Palmiers… Pure butter… flaky dough… Heaven!
On Seattle’s Eastside, (“The Dark Side”, according to some Seattleites) we find a couple of reliable French addresses as well. Belle Pastry in Old Bellevue, has been a popular option for years. I enjoy sipping a cappuccino there once in a while. Someone noted that she favors their café au lait, served with a generous slice of warm baguette, butter and raspberry jam on a rainy morning. Quel petit-déjeuner! The ideal breakfast!
Chausson aux pommes… Golden and crisp, with a delicious apple compote filling…
There is another boulangerie. It is located in West Seattle. I must confess I have not visited it yet but several students of mine swear by it. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the award-winning Bakery Nouveau. Apparently Le Boulanger (the baker) knows a thing or two about bread-making. A few years ago, he won an international competition in France and beat the best French bread makers! Oh, la la! Sounds like a visit is long overdue.
A contender for best local French bistro is popular Café Campagne, also located near Pike Place Market, a favorite for Sunday brunch. I always order the same dish there: Les oeufs en Meurette (Poached eggs served on garlic croutons with pearl onions, bacon and champignons in red wine-foie gras sauce, with pommes frites). Miam! Yum! Le Husband swears by le cassoulet (a rich bean and meat stew from the French Southwest). We need to mention the elegant and more upscale version of Café Campagne, located usptairs: Campagne. This restaurant must be reserved for special occasions! Note it is currently closed for renovations.
|Oeufs en Meurette… Soaking up the rich wine sauce with baguette or french fries is one of life’s great moments!|
Truth be told, Seattle has quite the selection of wonderful French bistros: When you get a chance, check out Voilà, near lovely Madison Park (don’t miss their excellent selection of mussels), Le Pichet, on 1st avenue, or newcomer Luc, where students and I had a fun pre-Holiday dinner a few weeks ago. Bistros, in Seattle or in Paris, offer simple food, good wines, and affordable prices. Beware: Bistros are not the best place to enjoy a quiet, romantic meal. At peak times, the noise level in some of these fine establishments can be deafening!
… and here is my transition to a favorite on Seattle’s Eastside: The French Studio group and I have always enjoyed our end-of-school-year dinners at a quiet, but much loved Kirkland restaurant, Lynn’s Bistro. Classically trained, chef and owner MyLinh Tran serves unique asian-accented French cuisine. She is a nice lady who also tries to find a French-speaking waiter for our group so my students get to order their meal in French! The $30 3-course prix-fixe dinner is an excellent choice chez Lynn!
Crêpes deserve a category of their own. I found out people get quite passionate about their favorite crêperies! A couple of businesses were mentioned in the survey.
Crêperie Voilà in downtown Seattle. This is more of a street stand than an actual restaurant. Their website announces: “Fast-food, Old World style”. The picture gallery is appetizing. Crêpes are b.i.g. I look at the photos and am immediately reminded of the movie: “Supersize Me”. They must be tasty, several people vouched for them. Personally, I like my crêpes simple. Ham and cheese on buckwheat for a savory crêpe. Sugar or lemon for a sweet crêpe. My son (and thousands of other people) would probably interject: “Et le Nutella?” (what about Nutella?)– So, yes, ok. Vive le Nutella!
|Italy’s most successful export!|
Problem is, we do not have enough decent crêperies in Seattle. La Côte Crêperie is a good address in Madison Valley. Prices are a bit high, unfortunately, but I love their French hard cider collection (a crêpe should always be served with a small bowl of cidre from Normandy, preferably). Another place is Anita’s Crêpes, located in Fremont. Tasty selection, but again, prices are not cheap, and they put soooo much stuff on crêpes! (Note that Anita’s Crêpes also has a stall at the popular Ballard street market). My favorite way of eating crêpes is “on the go”, while walking in the street in Paris. Le French fast-food, quoi! I can’t imagine attempting that feat while holding some of the crêpes that landed on my plate in Seattle! It would not be pretty! One thing is for sure, in Paris or in Seattle…