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Excellent taste and Excellent flavors

We finally had a chance to go to the Agate Pass Cafe for dinner on Sunday. We RARELY go out on a Sunday since it is our only day to be at home and to relax. Last Sunday was Lily’s 1st birthday (our team member Ivy’s sister) and we were honored to be invited to the festivities celebrating said first year. What a ham Lily is! She knows when a camera is pointed at her and she is quite the little poser. Just like her older sister, she LOVES cake. She loves eating the cake, playing with it, wearing it, schmearing it in her hair, feeding it to the dog, schmearing it on other people and pretty much everything else that you can think (or not) to do with cake. So after the party near Point No Point we drove down to Suquamish to see if the cafe would be open. It was a bit early and a Sunday and we weren’t sure, but we got lucky! This is a wonderful place that is doing food the way I love it done!

Co-Owner Stacy met us at the door and seated us and I liked her right off the bat. She brought co-owner/chef Marty out to meet us and we didn’t get much time to talk but I have a feeling I will really like her, as well. They are genuinely nice, talented and generous women who have created a space that I thoroughly enjoyed being in. It is simple and elegant and I would be as comfortable there in my formal wear (if I had any) as I was in my jeans. When you go you must see the glass tile mosaic on the bar counter. Stacy did it and what a gorgeous thing she created! We loved their bar light fixtures, as they are big whisks that belong to a giant mixer like we have. The 3-course menu was printed on one page and it was obvious that they were keeping it simple and in-season. That did not make it any easier to decide what to have, though!

We weren’t starving so we did not have the olives and almonds appetizer that I am definitely going to have next time, but we did try the French Onion Soup. I had to try it because it was made with chicken stock instead of beef, and that intrigued me. The stock was rich and wonderful and I wish I had some right now. The soup alone was worth the trip! Mark and I each chose a different dish and while we did share a few bites we each ended up liking our own the best so we mainly kept to our own plates. I am already looking forward to getting back there again!

Stacy aptly describes their food as simple and comfortable with French influence. Agate Pass Cafe serves Sunday brunch and Wednesday-Sunday dinner right now. They source their food seasonally and locally, make everything they possibly can in-house, and even the wine list was Washington and Oregon with 2 sparklers from France. Stacy’s recommendation of the cab-franc by Windy Point was taken and very much appreciated. Go there! Seriously! The place, the food and the owners are all Fabulous! (P.S. Marty’s kitchen creds are very impressive and Kitsap is lucky that she chose to cook over here.)

The other fun thing I got to do recently is go to another Chef’s Collaborative event. This time it was in Seattle at the private dining room owned by the same folks who run Crush on Capital Hill. We had a salt tasting. Yes, I really said a salt tasting. A company in Woodinville calledSaltworks is the leading supplier of gourmet salts in the world! We got to meet the owners of the company who had dozens of plain and flavored salts for us to taste. Now I have tried flavored salts before and I would never have chosen to use them. These salts, which are totally pure and unbleached, not even washed, are paired with pure ingredients to create their flavors. Some salts were smoked (the alder smoked sea salt tasted like a camp fire and would be great on salmon or chicken). Other flavors included porcini mushroom, truffle (yum! Scrambled eggs!); espresso (again yum! On chocolate ganache or steak or pork or anything else I can think of); lime and lemon would be great on the rim of a drink; blueberry and so many more. You can see the flavors on their web site.

I have never before had salt for dinner and probably never will again, but I was deeply impressed by what I learned. Chef Jason Wilson prepared many nibbles from roasted nuts, olives, bread, olive oil and cheeses and served wines and water along with it. Then he brought out blocks of salt that sort of looked like quartz cutting boards, and on them were RAW sea bass, scallops, and foie gras. They were left on the salt blocks for 10-15 minutes and the salt cured them so that they were ‘cooked’! (it reminded me of when we make ceviche, only it took much less time.) The scallops were my favorite with a melt-in-my mouth consistency and they had picked up just enough of the salt flavor. Then for ‘dessert’ there was a trough of roasted pork belly (unsmoked bacon) that had been brined and roasted crisp. We were invited to take a piece and sprinkle any one of the flavored salts on top to see how it changed and/or enhanced the flavors. What fun!

I have always known that salt is good for you and that it enhances flavors. I love to salt corn, potatoes, chicken, pork, popcorn and pasta. Now I am far more comfortable with salt’s different applications and I am going to play with some of its uses. Be looking for unique flavors atop our daily salads and catering special orders and see if you can pick out the salts that we are using. This salt tastes better and is unprocessed and we are so lucky to have this in our own back yard! Send me an email telling me what you love to salt!