So very dark, so very wet, so very cold. Could Seattle be so very French too? Thanks to pop culture, I sum up the rainy city as a melting pot of seafood, flower shops, chowder, and depressed philosophers. A tourist in the green yet gloomy city, I desperately wanted to not be a tourist. My taste buds were surprised to find a local spot catering to the true French bar classics. Arriving hungry and curious, Cafe Presse was my first destination. The moment you open the door, there’s beauty and comfort in the exposed brick walls and the tattooed baristas, the baguette stations, the independent and never lonely reader in the corner, and the towering stacks of espresso saucers. There’s something magical in the way Cafe Presse turns casual into casual French.
Even though it was eleven in the morning, I decided to go for it. Diving in, the Sandwich en Baguette with grilled sardines was a first for me. In between fear and curiosity, there I was wondering how grilled sardines would taste like. Sardines haven’t claimed American delicacy since the fifties. Guessing Americans lost their interest in canned fish. It was our lost! Let’s just say every bite of this sandwich proved it would be more and more difficult to share. The perfect baguette with a light spread and butter lettuce paired with grilled sardines was love at first bite.
Excuse my French, but F*^! Yes!
Moving on to the “Nos Plats.” (Taking a deep breath before pronouncing this.) Cote du port grille et son jus á la mortared à l’ancienne et aux abricots … Not to be lost in translation as I butcher it, but the pork chop and red potatoes are roasted with duck fat and served with spring onions and rosemary in a grain mustard-dried apricot jus. What caught my eye was the duck fat ingredient. Supposedly a good source of healthy unsaturated fatty acids (not that I care), duck fat is a gift from the gods. Nothing new, you’ve seen them in fries and a substitute for butter. I’ll take a pint of that and the apricot jus please.
As punishing as it was to reminisce about this meal, it was also rewarding to share – more so torturing to scroll through the food porn. So, let’s cry until we meet again Seattle. “We’ll always have Cafe Presse.”