Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Brunch, Fish & Chips, & a trip to the Zoo

Last week was something of a wild time. I had just finished the Seattle Century, and then all of the sudden a friend of mine was visiting from Missouri. Friends in town, especially friends who have never been to Seattle, means less cooking and more experiencing Seattle from a foodie perspective. I happen to love that perspective, even if it gets kind of expensive. Still, it starts with brunch.

When thinking of my brunch options, tons of places came to mind, but I wanted my friend to have her choice. I suggested some of my favorites: Cafe Presse (for the croque madame), Cafe Flora, Toulouse Petit, the Hi-Life. I sent her to their websites, to their menus. In the end, she chose Toulouse Petit, and who was I to argue? It was a weekday and their menu is half-off for weekday brunch. She got the salmon & asparagus omelett with gruyere.

I got the Duck & Pistachio Benedict:

It's even better than it looks, I'll tell you. The duck wasn't greasy, but was light, spicy, rich. The holindaise sauce was awesome. The potatoes crisp on the outside, and light and fluffy on the inside--their spice nicely balanced. I've been there before, a couple times. I've always done the Pork Cheek Confit (which is excellent). This was too. The Omelett, which I got to try, was also fantastic. I think I'll have to keep expanding on my Toulouse tasting.

It was a bit heavy, so we walked about 15 miles through downtown Seattle, to Pike Place Market, and then along Elliot Bay, the SAM's Sculpture Garden. We didn't want anything too snappy for dinner that day, but she did want Fish & Chips before she left. So I took her to Hale's Ales where I think, so far, live Seattle's Best Fish & Chips.

Parmesan & Panko Crusted Rock Fish with Seasoned Potatos. Also witness the Hale's Amber Cream Ale, and the Snoqualmie Stout Cream Ale.

The beers weren't as good as I had hoped, but they were alright.

I have to say that these Fish & Chips were much better than the Fish & Chips at the Lockspot Cafe, which were named the Best Fish & Chips in Seattle. Lockspot had good fish, no doubt. But the breading was falvorless and a little mushy, the fries were nothing special, and the tartar sauce was actually so boring I wouldn't eat it. It did nothing for the fish.

This little experiment has inspired me to commence a Fish & Chips of Seattle Tour with the flavor, freshness, and consistency of the following items taken into consideration: Fish, Batter, Fries, Tartar, and Slaw (if available).

For Hale's:

Fish--it was light, but not bland, and sort of fell apart and melted in your mouth. Outstanding.

Batter-- excellent flavor from the parmesan & panko crust, but it didn't stick to the fish as much as I would have liked letting the fish sort of fall apart on the plate. But totally worth it for the taste. You didn't need, or really even want, to tamper it with tartar or vinegar. Nice with a touch of lemon.

Fries--I'm not going to lie, these aren't mindblowing. The seasoning is good, but not great. They are more like Joes than fries.

Tartar--Really good, sweet and tart dill flavor.

Slaw--Not mindblowing, but ignorable.

Ultimately, I think it's worth it just for the fish.

PS, we earned the Fish & Chips with another long day of walking, this time around the zoo. See the adorable Sloth Bear:

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