Dispatches from July 16
6 AM: Getting ready for a day in Seattle with my dear friend Sharon, whom I’ve known since high school! We meet at Top Pot Doughnuts for a decadent breakfast. Between me, Sharon, and Arthur, we sample six flavors, with just enough coffee to prevent total sugar overload.
Clockwise from top left: Raspberry chocolate cake, Bavarian crème, blueberry cinnamon sugar, “Pink Feather Boa,” old-fashioned maple, and old-fashioned chocolate.
They were all delicious, but my ideal combination would be a raspberry-frosted chocolate old-fashioned doughnut. The raspberry tasted so fresh and a little tart, while the tender insides and crispy edges of the old-fashioneds was the perfect texture.
9 AM: Sharon and I stroll while catching up.
Patrons outside the Market Theater have been sticking their chews to the Gum Wall for twenty years.
Had to add my own gum. It’s the pale green piece atop that big yellow blob.
Watching seagulls along the waterfront
Noon: Brunch at the incredible Portage Bay Cafe. With a motto of “Eat like you give a damn,” this cafe offers scrumptious vegan, vegetarian, and omnivorous plates made with local and sustainable ingredients. Sharon and I split an order of fluffy buckwheat pancakes with fresh berries, and a mushroom barley garden burger with succulent rosemary roasted potatoes.
3 PM: Visiting Fremont, a town full of bakeries, shops, and bizarre art, like their 7-ton statue of Vladimir Lenin. They have an annual naked bike ride. They unabashedly dub themselves the “Center of the Universe.”
The Center of the Universe guidepost
I mainly wanted to see the Fremont Troll, who crushes cars under the Aurora bridge. I was so excited to meet this enormous, city government-sponsored trickster!
Me, Churchill, the Troll, and some billy goats gruff
6 PM: Dinner with Sharon, her husband Michael, friends Jeremy and Lillian, and Arthur at Perche No.
Not the best photo, but the best I’ve got.
Sharon and Michael are friends with the owners, David and Lily Kong. They’re the most hospitable restauranteurs I’ve ever met! They offered to select our meal for us, and we ended up with an overwhelming feast of:
- Crispy polenta topped with ragu;
- Grilled marinated portabello mushrooms;
- Arugula with lemon vinaigrette and goat cheese;
- Wilted spinach salad with tomato, bacon, onion, and mozzarella;
- Grilled romaine heart with gorgonzola and balsamic vinaigrette;
- Handmade fettucine with prawns and basil cream sauce;
- Some sort of short pasta with braised pork in tomato sauce;
- Risotto with shaved truffles;
- Braised lamb shank in red wine;
- Stuffed white fish with eggplant;
- Wine-poached pear slices with mango gelato;
- Cocoa crepes with mascarpone and raspberry sauce;
- Fresh raspberries with zabaglione and dark chocolate
9 PM: Chef Kong wanders out of the kitchen and points at me. “She needs another dessert,” he says. “She’s been texting me saying she didn’t get enough.” Since the meal was so huge, we all laugh, and he disappears inside.
He reappears, carrying a bowl, and sets it in front of me. “A memory from your childhood!”
It’s a version of Bubur Cha Cha, a Malaysian dessert of tapioca pearls, sweet potato, taro root, and coconut milk. Although I’m not Malaysian and never had this in my childhood, I recognize it, and I’m delighted anyway.
Chef Kong seems delighted too. Saying, “See? I know, I know!” he wanders away again, leaving the six of us to take a last few sweet spoonfuls before we leave.