Hold on, the headline says pig roast. Why am I looking at soup? Because a pig roast, while delicious, is ugly gorgeous. As the sunny season winds down at Cafe Juanita in Kirkland, Washington, this soup is one of the things I’ve been looking forward to all summer. Pappa al pomodoro. You know this soup? Tomatoes, hand crushed. Garlic, basil, cayenne, olive oil, balsamic, sherry vinegar, bread. Served at room temp, it is the essence of summer. At Sunday night’s Pig Roast, pappa al pomodoro was a pre-dinner summer sipper.
This is perhaps the one Cafe Juanita recipe that gets shared the most, but I’ve never actually made it. Why? It’s a destination dish. I’ll just say, it’s worked out really well that we got married in late summer. If I plan it right, I can have it at the restaurant. If you can’t, the recipe is here. So what about that pig roast?
As a food town, Seattle may not have the swagger of New York or San Francisco or LA, but it stands on its own. Ask foodies across the country about Seattle and they might mention Pike Place or the fact that Tom Douglas catered a fundraising lunch for President Obama, but ask them if they’ve heard of Kirkland, Washington and they’ll say, “Oh yeah, like at Costco. Kirkland.”
A Microsoft bedroom community, Kirkland is the home of Costco #1, but it’s also the home to one of the best restaurants in the Seattle area — Café Juanita. Specializing in northern Italian cuisine with a focus on locally sourced ingredients, Café Juanita is casually elegant, at once special occasion and neighborhood spot. You might know chef/owner Holly Smith as winner of the James Beard Foundation’s 2008 Best Chef Northwest, or for her turn on Iron Chef America, where she won her bout with Iron Chef Cat Cora. This year, Chef Smith was nominated as Outstanding Chef in the US by the Beard Foundation. But I gotta tell ya, I didn’t need the Beard Foundation to confirm that Chef Smith’s got game. Read more