I went on a blind date this morning. No, no, don’t get alarmed. Not *that* kind of date. It was blind though. The adorable Thursday Nite Bites joined me for a Big Breakfast Adventure at The Dish in Ballard. Ms.TNB was treated to that strange spectacle that is The Line - a throng of people happily standing outside the doors of a restaurant, early on a weekend morning for 15 minutes in the freezing cold so that they get a seat in the first wave. I had warned her that The Dish was famous for The Line. I don’t think she quite believed me since as she turned the corner from the parking lot she said: “Wow. You weren’t joking!” Just to set expectations I pointed out that the existence of The Line outside a breakfast joint’s doors did not necessarily mean that the food was good. It just meant that people liked going there. I hoped that in this case existence of The Line was because the food was awesome.
When 8 am finally struck the hostess lovingly welcomed “The Mob”, as she smilingly referred to us, in. Good job we were third in The Line. Not many window tables & the non-window tables would have played havoc with my light meter. Ms.TNB and I have been acquainted over email for a little while but this was the first time we had met in person, so I expected the food to play second fiddle to the conversation once again. Lots to talk about when you meet a new friend. Ms.TNB is petite, cute & has the shiniest black hair ever. She hails from Albuquerque, which is one of the reasons I invited her on this particular Big Breakfast Adventure. I needed a Mexican food expert with me, since I am still pretty clueless when it comes to determining whether Mexican food is good or not so much. Ms.TNB talks about chilies like I talk about chocolate beans. Who knew that those little suckers were so diverse and complicated? If you want to know about chilies, just drop Ms.TNB a note. She’ll educate you. She like gets them flown in from New Mexico.
We were seated, served a big old shiny pot of mint tea (turns out we’re mint tea soul mates) & scoured the menu. I was having the Seattle Magazine mandated Slacker Especial – scrambled eggs with enchilada sauce, tortilla chips, green chilies and jack cheese, topped with salsa, sour cream and green onions, served with grilled red potatoes & toast or scone – I had English muffin, but I later discovered that the scones are the best kept secret there, so now wishing I’d had that instead. Ah well.
It was a pretty serious pile of food. I was already bracing myself for a hot, spicy (and miserable) mouth and warned Ms.TNB that I may well start to whine and if I started to annoy her she should feel free to tell me to quit. I was pleasantly surprised. It was spicy, yes, but totally tolerable, even for this lily-livered spice eater. It was even more tolerable with an extra side of sour cream.
My fellow foodie chose the Heuvos Verdes – two corn tortillas, grilled red potatoes, black beans, shaved ham, two eggs any style and spicy tomatillo sauce – which I believe is the Mexican version of Green Eggs and Ham. And boy, was it green. There was also a lot of black beans buried under all that green. I have never met a black bean in my life that made me think, “I want to eat you.” Today didn’t change that.
The verdict from the Albuquerque side of the table was that it was average. The tortillas were good. The egg was there. The potatoes were great. The black beans weren’t. The chilies were alternately good & then sour. Was this, indeed, the best Tex Mex breakfast in Seattle? Ms.TNB reliably informs me that there are not a lot of good Mexican restaurants in Seattle, therefore, this could very well be one of the best. Me? I am still clueless about what constitutes a good Mexican breakfast. I enjoyed my plate of grub. Would I go there and eat again? No. Would Ms.TNB? Yes, but she’d try something different. I am not saying it was bad, I am just saying that I still don’t really enjoy eating Mexican food. Any Mexican food.
Ms.TNB and I could have sat there supping on mint tea for several hours longer, but we did feel bad for the folks still standing in The Line outside in the biting cold wind. Especially the girl in the dress with bare legs and no coat. Yes, especially her.
So our next adventure will be when I join Ms.TNB for a Thursday Night Bite. I’m excited! Going out to dinner alone isn’t something I’ve quite got my head around yet so to have a new dinner buddy will be fun.
And, last but not least: I am not disappointed that there are no more Mexican breakfasts on the 55 Best Breakfasts list. However, based on “The Line” every flippin’ weekend & the rave reviews, I would say that if you like Mexican food you should probably give The Dish a try. It’s cheap, it’s very cheerful – both the decor & the servers – and you get filled up with food. If you’re with someone that you really like this could just become a favorite of yours.