Saturday, November 8, 2008
My new must-have food is Confit Duck Legs.
Had one last night at Cafe Campagne. (Not
Campagne, which is the more up-scale and $$$
restaurant upstairs from the cafe. I much prefer
the cafe -- it's more relaxed, and is a better value.)
In fact, when I was cruising restaurant menus online
looking for a place to go for my BD, I chose CC on the
basis of the duck on the menu. And, well, it's French.
No way to go wrong there.
So......these tasty little morsels are made by seasoning
the duck legs with lot of S & P, maybe some herbs,
then letting them sit for 24 hrs. in the refrigerator.
Then they are fried in duck fat. Oh god oh yum oh yeah.
At Cafe Campagne you get a duck leg & thigh, with thyme-
roasted potatoes. Not exactly ideal from a diet-perspective,
but for a BD treat they are Exactly Perfect.
But back to the restaurant:
on Post Alley & Pine in Seattle, the cafe has a bit of a cellar-
feel to it, but in the golden lamplight of a rainy November
night, it was snug and cozy. We sat next to the bar, not far
from the door, so there was a constant in-and-out bustle
of patrons and wait staff. There are corners to tuck into
if one desires a more intimate dining experience, but I'm
always pleased as punch when I feel like I'm in the middle
of the action. My meal started with a Pate de Campagne, which
was really a terrine -- a kind of rich French meatloaf --
a very generous serving on bed of dressed greens, with pickled
red onion, Nicoise olives, cornichons and two kinds of mustard
as garnish. Practically a meal in itself! This was followed
by a salad of roasted beets, bibb lettuce, roquefort and whole hazelnuts
with a simple vinaigrette. At this point, I probably should've
cancelled my entree -- I was stuffed! But being that it was the
duck, I just couldn't. No way! No how! And it was dee-vine.
The kind of deep-down, I-can-feel-this-in-my-bones and I-
want-to-fall-to-my-knees-and-weep kind of flavor.
Luckily there exist take-home containers, so today's succulent
lunch awaits me in the fridge. Besides, I had to save room
for dessert! I chose the sublime pumpkin creme brulee,
which should've been named Spiced Edible Velvet.
The wine selection here is equally pleasing, with 25 wines
offered by the glass, with additional aperitif and dessert wines
to choose from, plus a full bar. Our waitress suggested
a French Chenin Blanc to accompany my duck,
and the pairing was perfect: soft with understated fruits --
an ideal contrast to the dark, almost cinamonny richness
of the confit.
When Paul and I eat out, we love to listen-in to bits of conversation
from nearby tables. (Okay. We love to eavesdrop.) The young
couple on one side of us sat down, ordered, and ate
while the woman glared at her date. She didn't touch
her food. The only thing I heard him say was,"It's French."
They were in-and-out before we even had our entree.
No fun there! On the other side of us, a napkin in the
bread basket caught fire on the candle. Ooooh! Excitement!
Actually, it was immediately doused, but an acrid burning
smell permeated the air, which sent me into a sneezing fit.
And then, another diner stepped into the room we were in
from an adjoining room to answer his phone, which he had
put on speaker, which he repeatedly yelled into. Paul complained,
the bartender intervened, peace was restored.
The service was efficient and elegant. Named one of the best
restaurants in American by The Wine Spectator, Cafe Campagne
is worth your appetite, and your dollars. Again and again.