Brouwer's Cafe

Do you like beer and fries? How about mussels? Or single malt Scotch? If any of the above catch your eye, Brouwer’s is the place you’ve been dreaming of.

Brouwer's Cafe

Located in an unlikely building that looks like a cross between a castle and a warehouse (and feels that way on the inside, too), Brouwer’s is a Belgian-inspired bar and restaurant in the Center of the Universe (otherwise known as Fremont to you non-Seattleites). We’ve gone many times (as have my parents) and are constantly blown away by the length of the beer list, the quality of the fries, and the astonishing tastiness of the merguez lamb burger.

Brouwer's Cafe

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burger and fries


This was a total afterthought kind of dinner, but so remarkably tasty that we sat and looked sadly at our empty plates after we finished. Plain pan seared hamburger patties, topped with red pepper cheese (on Jon’s) or feta (on mine), with a bit of tapenade that was left over from a Gretchen’s class, and some extraordinarily tasty oven fries. I wanted more!

beer and a burger


There was a fantastic tasting down at our local wine shop the other night. Instead of wine, we tasted several varieties of beer from Belgium, Poland and Germany. It was great for us, because our beer drinking tends to center heavily on the Pacific Northwest and we just haven’t experimented much with Belgian ales. Too bad there weren’t more tasters in attendance, but hey – more for us.


We ended up going home with a bottle of St Bernardus Abt 12, which was my favorite from the tasting (we also really, really liked Piraat Triple IPA – yum). We took care of it immediately with the help of some remarkably successful cheeseburgers and yam fries, which turned out to be an almost perfect pairing with the beer. Continue reading

weekend food

We packed in quite a bit of interesting food over the long weekend (thanks to the Folklife Festival), much of it completely undocumented, alas. There was dinner for six people at the Palace Kitchen, including a wonderful wood-fired chicken with rhubarb sauce, a beautiful herb-crusted whole trout, and a really odd but neat dessert consisting of a soft pretzel, a glass of beer and a scoop of hops ice cream. There was a dinner at home of Javanese grilled chicken and herbed rice salad (I’ll have to do that again for a future post). We checked out the new ice cream place in Wallingford, and had post-Folklife drinks at Ten Mercer. There were, however, two places where we did get around to taking pictures: Paragon and Quinn’s.


Quinn’s, a gastropub opened by the owners of Restaurant Zoe (where we have never been), has been getting lots of good press, and I’ve been very keen to see what it’s like – I do love a good pub. After spending the morning busking at Folklife, we went hunting on Capitol Hill and, much to my astonishment, managed to find Quinn’s. As it turns out, I like it -a lot. I like the space, the decor, the vibe…and ohmigod, the food. Four of us went and had sandwiches and it was nearly a religious experience. My parents had the steak sandwich, which the waitress claimed they had pretty much “nailed.” They said it was incredible. J and I split this:

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spiced sweet potato wedges

spiced yam wedges

We had already decided to have hamburgers for dinner, one night last week. The plan was to get some sort of interesting cheese and a big salad, and some form of roasted sweet potatoes, which we love. At the last minute I remembered a post I’d seen on Smitten Kitchen a little while back, for sweet potato wedges tossed with an interesting sweet and hot spice mix. The premise was almost identical to my usual approach, which is to toss sweet potato chunks with olive oil, coarse salt, pepper and sometimes paprika or cumin. However, I adore coriander and fennel, so when I saw this recipe I was sold. I pulled up the post from work and read the recipe to J over the phone, and he got the spices ground up and the oven hot (to 425°) before I got home.

spices for yam fries Continue reading