Weekend of indulgence: Cuban sandwiches, icecream, fried chicken, strawberry shortcake…

My weekend in Seattle was, excuse my French, a massive eating orgy. With my host-friend who knows a ton about food and the best local haunts, we crammed in as many awesome places as we could, with just enough travel and digestion time in between. Our line-up included Southern food, Cuban sandwiches, homemade icecream, Spanish tapas, and tons of coffee and tea in the middle (which I’ve dedicated an entire post to here)…oh, and did I mention that we even cooked a four-course flatbread meal on Sunday? It was so excessively awesome that I’m going to have to break it all out across multiple posts. So here’s to a weekend of gluttony, Friday night through Sunday evening…

Friday night at The Kingfish Cafe
Nothing like a bit of Southern hospitality when you’re in the mood for comfort food, and tons of it. Southerners are not shy about portion sizes, and super generous with their use of butter, cheese, frying oils…and of course, love. When there’s fried chicken in the house, there’s gotta be love.

(sorry for the lack of photos – I decided to give my friend and myself a break from the many photographs that I’d been snipping away since I’d landed in Seattle. But don’t despair, all the remaining posts will be back with graphical vengeance!)

We started off with one of my all-time favorites: crab and catfish cakes. I slunk back in my chair with a deep, contented sigh – Kingfish’s take on this Southern classic was blissfully perfect, everything, from the thickness of the breading to the homemade tartar sauce to the crab and catfish seasoning. The stuffing on the inside was so flavorful and moist that we could see buttery juices ooze out from the holes where we’d poked our forks into the crisp outer layer of fried breading.

Our entree Part 1 was a massive plate of buttermilk fried chicken, another deep-fried creation that Kingfish had mastered to its crunchiest and juiciest core. The stars on the plate though were the sides: collard greens that tasted like they had been braised in some sort of sweet broth, and a creamy heap of potato salad with an interesting tinge of honey or maple syrup. And because we couldn’t entertain the Mac and Cheese as a main, we ordered a side portion of it to accompany our other two sides with our fried chicken (never heard of sides for your sides?). For context, a side by Southern standards = a main-course sized portion for most people…and an entire day’s worth of food for the French. Unfortunately, this was the place where Kingfish slipped up a bit – the cheese was a bit dry and mealy, lacking the right amounts of creaminess, gooeiness, and top-layer breaded crunch that every great mac and cheese should have. I’m glad we didn’t order it as a main.

Entree Part 2 was a hearty slow-cooked seafood gumbo with cornbread. Just loved the heady spice that went into this dish, with veggies and baby prawns that had soaked up the heat and gravy all the way through.

And then finally, we ordered a portion of the only dessert they had left in the house, and which I’d looked at with greedy eyes as it was being taken to other tables. An Everest-sized portion of strawberry shortcake, with layers of whipped cream, dense slices of cake, and chunky strawberry sauce, all drowning together in rich, creamy, cakey, sweet, fruity, and every-other-sensation-that-would-induce-a-late-night-shortcake-craving unison. (We actually took leftovers home and ate the cake again at midnight. And I woke up the next morning to find myself craving it again. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I was in love. With a pile of cake, cream, and strawberries.)

Luckily I found another blogger who had photographed Kingfish Cafe’s strawberry shortcake – http://sweettoothinseattle.com/2009/09/16/kingfish-cafe/

Dessert late into the night, but I was still hungry when I woke up the next morning! Read on about Saturday eats on my next post…

Kingfish Cafe
Phone: +1 (206) 320 8757
602 19th Avenue East, Seattle, WA 98112

Author: InaFryingPan

With a family legacy of ingenious cooks, a nutritionist and chef-extraordinaire mother, and a father who introduced me to steak and caviar when I could barely reach the table, I had no choice but to acquire a keen awareness of food during my childhood years in Dubai. But it was only after I found myself on a college campus in Philadelphia – far away from home, too cheap as a student to spend on anything other than pizza, and with dorm rooms that had little rat-holes of kitchens if they even had them at all – when I developed a heightened appreciation of food. An appreciation of food that I once ate every night at the dinner table in Dubai, but that was now an entire ocean away. I lusted for the culinary treasures that lay outside the stale walls of my college dining hall, hijacked friends’ kitchens to try my hand at something, anything , remotely edible, and greedily raided different websites in search of highly-rated restaurants. With my move to New York to work for a consulting firm that secretly harbored self-professed foodies, my appreciation transformed into a passion, an addicition. I felt like everyone around me in New York was talking about food: where to get the best cupcakes, pizza slices, banh mi, kati rolls, pho, fried chicken, and every other food item out there that is just a plain old dish in some part of the world, but that’s become hyped to unforeseen proportions in New York. What fuelled my addiction over time was travel to different cities, both for work and play, which gave me unfettered access to the culinary havens of not only New York, but also of DC, Virginia, Chicago, Houston, Vegas, Austin, Seattle and even a little city called Bentonville (Arkansas!). After 9 years away from home, I’ve finally taken the leap to come back to Dubai – with not just an awareness, but genuine appreciation and passionate addiction for what I’d taken for granted as a child. Mom, I’m back to reclaim my seat at your dinner table, and to rediscover this city with its ever-expanding menu of international flavors.

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