The Big Breakfast Adventure | Tilth

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

Today’s brunch has been on the event schedule for weeks: The final Big Breakfast Adventure.  I took the opportunity to combine this momentous occasion with a toast to some wonderful people who opened a new chapter of my life 5 or so months ago – Michelle, Joe & Stu, owners of Mode Organic Salon.  I knew that Tilth was going to be special, just knew it.  The reviews, the media articles, the proclamations on their website.  And not just for Tilth, but for it’s owner, Maria Hines.  Accolades & awards up the ying yang.  Not to mention that “Tilth is one of just two certified–organic restaurants in Seattle and only the second in the nation to be certified by an even tougher standard–bearer: Oregon Tilth, which requires that restaurants purchase 95 percent of their food from certified–organic sources”.  It seemed to me that if Tilth wasn’t good, there was little hope for anywhere else.

Organic Salon meet Organic Restaurant.  A match made in heaven.

I was so excited I was early.  Luckily, now that I have my super-duper new Windows 7 Phone, if I ever find myself with a few minutes to spare while waiting somewhere I can just cruise Facebook & Twitter with zero guilt about wasting time.  Love that.  I didn’t love getting a note from Joe saying that he was sick and unable to make it to breakfast.  Get well Joe!  We miss you.

Tilth was pretty busy when we got there & there were a few heart-stopping moments where I feared they had lost my reservation, but all’s well that ends well & we were soon seated in the charming dining room.  Tilth is just darling inside.  Clean & fresh & I felt like we must be in the countryside somewhere, not on Wallingford’s main drag.

 Fresh chamomile peppermint tea with raw honey, & coffee for Michelle & Stu got things started.  Talking of coffee – I spent several minutes wailing about having spent an insane amount of money on coffee beans yesterday in order to make Coffee Ice Cream, only to find out that once I had steeped them in warm cream for a couple of hours, I was supposed to throw them away.  Michelle & Stu helped me off that particular ledge by suggesting that I dry them out, grind them up & use them in the yard as compost.  Phew.  OK.  I can do that.  Thank you.  Coffee bean crisis averted.

I was thankful for having Seattle Magazine tell me what to eat for the last time.  I wanted pretty much everything on the menu.  Making it into the 55 Best Breakfasts for the Best Northwest Spin on Biscuits & Gravy, I was in unfamiliar territory.  What I didn’t know until we were ooohing and ahhhing over the menu is that Stu is pretty much the resident expert when it comes to Biscuits & Gravy.  A Biscuits & Gravy connoisseur.  Michelle, Ms. Gluten-free, decided on the Apple & Gruyere Omelet.  I wanted that too.  And, after Michelle’s verdict on it, I need to go back there and eat it.

I also fancied the Duck Burgers, but owned up to the fact that after Friday and Saturday, I am pretty much ducked out.

 This plate normally comes with toast, but being a gluten-free-girl meant Michelle had to fore-go that part.  Strangely enough, our server still brought us the tray of butter & preserve for it though, which we went ahead & tasted anyway.  Can you say ginger?  Wow.

Now I know that omelet may look a little on the small side, but Michelle assured us that it was the perfect size.  For me, quality will always come before quantity.  I’d always rather eat a few spoonfuls of something fabulous than an entire casserole full of something so-so.  Always.  If you come to Tilth you’d be advised to come with that mindset.  You won’t get enough food on your plate to feed a small community.  You will get some of the finest food available in Seattle.  You have been warned.

The Biscuits & Gravy came with two eggs perched atop them.  Stu reliably informs me that this is not normal.  I say it should be the new norm.  Eggs should be mandatory for breakfast in my opinion.  Even though this was my first time eating Biscuits & Gravy, the eggs definitely added something to the whole dish.  Had the eggs not been there I would have felt the need to order something proteinous on the side.

The Cheddar Biscuits were incredibly cheesey & beautifully crisp & golden around the edges.  We both felt that the insides were a little on the stodgy side but the cheesiness sure made up for that in my book.  There was not a lot of chicken meat in the gravy but it had a wonderfully rich, chicken flavor.

The conversation never stops flowing when Michelle & I are together.  I was mildly concerned that it would be a little different with a man there, but I needn’t have worried.  Stu fit right in with our girlie goings-on.  Mind you, I think 95% of the 2 hours of talking revolved around food.  Stu has persuaded me that the best doughnuts in the world are to be found in the Tri-Cities.  Really?  TheTri-Cities?  The ones in Eastern Washington where WA & OR meet?  Er, OK.  Persuade me, Stu.  Seems these aren’t any old regular doughnuts.  The doughnuts at Spudnut are made with potato flour.  Ah, well that changes everything.  I’ll be there in July on my drive through to Denver.  See you then, Spudnut.

All the talk of sweet stuff only encouraged us to say “Yes!” when Keta (that’s a girl, not a salmon) asked us if we wanted to see the dessert menu.  As I pointed out, “We only slogged our way through all the other food so we could get dessert.”

The desserts, for all of us I believe, turned out to the highlight.  The proverbial cherry on the top.  We all went for chocolate although I was intrigued by the Olive Oil Cake.  Well, doesn’t Olive Oil Cake with Fennel Ice Cream, Satsuma & Olive Brittle sound just fascinating?  But, after my olive oil *incident* on Friday I decided against it.  What the heck, chocolate-fest it is. 

 The desserts were small.  Very small.  And I am glad.  It’s back to the quality v. quantity thing.  These desserts were…I am not even sure I have the words.  The Chocolate Sorbet had a depth of flavor & a smoothness that almost defies description.  The Holmquist hazelnuts that came with it were some of the most flavorful hazelnuts I have ever eaten.  You’ll know from earlier adventures that me and hazelnuts generally have a bit of a *thing* going on.  There babies are truly from Hazelnut Heaven.  Which is in Lynden, Washington, in case you were wondering.

Each eaten separately they were delicious.  Eaten together they were extraordinary.  The hazelnuts were lightly roasted in salt & that salt brought out the flavor of the chocolate even more, if that were even possible.

 The Theo Chocolate Ganache Cake was just as extraordinary.  It had the texture of a flourless chocolate cake although I am not sure if it was flourless or not.  I didn’t really care, it was the perfect mix of smooth, chocolatey denseness.  The Cocoa Cream on top was amazingly chocolatey for something so light.  It was a brilliant accompaniment to the deep, dark chocolate cake.

I wouldn’t have traded either of these tiny chocolate desserts for any number of bowlfuls of lesser chocolate treats.  They were perfect in their size.  Any more would have taken away from the preciousness of a few spoonfuls of nirvana.

This was a most fitting close to the end of the Big Breakfast Adventure.  A sublime {organic} brunch with some of my favorite {organic} people.  I made a toast half way through.  I am going to repeat it here because Joe needs to hear it and because it bears repeating to the whole world:

“A toast to those very wonderful people at Mode Salon who selflessly opened a door for me that may not have opened any other way.  My life has changed and I THANK YOU.”

PS. If you didn’t get it from what I wrote above, I {highly} recommend having brunch at Tilth.  I know, for sure, that I’ll be going there again.  This definitely made my Favorite Breakfasts list.


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