Saturday, January 15, 2011

Moules Frites at the Center of the Universe {Brouwer's Cafe}

Wednesday night we detoured through Capitol Hill on our way home and found ourselves sitting at the bar at Marjorie having an absolutely lovely dinner. Amazing cuttlefish for me, pork belly and blood sausage (please no one tell him what's actually in blood sausage) for B and one monumental occasion. I. Ate. Bread. Pudding. If you've followed along for any length of time, you may already know about my texture issue with wet bread. Before Wednesday night, it was probably fifteen years since my last bread pudding. I was wooed by the promise of bourbon caramel, fresh cream and toffee and it was bread pudding for us! I wish I could say I had a life changing experience, totally erasing all memory of my texture phobia, but it would be a lie. While I was mildly bothered by the texture, the beautiful combinations of flavors throughout the dessert more than compensated for the texture.

Anyway, this post isn't really about Marjorie. It's about a Thursday Night dinner quite different from Marjorie and from many other food adventures in fact. Thursday night we visited Brouwer's Cafe in Fremont (self-proclaimed Center of the Known Universe). This was our fourth or fifth visit to Brouwer's. We've always had a good time.  With their 64 beers on tap and 300 bottles, it isn't difficult to find something one might enjoy. It's just nearly impossible to choose just one.

One of the most challenging aspects of Brouwer's in finding someplace to sit. It's all open seating and it's always busy. B's friend, D, joined us last night, so we went looking for a seat while B looked for parking. We got lucky and found a spot in the back corner of the lower level.

I really like the food at Brouwer's, but their frites are my favorite. A large order comes with a choice of two of their dipping sauces. I added all six of them (mayo, aioli, remoulade, Bourbon dragon sauce, chipotle mayo and curry ketchup) to our order. Next time, I'll probably skip the plain mayo and the remoulade, but they were all good. I could probably eat the whole plate on my own, but I do love potatoes more than just about any food.

B and D both had the steak frites with Kobe Hanger steak. D added the Laphroaig whisky cream sauce. B added the Laphroaig sauce and blue cheese. He said next time he'll probably skip the blue cheese. I love that they let you choose your type of steak with the steak frites. You can choose from New York, Rib Eye or Kobe Hanger. Both B and D agreed their steak was amazing. D wasn't such a fan of the Laphoraig sauce. B loved it.

I chose what I normally choose. The traditional mussels and frites. The first time I ordered them there, I was a little embarrassed when they came out. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but the giant pot with a plate full of frites balanced on top wasn't quite it. Now that I know what's coming, though, I sort of look forward to it.

I love mussels even though they're a bit of a pain to eat. These are always especially good. I'm left with sticky fingers and a pile of shells when all is said and done, but it's totally worth it.

The real highlight of Brouwer's is the drink selection. B and I have always ordered the Lindeman's Pomme Lambic. It seriously tastes like a green apple Jolly Rancher. It wasn't on the draft list this time around, though. I compromised with the Lindeman's Framboise. B can't handle raspberry flavored anything, though. Instead, he had a Samichlaus World's Stongest Ale from Austria. It sort of tasted like a combination of Ale and Port wine. The flavor was a little jarring at first sip, but it was actually pretty good.

The food wasn't front and center at this week's Thursday dinner, but that was just fine with us. It was really good. Though we didn't know it would be a perfect choice when I scheduled it, Brouwer's turned out to be just what we needed. The solid comfort food not requiring much focus or attention let us all just relax and enjoy Brouwer's laid back pub environment. I'm glad B and I have finally gotten over our aversion to venturing beyond walking distance often. Seattle is full of comfortable spots to unwind at the end of the week. There just aren't enough Thursdays in the year.

Brouwer's Café on Urbanspoon

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