not all that exciting a lunch

oyster po-boy

Ever have a restaurant experience that, while not at all bad, somehow wasn’t all that good either? There was absolutely nothing wrong with the lunch we got at the Fish Tale Brewpub in Everett, but we still don’t think it likely we’ll go back. This makes me sad, since I liked the one in Olympia so much.

It’s partly the decor, frankly. I saw this mentioned on nearly every Yelp review about the brewpub, and it’s true – the place is dark, uncomfortable and strange. The main dining space feels like the breakfast room in the basement of a cheap hotel, while the sunny window in the front hosts nary a table. Did these people never hear that a pub is supposed to be cozy?

Then the food, about which I’m not really sure what to think. I got an oyster po’boy and a Caesar salad. There were lots of oysters – too many, actually, I couldn’t close the bun enough to take a bite – and the bun was a pleasant enough sourdough. But the condiment was a mean smear of mayo (maybe it was aioli, I could hardly taste it) and a small handful of greens. The Caesar seemed fresh but the dressing had almost no flavor at all. I got bored before I got full.

lamb burger & fries

Jon got the lamb burger, on the extremely enthusiastic recommendation of the waitperson. It was…meh. It mostly tasted of feta, and the meat was overcooked and rather dry, despite having a dollop of tzatziki on top. The fries were the soft kind, which I realize is a style but it’s not our favorite. Not the worst lamb burger we’ve tried, but not even in the top ten.

winterfish ale

Oh, well. The beer was excellent.

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pork for lunch

pork-arugula hoagie

I realize I haven’t been around here much, so here’s a nice sandwich to keep things going. Last Sunday we celebrated the start of the wind-and-rain season with a milk-braised pork roast studded with garlic and herbs, serving it with buttermilk mashed potatoes and a fresh arugula salad. It was a big roast, so every day this week my lunch has involved some variation on the pork sandwich – oh, the hardship. Yesterday’s version (pictured) started with a sourdough hoagie roll from the Breadfarm, spread lightly with mayonnaise and dressed with chunks of rewarmed pork, dripping with garlicky milk sauce, and a few leaves of arugula for contrast. Today’s version was the same, but with a freshly home-baked sweet potato roll in place of the hoagie. Zowie.

roast beast

roast beef sandwich

I’m beginning to think I should just call this blog “Sandwiches on the Brain.” I seem to get a lot more excited about making sandwiches out of the leftovers of something than I do the original dish. I made a beautiful roast beef last weekend, complete with Yorkshire pudding (I made the mistake of looking through The River Cottage Meat Book), and it was delightful…but it’s the roast beef sandwiches that are really rocking my boat this week.

roast beef sandwich

The beef was a rolled and tied cross-rib roast from our grassfed freezer cow, rubbed with fresh thyme and rosemary from the garden, and roasted just until perfectly rare. Sliced, a lot of the nice herb rub came off, so the largest pieces didn’t actually have any seasoning, but they still had a good beefy flavor. I made a special trip down to the co-op for a loaf of Samish Potato Bread, one of my favorite Breadfarm products – it has a nice sourdough tang, and the potato makes it spongy enough to soak up a lot of juices without falling apart. The first few days I stuck to a formula of mayo, horseradish, beef, lettuce, and jarred piquillo peppers, but the very last of the beef was consumed with a good dollop of sauerkraut instead. Mmmm.

pot roast sandwich

pot roast sandwiches

I don’t normally have the attention span to eat the same thing every day, but I ate this sandwich for lunch three days running and was still not tired of it. I kept trying to decide whether to change it up a bit, add a different condiment…and then made it exactly the same way. Again.

This all came about because we thought a particular day was going to be cold and rainy, so we planned a pot roast. As it turned out, the weather all week was ridiculously warm and springlike, but once the beef was defrosted it was too late to back out. We based the braise on the Yankee Pot Roast Redux recipe in Molly Stevens’ All About Braising, using a rolled and tied cross-rib roast from our freezer and cooking it in Strongbow cider, chicken broth and onions, with carrots and potatoes going in near the end. It was fabulous, and we ate it two nights running with polenta and shredded Brussels sprouts, but there were still many leftovers.

Having thought ahead to this predicament, I had picked up a bag of rosemary potato rolls at the co-op, made by the Breadfarm, a wonderful bakery in Edison. These rolls, like so much the Breadfarm does, are spectacular – sour and chewy, with coarse salt on top and plenty of fresh rosemary scattered throughout. When it came time to make my sandwich, I cut a roll in half, toasted it lightly, spread it with mayonnaise (Best Foods), and fit a slice of pot roast onto it. I also remembered that we had a bag of cilantro in the fridge, so I pulled out a few sprigs to add. Squished down well, the ingredients melded together, and positively sang.

I ate that first sandwich and immediately made another.

lunch on the slough

Slough Food

Slough Food

On our way out to Larabee State Park for a walk in the woods, we stopped in the town of Edison for a bite of lunch. My original intention had been to have some fried oysters and a beer at The Edison Inn, but as we walked past Slough Food we spied a sign advertising lunch in their courtyard. Whoo!

Slough Food

Slough Food

This place is one of our favorite shops in the whole area. John DeGloria, the owner, sells an intriguing mixture of European imported foods, such as pasta and anchovies, and locally produced specialties such as duck eggs and chanterelles. He has an incredible cheese case, plus cured meats from Salumi and other sources. Most of the shop is dedicated to wine, with a special table set aside for high quality chocolates. There is no better place to build a picnic. And even better, now you can have the picnic right there in the back yard!

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best. falafel. ever.

Falafel on Rue des Rosiers

We’ve been in Paris for a week now and are almost due to come home. We’ve eaten many good things (macarons, croissants, terrines, fromage blanc, braised rabbit, et cetera et cetera) but interestingly enough it’s been the falafel sandwiches that have really made an impact.

Just a few blocks from our apartment, on the Rue des Rosiers in the Jewish quarter, is a collection of competing falafel shops. They also serve schawarma, merguez sausages and other sandwiches to go, but falafel is really the star attraction here.

Falafel on Rue des Rosiers

L’As du Fallafel is the granddaddy of the falafel shops, and the one that gets all the attention in guidebooks. As promised, there was a fairly long line, plus a falafel hawker out front doing everything but actually grabbing people off the street and shoving them into line. I had heard, though, that another place was actually better, so we resisted the hawker and eased our way through the crowds to the other side of the street.

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a quick lunch

lunch

It was midmorning on Saturday that we realized there was nothing in the house for lunch. Well, apart from peanut butter and sardines. So I volunteered to trot down the hill to the co-op and see what looked edible. It was snowing, but not too hard, and it’s not a bad walk as long as I don’t try to carry anything too heavy back up the hill.

So I peeked into the meat case and saw these gorgeous dry-pack sea scallops – they were enormous and very fresh, so I snagged a package. Then, on my way to cruise the cheese case, my eye was caught by a pack of prosciutto. Lunch seemed to be taking shape rapidly. When I checked out, the cashier commented that I was the second person that morning who was obviously going to be having prosciutto-wrapped scallops, based on the groceries that had passed down her belt. Great minds think alike? Continue reading

there’s always noodles

I’m feeling somewhat at a loss for what to post about. What have we been eating, anyway? Lentil soup, a roast chicken, lamb pizza, a hamburger down at the pub, and a very odd evening at the new Japanese place (how many birthday parties were going on in there, anyway?) where I forgot to take any pictures. Hmph.

lunch

In the absence of anything more exciting, let me tell you about this bowl of noodles I put together for myself a couple of weeks ago. I had a rare day at home alone, and no leftovers in the house to eat, so I made do: buckwheat noodles, boiled just to al dente, a perfectly soft boiled egg, a handful of grated carrot, and a heaping spoonful of chile-black bean sauce stirred into a small pan of chicken stock, all piled together into a bowl and slurped up hot.

This sort of thing doesn’t feel like cooking to me, it’s just combining whatever’s lying around. But cooking or not, it was so good, I’d like to eat it again. Now, please.

there's always noodles

I’m feeling somewhat at a loss for what to post about. What have we been eating, anyway? Lentil soup, a roast chicken, lamb pizza, a hamburger down at the pub, and a very odd evening at the new Japanese place (how many birthday parties were going on in there, anyway?) where I forgot to take any pictures. Hmph.

lunch

In the absence of anything more exciting, let me tell you about this bowl of noodles I put together for myself a couple of weeks ago. I had a rare day at home alone, and no leftovers in the house to eat, so I made do: buckwheat noodles, boiled just to al dente, a perfectly soft boiled egg, a handful of grated carrot, and a heaping spoonful of chile-black bean sauce stirred into a small pan of chicken stock, all piled together into a bowl and slurped up hot.

This sort of thing doesn’t feel like cooking to me, it’s just combining whatever’s lying around. But cooking or not, it was so good, I’d like to eat it again. Now, please.

an easy lunch

lunch

Just a short post today, so I can gloat for a minute over this lunch I threw together the other day. Jon and I were both home, we hadn’t done our grocery shopping yet for the week, and there was a bunch of rapidly wilting beet greens in the fridge that I was assuming I’d have to throw out. But wait! There was sausage in the fridge as well! The week before we’d had a simple supper of Uli’s linguica sausages with tabouli, and there were two left – hurrah! I can always work with sausages and greens.

All I did was chop up the beet greens (we ate the beets last week), saute them in olive oil with some sliced garlic, toss in a can of Progresso cannellini beans and stir it all up, then I cooked the sausages in a separate pan, sliced them and added them in. I found a few ripe Stupice tomatoes on the vine on the deck, and sliced those in as well – wow, they were good. Tiny, but powerful.

We ate it all up in the kitchen with a glass of wine, with rain pouring down outside (ah, that balmy August weather). Gave us the strength to go grocery shopping.