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Worth the Wait {Skillet Diner}

September 5, 2011

 

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At some point last week, after reading an article about Skillet Diner, I asked B how he would feel about cancelling last week’s Thursday dinner and having Sunday brunch instead. Given the long weekend, he agreed. Skillet was on our list since shortly after they opened, but there was one major problem. They are literally right next door to our beloved Marjorie. We both know there is no way we’re ever going to be standing that close to Marjorie and choose anything above it. So, dinner at Skillet was out of the question. Brunch on a Sunday when Marjorie isn’t even open was really the only way it would happen.

I swear I’ve said this at least three times since July, but it appears summer has finally come to Seattle. Sure we’ve had a few days here and there, but it’s been terribly inconsistent. This weekend, though, marked the beginning of what local meteorologists promise will be the longest stretch of warm weather this year… high 80s hot. That is more than warm enough to make us all complain about the miserable heat. Cut us some slack. We don’t have air conditioning. You try getting that sort of heat out of the house in the evening with just couple small, screened open windows and the weak stream of air from a couple of fans to help. Still, we shouldn’t complain. We’ll be wishing for the blue skies desperately just a few short weeks from now. A sunny Labor Day weekend is also something of a welcomed abnormality.

In addition to the warm temperatures, Saturday also brought the wedding of our friends, JF and KF. We’ve known them less than six months, so we already felt quite honored to be included in their special day. People sometimes say you shouldn’t judge others based on how they act in stressful situations, and even more people might say you shouldn’t judge people period. So instead of using the j- word, I’ll say that some might believe you shouldn’t decide if someone is the kind of person you want to spend time with based on their reaction to extreme stress. On the contrary, I think that’s when one’s true colors come out. After seeing how graceful and fun this special couple was under pressure and after spending time with their amazing family and friends on Saturday, we felt even more fortunate to be invited. They had a beautiful and super fun wedding and they couldn’t have ordered up better weather for their amazing outdoor ceremony.

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It wasn’t an especially late night out, but we arrived home dead exhausted. I thought maybe we’d sleep in the next morning instead of getting up in time to make brunch, but I was awake bright and early. B followed not long after and we were hungry. We headed to Capitol Hill, anxious about finding parking on this sunny Sunday morning.

In the end, we shouldn’t have worried nearly as much about parking (which turned out to be no problem) as the crowd outside of Skillet. I knew they were popular and it was a holiday weekend, but there was a full fledged crowd outside the restaurant. I hate to wait for a table. That’s part of the reason why we eat so early if we can’t make dinner reservations. I’m a generally patient person, but restaurants are an exception. Once we got inside, the hostess let us know we were in for a 45 minute wait. It’s really not that long and we weren’t in a hurry, so we opted to wait. The crowd started to move through pretty quickly. Our total wait ended up being a little over 30 minutes, so nothing to complain about.

Our super energetic server appeared practically out of nowhere, zipping by so quickly that I hardly heard his “Coffee, Mimosa, Bloody Mary?” inquiry as he breezed by. He poked his head back around the corner and B and I both answered “Mimosa.” He tried very hard to convince us that we needed a whole pitcher, but we really didn’t.

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The Mimosas arrived at the table in small half sized Ball jars, cleverly disguised as plain old orange juice… except much better.

Their menu isn’t huge, but we both had a terrible time deciding. Maybe we’ll go back for dinner some Sunday or Monday (when Marjorie is closed). The burgers sounded fantastic. B finally decided on the Barry Sandwich (house-made guanciale, 2 eggs, American cheese, house-made big boy biscuit and a side salad I ate).045

The verdict? It was really great, but the big boy biscuit was a little too much. There was a lot of biscuit still on the plate in the end. We also made a major ordering mistake. We ordered the poutine. Now, I don’t even like poutine in theory. B loves it. It was good. We both had some, but the portion was gigantic and it was a little early in the day for gravy and cheese curds (but not fries…. those are a perfectly acceptable breakfast food). We should have left the poutine for another time.

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After massive waffling (seriously, no pun intended) on my choice, I ended up with what I came for – Pork Belly and Cornmeal Waffle (with 2 eggs). It was every bit as good as it sounded. The portion of pork belly was enormous. Even cutting off and sharing good sized pieces with B, I couldn’t finish it all. I don’t think I’d order it again. It was very rich, but I’m not in the least bit sad that I chose it. It was worth every bite. Next time, I have my sights set on the stack of griddle cakes (peach & cinnamon compote, house-made brown sugar syrup, lemon zest butter). I also have it on good authority that the deconstructed corned beef hash is worth much more than its weight in calories.

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Skillet was a hit. It seems like a great place to eat with friends, maybe over that pitcher of Mimosas. It’s so bright, cheerful, loud (in a good way) and energetic that it will be just the place to challenge the rainy day gray.

 

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