We were off to a strong start on our weekend binge with The Kingfish Cafe on Friday night (read about it here). Saturday was a day-long eating affair, starting off with Paseo’s Cuban sandwiches for lunch. Little shack with yellow police tape serving as faux windows. Long line of hungry locals snaking out the door. Pungent aroma of spice and grilled onions tempting everyone who had yet to wait it out in line. Minimal decor – in fact, two, maybe three tables cramped on one side. There could be no better introduction to Cuban sandwiches than this one.
My friend got the Cuban Roast – tantalizingly described as “Pork shoulder coated in Paseo marinade & slow roasted ’til falling into succulent morsels” I, the non-pork eater, got their Grilled Chicken Breast, which was also “drugged in marinade and fire-grilled to perfection” (I know, many would contend that a person who doesn’t eat pork ain’t a true foodie. Whatever, I live with it.)
Chowing down on Paseo’s Grilled Chicken was like having a rock concert in my mouth, where a bunch of super awesome textures and flavours had come to just jam it out together. Crusty bread slapped up with mayo, crispy chicken chunks, juicy grilled onions, pickled jalapenos, crunchy lettuce, and this phenomenal, hard-to-dissect marinade-gravy that was oozing out of the bread in all its thick and heaty glory. In some ways, it was pretty similar to my beloved Vietnamese banh-mi – the bread, the mayo, the pickle flavour, some superbly marinated drugged meat.
Those onions were so ridiculously good that I had to dedicate an entire paragraph to them – sort of like a blogger’s version of a standing ovation. It’s almost as though they’d been cooked on a grill which had accumulated the grease – or as the French would more delicately say, sucs – of millions of gravy-oozing Cuban sandwiches in the past. Ironically, when I first looked at the menu, I had wondered which crazy person would ever stand in their long line to order the Onion Obsession sandwich: “We’ve been told our onions are so good they could be eaten on their own, so here it is. Caramelized onions sautéed in our garlic tapenade w/ fresh cilantro.” After sinking my jaws into those gravy-dripping caramelized onions, I knew that I’d totally be that crazy person.
Googling the recipe for this sandwich is definitely getting high-priority status on my to-do list. There has to be some inquisitive, type-A, DIY blogger out there who’s done multiple iterations of this sandwich until they got it right.
Next up was Molly Moon’s Homemade Icecream Shop in Capitol Hill, which we’d drooled past on our drive over to Paseo’s. They had a bunch of creative-sounding killer combinations, like balsamic strawberry, maple walnut, honey lavender, and the one I eventually ended up getting – salted caramel.
There’s something about intense sweetness spiked with something savoury that really gives me a dessert high, and my salted caramel scoop was the ice-cream incarnation of that concept. Scooped up on a freshly made waffle cone of course.
(I also tried the maple walnut, which I wasn’t such a fan of. In retrospect, I should have tried that balsamic strawberry flavour before I left. Or the sundaes, like the one with honey lavender ice cream, homemade lemon curd, dried flower and bee pollen sugar and fresh whipped cream. Just so I could say that I’d eaten something as funky as that.)
We headed to the farmer’s market next, so we could digest our food while strolling around more food. Ended up buying chicken sausage with garlic and sage, in anticipation of the flatbreads we were going to make the next day. Always need to plan out 3 meals ahead. At the very least.
Dinner was at Tango’s…next post dedicated to their ecstasy-inducing El Diablo dessert. If sweet and savory can give me a dessert high, then imagine the effect of chocolate and cayenne…
Paseo Caribbean Restaurant
Phone: +1 (206) 545-7440
Fremont, 4225 Fremont Ave N
Phone: +1(206) 708-7947
Capitol Hill, 917 E Pine St, Seattle, WA 98122