After Maria Hines’ spring-time win as Best Chef of the Pacific Northwest (the mighty mantel bestowed by the James Beard Foundation), not to mention a lovely article about her (written by my friend, colleague, and fellow regular contributor to The Seattle Times Pacific Northwest magazine, Greg Atkinson), we were eager to make a return visit to Tilth, the vibrant green bungalow along 45th Street in the Wallingford neighborhood a few miles from downtown Seattle to see what the talented chef has been up to lately.
Sadly, Maria wasn’t in the house that evening, but her sous chef and staff are keeping things in good order even during her nights away.
It was a cool Sunday evening, so cool that we, along with several other outdoor diners, went back to our car for the emergency wind breakers and pullovers we keep in the trunk for just such an occurrence.
The meal started with yeasty, baby-bottom-soft bread and housemade butter.
The Tomato Salad with Arugula and Fresh Figs–a special of the day–was a delightful interplay of colors, textures, and flavors. The pretty purple chive blossoms sprinkled from on high added both visual and gustatory top notes.
Because I’m working on an article on black cod, a.k.a. sablefish, for Pacific Northwest magazine, I was most interested in ordering the Sous Vide Sablefish that came with sea beans, wild watercress, and truffled potato purée. It was a well-crafted dish with a sassy swipe of herb-rich pesto along one side.
Spencer ordered the large portion of Pan-Roasted Chicken, which partnered with baby red-potato salad, asparagus, and bread jus.
After such soul-satisfying food, along with a bottle of the ever-appealing Domaine Drouhin Oregon 2007 “Arthur” Chardonnay (named for winemaker Veronique Drouhin’s son), the air suddenly didn’t seem nearly as chill as when we first sat down.
In fact, we crossed the street and got in a lengthy line at Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream, a Walllingford institution that (somehow) we’d never enjoyed until that evening. Part of the anticipation at Molly’s is figuring out what intriguing flavor to order. Unfortunately, by the time we got to the front of the line, the Salted Caramel had been 86ed. Lavender Honey was perfume-y and sweet, with a rich depth of flavor, but we both opted for something a little less esoteric–Birthday Cake ice cream (!).
It makes my mouth happy to know that Molly Moon’s has just opened a second location on Capitol Hill. As for my waistline, not so much.