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Seattle Post-Intelligencer   |   West Seattle Herald

Blue Willow will cater to your lunch needs with great ingredients and prices

Seattle Post-Intelligencer, January 24, 2008
By Kristin Dizon
View Article on Seattle P-I website

Tucked onto a side street off California Avenue in the West Seattle Junction is an inconspicuous, homey cafe that does lunch Tuesday through Friday only. For patrons in the know, Blue Willow has some great midday options at sweet prices, served in a cozy space by friendly folks.

The rest of the time, Blue Willow is a caterer. Owner Patty Carow has been in the industry for 20 years, much of it in front-of-the-house management for well-known chefs. Now she's the one behind the stove and, because she cooks with some of her catering overstock, she's often able to offer great ingredients and organic produce in the cafe.

First, peruse the chalkboard menu and daily specials, and order at the counter before choosing a table or a counter seat in the dining room. The main server, Misha, is familiar and sassy, but in a good way, and you won't mind being called "sweetheart" by her.

The salad or sandwich of the day is $5.50; a bowl of the soup of the day is $3.50

I had a large and surprisingly tasty salad, with chunks of moist turkey, cubes of crisp Granny Smith apples, fabulous candied walnuts and Gorgonzola, all melded together with a balanced dressing.

The cup of corn chowder I ordered with it was lackluster -- not enough corn flavor, or bacon smokiness, or any other flavor profile. Another soup I tried, tortilla soup, had no evidence of said tortillas, unless they were pulverized to microscopic. But, the soup, really a black bean soup with tomatoes and cumin, was good.

Quiches are a specialty here and there usually are one or two daily choices. I tried a mushroom, leek and Swiss version, which had a nice blend of flavors. It came accompanied by a small side of fruit. If you're really hungry, this light and somewhat salty dish may not fill you up.

There are some scrumptious cookies and cakes in the pastry case, all made with organic flour and sugar. The chocolate stout mini-bundt cake was gorgeously formed and glazed with a thick lava of chocolate, but while I could taste the beer, it wasn't a deep enough chocolate for me.

Particularly eye-catching is an unbelievably tall apple pie with a golden crust. Oh well, there's always next time.

Post-Intelligencer food critics arrive unannounced and pay for all meals and services.


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