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Pithivier at Le Pichet

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Pithivier, also know as Galette de Rois in France, is  a traditional dessert make with sweetened puff pastry filled with almond cream, then baked to golden brown.  Although it is famously served in France on January 6th to celebrate the 12th day of Christmas, we love it all year long because it is so good!  Now at Le Pichet, while it lasts, try the version made by our pastry chef Drake Jones. Drake flavors the filling with a little rum and serves the galette with vanilla creme anglais.  Yummy!

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Pork roulade soon at Café Presse

CP NM Jan 2019 Belly prep

First step in making a pork belly roulade is to “butterfly” the belly so that it is twice as wide but half as thick.

Coming to the new winter menu at Cafe Presse that begins this Thursday, January 10, 2019:

Crispy sage rubbed pork belly roulade served with roasted apples, Jeruselem artichokes, endives, hazelnuts and aged sherry vinegar

To make the roulade, we start with belly from Berkshire pigs, a heritage bread known for the quality of its fat and for its flavor.  To assure that the flavors of the sage-salt-black pepper rub reaches every part of the roulade, we open the belly up to twice its size but half its thickness in a process that is called “butterflying”. The rub is then applied generously, the seasoned belly is rolled and tied so that it will keep its shape during cooking.

CP NM Jan 2019 Belly roll

The seasoned pork roulade is trussed to assure that it will keep its shape during long slow cooking

Preparations finished, the roulade is then cooked in a slow oven oven for hours until it is tender and unctuous inside and crispy golden on the outside.  Yum!

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Prepping for Winter menu at Café Presse

CP NM Prep Jan 2019 Spice

Spice mixture used to rub pork belly for our house cured pancetta. The entire process takes over a week. including 5 days of air drying under refrideration

Work is well underway in preparation forthe new Winter 2019 menu that starts at Cafe Presse on Thurday January 10th.  Here are a couple pictures of some of different steps that go into it.

Rounds of compound butter made with Bleu d'Auvergne cheese are ready to garnish our petit sirloin steak frites

Rounds of compound butter made with Bleu d’Auvergne cheese are ready to garnish our petit sirloin steak frites. The ingredients include sweet butter, garlic, lemon zest, and Worcestershire sauce

Duck hearts confit slowly in duck fat on the oven. These were marinated with salt, garlic and spices for a few days before cooking.

Duck hearts confit slowly in duck fat on the oven. These were marinated with salt, garlic and spices for a few days before cooking.

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Seattle Eater’s Food Experts call Café Presse a “Go-To” restaurant….yes its there, way down at the bottom!

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French Conversation in 2019

2019 Dates for the French Conversation Table at Café Presse:

January:           02, 16, 30          July:               03, 17, 31
February:         13, 27                 August:           14, 28
March:             13, 27                  September:    11, 25
April:                10, 24                 October:         09, 23
May:                 08, 22                 November:    06, 20
June:                05, 19                 December:     04, 18

Every second Wednesday from 4pm to 6pm, please join us for French conversation in the back room at Café Presse.   At each meeting, a French speaking facilitator will be on hand  to get the discussion rolling.  The Conversation Table is free and open to French speakers of all levels.  Hope to see you there!

And don’t forget that every day from 4pm to 6pm (including during the French Conversation Table!) you can enjoy our VinExpresse Happy Hour, when all in-house bottles of wine are available for take-out prices as well as special prices on wine-friendly snacks.

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Special today at Café Presse: Axoa d’Espelette

Jan-2017-Axoa

Axoa is a stalwart of good Basque country cooking. Our version is made in the style of the village of Espelette, with ground beef and veal simmered with sweet peppers, onions, garlic, tomato, thyme and Piment d’Espelette,served with pommes frites. Miam miam!  Available while supply lasts.

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Holiday Hours

Café Presse and Le Pichet will observe the following special hours during the 2018 Holiday Season so that our hard-working team may spend time with their families.

Le Pichet:
Christmas Eve, Monday December 24             Open for breakfast and lunch, closing at 2pm
Christmas Day, Tuesday December 25            Closed all day
New Year’s Eve, Monday December 31            Extended dinner hours from 5pm- midnight
New Year’s day, Tuesday January 1                  Closed all day

Café Presse:
Christmas Eve,Monday December 24             Open for breakfast and lunch, closing at 2pm
Christmas Day, Tuesday December 25            Closed all day
New Year’s Eve, Monday December 31           Open from 7am to 2am
New Year’s day, Tuesday January 1                 Opening late at 10am until 2am

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Roasted fish: quick and easy supper

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The Tuesday market offered up a beautiful dorade royale, from St.-Jean-de-Luz.

It is not that often that one really gets the chance to let what’s fresh in the market determine what’s for lunch. However, a Tuesday market day in Orthez, with no obligations and no plans imposing, offered just such a chance.

This Dorade Royale, also known as Atlantic Sea Bream, had the clearest eyes and reddest gills of all the fish on the stall at Poissonnerie Otano, a permanent stand in Orthez’s covered market.  With stands in both Orthez and Bayonne, Otano is family owned by a Basque family that sources out of nearby Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Lets face it, there is no substitute for really fresh fish. Continue reading

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Visit to Charcuterie Louis Ospital

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This ham has already been purchased by Restaurant Le Bibent in Toulouse.

En route with friends from Orthez to Spain, stopped for a morning visit to Charcuterie Louis Ospital, where we were welcomed by  owner/operator Eric Ospital.  As mentioned in a previous post, Maison Ospital has grown from a tiny storefront selling house-made charcutere (the tiny original store still exists by the way) into perhaps the most famous ham-maker in France.  The hams of Maison Ospital are featured in some of the best restaurants in France and around the world, with the notable exception of the good old USA, where tough FDA importation laws create too many barriers.

Jim with Eric Ospital, who has become a celebrity for the quality of his hams, considered the best in France

Jim with Eric Ospital, who has become a celebrity for the quality of his hams, considered the best in France

The unique element of the Ospital story is that their success in not about growing in size into an industry giant but instead about maintaining strict quality standards.  Eric’s father Louis was among the tiny group of Basque artisans who, in the 1990s, redefined the standards of excellence in making jambon de Bayonne, in the process developing a new appellation of quality, Jambon Ibaiama.  Every Ibaiama ham is made in accordance with a very strict set of standards, from traditional hog breeds, born raised and slaughtered in the Pays Basque, with no GM feed, no antibiotics and no growth hormones and raised by farmers who are paid a fair price.

However it was Eric who first brought the quality of his families hams to the attention of a wider audience during the time that he lived in Paris.  He met  chef Yves Camdeborde who featured Ospital hams in his ground breaking nouveau bistrot Le Regalade. Since that time, the reputation of both Ospital hams and Eric’s expertise in his field has continued to grow.  To the point where now Eric is asked to co-author cookbooks with top chefs.

In person, Eric is personable, very Basque and passionate about his craft. He talked non-stop for over an hour about the history, logic and technique of what he does, before offering a tasting accompanied by a bottle of Lapierre Beaujolais.

The house also makes a wide range of pates, rillettes, confits and more.

The house also makes a wide range of pates, rillettes, confits and more.

Today, Maison Ospital still only buys 10 hogs a week, which yields 20 hams (plus  a certain amount of fresh pork sold direct to restaurants and a myriad of other porky products including sausages, pâtes and rillettes), not nearly enough to meet demand. The result is that every ham they make is sold before it is hung in their aging room, where it will stay for 20 months before being delivered.

 

 

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Fall Desserts at Café Presse

Chocolate-banana beignets with warm rum bananas and whipped cream

Chocolate-banana beignets with warm rum bananas and whipped cream

The new Fall 2018 menu at Café Presse also featuresa whole slate of warm and cozy desserts perfect for Fall.  Check out the new dessert menu here.

Our Automn coupe glacee features butternut ice cream, candied mixed nuts, butterscotch sauce and whipped cream

Our Automn coupe glacee features butternut ice cream, candied mixed nuts, butterscotch sauce and whipped cream

Warm spice-ginger cake served with caramelized apples and whipped cream

Warm spice-ginger cake served with caramelized apples and whipped cream

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