I love breakfast, but not the sugary nasty stuff that people often try to pass off as a decent breakfast (you know – pancakes, cinnamon rolls or doughnuts). Yuck! I prefer breakfast tacos, fried eggs with chile garlic sauce, ramen with eggs & green onions, leftover pizza … anything spicy or salty seems to work for me!
I find it a little difficult to eat breakfast when I’m travelling. I prefer to make my own, nice and lazy-like, while sipping on a cup of coffee. Wait. That only happens on the weekend. But vacation feels like a constant weekend so something about not waking up and cooking some eggs throws me off.
Most of the breakfasts that we ate on vacation were passable, but four stood out to me as downright awesome:
1. Heath’s Homemade Oatmeal Scones (just a hint of sweetness – these scones were simply delicious)
2. Lola (Tom’s Big Breakfast )
3. Dahlia Bakery (Granola Cup and a slice of Sweet Corn & Blueberry Bread – surprisingly light, simple and barely sweet)
4. Dahlia Bakery … again ;p (Breakfast Sandwiches – we shared the Bacon, Egg & Arugula and the Ham, Egg, Swiss & Dijon, which were served on fresh-baked English muffins that I swear were made by the Gods).
Both Dahlia Bakery and Lola are run by Tom Douglas, winner of the 1994 James Beard Award for Best Northwest Chef. 1994 may seem like a long time ago, but I can assure you that his restaurants are still pushing out fresh ideas made with local ingredients by a whole helluva lot of talent. If you find yourself in Seattle check out whichever restaurant sounds best to you and I will pay for your food if you don’t like it (I’m a liar).
And now … back to breakfast at Lola.
We ate with Lucas’ cousin, his wife and their two boys (their recommendation … I will love them forever for this one!). For an “appetizer” they ordered the Made to Order Doughnuts (served with huckleberry jam and vanilla mascarpone). I realize that I said I don’t like doughnuts in the first paragraph, but give me a break. I tried to ignore them, but I couldn’t. These were fun doughnuts! The waitress brought them out in a white paper bag, added cinnamon and sugar, shook them up and then poured them onto the plate. The rest is up to you, but the best way to eat them is to poke a pocket into the doughy little guy and stuff it with huckleberry jam and vanilla mascarpone. Insert into mouth and be happy.
For breakfast Lucas and I split Tom’s Big Breakfast. Pacific Octopus Hash, Sweet Pepper, Summer Squash, Pork Belly & Sunny Egg. Which means? The Pacific octopus is braised for three hours and sautéed with peppers, squash and fried pork belly. It is topped with a sunny side up egg and a slice of fresh baguette is served on the side. Plus a bloody mary to wash it all down (yes, this was ordered separately).
During the braising process the octopus is cooked until very tender and then the outside becomes slighlty caramelized when it is sautéed with the rest of the ingredients. This was the first time I’ve eaten octopus outside of a sushi restaurant and I can’t wait to try another take on this fascinating sea creature.
When we first started eating the hash we couldn’t locate the pork belly. The waitress initially told us that it would be a garnish, but the chef had actually cooked it with the hash. The pork belly was beyond delectable and I think Lucas’ heart skipped a beat when the waitress brought out a small bowl of fried pork belly to garnish our meal with. We ate it with our hands, picking up little pieces of fatty, fried goodness and popping them into our mouths.
I could eat this for breakfast every morning … unless I had a hangover (which accounts for why I only ate Tom’s Big Breakfast once during our time in Seattle). Such a shame, because I can’t think of any breakfast I have ever eaten that topped this one. Sorry mom!