Our First Visit to the TASTE Outdoor Cafe

TASTE at SAM just opened up an outdoor café. If you haven’t seen it already, it is located right at TASTE’s windows between University and Union along First Ave. Today, some members of the PR Department took a trip out to try the new venue.

The café is simple to spot with its chairs’ eye-awakening hue of orange contrasting against the gray of sidewalks and the pine green of driving buses. As we sat down, there was a growing concern about the Seattle chill factor as the chairs are shaded by an overhanging awning and the sun is blocked by the apartments across the street. But I am happy to report it was quite pleasant. Concerns were immediately alleviated after sitting and recognizing the weather was quite kind today and the sun illuminated everything from zooming taxis to lolling passer-bys.

After inspecting the menu we ordered the Grilled St. Jude Albacore, the Skagit River Ranch Organic Beef Burger & Frites, the ever-classic BLT, and a salad with attitude called the “Louie Louie.”  The menu has a satisfying range of options for most anyone and for the 21+ there are  cocktails, wine, and beer available as well.

While waiting for our meal we talked, caught up, and laughed. I kept observing the café’s aesthetics: marble-like flower boxes filled with yellow and orange buds, bright orange chairs (surprisingly comfortable for their metal materials), and pink and green plexiglass tables. In a recent interview with Kristin  White, the director of TASTE, she mentioned that “[the restaurant] wanted the outdoor café to have the same urban and modern structure of the museum… while providing a comfortable and inviting atmosphere for guests.” Using “European outdoor cafes” as inspiration, Kristin most definitely accomplished that goal.  Between the bright, summery colors of the fixtures and the glances and laughter of people walking by, the cafe provides an intimate space for you and your friends, co-workers, and/or family to have a lovely lunch during a busy day, yet it is not so private that you feel removed from the movement and momentum of the city and your day.

When the food arrived promptly, it was clear our stomachs and taste buds were going to be richly satisfied.

The Grilled St. Jude Albacore with black garbanzo beans, marinated spring fennel, grapefruit vinaigrette, and watercress.

The Grilled St. Jude Albacore with black garbanzo beans, marinated spring fennel, grapefruit vinaigrette, and watercress.

 

The Skagit River Ranch Organic Beef Burger & Frites with beecher's aged cheddar, dijon aioli, lettuce, and crispy fried shallots.

The Skagit River Ranch Organic Beef Burger & Frites with Beecher’s aged cheddar, dijon aioli, lettuce, and crispy fried shallots.

 

The BLT with skagit river ranch bacon, heirloom tomatoes, mayo, avocado, lettuces, cucumber & crème fraîche salad

The BLT with Skagit River Ranch bacon, heirloom tomatoes, mayo, avocado, lettuces, cucumber & crème fraîche salad.

 

The "Louie Louie" with butter lettuce, romaine and arugula, louis dressing, avocado, Oregon pink shrimp, and deviled egg.

The “Louie Louie” with butter lettuce, romaine and arugula, louis dressing, avocado, Oregon pink shrimp, and deviled egg.

The meals were delicious. I had the burger and as someone who is pretty picky about her burgers, I will say that it was really good. The first bite was redemption for the bad burgers I’ve had in the past. The lettuce was crispy; the tomatoes burst with flavor; the meat tasted fresh. You know how some places say their meat tastes better because it’s organic and fresh but it really doesn’t taste any different from the next diner down the street? Yeah, Not the case with TASTE. You can notice the difference in your first bite… and your next. I highly recommend the burger and frites experience. My fellow lunch-eaters thought positively of their menu selections, saying words such as “refreshing,” “healthy,” and “so good” between bites and fork-loading. The outdoor ambiance was pleasant and warm; the conversation intimate and fun; and our plates were empty when we left, and our bellies were full with TASTE-based deliciousness.

 

This too could be your empty plate, post-great lunch...

This too could be your empty plate and satisfied hunger…

The TASTE café will open at 11 am every day (weather permitting) except Monday and will close at dusk. There are currently no established closure dates but keeping weather in mind, I recommend going to the café sometime soon. It is a lovely experience for mind and mouth.

Top photo: Our First Visit to the TASTE Outdoor Cafe

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