The short answer is: At my friend’s kitchen table. Abby and I were in Seattle for only three and a half days, so, as you can imagine, our Food Town Anxiety Syndrome* was at an all-time high, and we pretty much never stopped moving (or eating). Here is the official round-up where I share all the peripatetic details, but I’m writing today’s post as a reminder to my future traveling self, and to anyone else out there who cares, that the best meals on the road are not necessarily the ones that feel like boxes you need to check, or the ones that show up on an Eater heat map or a Bon Appetit city guide. It’s so easy for me to get obsessive about the bucket list — on Friday, we actually caught ourselves planning dinner in Fremont as we were shoving Capitol Hill tacos into our mouths for lunch — but I was better this time. We were staying with my college roommate Jenn and her family, and they were the best hosts because they made up two lovely beds for us, handed me the keys to their 2002 Volvo, and folded us right into their weekend routine. Every morning I woke up with the thought: I’m in Seattle, I need to track down the best cup of coffee. But every morning I wandered down to Jenn’s kitchen where her husband Ben had made a fresh pot, and it was as good as any cup I had all weekend, especially when enjoyed sitting in the cozy nook of their craftsman-style kitchen. And yes, there were stuffed doughnuts and frothy lattes and oysters so meaty and flavorful I thought I’d never recover from the bliss, but the truth is, my favorite meal was the Dutch Baby Jenn made us on Saturday morning. Whether guests are there or not, it’s her go-to weekend breakfast, she said, because she can’ t mess it up — unlike pancakes, which she finds more fussy and are strictly Ben’s domain. She topped each serving with raspberries (“Abby, come pick the berries for your breakfast!” I heard her yell from the backyard, every square inch of which is covered with lettuces, berry bushes, and fruit trees), a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, and a shower of powdered sugar. I’m never not making this for house guests again.
Refresher course: FTAS is a clinical diagnosis for the feeling that kicks in when you travel to a city known for its food scene, and makes you feel like no matter where you are and no matter what you are eating, you should be somewhere else eating something better.
Those raspberries were picked right from her Ballard backyard.
Jenn’s Go-to Dutch Baby
If a recipe’s reliability is in direct proportion to how stained and smeared its recipe card is, this one is never going to fail you. (It’s in her mom’s handwriting.) Jenn made the 3-4 quart one for the six of us.
For 2-3 quart casserole/cast iron pan: 3 Tablespoons butter/3 eggs/3/4 cups milk/ 3/4 cups flour
For 3-4 quart casserole/cast iron pan: 1/3 cup butter/4 eggs/1 cup milk/1 cup flour
For 4-4 1/2 quart casserole/cast iron pan : 1/2 cup butter/5 eggs/1 1/4 cup milk/ 1 1/4 cup flour
For 4 1/2 – 5 quarts casserole/cast iron pan: 1/2 cup butter/6 eggs/ 1 1/2 cups milk/ 1 1/2 cups flour
Preheat the oven to 425°F. Add the butter to your pan (she used a large Le Creuset baking dish, but you can also use a cast iron skillet) and place in the oven while it preheats so the butter gets brown. Whisk eggs first, then whisk in milk and flour and pour into the hot buttery pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Serve with powdered sugar and fresh lemon juice.
Jenn and I have a lot in common — we share the same first name, we both have two daughters around the same ages, and we’re both total suckers for red accents in the kitchen.