winkles 2

Fresh, live periwinkles ready to be cooked

Getting ready for tomorrow’s Quarterly Chef’s Dinner at Café Presse includes preparing periwinnkes.  Know as bigorneaux in France, small sea snails are poached then picked straight from the shell using a pin and dunked in mayonnaise.  Accompanied by a glass of pastis, preferable facing the Mediterranean.  Ah, another time perhaps.

These beauties were beach gathered (they are a nuisance species to the mussel and oyster industries, so we can feel good about eating as many as we can!) so we took the extra step of soaking over night in sea water to get all the sand out.  Next they are poached in salted water with parsley, bay and black pepper.

Finished cooking. still in their steaming broth

Finished cooking. still in their steaming broth

If you would like to give them a try, there are still a few places left for tomorrow’s dinner.  Give us a call at 206.709.7674

Quarterly Chef’s Dinner at Café Presse featuring the food of Normandy
Tuesday March 20, 2018, 6:30pm.

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Teurgoule trial

Teurgoule test

This morning I made a trial run of cooking teurgoule normande, the dessert to be served as part of a menu of specialties from the region of Normandy at our Quarterly Chefs Dinner Tuesday March 20, 2018 at Café Presse. 

Teurgoule is a traditional, grandmotherly dish made with raw whole milk, short grain rice, sugar and cinnamon, baked in a heavy earthenware dish for 4-6 hours in a low oven.  Although not very photogenic, this was more than compensated by the wonderful aroma that filled our apartment all morning while the teurgoule slowly cooked.  It smelled exactly as if I were baking snickerdoodles!

Although I had heard of teurgoule and am aware of its iconic place among sweet dishes from Normandy, this is the first time I have cooked it.  Yum!

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New to the menu at Le Pichet

Pork roulee Feb 2018

Rolled pork belly, oven roasted, served with a sauté of Corona beans, leeks and dandelion greens, and a creamy apple purée.

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Now on the menu at Le Pichet

LP NM Feb 2018 Legumes

Cold salad of roasted beets, Brussels sprouts, radicchio, grapefruit, yogurt-grapefruit-mustard seed vinaigrette and sheep’s cheese

LP NM Feb 2018 Salee

Frisée lettuce and spinach tossed with crispy corned pork shoulder, shoestring potatoes, red onion and a Dijon-Banyuls
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Our thanks to PSG Fanclub Seattle

Maillots Jan 2018

On Saturday, during the French Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint-Germain and Montpellier HSC, Laurent Bourscheidt of PSG Fanclub Seattle presented Café Presse with  signed jerseys from the two clubs.  The PSG jersey had been signed by Brazilian former PSG man Maxwell, while the Montpellier jersey had been signed by the entire team.

Our thanks to Laurent and PSG Fanclub Seattle for this honor!  And see you all at Cafe Presse on February 14th for Real Madrid v PSG.

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Mushroom hunting in les Landes


A particularly interesting find

Sitting in my warm apartment in Seattle, an early December mushroom outing in the SW of France seemed like a great idea.  So I contacted the Sociétié Mycologique du Béarn and invited myself along on their next outing, which happened to fall during our upcoming stay in France. What I failed to consider was how cold it could be on the French Atlantic coast at that time of year!

In truth, despite what would turn out to be temperatures in the 20’s as we set out in search of mushrooms, the event was a lot of fun, in equal parts because of the chance to meet some very nice fellow mushroom lovers,because of the beauty of the forested coastline and because of the large amount of mushrooms to be found, in spite of the lateness of the season.

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Supper in Orthez

fish and reisling

Light supper in Orthez…Merlu de ligne from Saint-Jean de Luz pan sautéed with a compote of fennel and leeks from the garden and sauteed spinach.

On arrival in late November, found the garden still held a few winter veggies…some sad looking Brussels sprout, a fine row of leeks, one or two gigantic cabbages and a whole bed of black radishes fully 2 inches around and nearly a foot long. The radishes we have planted under a sheet of spring mulch mainly for their ability to break up our clay-heavy soil.  Despite their size, the radishes were still firm and peppery.  Had the greens sauteed with garlic the first night with a nice confit de canard and the radishes in green salad ever since.


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Holy Mackerel, check out Café Presse in the Washington Post!


Here is a link to a Washington Post article entitled “If you can only eat three meals in Seattle, make sure they’re here”.  Spoiler alert, Café Presse is one of them!

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November 2017 Chef’s Dinner

Camembert aged 20 days in Normandy cider, served wit caramelized onion-pork cracklin' brioche

Camembert aged 20 days in Normandy cider, served wit caramelized onion-pork cracklin’ brioche

The November 2017 version of our Chef’s Dinner took place last Wednesday and welcomed a sold out crowd to the back room at Café Presse.  The theme for the dinner was Tout est bon dans le cochon (every part of the pig is good) and the menu for the event was designed to highlight the different possibilities in taste, texture and experience possible using the humble hog.  We hope everyone who attended enjoyed the experience.

Here are a few photos of the different dishes for your enjoyment…and look for info about upcoming chef dinners  on this blog or on the Café Presse website!

Terrine de tete de porc served with house-made dark rye bread and mustard creme fraiche

Terrine de tête de porc served with house-made dark rye bread and mustard creme fraîche

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Artisan Butcher Demo

Priceless heirloom in a family of butchers

Priceless heirloom in a family of butchers

As noted in an earlier post, last week, in preparation for our November Quarterly Chef’s Dinner, Café Presse had a visit from artisan butcher Darron Marsolf, who showed us the proper way to break down a pig.  In addition to being a top-notch butcher, Darron is a affable fellow, and he took the time to tell us about how his family became butchers and how he personally learned the trade. He even brought along a technical butchery manual called “The Meat We Eat” which had been passed down to him by his grandfather.

Here are a few photos of the demonstration.

Darron talks tactics before starting to remove the primal cuts from our half hog

Darron talks tactics before starting to remove the primal cuts from our half hog

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