Last weekend my aunts, Linda and Carole, were in town for a visit. They’re on a great adventure in their RV driving from their home in Northern California to Alaska and back. We had a lovely visit with them. We went to lunch at St. Jack, over on Clinton at SE 20th and really enjoyed our visit together, including the food, which is always an important part of any Saunders family event.
St. Jack specializes in the food of Lyon, France, particularly typical rustic cafe (or bouchon) food. The space was pleasant with lots of windows and light. With four of us dining together, we were able to try a lot of little plates.
First, we ordered little appetizer plates. The gougères were made to order and were warm delicious bites. They reminded me of my grandmother’s cheese straws. I could have feasted just on these but I’m glad I didn’t. Linda ordered the cervelle de canut, a goat cheese spread with shallots and garlic and a nice chunk of baguette – it was very flavorful and not at all strong and goaty. I could also have feasted on just this. The radishes were cut into nice little bites but they were just radishes.
Todd and I both ordered the ham and cheese tartine, which were little open faced sandwiches, not tarts. The ham was wonderful because it was tasty and had very little fat or other yucky bits, the cheese was good and strong, and the bit of mixed lettuces with very light dressing was tasty. Unfortunately, the baguette used was really crunchy (though delicious!) so it was nearly impossible to cut it with a fork to eat it, and equally difficult to pick it up and take a bite. I ended up eating the ham and lettuces with a fork and then picked up the baguette, added some of the cervelle de canut, and ate it separately. Carole had the salmon tartine, which she liked.
For dessert, Todd and I ordered a chocolate tart, as did Carole, which was incredibly rich and chocolaty. Yum! Linda ordered an eclair,which is nothing like those monsters you buy in the grocery store. It was delicate, with a delicious filling and just the right amount of dark chocolate.
Next time we go, I plan to try the chicken liver mousse or the sausage. The vichyssoise looks good too. They have a good wine selection with glasses, carafes, or bottles available. Not cheap but not ghastly, either. They have a happy hour, too, which I’m very interested in checking out.