This is the second installment of our interview with Renee Erickson, chef/owner of Boat Street Café and part owner of the lunch and catering spot Boat Street Kitchen. Her menus highlight seasonal foods with dishes like sprig onion flan, steamed mussels, and a rich cauliflower soup. For a bit of background on Erickson, read part one of our talk, here.
SW: What was your favorite food when you were a kid? Erickson
Erickson: Crab. It was until I ate too much and then I hated it. Dungeness crab. We ate it all the time. Only summer, when we were at the beach. It was favorite for a while, and then it wasn't. We'd have crab for breakfast, crab sandwiches, crab salad, crab quiche, crab whatever. And then it was 'Okay, no more.'
You're making a pizza. What's on it?
No tomato sauce. Clams and olive oil and chili flake and tons of parsley. The clams are in the shell and they open up and the juice runs all over the pizza. My other all-time favorite pizza is zucchini that's shaved really long and pecorino and anchovies. That's a holdover from living in Rome.
Where do you eat if you have just $5? And where do you go if you have $100?
Five dollars; I would probably eat at my house. Or at a taco truck, but that's probably the usual answer. El Camion I think is really good. At home, pasta or something plain like that. I have tons of kale left over in my yard right now so I'd probably eat kale and anchovies and Parmesan with spaghetti. Or carbonara, one of my favorite things in the world: egg, bacon, or giancale, pepper, pasta, pasta water, Parmesan. Peas if I have them. If I have mint, I'll put mint in it.
Currently, I'm wanting to go to Café Juanita, so that's probably where I'd go with the hundred dollars. I am not sure how soon I'll get to go, but it's at the top of the list.
What's your after-work hangout?
My bed. (Laughter.) But that's not very exciting. It depends on who's choosing. I stop at Sambar on occasion, on the way home. I live in Ballard, so anything that direction. Park Pub, for a beer. The younger employees like to take me to Shorty's. Not my choice, but I go.
What would you like to see more of in Seattle from a culinary standpoint? Less of?
Less big restaurants, more small restaurants. Something that I'd rather be in is a place that's created by one person, instead of a team of restaurant people that buy the same crap for ten restaurants.
What's new about Boat Street you want people to know about?
Russ, who has been working here for seven years, is leaving, unfortunately. He is opening a butcher shop up on Capitol Hill called Rain Shadow Meats. That's exciting, because he has been here forever and I am happy that he is getting to fulfill his dream of wanting to do this.
We're almost at five years so things aren't evolving that much. It's spring, so we're excited about getting the patio open again. We're kind of underground and hidden, but it is such a great place to be when it's sunny.
Check back tomorrow for Erickson's straightforward recipe for her can't-get-enough-of-them sautéed turnips.