Molly Ward, you saucy wench…

So, my brother is getting married next summer.  That’s cool, because I really like Alida, his fiancée – we make biscotti and Sculpi earrings together, and she’s in charge of the future design of this site.  And I don’t mind too much when Leo, my brother, calls us by the other’s name, because Alida does things like pick Molly Ward Gardens for a wedding venue.

Molly Ward Restaurant

Molly Ward Gardens Restaurant - The Yarn Barn

I first had a good feeling about this place (as an attendee and bridesmaid) when Alida texted me out of the blue with a picture of her lunch and a minute description of said lunch – and even though I had just feasted, I wished I was there to sneak bites off of her plate.  Eventually, when the parents were going to examine the place and maybe put down a deposit, I was a lucky, lucky girl, and got to go along.

It was a fun day.  I rode the ferry with Leo and Alida and accidentally flashed everyone on the top deck (thank you wind), made Alida a lavender lemon drop in exchange for ferry fees, and ended up stopping in a great little coffee shop called Poulsbohemian Coffeehouse. They had really great Mexican Mochas as well as a gigantic scarf that maybe someday will be the longest scarf in the world (that needs to be 22ish miles, by the way).

All of this was a very nice prelude to the main event: a crab omelet-induced foodgasm in front of my mother and my brother’s future in-laws.  Oh yes.

Crab Omelet

Delightful tastiness draped in mood lighting

As you can see, taking the picture came second to my scarfing down the first few bites and exclaiming over them while Alida looked on and nodded – her job was done.  Another had witnessed the wonder of Molly Ward.  This was a crab omelet done perfectly: the eggs were fluffy, the crab fell apart in my mouth with a salty freshness that was a brilliant counterpoint to the silkiness of the eggs, and it was all covered with a subtle lemon aioli that cemented the dish into one unified flavor combination.

After staring at my plate in awe, I tried the red eye gravy gracing Leo’s slab of ham steak and continued my raptures, in a different key.  I have never had red eye gravy before; I know it’s a staple of southern cooking, but I’m from Washington state, pretty much as far from the south as you can get, heavy on seafood and Asian food.  I don’t know if Molly Ward’s red eye is traditional, and truthfully, I don’t care.  It was amazing.

Overwhelmed by this sauce goldmine, bold little me marched on up to the open kitchen and asked the chef if he’d share.  And that generous man did (we were the only ones left in the restaurant, so that helped), and now I pay it forward.

Molly Ward Lemon Aioli

Take two very dry egg yolks: strain them through your fingers so no whites AT ALL remain.  Toss them in a blender with a pinch of white pepper.  Take two lemons, zest them and juice them and add both to the blender.  Blend.  If you’d like, add a small dab of dijon, but it’s really not necessary for the simplicity of this sauce.  Very, very, very slowly stream canola oil (NOT olive oil – I think that’s where the clean flavor came from) while the blender runs until it reaches the desired consistency – thick enough to drape seductively over your food, but still liquid.

Molly Ward Red Eye Gravy

(not exact, cook with your heart; I had taken up way too much of his time by this point.  See my suggestions with ?s – I’m guessing)

First, reduce 1 cup of coffee down to about a 1/2 cup and set aside.

Sautee some ham fat (now you know why it was good, I’d go with about 2 or 3 tablespoons?) with minced shallots (3 or 4?) and celery (equal to the shallots?) until just translucent.  Pour in the reduced coffee and at about 2 tablespoons of molasses. Add a half a cup of chili sauce (literally, chili sauce.  It was the American generic brand that just said chili sauce on the front – NOT Sriracha!), and about a 1/2 cup of Jack Daniels.  Whatever extra drippings you have from cooking up the ham to go with this, add in a good lashing for extra favor.  If you like things spicy, go ahead and add some cayenne pepper to taste.

I’d put this on ribs, any pork product, or maybe just in a bowl with a spoon.  I’ll let your own consciences be your guide.


I like their style. Yes, this is a metal ostrich.


2 Responses to “Molly Ward, you saucy wench…”

  1. 1 Alida November 12, 2009 at 6:41 am

    I don’t think your picture quite adequately portrays just how much crab was in that omelet, I’m pretty sure the cross section was a good 3″ x 4″. It was sooooo good (I got one too).

    Of course I would spend longer looking for good food for the wedding than just about everything else put together.

    I will convert two more people on Friday…mwahahaha!

    • 2 desasdishes November 14, 2009 at 2:00 am

      The cross section picture was spoiled by the mood lighting, and I can’t wait to hear how the new converts fall…

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Hey, I'm Desa. I've been bouncing between the Pacific Northwest and Sevilla, Spain in the last few years and from tiny apartment to tiny apartment. I cook mainly for one, which means some potentially boring meals, but here I'll be sharing the food that excites me. Feel free to offer suggestions, commiseration, or desires. And thanks for coming by!


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