The Big Breakfast Adventure | Andaluca

(In case you missed how the Big Breakfast Adventure got started, you can read it  here:  How it all began)

I SO did not want to get up at 5 am this morning.  Ever have those days when you realize a couple hours too early (or 6 hours too late, depending on how you look at it) that you forgot to turn your cell phone alarm clock off?  Sigh.

Armed with a new Cee Lo Green CD courtesy of the musically manic Mr. Nyheim, I headed off to Andaluca for the Best Granola in Seattle.  As I paddled down the I-90, a song that would make my Therapist chuckle if he knew I was listening to it, reverberated around Dottie’s interior.  An especially jolly, endearingly titled little ditty, “F*** You”, with classic lines such as “I guess he’s an X-box and I’m more an Atari”.  I would imagine that Cee Lo got quite a rush out of recording that particular song.

I pretty much aqua-planed all the way from the Cascade foothills to downtown Seattle, then got caught in one-way hell trying to get to the 400 block of Olive Way.  The trouble is, you see, that unless you know which way is one-way on Olive & unless you know that Stewart & Olive intersect, at which point they miraculously both become Stewart, then it can all get a bit confusing.  I knew neither.  I do now.  Still, there was hardly any traffic so a couple of spins around a couple of blocks in order to end up facing the right way on the right side of Olive didn’t pose any problems.  Of course, had I just checked the map before I left home…

As I stepped inside Andaluca it was very reminiscent of walking into Lola…posh, upscale, plush, cozy.  Fabulous booths, gentle, romantic lighting.  It was just me & the staff at 7:30 am, which was just fine with me since I was feeling a little dishevelled after my short walk from the car.  It was, as Winnie the Pooh would have observed, a very blustery day.

I quickly (too quickly it turned out) ordered up a hot chocolate.  When it came it was very large & very pretty.  Much larger & prettier, in fact, than it appears in this shot.

I {very disappointingly} have to report that in the taste department, however, it was lame.  And the syrup drizzled over the top was just nasty.  Every time I went to take a sip of the hot stuff I got a whiff of this fake I-don’t-know-what brown syrup.  Sigh.  I think that one of my 2011 New Years Resolutions (which I have still to make, btw) will be to not have hot chocolate anywhere unless I know in advance that it’s the {real} good stuff.  It’s {almost} enough to make me want to start drinking coffee.  I must have spent an inordinate amount of money over the last year on really bad hot chocolate.  There goes another 4 bucks this morning.  I hate that.

Now Andaluca made it into the 55 Best Breakfasts in Seattle by virtue of their Granola.  So I was a tad confused when Seattle Magazine actually ate & wrote about the Muesli instead.  I decided to go with the Granola.  It would seem quite strange to me to say I was going to eat the Best Granola in Seattle & then eat & write about Muesli.  But maybe I am just odd.

Things on the taste front improved dramatically once the {house made} Granola arrived.  *Truly* delicious granola.  It arrived in a bowl almost big enough to take a bath in & was surrounded by taste-tinglingly tart yogurt & smothered in handfuls of fresh blueberries & raspberries.  The raspberries alone would have cost you at least $5 at the grocery store.  They made me think it was summer…quite a feat considering the weather outside.  Bursting with sunshiny flavor.  Bursting.

Now if it’s OK with all you lovely readers, I’d like to have a hazelnut moment.  The hazelnuts in Andaluca’s Granola are simply *brilliant*.  And I don’t use that word lightly.  I have spent hours of my life roasting hazelnuts by hand over an open flame, so I know a good roasted hazelnut when I taste one.  Apart from the flavor you can tell a great roasted hazelnut by the even color throughout the nut.  Andaluca’s are perfect.  And yes, I checked.  I admit that oats, bran, coconut, hazelnuts, almonds, honey doesn’t sound like the tastiest breakfast in the world and I suspect that had I not been driven here by my commitment to eating the 55 Best Breakfasts in Seattle, I would never have chosen it.  I actually doubt that I would ever have known that Andaluca existed.  This crazy Big Breakfast Adventure has been an enlightening experience.  My mouth would have really missed out had it never had a bowl of Andaluca’s Granola.

OK.  Now that I’ve made you all want to eat Granola at Andaluca, I must point out that granola does not constitute breakfast.  Granola is an appetizer (even if it is served in a bowl big enough to take a bath in).  So now I’d had what I came for, what to have for breakfast?  So much scrumptious sounding stuff on the menu.  Banana Pancakes…Rosemary Chicken Sausage Hash…Hazelnut Waffle (there’s those fantastic hazelnuts again)…Italian Eggs Benedict…and “The Special”:  Scrambled eggs with smoked salmon lox, cream cheese, chives, onions & tomatoes.  Served with garlic roasted Yukon Gold potatoes.  Ugh.  Sounds horrible, huh?  I’ll have that please.

No one rushed me & I was allowed to sit there contemplating life for quite a while between courses.  Mind you it was deserted when I arrived, but by 8:30 it was positively buzzing.  I think all the Mayflower Hotel guests next door do breakfast here.  I wish I had got here at 7 am.  I was so enjoying my solitude curled up in the enormous comfy booth. 

The scramble was cooked a little harder & drier than I like (I have come to learn that Americans tend to like their eggs super-cooked whereas we ex-pat Brits like them softer & creamier), but the aroma & taste of the smoked salmon was overwhelming good.  It was incredibly filling, although I had just downed that big ole dish of granola.  The potatoes were not the best.  They weren’t roasted, and some of them were decidedly under-done.  In their defence, I barely had room to eat the Scramble so maybe that had a bearing on it all.  I ate all the Scramble and immediately decided it was time for a nap.  Rats to living 33 miles away.  Totally worth the trip though. 

Totally.

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