Sunday, December 22, 2013

Lunch at WildFin

What were we thinking, driving to a major shopping center on a busy Saturday, the weekend before Christmas?! This was not about holiday shopping, not your typical seasonal shopping run. Nope, RL we had an emergency. We absolutely, positively, needed printer ink. That need sent us to The Landing, a medium-sized shopping center in Renton, hoping with fingers crossed that it would be less crowded than some of the other malls in the area. Hah! the parking lots were jammed, the stores crowded, and the people looked "focused".

Mission accomplished with minimal fuss and reasonable lines, but it was lunch time and we had earned a reward. We took the opportunity to enjoy lunch at Wild Fin American Grill, a new-to-us eatery at The Landing. Good choice! The decor was oddly interesting, with large graphics of cows, assorted poultry and a moose (I think) adorning the walls. WildFin, what's up with the barnyard motif? Moving on... I sipped a warming Hot Toddy while studying the menu, a perfect beverage to counter the chill of a damp Winter Solstice afternoon. It was odd to have a teabag, spoon and dish of honey plunked down alongside the mug of lemony hot water and booze. No problem, I was up to a DIY challenge and actually enjoyed having the honey available to adjust the sweetness level.

 Check out the cover of the 3-fold paper menu for the week, a listing of local sporting and cultural events. That was a friendly welcome-to-the-neighborhood touch.

The lunch menu was challenging with too many tempting choices. I couldn't decide between a dozen or so items, and that was my short list of choices. Skim WildFin's online menu and you'll see the problem. RL ordered the New Orleans Fettuccine, a large plate of pasta with ample chunks of Andouille, shrimp and chicken scattered throughout. The jambalaya sauce was sensational, spicy but not overwhelmingly so, and the seafood cooked perfectly. The portion was large enough to serve two, so RL enjoyed it reheated for Sunday lunch. 

Photo: WildFin's New Orleans Fettuccine 

Indecision was my issue, not uncommon when I face a large and  appealing menu. I took the easy option and went with a choose-your-favorite lunch combination. A cup of Smoky Chicken Tortilla Soup and half a Smoked Chicken Club Sandwich were good choices but more than filling. The soup stole the show, one of the best versions I have ever tasted. Yes, better than my own recipe so I need to up my game! The broth was smoky, tangy with lime, spicy but not hot, and packed full of veggies and large pieces of tender chicken. I wish I knew the spice combination that provided the back notes. The club sandwich was quite good, but totally overshadowed by that delicious soup.

While I'm not usually a fan of desserts at lunch, the Salted Caramel Bacon Popcorn Crunch Sundae did sound intriguing. How many sweet, salty, crunchy, boozy and smooth ingredients can you pile on?! The menu states the adult version comes with Grand Marnier, Godiva Chocolate liqueur and brandy. Now that's some combination!

I'm already plotting our return visit, reviewing the lunch menu again and again to select my next entree. Tuna Tacos with mango mint salsa? Shrimp and Cheese Grits? Cougar Gold Chili Prawn Mac & Cheese? The Appetizer Tower with stacked crab, prawns & artichoke dip, calamari and clams? Sausage & Mushroom Flatbread? Sigh, and I haven't even skimmed the dinner menu yet!

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