Encore — Oeufs en Meurette at Seattle’s Cafe Campagne

Charles | August 27, 2010 | 3 Comments

Vic and I arrived in Seattle for the International Food Bloggers Conference a couple of days early to visit with friends and enjoy some leisure time savoring the delights of this jewel of a city in the emerald state. We did linger for a couple of hours on Wednesday to explore the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, Washington, just 30 miles south of Seattle. This is but one tribute to the legacy of Dale Chiluly, honored as the first National Living Treasure, Institute for Human Potential, University of North Carolina, Wilmington. It would be well worth your time to wander through this collection of indoor and outdoor art.

Café Campagne enjoys a prime location just a half block up the hill from Pike Place Market, at 1600 Post Alley and next door to Sur La Table. I have written about oeufs en muerette (eggs poached in a red wine sauce), which I first ate at this wonderful restaurant on our first trip to the Pacific Northwest, and the fact that I have never sampled anything else from their menu. That introductory tasting was in 2002 and the year counter is now at 2010.

Café Campagne

Every time we have dined here, it is teeming with hungry patrons. The wait isn’t terribly long, and they give you an estimated time to return for your table. There’s plenty to do and see nearby so Vic and I devoted this time to browse Sur La Table across the alley.

Bar at Café Campagne

The original Campagne (the upstairs formal restaurant) opened in 1997 in a different location, near Queen Anne Hill. When it moved to the present location in 2002, the Café Campagne was created. It’s refreshing to see that little has changed here since our first visit. The staff is always knowledgeable about the food and wine, and makes sure the diners’ experience is pleasurable and goes like clockwork.

We both started with a mimosa then agreed to share the pâté campagne, a traditional terrine of pork and chicken liver garnished with olives, mustards and cornichons. A basket of fresh French sourdough rounds out this appetizer.

Pâté Campagne

The imported olives delivered briny, clean flavors as brilliant as their glistening hues of olive to purple. A dollop of whole grain mustard provided a sturdy layer of flavor, while another dollop of prepared mustard screamed boldly with pungent heat. The flavor of the pâté was expertly balanced, rich, dense, and presented just as you would expect from an establishment of this caliber. It makes one wonder just what an “off” day would be like here.

Café Campagne can be a wonderful place to watch people, too. The waiters move around quickly and efficiently as if it were all choreographed. Seating guests, serving food and drinks, and stopping for a moment to chat about your food. All of this accomplished with flowing ease.

Oeufs en Meurette with Pommes Frites and Mimosas

Soon our long-anticipated Oeufs en Meurette arrived along with a heaping basket of pommes frites, French fries to most of us. Our waiter offered us several choices of condiments for the potatoes, and we chose the garlic aioli. After adjusting the salt and fresh ground pepper on the fries to our taste, we settled into a period of leisurely feasting on our sumptuous treat.

“Poached eggs served on garlic croutons with pearl onions, bacon and champignons in red wine-foie gras sauce” read the description on the menu. Where does one begin with this dish? You have a gloriously unctuous demi-glace sauce laced with red wine, foie gras, little pearl onions, mushrooms and bits of bacon swimming around, and atop the modest crouton tower rest two perfectly poached eggs, plump and eager to release their silky yolks into the sauce below, adding yet another dimension to this warm pool of pleasure. First I play with the sauce with my fork and take a tiny taste. I move on to one of my pommes frites, twirling it to gather more sauce as gravy and let that play around in my mouth. Then, concluding my flirt with the sauce, I dunk in a generous crumb of bread before piercing the egg, allowing the slow flow of the yolk to begin oozing its way into the sauce for its final caress. Now you can close your eyes and enjoy all parts of the whole at once, like savoring the coda of a rich Mozart symphony with multiple melodies swirling around and playing counterpoint off each other at the same time.

It’s dining moments like this that make you look over the table with raised eyebrow and quietly ask your dining partner, “How was it for you?”

We leave Café Campagne until our next visit, confident that as long as Chef Daisley Gordon remains at the helm, all will be well here.

Bon appétit

— Charles

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Category: Restaurants

About the Author (Author Profile)

Music, food and photography are at the center of Charles’ life. He performed with the Dallas Symphony, Dallas Opera and was assistant principal bassoonist with the Fort Worth Symphony for more than 20 years. When Charles and Victor moved to Baltimore, Charles created Lone Star Personal Chef and Catering Service and taught cooking classes at Williams-Sonoma. Now in Salem, Charles is a Realtor with Coldwell Banker Mountain West Real Estate, taught cooking classes for children at the A.C. Gilbert Discovery Village, and owns and operates Charles Price Photography. Charles and Vic enjoy entertaining and frequently host dinners as fundraisers for local non-profits and charities

Comments (3)

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  1. Marlene says:

    What a wonderful experience. Will we hear more about the conference?

  2. Todd says:

    I wouldn’t mind trying the Pâté Campagne with cocktail-sized sourdough slices.

  3. VPanichkul says:

    Let us know if you go to Cafe Campagne and what you think of the food there. It’s only a block away from Pike’s Place Market.

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