I ate at The Early Bird…

…and it was good.

I decided to take myself out to breakfast this morning and finally try the newest addition to Ellensburg’s breakfast scene. I prefer to write about restaurants after trying several dishes, ideally during more than one visit, but I was dining solo this morning and wasn’t going to order more than one meal or ask strangers for bites of their meals. So, it’s possible that literally everything else on the menu besides what I ate is complete garbage and I will have really let you down but I’ll stake my reputation on that not being true.

I ordered what I’m told is the most popular dish: the Scramble Bowl. It’s a bowl with diced potatoes, scrambled eggs, bacon, cheese, and I added the pork chili verde. The entire menu is enticing so I kept second guessing my choice as I waited for my food and drank my very nice cold brew coffee. Should I have gotten the breakfast grilled cheese? How did I not notice the breakfast burrito? I owe it to my readers to try the breakfast salad, right? These were trying times.

Then my food arrived and all was right in the world (haha, if only).

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MMMMMMM

It was hearty and meaty and flavorful but not at all heavy. I ate every last bite. I can’t wait to try more of their food as well as the seasonal and regular mimosa offerings.

The greatest criticism I’ve heard of The Early Bird is that they get crowded, food can take awhile to get out of their limited kitchen, and seating is scarce. There were a few large groups occupying the lovely outdoor seating this morning and I snagged one of the last remaining inside tables but still my food arrived in about 20 minutes, as did that of the table next to me who were warned that it may take up to 30 minutes. So while The Early Bird certainly has a few handicaps related to their space, my observation is that the friendly staff work well with what they have and aren’t over-extending themselves. You might wait a bit but I think you’ll find it worth your time.

I had a very nice first experience at The Early Bird and I’m sure it will not be my last. I really appreciate the youthful approach and willingness to serve non-traditional breakfast. If you can’t live without a traditional lumberjack breakfast–or do you call it farmer’s breakfast here?– of bacon and/or sausage, potatoes, eggs, and toast for $6.95 then The Early Bird might not be your joint. That’s ok. More for me.

 

Pop-Up Report!

I had the honor of being invited to last night’s first ever pop-up restaurant by The Red¬†Pickle and Mario Alfaro Lopez, featuring Chef Dan Roe and hosted by Ellensburg Crossfit. I’ll get to the point and say that it was a delightful evening and a fantastic meal. Each of the four courses was better than the last and we left with that sense of satisfaction one gets from a truly great meal. I can’t recall the last time I felt that from a meal out in Ellensburg.

Chef Dan Roe’s menu was seasonal,¬†wholesome, and full of interesting elements without anything seeming extraneous. It’s the kind of food that must be done with a great deal of thought and care, both of which were in abundance from everyone involved in last night’s dinner.

I betrayed one of my own pet peeves for you and took pictures of each coarse, so I’m going to let the photos speak for themselves.

First Course:

IMG_20180415_175249.jpgI am a lover of beets but my husband and others who aren’t even huge fans of the those crimson delights enjoyed this dish.

Second Course:

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It turns out that Maltaise sauce is just Hollandaise with orange zest and it worked beautifully with this tender asparagus and a heaping pile of crispy shallots. I mean, how could it not? Yum.

Third Course:

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Salmon with artichoke barigoule, roasted vegetables, fresh herbs, and pepper curls.

My husband and I both have this quirk from growing up in places where salmon is both ubiquitous and the freshest in the world: we never bother ordering it because we’ve eaten so much of it in our lives and it will be at best boring and probably disappointing in some way. This salmon was neither boring nor disappointing. It was unbelievably tender, nicely seasoned, and just lovely.

Dessert:

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Fried plantains with chocolate black beans and marshmallow sauce.

I loved this dessert. It might sound unusual but that black bean chocolate sauce with the starchy sweet plantains and the delicate marshmallow creme made for a unique and really delicious dish. I would eat dessert much more often if more desserts were like this.

There’s no date for the next Red Pickle Pop-Up but I’m told that many more tickets will be available and the details I’m privy to are very exciting. Keep an eye on my page for updates and The Red Pickle for tickets and more information as it’s released. I urge all of my readers to try to attend next time!

I owe sincere thanks to Mario Alfaro Lopez for including me in this event. If you have a food or drink establishment and want the Ellensburg Food Critic to try your stuff, please feel free to get in touch.