Seattle Dining

Seattle Dining: Brunch at Scout by Jenn Chan

 Scout at Thompson Hotel

Scout at Thompson Hotel

If Grizzly Bears in the wild were a patchwork of different plaids I think they would be less terrifying. Don't get me wrong they would probably still maul you and rip you apart Revenant-style, but their warm tones would relax you before your untimely demise. When you enter Scout at the beautiful Thompson Hotel the first thing you see is just such a whimsical Grizzly Bear. It's a first impression that stays with you as you're guided to your table past immense 10 seater booths and gorgeous tables entrapped in elegant, twisted wood bird cages. A lovely space!

Scout at Thompson Hotel
Scout at Thompson Hotel
Scout at Thompson Hotel
Scout at Thompson Hotel
Scout at Thompson Hotel
 Scout Brunch Menu

Scout Brunch Menu

 

Kale, spinach, celery, cucumber, parsley, lime and apple juice doesn't sound like a flavour experiment in which my participation would be deemed voluntary. Healeo, a local Seattle company, makes a very nice cold pressed juice it dubs the "Green Drink" which I found refreshing and invigorating. I also ordered a mimosa which is also invigorating, but for more traditional reasons.

 Healeo Organic Green Cold Pressed Juice

Healeo Organic Green Cold Pressed Juice

 

I can always tell immediately whether you've made your Hollandaise sauce from scratch or prepackaged. Don't get me wrong I don't mind either, but you can really tell the difference when fresh ingredients are used and care is taken. At Scout they care about their Dungeness Benedict. Like a lot. Forgoing the usual English muffin for a crab cake base with a poached egg on top they nailed this dish. Hints of cilantro, subtle onion and lime zest round out this plate which also boasts some very lovely fried potatoes.

 Dungeness Benedict

Dungeness Benedict

Dungeness Benedict

 

$2 beers are always a good idea! I'm not sure how profitable it is, but at $2 it wouldn't break the bank to have 10. Maybe 20? At Scout you can enjoy an ice cold, frothy Miller High Life for a twoonie. That's a $2 coin for my American readers. It's a brunch special with real potential to make an indelible impression!

I ordered a fried chicken sandwich with kettle cooked potato chips. "You can taste that it was made inside... (long pause) the kitchen". Yes, Jenn, you sure can! What I think she was meaning, folks, was that the chips were made in-house. She asked nicely I not include this in the blog, but I felt to get the true sense of our meal it was essential. And funny. Honey dominates this chicken burger, in a very good way, and the bun, also made in-house, was very fresh and tasty. The slaw added a nice crunch to the burger and it disappeared quickly. Jenn ordered an avocado toast, as she is prone to do whenever she see it's on a menu, and it was buttery and rich and the togarashi gave it a nice kick and, with the crunch of the pine nuts, rounded out a lovely experience. Avocados contain good cholesterol, give it a Google, and is a very healthy addition to any diet.

 Fried Chicken

Fried Chicken

 Avocado Toast

Avocado Toast

 

The Scout cinnamon bun is more like a cinnamon dog bed. A chihuahua or a Shih tzu would have a comfortable sleep atop this behemoth! It is worth a trip all by itself. Cinnabon has got nothing on Scout! My only experience at Scout is their delicious brunch, admittedly, but I perused the dinner menu and, knowing their propensity to make everything fresh, in-house and with top notch ingredients, I can say without reservation that it would be a good culinary experience regardless of the time of day. Speaking of reservations you might want to make one as the word is out and Scout is in!

 Cinnamon Sticky Bun

Cinnamon Sticky Bun

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Seattle Dining: Trace Seattle by Jenn Chan

Trace Seattle

 

Trace is a beautiful, modern room. High ceilings, artist architectural details and brimming with potential! We were seated and looked after by our very kind server Loan. She suggested we try their Mai Tai, twist my rubber arm, but returned with 5 different colourful, photogenic cocktails at the behest of Trace's GM Zack. They came out just before our first courses: amazing pulled pork sliders and a seared ahi and poke plate.

 

Trace Seattle
Trace Seattle Menus

 

The Crime of Passion has a nice passion fruit puree, tanqueray, pimm’s, St. Germain and cucumber dry soda. Thankfully helped to extinguish the fire from the seared ahi and poke dish which had a nice heat from a house secret spice GM Zack was nice enough to share with us, but we won't share with you. Ever. Critic/ client privileges. The Cactus Drop again boasted a purée, but this time a prickly pear puree, with Ketel One Citroen, cointreau and lemon juice. I have never eaten a prickly pear. In fact the prospect frightens me a little bit, but sipping its liquid offspring is not daunting. Not even a little bit. This cocktail is perfectly balanced with the exquisite Ketel One Vodka forming the base and the prickly pear providing a perfect compliment; very, very good!

 

 Trace Mai Tai, Prickly Pear Margarita, Crime of Passion, Champagne Cocktail, Cactus Drop

Trace Mai Tai, Prickly Pear Margarita, Crime of Passion, Champagne Cocktail, Cactus Drop

 

The Champagne Cocktail has a blackberry puree, domaine de canton and, of course, champagne. Jenn was unable to take on a new initiative and give me her opinion on this drink. She lapped at it like a lizard for a few minutes, staring blankly at me as though mentally handicapped severally. Now, personally, as I prefer low-biscus, the hibiscus flavour is a little off putting. That was a tired Hawaiian joke I lifted from virtually every Hawaiian tour guide we encountered last year. In reality this drink was very much like a fizzy Ribena; a reference lifted from Jenn's childhood. The first thing I noticed about the drink was the expertly zested and curled lime. It's fragrance hits you as soon as you lift the glass to your mouth; delicious! The Prickly Pear Margarita has a prickly pear puree, Avion tequila and Trace's house 'sour mix'. You have to like tequila, or even solely tolerate it, to appreciate any drink in which it forms the base. This margarita was very good. Not too strong and not too fruity, a good balance.

 

Last, but not least was the Trace Mai Tai. Bacardi superior, Orange Curaçao, Orgeat, Bacardi 8 and lime. Orange, almond and lime. These are the building blocks of the Trace Mai Tai and they mix very well, better than you might imagine and the drink is overall: rum heavy (in a good way), hints of orange, almond (from the orgeat) and lime from both the juice and plump lime slices in the drink. This drink is a winner and Loan is a genius! 

 

Drinks on drinks on drinks and then thankfully our food arrived. The Pulled Pork Sliders came piled with incredible smoked pulled pork, a charred pineapple bbq sauce on fresh sesame buns. I was never a fan of pineapple growing up. I couldn't understand how they became a staple on pizza; it both bewildered and angered me. As an adult, presumably due to my taste buds mellowing, I'll take down a Hawaiian pizza. I'll savour it on my Hawaiian burger and I'll eat it like a hungry Pitbull on some pulled pork sliders! Savoury and sweet and delicious. You need these in your life! The Seared Ahi & Poké Plate come with Ogo, scallions, macadamia nut inamona and taro chips. The five spice on the edge of the seared ahi at the top with  tuna poké underneath. The hint of spice is often times better than lots of spice and always better than no spice. The two different kinds of tuna was a new twist on a tartare-like appetizer. I preferred the seared tuna and Jenn preferred the poké so it worked out very well. This dish is excellent and it disappeared quickly!

 

 Pulled Pork Sliders: Tender smoked pulled pork, charred pineapple bbq sauce, sesame buns

Pulled Pork Sliders: Tender smoked pulled pork, charred pineapple bbq sauce, sesame buns

 Seared Ahi & Poke Plate: Ogo, scallions, macadamia nut inamona, taro chips

Seared Ahi & Poke Plate: Ogo, scallions, macadamia nut inamona, taro chips

 

The Oxtail and Foraged Mushroom Risotto was the first of our entrées to make its way to the table. My first experience with a red wine / pomegranate reduction. A full bodied, rich and comforting dish. If you hate mushrooms you will still like this risotto. If you hate cheese... then move along. Your type isn't welcome. Anywhere. On Earth. This dish is a must try even for a mushroom-phobic. A college days delivery as a Panago delivery driver ruined me for the subtlety of fungus, but that is another blog post all together. The point is Jenn ate this, forearm curled around it like she was a jaded convict protecting her food from other inmates, as quickly as she could. Oh yes I got a few choice adjectives to help me write this: warm (it's supposed to be warm, it's a restaurant), comforting (oh...kay...) and delicious. Even after I let her know I could use only one of her three contributions she didn't waver. She couldn't. This dish is delicious!

 

 Oxtail and Foraged Mushroom Risotto: Red wine pomegranate reduction

Oxtail and Foraged Mushroom Risotto: Red wine pomegranate reduction

 

Jenn also deigned to order the Huli-Hulu Spiced Draper Valley Half Chicken. It came with grilled corn, red rice and was bathed in a pineapple bbq sauce. Super tender, juicy and flavourful with its incredible Huli-Hulu spice enveloping it in its entirety. Amongst the best pieces of chicken I have eaten and I have eaten enough chicken to satisfy the lifetime appetite of an 80 year-old fox. I went with Trace's Char-GrilledRib Steak. It was accompanied by some roasted winter squash and natural jus. A large, discus sized round of beef arrived at my table minutes, seconds it seemed, after we waved our entrées over to join our myriad of appetizers. A perfect rare, as requested, and swimming in a sultry bath of its own juices and roasted winter squash. I sat with this dish, as 4 others languished, for a good half hour. Tempered bites with measured portions of the mashed potatoes and squash. After that half hour I was still working away on the steak in between bites of others and several cocktails and felt unapologetic for neglecting the others. A solid 8.5/10!

 

 Huli-Huli Spiced Draper Valley Half Chicken: Grilled corn, red rice, pineapple bbq sauce

Huli-Huli Spiced Draper Valley Half Chicken: Grilled corn, red rice, pineapple bbq sauce

 Char-grilled Rib Steak: Roasted winter squash and natural jus

Char-grilled Rib Steak: Roasted winter squash and natural jus

 

Dessert came and I almost exploded just looking at it. I was full, very full. Between the dishes and the many, many cocktails I had little to no room in my belly, but then I laid my eyes on the Warm Chocolate Cake and Washington Apple Semi Freddo. Root beer isn't for everyone and I'm not sure why. I love it! If thy made a root beer shampoo I would use it. Ditto on body wash. The chocolate cake was amazing, it's hard to screw up chocolate regardless of which form it takes, the accompanying vanilla ice cream was nice and light and fresh, but then you add a root beer sauce to the whole thing and you hit another level of delicious! Even if you head to Trace just for this cake and you won't be disappointed! A wise man once said "you never go full Freddo". Trace's semi Freddo adheres to that age old wisdom and uses the delicious Washington apples in a perfect way. My father was born and raised on an apple orchard in the idyllic Okanagan Valley in British Columbia. The area boats the only dessert climate in Canada and the apples are the best in the world; hands down! Washington, our beloved neighbour to the south comes a close second in my humble opinion. As a youngster we had a weekend property in Whatcom County just outside of Bellingham and up the street from Whatcom Lake so I know a thing or three about Washington apples. I would request this dessert as my last meal. It is that good!

 

 Warm Chocolate Cake: vanilla ice cream, root beer sauce

Warm Chocolate Cake: vanilla ice cream, root beer sauce

 Washington Apple Semi Freddo - Caramelized Apples

Washington Apple Semi Freddo - Caramelized Apples

 

In all our experience as Trace was excellent. Loan was a very sweet and knowledgeable server and Zack made frequent trips to our table to make sure everything was to our standards. The ambience was lovely as a large table was celebrating a birthday nearby and couples could still enjoy an intimate candlelight evening. Boisterous chatter from the adjacent lobby bar kept the atmosphere electric and the high ceilings and modern decor made for a lovely vista. I would recommend Trace to anyone visiting Seattle and for any Seattleites looking for a new experience. 

 

 
Words: Scott Allan
Photos: Jenn Chan
 

Afternoon Tea Series: The Georgian at Fairmont Olympic Hotel by Jenn Chan

The Georgian

 

What a room! Grand in a prohibition era kind of way. 50 foot high ceilings, ornate columns and intricate mouldings. A very Downton Abbey feel in the middle of metropolitan Seattle. Adding to our experience was our extremely affable Fairmont host, Valerie, who was a wealth of knowledge on the room and the whole property really. We made a new friend!

 

The Georgian

 

Afternoon tea is a luxurious affair. Big Kentucky derby-inspired floppy hats, pinkies raised way up in the air and crisp dresses and suits. Judy Dench wouldn't look out of place here nor would Miley Cyrus if she were sipping her tea mere tables away. It's a space for everyone and there's something on the menu to satisfy their tastes! The first stop on our culinary adventure was mimosa town. On a groggy Saturday afternoon it is the perfect destination for a vacationer; I'll let you guess why! Jenn, Valerie and I raised our glasses to the Fairmont, without a drop of insincerity, and toasted them!

 

 1907 Blend Tea

1907 Blend Tea

 Mixed Berries

Mixed Berries

 

Soon the delicious teatime towers were brought out and placed in front of us. Jenn and I wisely chose the 1907 Blend Tea to accompany them; absolutely delicious and it immediately went into my top five tea list! Blueberry Scones Apricot Jam & Devonshire Cream were the first tier of our three tiered tea-stravaganza. I don't know where Devonshire is, but if you told me it was a magical land where hobbits go on mythical adventures I would believe you. If you told me they stole the recipe for this cream from a dragon I would believe it. The scones, made in-house, are so fresh and soft that they fall apart at the touch. Add the heavenly cream and the incredible apricot jam and it's a very, very satisfying carbohydrate delivery device.

 

 Georgian Tea Set

Georgian Tea Set

Georgian Tea Set
 Blueberry Scones

Blueberry Scones

 

My mom is a saint. I wanted for nothing growing up and love filled our home, but I'm not sure if it's a Manitoba thing or something completely Jean Allan; pronouncing sandwiches 'sammerches'. I think about her whenever I'm served a 'sammerch' and the tradition continued when I made my way to the second tier. Hereafter referred to as the 'sammerch tier'. Waldorf Sourdough Bread, Turkey, Apple, Raisins, Celery, Pecans and Herbs made up the first I tried. If I see a turkey sandwich with apple on a menu I order it. Every time. When I see a salad with pecans I do likewise. When I see a sandwich with both I shriek like a 12 year old girl seeing Justin Bieber. This sandwich is delicious!

 

Up next was one consisting of Curry Salmon Egg Salad Rye Bread Roll, Smoked Salmon, Curry Egg Salad and Micro Greens. Curry is not just for my beloved butter chicken or tandoori, it makes everything better! This sandwich will make you want 10 more. Which I do. Right now. Come on Chef Paul make it happen! This sandwich alone is worth the trip. The Herb Marinated Grilled Prawn, Tomato Jam, Mango Salsa, Cured Tomato, Parmesan Crisp and Mango salsa. Mango salsa should be on every menu! It would make a boiled rat delectable. It would make a toupee taste like heaven. And when you add it to one of the most delicious ocean dwellers the results are as you would expect. You want this! The Cucumber Watercress Sourdough Bread compliments the Watercress Crème Fraiche, Cucumber, Salmon Roe and Preserved Lemon extremely well. Yum! Sourdough makes everything better! I was not expecting much from a sandwich which lacks a huge protein component as I am a carnivore at heart, but the lemon tang mixed well with the very thinly sliced cucumber, which helped beat back the overpowering nature of the cucumber, and the sourdough rounded everything out.

 

 Tea Sandwiches: Turkey Waldorf, Curry Salmon Egg Salad, Grilled Prawn & Cucumber Watercress

Tea Sandwiches: Turkey Waldorf, Curry Salmon Egg Salad, Grilled Prawn & Cucumber Watercress

 

Feeling satisfied from our first two tiers we set our sights on the dessert tier hidden masterfully at the bottom. I started with the milk chocolate brownie. I have had a bad brownie only once. It was a little old and the crunch really detracted from the fudge-y goodness. The Georgian's brownie tasted like it came right out of the oven as we entered the room. Add in the milk chocolate icing and this will satisfy even the pickiest chocolate addict. Macaron shops are the donut shops of the new millennium. As junk food places disappear macaron shops, with their luxury price tag, keep popping up. The sole reason is because they are delicious, like very delicious. The Georgian's rose water raspberry macaron ranks amongst the prestige priced Fauberge and Thierry's of the world. Jenn's favourite was the No bake Matcha Mango Cheesecake. If you've never heard of matcha you will before too long. It is everywhere. From its humble Asian beginnings it is finding its way into foods across the cultural spectrum. This cheesecake would have been good with lawn clippings on the top, but the matcha, with its myriad of health benefits, compliments it perfectly. My favourite was the Pistachio Eclair. In the hierarchy of nut deliciousness pistachio ranks high. This eclair, my first in forever, harnesses the deliciousness that is pistachio and combines it with the slight sweetness of the icing and the freshness of the pastry. It is excellent!

 

 Sweets: Milk Chocolate Brownie, No Bake Matcha Mango Cheesecake, Rose Water Raspberry Macaron & Pistachio Eclair

Sweets: Milk Chocolate Brownie, No Bake Matcha Mango Cheesecake, Rose Water Raspberry Macaron & Pistachio Eclair

 

If you're lucky enough in life to do what you love for a living you have a better life than 99% of people. Real estate is my passion and I'm blessed to exist in that milieu. Photography is Jenn's passion and we are moulding her passion into an ancillary career which we hope will one day become her primary. Valerie is a people person and the hospitality industry is tailor made for her. Three strangers becoming friends over tea. A cliché from, presumably, every British movie where I imagine tea drinking is prevalent. I would also imagine that this isn't the first time friendship has been sparked in this regal restaurant. Take someone for tea at the Fairmont Olympic Seattle today and I guarantee you leave closer than when you arrived! 

 

 

 Rooftop Bee Hives

Rooftop Bee Hives

Rooftop Bee Hives
Rooftop Bee Hives
Rooftop Garden
 
 

Seattle Dining: Loulay Kitchen + Bar with Chef in the Hat by Jenn Chan

Loulay Kitchen + Bar

 

There's something about high ceilings that really opens up your mind. The dining room at Loulay boasts 30 some odd feet of mind expanding beauty. A tasteful, modern colour palette contrasts with the red neon of the auspicious Loulay sign and disco ball chandeliers. The seasoned wait staff flash warm smiles and turn out to be a wealth of knowledge on the Loulay experience!

 

Loulay Kitchen + Bar Interior
Loulay Kitchen + Bar Interior


Our dining experience starts, as all good experiences do, with cocktails. The first 'and the beet goes on' is not just a delicious dad joke and solid pun, but is also quite a delicious use of the cantankerous beet. My family recently inherited an 320 acre farm from my maternal grandfather. What are we growing you ask? Why on Earth would I bring it up you ask? Beets; good old fashioned, Dugald, Manitoba beets. This cocktail made me think of my grandfather and the trials and tribulations he faced as a POW in Stalag Luft III, made famous by the movie 'The Great Escape' before being rescued on the Nazi Death March in 1945 and returning to Canada after WWII. Beet infused Skyy Vodka forms the base of this refreshing, citrusy concoction and it is very good. The 'Fallen Angel' is a man's drink. An good bourbon makes for an incredible drink and this cocktail gelled very well, extremely, and the light Ramazzotti touch complimented it perfectly. The 'Eldarossa' is the best of the theee and the difference you sense between a well highball and top shelf depends on your palate. As a teenager, well into my 20's really, I could drink hair spray or Grey Goose and my taste buds (and liver) didn't whimper a single complaint. As we age and as we get used to the finer things hair spray no longer doubles as a libation and the difference between Smirnoff, top shelf in many establishments, and Ketel One means a lot. As soon as you sip the Eldarossa, without even looking, I knew the ingredients were top shelf. Upon studying the menu I realized everything at Loulay is. The Ketel One base provides the perfect building blocks for the St Germain and fresh lime juice to make a very good cocktail!

 

Loulay Wine Menu
 "And the Beets Goes On.." + "Fallen Angel"

"And the Beets Goes On.." + "Fallen Angel"



The Dungeness Crab Salad consists of pickled celery root, grapefruit, tarragon crème, micro arugula and is served with crostini. I have never had bad Dungeness Crab. I've had King Crab that tasted like a sweat sock, I've had soft shell crab that I wouldn't feed my dog, and I don't even like her very much, and I've had Snow Crab that I would have rather toss into a snowbank, but Dungeness has never let me down. It maintains its perfect record under the watchful eye of Chef Thierry. Chunks of grapefruit offer a tart juxtaposition to the sweetness of the tarragon crème and the crab itself and I could have eaten four orders of this!


The Scallops with Fiddlehead Ferns also featured spinach and mustard seeds. Our gracious server, Ryan, was bold enough to recommend the Pinot Noir from the Patricia Green Cellars, in Oregon's Williamette Valley, to go with the scallops. "Red wine only with red meat is a myth" was his assertion as we washed down a bite of the tender scallops with the lovely red wine. A very good pairing, a very good seafood plate and a very, very good suggestion!


 Loulay Dinner Menu

Loulay Dinner Menu

 Dungeness Crab Salad - pickled celery root, grapefruit, tarragon crème, micro arugula, crostini

Dungeness Crab Salad - pickled celery root, grapefruit, tarragon crème, micro arugula, crostini

 Organic Scrambled Egg + Eldarossa

Organic Scrambled Egg + Eldarossa

 Organic Scrambled Egg - lime créme fraiche, white sturgeon caviar

Organic Scrambled Egg - lime créme fraiche, white sturgeon caviar


The Butter Poached Halibut comes with roasted cauliflower, spinach, barley, kumquat preserve, green garlic and cultivated mushroom. In 2016 the price of cauliflower skyrocketed because, well, I don't know. But it did. A quick Google showed that it was scarcity that was the first reason for the price increase and the something strange yet eerily predictable happened. People couldn't have it so they wanted it even more.m and demand skyrocketed. The fish was very fresh, no doubt procured fresh from Seattle's port, and could not have been softer. The cauliflower compliments the deliciously fresh halibut very well and the butter poaching really elevates the dish!


 Butter Poached Halibut - roasted cauliflower, spinach, barley, kumquat preserve, green garlic, cultivated mushroom

Butter Poached Halibut - roasted cauliflower, spinach, barley, kumquat preserve, green garlic, cultivated mushroom


The Carlton Farms Pork Chop dish is served with red cabbage, black garlic, carrot and Beecher's cheddar yukon potato in peppercorn sauce. Meat makes all the difference. That's why Wagyu beef, with their sake massages and pampering, tastes better than a Big Mac with its mysterious composition and origin. I imagine Carlton Farms is a wonderland where the pigs are treated as pets and sleep in the bed with their owners. Tender and fresh and paired perfectly with the peppercorn sauce and heavenly mashed potatoes. My favourites the dish of the night!


 Carlton Farms Pork Chop - red cabbage, black garlic, carrot, beecher's cheddar yukon potato, peppercorn sauce

Carlton Farms Pork Chop - red cabbage, black garlic, carrot, beecher's cheddar yukon potato, peppercorn sauce


The Northwest Bouillbbaisse has fish, clams, mussels, tomato saffron broth, preserved lemon and grilled bread with Harissa. If they made tomato/ saffron shampoo I would buy it. Diddo on toothpaste. It's very good; extremely good. The seafood is very fresh and flavourful, but you could put this broth on a spare tire and I would eat it, excellent dish! As a Pacific coaster myself, from Vancouver, BC, I think I am equally spoiled by the freshness and quality of the seafood pulled from our shared waters. I believe firmly that someone from Idaho's head would explode at first bite!


 Northwest Bouillabaisse - fish, clams, mussels, tomato saffron broth, preserved lemon, grilled bread

Northwest Bouillabaisse - fish, clams, mussels, tomato saffron broth, preserved lemon, grilled bread


The Duck Confit Sliders is topped with an amazing, aged sherry dressing and profiterole. Duck is a delicious bird. It goes: turkey > duck > chicken > game hen. When duck is done right, and is a healthy, lean cut, it nudges very close to the heaven that is turkey. Turkey cannot be surpassed. Because science. But these sliders were amongst the best I've ever had and the cute, little buns, made in-house of course, pâté à choux to be exact, were amazing! You need these in your life.


 Duck Confit Sliders - aged sherry dressing, profiterole

Duck Confit Sliders - aged sherry dressing, profiterole


The Seared Polenta is plated with assorted mushrooms, vegetable demi-glace, and a cheese crisp. A very Earthy flavour with an excellent variety of mushrooms. A hearty version of Jenn's beloved cream of mushroom soup and she quickly devoured it before I had a chance to taste it for this blog s we will all have to take her word for it.


 Seared Polenta - assorted mushrooms, vegetable demi-glace, cheese crisp

Seared Polenta - assorted mushrooms, vegetable demi-glace, cheese crisp


Chef Thierry showed up to our table next with their Seared Foie Gras in a tart cherry reduction. I can recall being forced to sit at the dinner table for hours as a young boy. Eat everything on your plate or don't leave the table until you do. Liver and onions, a staple of my dad's Scottish upbringing, was a tough night. Foie Gras is not that kind of liver and Chef Thierry's Foie Gras is a cut above that even. Soft enough to cut with a stern look it very near broke apart in my fork as I raised it to my mouth where it liquified into a cacophony of rich, buttery flavours. I have had Foie Gras at 3 and 4 diamond restaurants, mom and pop cafés and family diners and Chef Thierry's, at the renowned Loulay, is the best of them all! Worth a trip on its own, trust me.
Acting as if we were still very hungry, and not at all like he was trying to kill us through vicarious gluttony, Chef Thierry arranged for two exquisite desserts to be served as he scampered out the door to attend to his other highly regarded restaurant; Luc. Presumably to mingle with guests, answer questions and put his personal touch on Luc's diners' experiences as he had ours. First to arrive was the Lemon tart with huckleberry compote and lime crème fraiche, baked vanilla meringue and pink peppercorns. Think lemon meringue pie moving to and learning the culture of a mythical, unicorn capital city. This is the capital of lemon pie deliciousness. I've waxed poetically many a time on this blog about my dear Granny, Frances Allan, who would make the most incredible lemon pies, everything from scratch, and like a heroine junky I have been searching all my life for the same feeling that first hit gave me. This is as close as it has come, but out of deference for my dearly departed paternal grandmother I have to say it's not quite at her level. Hers was at a 13/10and this is a solid, very solid, 9/10!


 Seared Foie Gras - rhubarb and spring onion bread pudding, tart cherry reduction

Seared Foie Gras - rhubarb and spring onion bread pudding, tart cherry reduction

 Scallops

Scallops

Port Trio
 Valrhona Caramélia Torte - white chocolate hazelnut malt candy, espresso sauceValrhona Caramélia Torte - white chocolate hazelnut malt candy, espresso sauce

Valrhona Caramélia Torte - white chocolate hazelnut malt candy, espresso sauceValrhona Caramélia Torte - white chocolate hazelnut malt candy, espresso sauce

Lemon Tart


The Valrhone Caramélia Torte is a white chocolate hazelnut malt candy with espresso sauce. The hierarchy of nuts is hard to pin down. For me it goes something like: pecan, walnut, almond, hazelnut then the rest but for some, many maybe, hazelnut is at or near the top. Nutella and this dessert are two of the reasons why. Rich, but not too sweet. Soft yet perfectly baked this is a must try. If cocktails are the perfect way to start a meal then port is the perfect way to end it! I rate my overall experience at Loulay as a solid 9/10. I always like to leave room for improvement for the venerable Chef in the Hat to ever chase the dream!

 Thierry Rautureau, Chef in the Hat

Thierry Rautureau, Chef in the Hat

Loulay Kitchen + Bar Exterior