Volunteer Park Cafe has long been one of our favorite haunts, but when we read about The Wandering Goose earlier this fall, we knew it was time to shake up our routine. Situated in North Capitol Hill in a narrow but cozy shared space with Rione XIII (Ethan Stowell’s new restaurant), The Wandering Goose was opened by Heather Earnhardt, former co-owner and head baker at Volunteer Park Cafe. Earnhardt was raised in the South and is no stranger to hushpuppies, grits, and the like. Sarah has family in Charleston and went to school in the South, so she too knows a good biscuit when she sees one and thankfully has passed some of this knowledge onto me. Fortunately for us, The Wandering Goose has an entire section of their menu dedicated to biscuit sandwiches. Unfortunately for us, it took us a very long time to make a decision as everything sounded so delicious.
I will confess that I couldn’t wait until Thanksgiving to try the new spot (plus, I wanted to make sure it was up to our standards beforehand). On my first visit, I ordered the Aunt Annie’s which is a biscuit sandwich with a piece of fried chicken, bread and butter pickles, house-made mustard, and Heather’s honey. It was pretty great, my only complaint being that I could’ve used some extra honey, or mustard, or butter to slather on the excess biscuit after the chicken was gone. Otherwise, they definitely nailed my ultimate combination of something fried, something acidic, something salty, and something sweet.
So back to lunch with Sarah. Upon ordering, we returned to our cozy table and sipped our drinks (cappuccino for her, root beer in a bottle for me) while waiting for our lunches. It’s always such a luxury to have an open afternoon with a good friend, one with whom you can effortlessly pick up where you left off. Looking around the restaurant, I got the sense that we weren’t alone in this school of thought, which was a nice feeling.
Our food arrived piping hot and we got right to sampling our Southern delights. Sarah fittingly ordered The Sweet Blonde (as she is a very sweet blonde) which involved a sweet potato biscuit sandwich with country ham, a fried egg over-easy, and Steen’s butter. The yolk was perfectly runny, the ham crispy, and the biscuit fluffy.
Although cheese wasn’t involved in her sandwich, we covered our bases by also ordering the Pimento Mac and Cheese and the Grilled Pimento Sandwich. The mac and cheese arrived in a darling mini cast iron dish and was rich and creamy and smoky and delicious. The sandwich was not for the faint of cheese as the thick pimento mixture oozed out from the slices of lightly toasted brioche. For those not familiar with pimento cheese, it’s a Southern specialty involving cheese (typically cheddar), mayonnaise, pimento peppers, and salt and pepper. They don’t mess around with comfort food in the South and for that, I am very grateful.
I must say though that I might have enjoyed the pickle and side of potato salad served with my sandwich as much as the sandwich itself. I’m a bit of a self-confessed potato salad snob and there’s nothing less appetizing to me than the scary white mixtures sitting in grocery store deli cases. I like mine with mustard and vinaigrette and herbs and this one definitely fit the bill. The tiny Yukon gold potatoes were tender but not too mushy, and it was very well seasoned with bits of onions mixed in as well. The pickle was spicy and crunchy and was a great sidekick to all of the creamy pimento goodness.
Our meals magically disappeared from our plates and I knew it would be at least a solid six hours before I was hungry again (and that’s a long time for me). It was such a treat to have an indulgent taste of the South in our town that was so previously lacking in this arena. And while it’s always bittersweet when it’s time to say goodbye to friends living across the country, it’s comforting knowing that there’s now a place I can go for a biscuit sandwich to ease my pain.
The Wandering Goose, 403 15th Ave. East, Seattle, WA, 206.323.9938, http://www.thewanderinggoose.com, Open 7am-4pm Daily, Friday Dinners at 7pm