Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Week of Extreme Indulgences Leads to Week of Salads Part II

Okay, now going back to where I was a few weeks ago.... I was visiting family in Vancouver, and we took what was supposed to be a 3-hour drive down to beautiful Seattle. Unfortunately, the ride took closer to 6 hours as we were fighting with a 2-hour wait at the border crossing, and some freeway road work of all things - on the I-5!

But after all that, we arrived in Seattle and made our way to the downtown area for a light lunch and a beer at Pyramid Alehouse.

Didn't know it till we got there, but this is the same Pyramid that makes Pyramid Hefeweissen, which I have seen before.

After a quick lunch, we went walking around the Pike Place Market, because you have to go there when you go to Seattle, it is a must-go place to go! Even though it was terribly windy and cold on the day we went, we still went. The market provides some shelter, and there, while I didn't get to see any fish guys throwing fish, I did get to see some of the most massive lobster tails and scallops I had ever laid eyes on. We're talking lobster tails that weighed what looked like 4 pounds a piece (without the head and torso!) and scallops the size of chicken breasts. Massive.


After a quick walk and a coffee, it was off to an early dinner at Canlis, a restaurant that is a bit of an institution in Seattle, about 60 years old and one of the restaurants that established Pacific Northwest cuisine. It was my Seattle friend E's suggestion to go to this restaurant after she enjoyed it some time back and thought I would also enjoy it because it is such a wine-friendly restaurant, with a huge cellar and a text-book sized wine list to cater to the geekiest of wine geeks.

We arrived to the restaurant and were seated with the most courteous of service. Our friend was to join us, and shortly after we were seated, she arrived. We got a great table by the window, with a beautiful view of trees and Lake Union spreading before us. It was a great sight indeed, and though the sun wasn't shining of this particular day, we could imagine how this great northwestern view would be like in the glistening sun. It was cloudy, but still magnificent.

We ordered a great bottle of wine for dinner, something somewhat local - we were looking for a Pinot Noir, but Washington State does not make Pinot Noirs - at least there were none on the massive wine list, and I have never heard of one - so we did the next best thing - an Oregon Pinot Noir. I recommended a 2007 Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir and it turned out to be quite delicious. I remember Bethel Heights making a great Pinot from back in the day when Tim was the domestic wine buyer at The Wine Country, and he was a big fan of their wine, though I haven't seen the wine anywhere in the Los Angeles area as of late. So I was happy they had this, and happy that it was a good wine.

As for the food, I found the fare at Canlis to be traditional. It was probably innovative back in the day, but today, the food was very traditional Euro-American fare, with familiar high-end items on the menu. For my appetizer, I chose the foie gras, which was a cold dish, that family coin-shaped rich goose liver served with some white and green asparagus spears. For my main dish, I had the seared duck breast, which was - seared duck breast. I gave half of my duck breast to Johan, who had ordered a fish dish off the tasting menu, and was given exactly the teeny tiny tasting portion of the dish - a noticeable faux pas on the part of the server. Our friend D had the lobster, which looked lovely, and E had the salmon dish, which also looked like a very good choice.

We enjoyed a variety of desserts, of which I recall that mine was a tropical mango and passion fruit creme brulee that was very nice; E had the donuts - actual fresh miniature donuts fried to order; D had a souffle; and Johan had an interesting concoction of which I cannot completely recall.

In all, the service got a B+ from me, the food a B+, the company, an A+, the wine, an A, and the night as a whole, an A.


Michael Hughes said...

So would you recommend Canlis? I'm going to be in Seattle next weekend & we have reservations at Tilth one night & are open on another. I'm so excited about the seminars I'm going to. One is on the Klipsun Vineyard & the other is on Champoux Vineyard. I can't wait!!

BTW, if you happen to be in Memphis on April 22nd we are co-hosting a dinner with Adam Lee of Siduri. You should come!

Nancy Deprez said...


Thank you for the invitation on April 22! Sadly I won't be in Memphis - I have a wine dinner over here in California going on that same night. Good luck with your event!

As for Canlis - I'm torn - it is a bit of a traditional restaurant, with great views and tons of service; but the food is not terribly innovative. The wine is very good, and I recommend their Oregon Pinot Noir.

Sounds like you are planning a great trip there - cool on the vineyard visits! I look forward to reading about them.