The Wandering Goose

Overall: 4/5

Finding parking in the Capitol Hill neighborhood can be daunting. That is why I prefer to visit the area on weekend mornings – when you are more likely to find a sanity-preserving parking spot within shouting distance from your destination.

On a strip of shops and restaurants on 15th Street is The Wandering Goose, a “Southern influenced cafe” manned by chef Heather Earnhardt. And it is truly a “cafe” as opposed to a restaurant because the dining space is very limited. The interior pays homage to a country general store without falling victim to cliché.

We made our visit early on a Sunday morning to check out the eats, unencumbered by crowds and the need to engage in vehicular combat for a parking spot.

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Hangtown Fry 

Just look at this thing! If health and diet permits, I highly recommend this dish. Fried oysters, pork belly, and poached eggs top a good portion of roasted potatoes. The massive oysters, fried in a buttermilk cornmeal coating, were sweet and briny. The pork belly was cured and tasted like a cross between bacon and beef jerky. The poached eggs were well executed. The roasted potatoes underneath were a touch underdone, but otherwise served as a suitable starch with the other ingredients.

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Veggie Hash

With seasonal vegetables replacing fried oysters and pork belly, this was the healthy alternative, but not by much. The vegetables included beets, bitter greens, and bell peppers. The beets stood out for me; they were tender and sweet. The eggs and the potatoes were the same as the Hangtown Fry. Another very good dish.

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Fried Chicken Thigh

When I first walked in, I saw a serving of this come out of the kitchen and knew I had to try it. Crispy, juicy, and peppery, the taste and texture felt very close to the Taiwanese fried pork/chicken chops.

Finally, note that the prices are reasonable, but not cheap either. Although Seattle does not lack its share of good places to grab brunch, places with a Southern flair are far fewer in between. With its niche fare and cozy atmosphere, Wandering Goose left me with a favorable impression.

The Wandering Goose

Sitka and Spruce

Overall: 4/5

Located in the back of Melrose market, Sitka and Spruce is part of chef Matt Dillon’s collection of restaurants. We had the chance to go there for brunch recently. The restaurant had high ceilings and a very rustic feel. The peace was limited but felt open at the same time. There was an interesting collection of vinyl records on the back wall.

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We started off with the young lettuces, ash roasted shallot, tarragon & hazelnuts. Nothing really to say except it met all the expectations of a nice salad. The dressing had a nice acidic tang to it and the salad was not overdressed. The shallots and tarragon was fragrant without overpowering. The hazelnuts were crunchy and gave imparted a smoky flavor.

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One of the mains was king boletes, soft scrambled egg, turnip greens & fresh ricotta. The eggs were definitely the star of the dish. Creamy and rich from the ricotta and perhaps butter, the dish was pretty filling. The boletes mushrooms were shaved thinly and raw, which was a little disappointing. Thicker slices and perhaps some char would have been nice.

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The other main was corned goat with roasted potatoes (7/10). Underneath the potato was something that resembled a bacon custard/mayonnaise. As with the other main dish, this was a pretty rich plate, when you think about the heavy condiment at the bottom, the starch, and the goat meat. It tasted like a very fancy corned beef hash. The goat was a bit too dry for my preference.

Overall, the experience at Sitka and Spruce was comfortable, and the food was flavorful and nuanced. Space is limited so do try to go during non-peak times for a better experience.

Sitka and Spruce