Thursday, December 04, 2014

Damn the Weather

I’m pretty much done with craft bartending. If I walk into a bar like the Diller Room or Tavern Law or the Hideout, and the bartender is wearing a vest and an arm garter and a monocle, top hat, a cane, a watch fob, a cape, riding boots, driving gloves, a monkey on his shoulder, a codpiece, and a scarf, I sigh sadly and resign myself to waiting at least 20 minutes to get my drink as the august apothecary of intoxication gradually mixes some $16 concoction which doubtlessly contains house-made bitters. I thought bitters only came in two flavors: Angostura and Peychaud. Apparently I’m a provincial rube who doesn’t realize that bitters come in every flavor including mirepoix, gummy bear, and your mom.

It’s even worse if the bartender has a mustache. I really, seriously, do not get how mustaches got lumped in with precious, asexual hipster bullshit. After all, men with waxed mustaches are hard men, like John L. Sullivan or Theodore Roosevelt or Otto von Bismarck: men who are much more likely to strangle lions to death and have tertiary syphilis and unify empires and bust trusts than they are to wear a cardigan and listen to Mumford & Sons.

So it was with great trepidation that I entered Damn the Weather. With its oddly specific name and fancy cocktail list and giant ice cubes, I expected a maddening descent into twee mayhem. But the food menu seemed interesting so we decided to press our luck.

We started with chicken fat fries ($8). These are pretty much like regular fries, but with a savory undercurrent. Unlike French fries fried in suet or duck fat, chicken fat doesn’t swing its dick around (or cloaca, rather), but you just can’t get this kind of flavor from frying in any kind of vegetable oil. The chicken fat fries were crisp shoestrings and they came in a cone of wax paper nestled in a parfait glass. The presentation was too precious for my taste: I’m bored with frites served in a cone. If you want to impress me, send out your French fries in a hypercone. With a tesseract of housemade quantum ketchup.

Beef Heart Tartare ($12) was great. A neat loaf of finely diced beef heart was served with a very orange egg yolk floating atop it. When mixed together, this was unctuous and beefy like Channing Tatum, but a pile of minced cow offal is much better at portraying inner conflict than Channing Tatum is. Big crunchy sheets of what the menu billed as “sourdough crackers” but which really tasted like Munchos potato chips were provided for scooping up the tartare. The only aspect of this dish I didn’t like was the droopy pile of used-up tea leaves they garnished it with for some reason: they didn’t offer much flavor and they looked gross. At first glance I thought that these were fried sage but unfortunately no.

Celery salad ($10) was less refreshing than I hoped it would be, though it was killer nonetheless. A notebook sheaf of sliced celery was tossed in a creamy dressing, with lots of anchovy: the unapologetically fishy flavor was like an obvious hardon in a pair of tight jeans.

A reuben ($12) was the very paragon of this sandwich, an exemplar of its breed. Razor thin slices of corned beef were piled up in squamous layers, salty and smoky, draped with a caul of melted swiss, and a crisp bale of sauerkraut, on toasted rye bread which was cut too thinly to possibly maintain its integrity, yet somehow did.

The thing I liked the least was tajarin ($12). Normally I scarf down pasta like a Biggest Loser contestant, and this dish at first seemed promising: we were served a heaping tangle of very soft and supple egg noodles, with butter, diced chives, and uni. Unfortunately, sea urchin is such a polarizing ingredient that it’s going to be impossible for me to not get complaints about anything I say, so fuck it: I hate uni. Yes, yes, I know, it’s an aphrodisiac, etc. etc., but midgets are aphrodesiacs too, and you don’t see people garnishing pasta with Peter Dinklage. When used sparingly, sea urchin is a thoughtful tool for adding a nebulous briny and savory flavor, thus making any dish taste like the beach. The problem is that uni is like cilantro: NO ONE EVER USES JUST A LITTLE. Instead, the tajarin was studded with big smeary orange globs of urchin, which no amount of stirring could successfully incorporate into the bowl.

Dessert was drinking caramel ($6). This drink is fucking ridiculous. You get a coffee mug full of thick, sweet, melted dulce de leche, made interesting with the addition of Mexican spices and a golf ball of ice cream floating serenely in the midst of it all like the Unseeing Eye of Ben & Jerry. There is just no goddamned way to make this a sensible dessert option. It tastes like you are actually guzzling a gallon can of hot caramel sauce, purloined, perhaps, from a Menchie’s. The spices are a great addition but maybe they should either sell this stuff in smaller quantites, e.g a shot glass, or thin it with milk. Preferably skim milk.

Damn the Weather has an ambitious menu and the bartenders dress like regular people, instead of steampunk villains, and the gigantic ice cubes, while totally evil in their mastodon-entrapping and Titanic-sinking ways, are actually quite useful to chill a glass of whiskey without watering it down. If there isn’t a Sounders game later, go to Damn the Weather. Otherwise, avoid Pioneer Square like the plague since, you know, fuck soccer: our goal in the USA should be to adopt Europe’s social safety net and environmental legislation and DOC protections, not its effete sports.

Rating: 8 vests out of 10

Damn the Weather is located at 116 1st Ave S

Damn the Weather does not take reservations, but they can be prank called at 206-946-1283

Damn The Weather on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Vespolina

Last Friday I got my hands on a pot brownie. Not some random pot brownie that somebody’s roommate made, but a commercially packaged, legal brownie from one of Colorado’s state-run marijuana stores. Yes, Colorado. Our home state hasn't yet gotten its collective head out of its ass yet re: reefer. I split the brownie four ways with three friends. Then we went to see Interstellar. What a fucking mistake. Every second was an excruciatingly loud eternity. I think I had a stroke!

Anyway, the next day was Saturday and, still completely stoned, we went to Vespolina. We started with the antipasto misto ($11) which was delightful. A plate of mortadella was sliced as thinly as bible pages, and wouldn’t you rather swear on a 1000 page pile of mortadella instead of the boring fucking bible? Sure, mortadella is the most polarizing member of the charcuterie family; it’s the uncircumcised penis of cured meats and you either love it or hate it, but luckily for me I love it, despite the fact that mortadella is really just baloney with a master’s degree.

Along with this came a cute little pile of roasted radicchio with pine nuts and some balsamic vinegar. There was also a novel salad of cold calamari with chickpea puree and a few razor thin rounds of sliced watermelon radish. The calamari was prepared masterfully. It was very tender, which is great because if you don’t cook calamari properly it turns into a leathery cock ring that you are compelled to chew for decades. Luckily this calamari was delicate and lovely. A word of warning about the antipasto, however: the price on the menu is PER PERSON and they failed to tell us this when we ordered. Caveat emptor, or whatever.

Apple radish salad ($12) was generally inoffensive, with sliced apples and discs of watermelon radish, along with a few big curls of pecorino, and some fried leaves of arugula or dandelion greens or something. The server claimed that this was chervil but I’m calling bullshit.

Spaghetti “carbonara” ($17) was a fair interpretation of the famous Roman pasta dish, but I couldn’t understand why they put “carbonara” in quotation marks. I asked our server, and she stammered out an incoherent reply; I suppose that I wasn’t the only one still reeling from last night’s pot brownie. Still, the “carbonara” was great: supple swirls of “pasta” were tossed with a "creamy" sauce of “egg yolk”, “pecorino”, and little porky chunks of “guanciale.” See, Vespolina: “I” can misuse “quotation marks” “too.”

Squash ravioli ($22) was so fucking good that I’m breathlessly hyperventilating while reminiscing about it. The ravioli was masterful: thin pockets of pasta as delicate as an infant’s eyelids enclosed a silken and savory orange squash filling. Fried sage leaves and a few shavings of cheese on top finished this dish, and if I could eat this every single day I would. It was a symphony in orange and green and tasted like a stroll through the autumn woods. If there had been a hint of smoke in this dish I would’ve dry humped the table.

Dessert was bombolini ($7). For this price we got six fried doughnut balls, burnished a rich mahogany outside and with a mystical custard interior. The bombolini were drowned in a sticky pool of black truffle honey. I’m making no comments about the honey: I get bitched at no matter what I say about truffle flavor, so fuck you. But the bombolini were crusty outside and soft inside and being completely drenched in honey, like a group of medieval princesses bathing decadently together, didn’t hurt either.

Vespolina is pretty solid. The service leaves something to be desired, but in Vespolina’s defense I was as high as a fucking kite so my questions probably sounded like a poorly translated DVD player instruction manual. The dining room is gorgeous and the pasta will inspire serious Proust moments so go there now. Don’t do drugs though. Or if you do drugs, make sure you go to see a fucking mild-mannered Merchant-Ivory film.

Rating: 8.5 drugs out of 10

Vespolina is located at 96 Union St.

For reservations call 206-682-3590

Vespolina on Urbanspoon

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Westward

I don’t even know where the fuck to begin with Westward. I walked into this place and was stupefied by portraits of Bill Murray and Captain Stubing and, I suppose, other notable captains of the ship on the walls. The waiters all wear striped sailor shirts, despite the fact that this is the outfit for the FRENCH Navy which everybody thinks is staffed exclusively by pussies. And behind the bar is an impressive diorama of a cargo ship, the hold of which, we are expected to believe, holds the Abominable Snowman from the famous 1964 Rankin/ Bass Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, and also the combatants from Wrestlemania IV. Requiescat in Pace Andre the Giant! We hardly knew ye!

Anyway: Westward. We started with the quick fried east coast squid ($13), and in every case I’m reproducing the name of each dish exactly as presented. The squid was lightly fried in a kind of delicate fairy’s wing fritto misto atop a fluffy mattress of mashed potatoes. Sprinkled on top was a drift of sesame and black caraway seed, and the whole thing was spritzed lots of lemon. The potatoes seemed to be strictly potato, although maybe there was some olive oil in there, but certainly not the several cups of heavy cream that I, for instance, use when I’m making some fucking mashed potatoes.

Wood baked gigante beans ($9) were deliriously satisfying. I’ve had a million different iterations of this dish and this one was great: a pile of creamy white gigante beans swam in tomato sauce amid a swirling Sargasso Sea of half melted feta cheese and a hint of cinnamon, topped with a crumbling breadcrumb infrastructure.

Potatoes cooked in the fire ($9) didn’t need to tell me that they were cooked in a fire because they looked like burn victims, but in a good way, not in the way burn victims typically look, which is totally gross. Blue and yellow marble potatoes were cooked in a lot of oil and studded with shitloads of coarse salt. This was my main complaint, actually: while the potatoes were creamy inside and their succulence restrained by a corset of crisp skin, there was almost too much salt. Like enough salt to pay a Roman general. Which is a shame because I like salty potatoes: in fact potatoes are really just vehicles for butter and salt. Sometimes ketchup. Mayonnaise if you’re a fucktard who likes soccer and pretends to understand European politics. But they just went too far with the salt.

Albacore confit ($17) was pretty good: big chunks of albacore were delicately cooked in oil, with a few chunks of radicchio on the side, a couple shishito peppers, and some grilled bread croutons. While the fish itself was actually delicious, the other stuff was lame. There wasn’t enough radicchio. We got maybe four miniscule chunks of it, and that’s too damn bad because albacore is rich, and being cooked in oil, it could’ve benefitted from the snide remarks offered by the radicchio to brighten things up. The shishito peppers could have been charred a bit more. And the croutons were billed on the menu as “grilled bread.” I was eagerly anticipating a couple slices of bread, to make like an open-faced tuna sandwich with the confit, but we got MAYBE three small chunks of bread with a thick asphalt crust that stymied my gums the way I stymie your mom.

Chilled beef tongue ($16) was generally good, but the plate was a bit too busy: four medallions of braised tongue, topped with a bushy tuft of pickled spruce needles, a smear of crème fraiche, some Dijon mustard, a scattering of pickled mustard seeds, a couple caper berries, and two slices of grilled bread. Finally, the bread I wanted to come with the albacore confit! But alas, it was too late: we already ate the albacore. The tongue itself was supple and luscious, like dry humping a silk sheet, but as was the case with the potatoes it was too salty.

Actually that’s not quite true: the medallions of tongue were shingled on the plate, and the tongue got progressively less salty the farther down we ate, so while the top tongue was too salty, the bottom piece was actually fine. And besides, when you ate the tongue with the bread, even the saltiest piece wasn’t too salty. And the crème fraiche cut the salt too. I just feel like complaining, I suppose. But I WILL say that they didn’t cure the tongue with nitrites. So it looked like a dingy dish rag. People hate preservatives but sometimes you just have to bite the bullet and use it, because with nitrites braised meats looks pink and fresh, like a delicate spring blossom, but without it, it looks grey and haggard like your mom.

Butterscotch pot de crème ($7) was fucking great. A teacup filled with creamy butterscotch custard, topped with a petite quenelle of whipped cream and sprinkled on top with a few crystals of flaky sea salt. On the side was a sugary cube of shortbread.

Westward is twee as fuck. Twee like Bjork screening a Wes Anderson movie. Twee like an elf having a tea party with a squirrel and a hedgehog within a hollow tree. Twee like a midget riding a pennyfarthing. Normally I hate the word “twee” because it sounds like the noise a princess makes when she farts. The princess whose farts I’m describing is Princess Tam Tam, whose flatulence is like a lavender puff of mist escaping from between her caramel sticky buns. Her hair is spun sugar and her tits are a croquembouche, each nipple a butterscotch chip. Her thighs are creme brulee. Her stomach is pastry cream. Her eyes are white chocolate truffles, she wields a rock candy scepter, and Princess Tam Tam is the perfect match for Prince Meatyass: the union of savory and sweet that shall rule the world of flavor. “Come inside my sugar walls,” Princess Tam Tam tells you, and you of course have been waiting for this invitation for centuries, like a kid who will very soon be plundering a candy store, so how could you possibly deny her?

While not as tasty as Princess Tam Tam, Westward is good, but errors in execution marred what could have been a totally epic orgy of flavor. Still, the view is grandiose and the décor is entertaining, to say the least, so give Westward a try.

Rating: 7.5 sugar walls out of 10

Westward is located at 2501 N. Northlake Way

For reservations call 206-552-8215

Westward on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

The London Plane

Lately I’ve been getting fed up with the bullshit we are expected to eat. Unless it’s sushi, or Mexican food, menus are plagued with the kind of shit that simpletons eat, like hamburgers or macaroni and cheese with bacon in it, and the fucking menu guffaws breathlessly about the shitty glob of melted cheese that they want you to buy as if they themselves, in that very instant, just invented melted cheese right then and there.

The menu at The London Plane looked refreshingly adult, however, and so we gleefully attended lunch there with the anticipation of getting to pick items from a menu that seemed to come from an alternate universe in which truffle oil never existed.

We started with a paprika, caraway, sunflower seed and chevre spread ($7.50). The spread came to the table as a quenelle of chevre, studded with the aforementioned spices. I wish the seeds and paprika had been rolled around on the outside of the chevre like a holiday cheese ball, but alas: they didn’t do it that way. In general I thought that this spread was a bit heavy, a bit chevre-y, like Chevre-y Chase, and just as cheesy.

The beet hummus with harissa oil ($5) was visibly off-putting at first, but once you got past the puree’s shocking magenta color, the hummus was actually quite tasty: it was delicate and sweet and smoother than I expected blended beets to be, since I think they actually included some chick peas to give it a cohesive texture. The harissa oil had been applied with a gentle hand, offering an almost intangible heat, unlike when white people typically try to use harissa in recipes and they inevitably add too much and it ends up tasting like a burning doorknob in your mouth.

Anyway: if the Kool-Aid Man poured a bunch of vodka in the top of his pitcher, the beet hummus is what his puke would look and taste like. If you’re grossed out by that description, don’t worry: the Kool-Aid Man is fake! So you’ll never have to actually see or eat his puke. But if you get the beet hummus, that’s what it would totally be like.

Walnut, red pepper, and pomegranate molasses spread ($7) was a tasty iteration of the classic Turkish dip also known as muhammara. It was savory and sweet, with a rough grind of the walnuts to offer a little texture. You could spread this onto anything. Muhammara is sometimes used as a sort of barbecue sauce for meat, and I honestly wish there was a kebab or something on London Plane’s menu which was basted in this stuff. Since there isn’t, I’m perfectly content to lick if off of Mike Tyson’s nutsack.

Shredded carrots, currant, pine nut, and chili spread ($6.50) seemed more like a slaw to me than a spread or dip, but who’d quibbling? This isn’t, after all, the Oxford Motherfucking English Dictionary, and besides this was my favorite of all the spreads: sweet and crunchy strands of shredded carrots mingled like dickheads at a cocktail party with pine nuts, some dill, and a few black currants here and there. It was light and fresh and perfectly balanced.

An assortment of all four spreads with bread is $13, and WHY THE FUCKING FUCK WOULDN’T YOU DO THIS. Even the bread is superlative. They bake it on site and you get two kinds: a very sour sourdough which is so sour, it’s almost as sour as your mom’s demeanor, with a standoffish crust that conceals a crumb so open, you could confess any of your evil secrets to it. The other bread is some sort of herb cracker which is good, but not as good as that sour sourdough which seems forbidding and disgruntled on the outside but is really kind and understanding on the inside.

Moving on to the vegetable course: a plate of roasted baby carrots and red torpedo onions with pistachio and mint ($9) was a bit of a letdown: when I read “roasted carrots” on a menu I want those carrots completely caramelized to the point where the edges of the carrots are black and charred. If the carrot doesn’t look like it barely survived an extended hike through Death Valley, with a crusty and sticky outer skin and a soft fudgy interior, I don’t want it. Which is why I was saddened by the carrots we got: stewed in way too much liquid for my taste, with slices of sautéed onion and, you know, herbs and stuff, they seemed more like braised carrots, swimming around in a puddle with the onions and shit.

Braised pole beans with charred cherry tomatoes and dill ($10) were better, though. Like the “roasted” carrots, the beans were definitely braised. The beans were flavorful, with lots of dill flavor and bright and smoky highlights courtesy of the tomato.

Chickpeas with stewed gypsy peppers, feta and cilantro ($11) were very tasty, creamy, and salty, and sweet. I could eat an entire bowl of this. It hit every single possible flavor note. If they served this over pasta it would be like an insane epic poet’s opium dream of the most delicious possible pasta dish.

You can pick an assortment of three small ($12.50) or large ($16.50) vegetable dishes, and as with the dips, why wouldn’t you? Variety is, after all, the spice of life, you bunch of dickfaces.

A curried chicken salad ($19) featured a fairly standard pile of shredded chicken with a neon yellow curry sauce, atop a novel bale of roasted romanesco and an incongruous roasted piece of baby bok choy which hovered hesitantly around on the side like an awkward boyfriend at a funeral. The chicken was very succulent, and the curry flavor wasn’t too overpowering. The romanesco was roasted the way I wish the carrots had been roasted, i.e. caramelized as shit, with the curious fractal edges of the cauliflower scorched and the cut edges a deep golden brown. A couple sultanas here and there sweetened it up a bit, but then sprinkled over the top of everything was a drift of crumbled up seeds of various kinds, and sadly this resembled a bunch of birdseed. But it tasted good at least.

Finally, these spiced lamb meatballs ($14) were the goddamned piece de resistance: six perfect meatballs, so moist and yielding that they seemed more like small spherical terrines than like something you’d pile on top of spaghetti, doused in tomato sauce. The sauce was a satiny brick red, rich with hints of warm spice. I’ve never eaten such delicate meatballs. To serve these with pasta would have been a crime. Luckily they didn’t.

There’s a dessert menu, but fuck that: the meatballs were my dessert.

The London Plane is fucking awesome: sophisticated and light, with complex flavors and a deft hand with the spices and an unapologetic middle-eastern thrust, kind of like what I did to your mom last night. Nothing is too bold and all the flavors were in careful balance. It's the Alexander Calder of restaurants. The only thing that they go overboard with at The London Plane is restraint.

Unlike your mom.

Rating: 8.5 restraints out of 10

The London Plane is located at 300 Occidental Ave S

For reservations (parties of 8 or more) call 206-624-1374

Their hours are very weird so look it up before trying to eat dinner there and seeing that they’re closed and then getting mad at me.

The London Plane on Urbanspoon

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Prima Bistro

I was skeptical of Prima Bistro after encountering a cassoulet made by them which sported a thick tuft of breadcrumbs as bushy as the pubes on a 197’s centerfold. Besides, they’re located in the charming village of Langley, WA on Whidbey Island. Plus, they’ve got a killer second story deck and a pristine water view. So I assumed that it would be like many other Oceanside tourist traps: overpriced and bland shitholes which serve yellowing iceberg lettuce and anemic wedges of mealy tomato doused in a pint of Thousand Island Dressing and they somehow also discovered a way to put slices of pork tenderloin on top of fettuccine alfredo with a straight face and everything is $23. But did they fulfill my dire prophecy? READ ON IF YOU DARE!

We started with the chickpea “fries” ($6.50), which, since the "fries" actually do seem to be fried, was the worst abuse of quotation marks since I saw a sign asking people to “Please ring the ‘doorbell’” but it was in fact an ACTUAL doorbell, and not a midget’s nutsack painted to resemble a doorbell in the hopes of tricking you into comically molesting a midget. Six big foamy yellow planks of what I can only assume is a slurry of deep fried chickpea flour were burnished a crusty bronze outside, with a yielding and almost cheese-like interior. These had the consistency of the yellow foam that mascot costumes are typically made of, but unlike the Capitol City Goofball or the UC Santa Cruz Banana Slugs, Prima Bistro’s Fightin’ “Fries” at least come with a ramekin of curry mayonnaise.

Crispy pork belly ($6.50) was tasty as fuck. This was a typically perfect example of pork belly, which is used to make bacon, which you might find in a bacon, lettuce, and tomato sandwich: it had been confited, with a crunchy and salty fried exterior, and a moist interior so unguent, so tender, so delicate, it was as if the pig never did a situp in its life, which I suppose it probably never has, because pigs are lazy as fuck. The belly came with a neat quenelle of a sweet and tart apricot mostarda, which was good enough to spread upon a toasted slice of brioche and had no business playing second fiddle to a fried square of disemboweled pig.

Salade nicoise ($14.50) was an excellent template of the classic French salad. A big pile of spinach leaves were doused in a gleaming pearlescent vinaigrette, along with some boiled fingerling potatoes, a couple olives, thinly sliced apples, and a boiled egg, halved lengthwise. Slices of seared ahi tuna completed the picture. The vinagigrette was tart without being overly zingy: your mom could learn a thing or two about the way this vinaigrette comports itself. The egg was expertly boiled, with a perfect sunny orb of yolk completely devoid of the green shitty ring that indicates a cook who doesn’t even know how to boil a fucking egg.

The worst thing about this nicoise salad was these weird diamond-shaped slices of pecorino blanketed over the top of the salad, looking like cheesy Superman logos. These were worse than unnecessary because pecorino is not a proper ingredient for a true salade nisoise. The second worse thing about this salad was that they didn’t include any haricots verts. A third grader may disagree with me but freshly picked, lightly steamed green beans are tasty as fuck, and I’ll point in the face, yelling at any third grader who disputes my claim.

Salade lyonnaise ($12.50) was, like the salade nicoise, similarly well-behaved. A bushel of frisee, wilted under a warm vinaigrette like Tim Tebow under the pressure of professional football, was interspersed with crunchy lardons hidden cleverly within its midst, and topped with a poached egg. This salad worked well, with a dressing that mixed adequately with the soft yolk drooling from where I pierced the egg’s side, but I didn’t like how the frisee was so wilted it was almost cooked. I prefer frisee to be crisp and bitter as the repartee between two aging vaudeville comedy partners. Instead the frisee was as limp as my dick when I see your mom.

But the best thing was the charcuterie plate. A small one was a mere $8.50 and included: bresaola, boar and pistachio salami, fennel and coriander salami, smoked chorizo, pork belly rilettes, and lonza. The bresaola, air-dried beef bottom round for those of you ignorant of the charcutier’s art, was typically beefy and sweet, shaved into deep crimson curls, and not too salty. The boar salami, by contrast, was salty and greasy and had the rich priapic musky swagger of a rutting boar. The fennel and coriander salami was fairly standard and modest, but it seemed forgettable amid the other strong personalities on this charcuterie plate.

The chorizo was unapologetically spicy. The rilettes were delicately spiced, as silken and greasy as that first delicious thrust, and I gleefully smeared the rilettes all over the (SPOILER ALERT) bread which Prima Bistro graciously provides to diners FOR FREE. Finally, the lonza was smoky and salty like some old lobsterman guy wearing a sweater and smoking a pipe. Alongside the meat was an unnecessarily spicy pickle. This charcuterie plate was fucking legit, and it hallmarks Prima Bistro’s dedication to technique.

Charcuterie is a difficult skill to master, so I'm impressed that they cure the charcuterie in-house at Prima Bistro. Especially challenging are dry-cured sausages such as salami. I know because I tried it and it ended up looking, and smelling, like a used condom filled with decaying roadkill. But all of the meats Prima put together on this very affordable plate were impeccably prepared.

We didn’t get dessert from Prima; instead I went around the corner to the P S Suisse bakery and dropped $2.50 on a spitzbuebe, a special Swiss raspberry sandwich cookie that sounds like something I like to do to your mom.

I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by Prima Bistro’s deft avoidance of being a completely shitty tourist trap. In addition to what is an obvious working knowledge of classic French technique, Prima also boasts a solid wine list, reasonable prices, and a lively small-town atmosphere. A friendly small town, that is, and not one that puts a boot on your car and plants heroin in your pocket if you voted for President Obama. If you’re ever in Langley for some reason, by all means go.

Rating: 8 small town stereotypes out of 10

Prima Bistro is located at 201 ½ 1st St, Langley, WA

For reservations call 360-221-4060

Prima Bistro on Urbanspoon