For some reason, Paseo, a Caribbean restaurant in Seattle, has come across my radar lately. The weird thing is, I used to live about a half mile from it (for 4 years!) and never once thought about eating there. Over the past few months, though, I kept hearing about it. It got mentioned on a couple food blogs that I follow, and several friends mentioned how delicious it is.
So, I added it to my Food Challenge 2012 Adventures list. Since we live about a half an hour away, we didn't make it there until just recently, when we had another exciting food adventure across the street. (I met Joy the Baker, Eeeeeee!!)
I know next to nothing about caribbean food, so I can't attest to Paseo's authenticity, but I can attest to the deliciousness of the grilled chicken breast sandwich!
The bread. Oh, wow. I don't know how to describe it. It was a large baguette, with the most amazing crust. Can anyone tell me how they made the bread? It was as if just the thinnest layer of the outer crust was deep-fried, but without being oily. The texture was crispy and crunchy but immediately giving way to a chewy yeasty fluffy middle. The baguette demanded something exciting to fill its insides- butter wouldn't do. The marinated chicken breast and accompaniments were perfect.
The marinade was sweet and smoky- I would have loved to dip the entire sandwich in a vat of the marinade with each bite. The sandwich was decorated with crisp romaine, pickled jalapenos and a generous smattering of cilantro. The cilantro was what did it- it perked up each bite! There was some sort of aioli smeared on the bread (oh, the bread!) which didn't lend anything to the flavor but definitely helped with the mouthfeel- the creamy-coolness was great and melded with the spice of the jalapenos well.
For $8.50, the size of the sandwich was just right. The restaurant is tiny- I think there was seating for about 12 people inside so Nathan, Luke and I walked outside into the rain. The ambience wasn't anything special, so I didn't feel we were missing out, but it would have been nice to sit and ponder my meal. In summers, there is a small patio with more seating, so it would be more comfortable then.
The only things keeping me from eating at Paseo more often are the distance and the sourcing of the meat. I'm pretty sure the meat isn't organic- most places in Seattle usually brag about which local farm their chicken or pork came from- and we try to avoid conventionally farmed animals whenever possible.
If I could find out where their bread came from- or convince Nathan to perfect the baguette- we could totally replicate this at home. Now, to find a caribbean marinade recipe...