Not many people are blessed with an adventureous mother-in-law who now lives in Utah, minus one gallbladder, AND whose mission is to eat some good pizza while here in Seattle. Count me as one of the lucky...
A new house is akin to a new baby--we suddenly have an influx of family who we love to entertain, but who we don't want to feel obligated to wash a mound of dishes at the end of each meal.
So one week later, we celebrated Mother's Day with Jean, a faithful reader, excited to have her take part in our quirky blogging adventures. I've been longing to check out the new uber-upscale gourmet delicatessen Porcella on the eastside, so we piled into the Nissan & headed for the hills.
Porcella is ripe for Bellevue, or vice versa, but after lunching here I was left wishing for a Seattle outpost. The place seemed to have a share fair of MS-joggers checking out their wares, neighborhood new moms, & the rotund & older moneyed crowd comparing Whole Food prices.
Porcella has only been open a few weeks, & while I figured a weekend seat would be tough terrain, the dining area was deserted prime time on Sunday afternoon. I hope this changes as their menu fare is extremely reasonable given the quality & inventiveness while the shelves of gourmet sundries require a wallet fatter than mine. Everything is top notch when it comes to quality, so I'm likely to bag one small treasure at a time on my visits & leave sated. But this is gourmet candyland--just to look, fondle, & taste their wares is a delight in itself.
After admiring the mouth-watering selection of dry goods, I have to admit, perusing the deli coldcases did not inspire my appetite & as the counter staff sought our order, I whispered into my husband's ear that I might like to seek lunch elsewhere. Cold rillettes, a coagulated mass of herbed carrots, & an armada of Salumi meats did not set my appetite on fire. I looked at the posted menu & peered back at their apparent offerings feeling perplexed--why didn't they match up?
Upon asking the staff (who were nearly as perplexed as me & often referred to their cheat sheets,) I found out that menu items are often prepared to order, while other dishes are so seasonal they were already a goner since the menu's printing two weeks ago, such as citrus-grilled white asparagus.
The sitdown menu is the way to enjoy Porcella (unless, of course, you have a fancy dinner party for twelve involving duck confit), & even while our $65 tab for three (including tax & tip) seemed steep when we ordered it proved to be a steal for light-lunchers. We wanted to sample a bit of everything & ended up with great memories to-go.
Ken's choice of the roasted beet salad started out things right with a savory bite of earth--the dirtiness that can make you love or hate this overgrown radish--but with a perfectly picked sweetness that rounded things out. Next up to bat was my choice of ensalada--chervil, parsley, fresh favas & crisp strands of pork belly in a green Bermuda Triangle. Beautiful to behold, I felt bovine trying to chew my way through the impressive barricade of parsley which hid hard-earned fava beans.
But my soup, oh my souppe, could you have really only have been six dollars? I want you, I need you, I am there to consume you until the end of time! Parsnips & asparagus, yes, pureed with heavy cream & a citadel of succelent morels made me cry uncle & go back for the next lovin' spoonful each time I tasted it. At a mere $6 a bowl, you'd be hard pressed to find anything as worthy on your spoon.
Sandwiches might be off-putting for most at about the twelve dollar range. One lamb, one chicken with gourmet accoutremants were served on memorable crisp bread (we ran back to buy a baguette post-haste) but most munched on was our basket of divinely thin & perfectly fried basket of gaufrettes, drizzled with truffle oil. My god, if you have time to kill on the eastside & five bucks on your hands, you'd be a fool not to taste these gentrified waffle fries.
And as we headed out of Bellevue, we made one last stop at Capri (more escapades to blog between), a great old world store with killer cannoli's, fresh Polly-O ricotta by the lb, & every sauce imaginable--the sign read closed, thanks for the memories.
Porcella Urban Market
10245 Main Street, Suite 101