I *so* hadn’t intended for today to turn into a day of R ‘n’ R, given my enormous to-do list. Yet sometimes you just gotta take advantage of a perfect summer Friday & the spontaneous chance to let go for an hour, or, ahem, 6. A particularly crazy couple of weeks at work will make a girl want to do that; and living in Seattle makes it real easy to make the most of a beautiful sunny day.
It all started out as an innocent lunch with my Twin in South Lake Union. “Brave Horse Tavern or Portage Bay Cafe?”, she asked. Having just been to BHT a couple weeks ago for a Big Breakfast Adventure & never having been to the Portage Bay in South Lake Union, we headed to the west side of Terry Avenue, as opposed to the east. My first Portage Bay experience was breakfast over in the U District & I remember it being the pancake equivalent of a Build-A-Bear workshop. Novel, for sure, but not a foodie mecca of the world. Let’s see how lunch would shape up. However it turned out food-wise would be a bonus since I really just wanted to hang with my Twin.
I ended up having breakfast for lunch, & after much deliberation, Natasha settled for her favorite Portage Bay salad. Something about walnuts. I am still having walnut issues after my breakfast at Louisa’s last week. Why does there seem to be this walnut love affair going down at the moment? Is it just a Seattle thing or are walnuts the new pine nuts – added to everything, but no one is quite sure why?
Walnut Salad: Organic field greens tossed with organic seasonal fruit, candied walnuts and crumbled Willapa Hills bleu cheese in our balsamic vinaigrette – $10
Walnuts wallowing everywhere.
House-smoked Cap’n Charlie’s wild salmon: grilled organic vegetables including: red onion, bell peppers, red potatoes, sweet potatoes, fresh herbs and garnished with green onion. Topped with three scrambled eggs and served with a slice of homemade organic whole wheat toast – $15
I was pretty sure early on in the menu-viewing phase that the Salmon Hash had to be mine. There were plenty of great sounding baguettes & such, but I just didn’t want all that bread. I had other plans for my daily carb intake. I needed protein.
It was awesome having my photographically-gifted Twin there to showcase my salmon. Except really that was just a ploy to steal some of my grub. Good job I love her.
I enjoyed my hash, although it was pretty ordinary. The salmon had a great flavor, but there wasn’t a lot of it. Nothing really jumped off the plate & made me want to say, “Wow! I need to eat this every week.”
My Twin text me afterwards, “Great lunch. The salad was forgettable, but the company was awesome.”
And that, as I throw out there regularly, is because dining out ain’t just all about the food. Yes, I’d go to Portage Bay again – it’s a great place to hang out & get a nice plate of food & it’s in a great location – but it still hasn’t made my list of places that spring to mind when I want really great grub.
Natasha had to go back to work, so I strolled on up Harrison to see what I’d find at Nollie’s Bakery & Cafe. I needed something sweet to button up my Friday lunch & as I had 40 minutes still left on the meter I took time for a little wander.
Nollie’s is sparse in decor, but filled to the brim in warm & fuzzy feelings. A glass display case full of enormous cookies, croissants, the odd pie & small slices of various cakey bars. In honor of my Twin, who does this thing on her blog called Happy Cookie Friday, I bought 2 hefty cookies: Orange Creamsicle & Peanut Butter Chocolate. I’ve hear people rave about the lunches that Nollie’s serve up, but I was just there for cookies. I asked for my cookies on a plate as I wanted to check out their dining area. Sparse but clean & charming, I sat at the slim, stainless steel counter with my prize. Call me crazy, but the cardboard plate was a disappointment. Truly, food tastes better when it’s served on proper plates, with proper cutlery…but maybe that’s just me. Yo, Nollie’s, buy a couple plates for the folks eating in?
Here’s my take on the cookies:
Doughy in the middle because they were so thick, especially the Orange Creamsicle
Without the icing, the Orange Creamsicle had no flavor at all, other than “cookie”
I’m not sure I would’ve known it was a Peanut Butter Cookie if the label hadn’t said so
Two cookies isn’t enough to give a fair assessment on. I need to go back to Nollie’s & check out their lunches. I wish them well – they certainly have the rapport with their customers to make it a very pleasant place to hang. And maybe cookies aren’t what they do best. If you’re in South Lake Union and looking for a quick bite, check Nollie’s out.
After my sojourn for a cookie-fest I sauntered back to the car in the sunshine, thinking about all I had to do over the long weekend. Then, as I headed off down the I-5 towards home I was overtaken by the urge to go to the beach. There are times when the to-do list is just not the most important thing to do. And let me tell you: it turns out that the beach was absolutely where I needed to be. It’s amazing what a 4-mile long, barefoot walk along a sandy beach can do for a girl’s mind & heart & soul. Miracles. That walk along the beach was a fantastic investment of my time.
Happy Labor Day Weekend, fellow Americans!