Cassis, Ginger Beer, Cayenne, Lime - more of a Mexican-cocktail with a French name. Seattle is one of those places that does a cocktail right. Perfect balance of flavors - not the standard Flavored-Vodka “cocktail” here, my friends - something unique instead.
Next, it was on to French Rouge Vin and mains. Ashley had the Steak Frites, Sauce Cremeuse Au Mais, A La Estragon Et Au Lard Fume (NW grass-fed beef: Petit New York Strip), with fried potatoes, white wine cream with sweet corn, bacon and tarragon). A real treat if you dig a Bistro-style Steak Frites. The spin that Cafe’ Presse took with the staple of this European-style favorite definitely had some pleasing surprises. The use of sweet corn in the white wine cream was something unexpected… almost hinting at a Southern U.S. sort of thing. Crispy, perfect frites.
My main was the Steak Tartare - Raw, hand chopped and seasoned NW grass-fed sirloin and hanger steak, fried potatoes, watercress salad. I think Presse fries their Frites in some kind of animal fat. Anything deep-fried in animal fat delivers flavor unlike your run-of-the-mill fry-oil (sorry my herbivore Brontosaurus-friends… you’re missing out). My god were those greasy, salty, crispy frites something to kill for. The Tartare? Freaking phenomenal. A tartare is not the simplest of preps - there are far more ingredients carefully tucked away in that French-classic than you’d expect - and each one had it’s place and purpose in Presse’s tartare. I recall the capers specifically being so well-balanced with the steak and raw egg that it was magical-meat-frenzy-time.
Two of Evan and Megan’s closest friends, ??? and ??? insisted that we all share their roast chicken - that it would be the best damned thing we’d eat there. I typically never order chicken at restaurants unless I know it’s going to be something special - chicken just doesn’t do it for me nowadays when I can have something like foie or pork or sausage or sweet breads instead - ya know what I’m saying?
Poulet Roti Selon Votre Commande, Pommes Frites. Washington natural chicken roasted to order, fried potatoes, dijon mustard. My freaking god was this good. Probably one of the top 3 greatest chicken mains I’ve consumed world-wide. And that extra bucket of frites? Man… bring on those duck-fat fried little sticks of heart-clogging amazingness. The chicken basically has to be order before you even sit down… so that explained it’s late show-up time - but wow was it worth the wait. So simple, but saying so much with so little. Crisp on the outside, watery-juicy on the inside - simple, charred just right. It was what I imagine chicken should be like every time… but that is not gonna happen randomly.
Before the Poulet even came out - we were all full… but naturally- you see some food that attractive, calling you ever-so-seductively - you eat more. Everyone leaned back in the chairs and booths looking like they’d just run a marathon, moaning primordial-grunt-conversation like bed-room-grunts; we were full.
We all swapped seats around to chat with those we didn’t sit close to, drank loads more delicious French wine and then it was time for toasts and speeches.
Here again was proof of the magic of good food and drink and friends and family. Evan and Megan’s wedding, for me, was something really beautiful in the sense I was able to see how these two have affected so many related and un-related lives around the country. Long time childhood friends and parents and siblings all made heart-felt recollections of the past; threw in some awesome comedic moments of awkward childhood romance (Meg and Evan have known each other a long time); and then instinctually I decided to even chime in (me being the newest friend of the couple) - it was just such a great, laid back moment shared with people who all were able to experience that same, once-in-a-lifetime occurrence of people brought together due to a couple’s uniting.
My notes here say “Some kind of llmon cake… drunk!”
Notes of a fantastic time with friends, family, food, and booze.