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Monday, September 26, 2005

It's French for "countryside"

For our first review, I thought it would be fitting to profile a place we’ve been going to for years now.

“Years?” you say. “But you’ve only been in Seattle for a couple months!?”

Yes, but back in 2003 when we first visited the city on Valentine’s Day and fell in love with the idea of moving here, we happened upon this little French café just up from Pike Place Market and have been back several times since, because we just love everything about it.

The place is Café Campagne, and its casual, yet bustling café atmosphere amidst French bistro-style fare is the perfect splurge for out-of-town guests or an intimate, table-for-two meal. Campagne serves lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, the latter of which we have partook in four times now. We have yet to try lunch or dinner, but based on the tastiness of our brunch entrees, I can only imagine them to be just as good.

This time round, we took my dad and stepmom before a touristy visit to Pike Place Market. Sensing their skepticism of the joint, I tried to ease their mind and assure them that the wait and the food were well worth it in the end. Once we were seated, we all quickly ordered much-needed, long-overdue coffee.

To start, we love the coffee. It comes served in individual, just-enough-for-two-cups carafes, with a side of raw, cubed sugar and fresh cream. And it just tastes good. Not bitter or burnt, but rich, bold and savory.

As usual, Roth ordered the ouefs en meurette, or poached eggs served atop garlic croutons with pearl onions, bacon and champignons in a red wine and foie gras sauce served with pommes frîtes. I say “as usual,” because Roth has had this entrée four times now. His rationale: it’s so good, I can’t not order it every time.
campagne poached foie gras

I decided upon the omelette choisy, or a French-style rolled omelet flavored with herbs and filled with escarole and chevre, served with choice of Parisian ham or fruit sausage. I opted for the chicken apple/pear sausage.
campagne omelette

Both my dad and stepmom had the oeufs brouillés aux fines herbes, or eggs scrambled with herbs and served with choice of Parisian ham or fruit sausage. My dad had the sausage while my stepmom had the ham.
campagne eggs sausage
campagne eggs ham

The presentation of the entrees was very clean and simple, enabling the food to be the star of each dish. The eggs were scrambled with rich cream and fresh herbs, accompanied by a few roasted red potatoes and a crispy baguette.

On our first visit, I noticed a curious little white pot on the table. Peeking inside I discovered a little bit of heaven, also known as marionberry jam for the baguettes. A fresh pat of butter and a side of honey is also available for the bread.

Roth’s entrée comes served with a basket of pommes frîtes, also known as real-deal French fries, with a side of garlic aioli for dipping. How can one not love eating fries for breakfast? And the sauce? Better than ranch dressing, for sure.
campagne pommes frites

All in all, Café Campagne has become one of our first Seattle mainstays. We enjoy the warmth of the cozy café and the overall good taste of the food. We look forward to our next out-of-town visitor (hey Mom, that’s you!) so we can go back again.

campagne front
Cafe Campagne
1600 Post Alley
Seattle, WA
All photos by Skip Hansen

Monday, September 19, 2005

The natural progression

A match made in heaven. The pairing of two like-minded souls. Call us what you will, but we were meant to be together, if nothing more than for our common desire for food that tastes good. Of course, we've been known to pig out on Ding Dongs and ice cream like the rest of 'em. But for the most part, Roth and I share a mutual love for going out to eat for a fabulous meal.

One of the reasons we decided to move from the Central Coast of California to a bigger city like Seattle was for the food. To actually have options when it came to choosing a restaurant. Now that we've had a couple months to settle in to our new surroundings, we're ready to explore all that Seattle -- the Emerald City -- has to offer in the way of food culture and restaurants. Whether it be an ongoing search for the perfect steak to the discovering the best french fries in the city, we want to document our (mis)adventures along the way. And hopefully, our fellow Seattle-ites and visitors alike will benefit from our real-deal opinions and reviews.

We have started compiling a list of "must-eat" restaurants from friends and acquaintances, but we welcome any suggestions for places we absolutely cannot miss in our journey. There will be much more in the coming weeks -- stay tuned for now!