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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

September 28, 2009 at 8:00 AM

Picnic? At Phinney favorite it’s never too late — or too early

And now, from the better-late-than-never department, say hello to Anson and Jenny Klock — owners of Picnic on Phinney Ridge. That’s what I did late last week after a friend’s eyes widened in shocked surprise when I told her I’d never been to their year-old “food + wine boutique” nor tasted their housemade pork rillettes.

Life’s a Picnic — literally — for Anson and Jenny.

Since I was in the neighborhood and my reputation was at stake, I hightailed it over there. First thing to catch my eye when I walked into the place was the wine. Though the Klocks specialize in small wine producers (many of them local), they offer a broad range of fine labels and Thursday night tastings for a petite fee ($8, noshes included).

I was thrilled to see splits of chilled Laurent Perrier in their deli case alongside their charcuterie. That Champagne-with-a-capitol-“C” is one of life’s little luxuries (one that Mac and I occasionally indulge in) and the perfect foil for another: those rich rillettes. I ordered a rillettes sandwich to-go since I’d just had lunch, and eyeballed the many splendors in the deli case, including Paul Bertolli’s famous salumi, Estrella cheeses and duck confit.

“That’ll be a couple of minutes,” said Jenny after taking my order, leaving her husband to layer the fatty spread — garnished with his homemade brandied currants and pickled onion — on Le Fournil baguette ($10). In the meantime, I went back to perusing.

I bought a jar of Boat Street pickled raisins ($9) since I was out of the stuff and I’m crazy for it. I also treated myself to an 8-ounce bottle of Mama Bear’s “whats-this-here sauce” — a small-batch natural Worcestershire made by a Seattle company. I was out of Worcestershire too, having finally gone through the giant economy-size Lea & Perrins from Costco opened oh, six years ago. (Next time I make Caesar salad or a Bloody Mary, I intend to add a dash of Mama Bear’s, though I’ve got to say, it tastes great right off the spoon — as well it should for $12.)

I would have loved to have sat at one of Picnic’s tables and relaxed in the very contemporary little cafe (here’s the full menu).

Eat in, or take out. They cater, too. (photo: courtesy Picnic)

But instead I asked Anson to cut a slice from my sandwich before wrapping it so I could have a quick bite. And as I stood there at the check-out counter checking out my sandwich, the taste and texture (melting, crunchy) knocked me out. So much so, I also purchased a four-ounce jar of rillettes ($10) so I might re-create the sandwich at home. And guess what I had for breakfast the next morning?

A few minutes in the toaster oven and — voila! — one amazing breakfast, seen here with a side of rillettes and a spoonful of Boat Street pickled raisins.

So, I encourage you to pay a visit to Anson and Jenny (Picnic’s open Wednesday-Sunday). And because I’m personally and professionally mortified that I haven’t been to their lovely little shop sooner, do me a favor. Tell them, “Nancy Leson sent me!”

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