The scene is the back bar at Bastille, where food groupies writers have gathered for a meet-and-greet with reknowned chef Thomas Keller. Actually, it turns out to be less of a meet-and-greet and more of a simple “eat” with Thomas Keller – if being in the same room is eating with the man. Let’s call it an event to eat Thomas Keller. He talks for a few minutes between glances at his iPhone, then signs copies of his new Ad Hoc at Home cookbook while everyone samples three appetizers the Bastille crew (headed by Shannon Galusha, who apprenticed under Keller at the French Laundry Cafe) has cooked from the book: braised oxtail and mushroom tartine is by far the best bite, while the Maine lobster roll seems a bit out of place, and the crab cake seems a bit too Seattle.
The Kim Ricketts crowd will explore more of a menu at almost $200 per person, but I’m interested in what Keller eats in Seattle. Turns out he’s into hamburgers (a fan of In-and-Out, and apparently unaffected by the company’s religious evangelism) and rates Red Mill over Dick’s. And as a scholar of sandwiches, he had to give Paseo a try. He sampled pork and prawn varieties, and liked them both, but found them to be messy. Given time, I think he’d be at home with messy.