lowellsfry.jpg
Most of Seattle's transplants have left culinary tracks, whether in the form of Vietnamese pho joints or the Nordic berry fondness that pervades local menus.

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100 Favorite Dishes: Hangtown Scramble at Lowell's

lowellsfry.jpg
Most of Seattle's transplants have left culinary tracks, whether in the form of Vietnamese pho joints or the Nordic berry fondness that pervades local menus. But the edible legacy of the gold rushers who built Seattle is nearly nil, mostly because there aren't too many aesthetically-defensible reasons for eating potted meat and hard tack.

The best plated reminder of the city's fortune-seeking past is the Hangtown Scramble served at Lowell's, the three-story restaurant that since 1957 has been luring Pike Place Market visitors with its waterfront views. More commonly called a Hangtown Fry, the jumble of eggs, oysters, bacon and cheese is associated with California, where - according to legend - a lucky prospector celebrated his strike by asking a cook to prepare the fanciest dish imaginable.

Although northern Californians are possessive of the Hangtown Fry, it makes just as much sense in Seattle, where the oysters are fleshy and sweet. For its version of the classic, Lowell's folds a half-dozen lightly fried oysters, diced scallions, bacon and shredded Parmesan cheese into a rough-hewn, pale yellow omelet.

The eggs are fresh and the bacon's salty, but the bivalves make the dish: Finding an oyster on the end of a fork isn't quite the same thrill as finding gold nuggets in a pan, but it's as near to the sensation as most eaters are likely to experience before finishing their morning coffees.

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