Tilikum Place Cafe, Seattle

Mental note: If you scribble important blog notes on the back of your Mapquest directions – make sure and not THROW AWAY the scratch paper when you clean out your purse.
True story. Sam and I were up in Seattle and made a special trip to Tilikum, which had been recommended by several friends. We had one of the best lunches I’ve had in a long time. It was such a delightful experience that I took extra time detailing the menu, each item we ordered, the tastes and smells, and even the interactions with our waitress (who was a dear!). Despite the fact that I didn’t have my notebook (the lunch was a surprise, planned by Sam), I took notes on scratch paper from my purse (aka our directions to the restaurant) – and I was really excited to share my experience with each of you. However,  sometime between that lunch and our drive back down to Portland a few days later, I decided I didn’t need the directions anymore and carelessly threw away the paper. DOH!
So without many details, here’s a brief – but totally worthwhile – account of our lunch.
Tilikum is an unassuming French bistro, just a short walk away from the heart of downtown Seattle. It’s adorable and inviting, and the kind of place that you’d have to stop to peer in while walking by.  Inside the small-but-cozy restaurant, we were greeted by a warm staff who seated us at a table by the window, looking out at the Seattle Space Needle. It was one of those rare sunny and clear winter days in the northwest, and the view of the Space Needle was spectacular.
Although we showed up at noon expecting lunch, we were greeted with a Saturday brunch menu. The menu included traditional French breakfasts,  salads, quiche and soup, plus daily specials including fresh pastries and crab eggs Benedict. I wouldn’t consider us mid-day drinkers, but since the menu featured mimosas as well, we went ahead and started our Seattle visit with a toast.
We’ve heard wonders about Tilikum’s butternut squash quiche, which unfortunately was already sold out by the time we got there (a testament to restaurant’s philosophy for making everything fresh daily). Sam ordered plan B, the Roast Chicken Salad with potatoes,  peppers, boiled egg and aioli. This was truly  a French style  salad – meaning it wasn’t really a salad at all. I think Sam was surprised when it came out looking more like a chicken dish than a pile of lettuce. But let me tell you, he was not disappointed. It was totally delicious.
{Roast Chicken Salad}
I ordered the special soup of the day, a Kale Garden Vegetable Soup. Sounds pretty simple, but it was so incredibly flavorful and satisfying. Filled with kale, carrots, sweet potatoes and more, I would make this soup weekly if I could get my hands on the recipe. The “salad” I ordered was almost a European style cole slaw; a mix of cabbage, pistachios, bacon and feta cheese with a light vinaigrette dressing. Wowza, Another winning entrée.
{Cabbage Salad}
{Kale Garden Vegetable Soup}
Each dish seemed so effortless and simple, and yet so flavorful and detailed at the same time. There were lots of “oohing” and ”aawing,” and plenty of plate passing during our meal. And Sam doesn’t like sharing his food, so the mimosa must have really got to him.
{French Press Coffee}
As if the lunch couldn’t get any better, we topped it off with French press coffee, as well as ice cream and Cinnamon Chocolate Chip cookies made fresh in the back kitchen. I stuck with good ole vanilla ice cream, while Sam was adventurous and ordered the cranberry sorbet. A totally extravagant treat to end our fabulous lunch, which seemed fitting.
{Tilikum’s Homeade Vanilla Ice Cream}
{Cranberry Sorbet}
{Cinnamon Chocolate Chip Cookie}
There are about a million other details missing from this scrumptious meal, but if I had to sum it all up: GO THERE. You won’t be disappointed! This is our new favorite spot in Seattle.

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