sitka & spruce, seattle

May 20, 2011

Like I said, I was just in Seattle for a few days with one of my best friends. One of the many, many reasons this lady is one of my closest is that she loves to eat as much as I do. I’d argue that I have a greater capacity for cake and cheese, but she wins on lamb. Oh and also sausages. Yep. True facts.

We knew we’d eat well this trip since it was all about catching up and spending time together and what better way to do that than over a bottle of red wine and a table of amazing food? In my world, there’s no better way.

The absolute food highlight for me was Sitka & Spruce in Capitol Hill. I’d heard about it from a couple of sources but hadn’t heard any real reviews. I’d just checked out their always changing brunch menu and swooned.

We headed in on a gloriously sunny day, the intimate restaurant swathed in bright sunlight through its huge, old windows. Waiting for our table we anticipated (very hungrily, I might add, since I accidentally took us to the old location – many miles away – first) the “Elevenses & Lunch” menu.

Our immense hunger meant that fresh bread, soft butter and a cheese plate were basic necessities. So delicate were those cheeses with their dollop of quince jam. The creamy camembert was my favourite; I couldn’t stop swiping at it with my bread.

The show stealers were without doubt our main orders. Megan ordered the Yakima asparagus with pistachio sauce and chopped egg. That pistachio sauce was a work of genius. We tasted garlic, lemon, and of course the nuttiness of toasted pistachios. Sheer bliss.

Nothing compared for me though, to this beauty. This dish sums up everything I loved about Sitka & Spruce. It was everyday, rather simple sounding food, prepared spectacularly and with such ingenuity and delicate flair. Love.

My order was brassica raab, cannellini beans, harissa brown butter and a poached egg. When I told Dan this his response was that it sounded like my perfect dish, totally “me”. Ahh he knows me so well…

The combination of flavours was so perfect to me. Megan can attest to the fact that I gobbled down half the bowl before I could come up for air long enough to gush over it.

The raab had an awesome element of crunch from the pan but was still fresh and sweet; the beans were cooked long and slow, so soft and melty they were; and that egg was poached to perfection for the dish – soft but not too soft.

The real kicker though? The harissa brown butter. Lord help me, I will recreate it if it kills me.

The harissa’s strong flavour was completely mellowed by the creamy, rich browned butter and it all just swam around the beans making a soupy bed that was such a delight to scoop up, I can hardly stand it.

If you live in or near Seattle or if you plan to visit soon, please make time for Sitka & Spruce. It’s a lovely, small, adorably charming and achingly cool spot with some of the best food you’ll find in town.

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