|It was a slow, Winter Sunday afternoon and I was hungry. I talked my wife into taking me to the Volunteer Park Cafe, to which I had never been, although it had been on my list of places to go for their French dip. Here we are driving through Seattle's famous Interlaken Park on our way up there.|
|Another one of the fancy modes on my camera. This is a panarama of the inside as a did a full whirling dervish impersonation to get this photo.|
|And they love and I'm sure miss Obama. I'll admit it 100%, me too. Oh, Donald, what are you going to do to us?|
|There were little nooks and areas that felt so intimate and nice.|
|They had what appeared to be homemade freezerves and just great things that I wanted to eat.|
|Some fun ornamentation they had going on. I love owls.|
|I talked to these people behind me in line at some point. They were fairly interesting. After I told them of my French dip hobby/habit/problem/addiction, the lady thought it was great and disclosed that she'd always wanted to travel the country "looking for Johnny Appleseed". I had no idea what that meant and said as much. She tried to explain but I was convinced she was a complete and udder lunatic. I just did a little bit of research on Mr. Appleseed and it turns out that the lady is perhaps not entirely insane. There are apparently many historical sites dedicated to that historical figure. Not sure what her blog would do to honor the feller.|
|Another view of the long table and the hipsters.|
|Let's get up close and personal with this thing. We can tell that the gruyere is very nicely melted. We see the bread looking quite handsome with its little flour patches and whatnot. The beef looks good, too.|
|We're digging the look of the melted gruyere. Our mouth is probably watering by this point if not definitely.|
|We can look at the jus again.|
|Wait, one more picture of the beef. Looks good and crispy. Bread still looking really good. And we can detect the caramelized onions if we stare really hard and cross our eyes.|
At this point I am going to disclose my "raw tasting notes" so you can get a sense of what all was to follow and what I was thinking and writing at the time.
Raw Tasting Notes:
- Really good bread. I must have liked it.
- Jus. Au jus not hot, is dark, rich. So it was good overall but could have been hotter, could have been more initially. I know it didn't blow my mind but it was good. 4 of 5.
- The onions are nice.
- The product overall is not especially salty, which is a good thing. You can go too far with that.
- The sandwich is very good. It is balanced and complex.
- Bread. The bread is crunchy and chewy and gets a 5 of 5. Afterward, I realized it had cut my mouth. I don't think that scores negative points but it is a kind of difficult part of delicious bread. I suppose I need to work up my mouth calluses.
- There is some slight hint of pepper flavor in it, which is nice and enhances.
- The size is OK but nothing to write home about. Because there are no sides, it was not the world's most filling meal.
- The onions brought a slightly sweet taste, which was nice. Well-caramelized onions really are a treat on some dishes. They have an amazingly rich and delicious, smooth flavor.
- The gruyere cheese is very nicely melted and was complementary to the rest of the sandwich.
- I felt that the horseradish (on the side) was good and cool. It was herby, but when was I to use it? I find this to be a superfluous gimick that's really not necessary. It is nice and gives the sense that people care about their meat and its partner, the horseradish, but I think it confuses the purpose of the French dip meal. Which one do I dip it in? How many dips do I need? An array of 50?
- Meat. The meat was crunchy but not overly special or remarkable so gets a 3 of 5
- Non-meat toppings. The cheese and onions overall were a 4 of 5. They were very good and additive. I think you have to do something really special in this category to get a 5.
- Overall 4 of 5. This wasn't a perfect sandwich but it was really good. The ambiance of the place in the neighborhood and the attention they paid to this very fine French dip sandwich is commendable.
- Location 5 of 5. Such a cute little out-of-the-way place I would love to go back soon. Maybe next time with my own black hipster beanie and faux red hair!
- In general, the flavor of this sandwich was not to die for.
|But we know with French dips that we do not eat them all without dipping them. So here I go with the immersion of the sandwich into its mate.|
|Let is soak good.|
|Oh, God, there it is!|
|There it really is, onions and cheese and rich jus and all! Nom nom nom. Yum yum yum. Fast forward fast forward.|
|And I finally go for the last bite with the horseradish cream (plenty of it) to see what it is all about. It was pretty good. Not too heavy, was cold/cool and had a nice herb taste. It was also additive.|
|And a tasty, crisp pickle spear for dessert and as a pallet cleanser.|
Other fun things while there
|This was a fun little garbage basket they had in the restroom.|
|And their sink was probably the tiniest I'd ever seen. Like a sink for ants!|
|I did some sweet stuff with Layouts and Instagram after I had this thing and put that out onto the internet which people seemed to appreciate. Making content for the internet (and people) is pretty fun. You should try it sometime!|