Friday, July 30, 2010

Creature Comforts

It's hard for me to think of Seattle as "home," especially now that I am no longer an official resident. I didn't grow up here and I don't have family other than dear friends I consider close enough to be family and the adorable dog of whose I lost custody in my divorce. But, I do find some home-style comforts, not just with the people I get to see, but some of the food I get to eat.

I'm often asked where my favorite place to eat is, and it's easy to randomly pick one of the more popular, highly-rated, and usually more expensive restaurants. The truth is, something I would truly consider a favorite has to be more accessible, not just price-wise but personality-wise. The kind of place I could go to on a regular basis and know the food and know the folks, that whether I were dressed up or dressed down, I'd be treated well and get the same great food regardless. While I generally live my life open to outcome, I do take a large measure of comfort in consistency, too.

I love breakfast and can enjoy any of its components during any meal. However, there's something quite magical about weekend breakfast for me. Oh, better yet, if I could get an unhurried, sit-down breakfast during the week, too, I'd be in Heaven. There are two places in Seattle that offer the comfort food component for such sacred meals, and rarely do I ever share their identities or their meaningfulness with others. But now that I have moved away and I won't be coming here so often, I will share them now. Think of it as a reward for actually taking the time to actually read my blog.

The first place is Voula's Offshore Cafe, already pretty well-known, not just because of its long-standing existence, but was well-publicized on the Food Network's Diners, Drive Ins and Dives, so I didn't mind writing about it in a previous blog post, nor publicizing my outings there on Facebook, Twitter and Foursquare, even sending out invitations. The place is crowded already, so I'd rather see it crowded with people I already know. It's a family-owned and -run restaurant, with Voula as the matriarch and her two sons, Sikey and Nikos handling the day to day operations. There's also Brian behind the counter, who seems to be more of an adopted brother. Nikos has probably the most important job in my book, making me crispy hash browns. While we both elevate the importance of their crispiness, his way is to focus on one side's perfection while keeping the other side moist and more potato-y. And he believes the time taken to grill the second side would actually sacrifice the first side's perfection by making it soggy. And for us two-sided fans, it's not like there isn't plenty of hash and brownage to go around. In fact, the plate itself can barely contain how much is served. I usually just eat the crispy parts and if there were 2 sides available, I wouldn't have room for the rest of the breakfast. Actually, I don't usually have room for the entire breakfast anyway. And along with the boys behind the counter, I have to send a special shout out to one particular waitress, ZeZe, who has just been such a sweetheart to me over the years. She really helps me feel like I'm "home."

The other place, I'll have to think about whether to share . . .

No comments: