lulu's

Our last night in Eastsound and there were still so many places to check out!  And yet, in spite of my ambitions, Island Time seems to be dictated solely by the whim of it’s proprietors.  And so for whatever arcane Island reason beyond my comprehension, very little was actually open on Monday night.  In fact the only game in town was LuLu’s Pasta Rustica (which doesn’t appear to have a webpage, so instead here’s a link to the Orcas Island Chamber of Commerce Dining pageyou’re welcome).  I called for a reservation and was told that they only accepted reservations for parties of six or more.  Okay then, I figured we should head down early.  I only mention this because, besides one other couple, we were the only people in the restaurant for the entire evening.  Way to entice a crowd, LuLu’s.

Upon our arrival, my partner and I were shocked to discover that this quaint, romantic little place was actually the restaurant from our memory!  We distinctly remembered the central dining room, with old black and white photographs cluttering the walls from floor to ceiling.  But we were positive that we had dined at the Sunflower Café… I inquired with the hostess, who somewhat peevishly admitted that yes, this was the former location of the Sunflower Café.  So we weren’t insane!  Mystery solved, although there does appear to be quite a bit of epicurean intrigue on this little island.

The meal itself was perfectly serviceable Italian.  Spaghetti Bolognese, meatballs, chicken parmesan, bread with the inevitable olive oil and balsamic vinegar dipping sauce.  Lots of garlic.  Huge portions.  Nothing terribly inspired, except for the special.  Veal cutlet stuffed with sausage.  I hesitated for a moment, and then took the plunge.  This would be my first taste of baby cow.  Eek.

This is probably the best time to mention that up until last year around this time, I had been a pescetarian for well over a decade.  And even prior to that, I wasn’t terribly fond of eating much meat.  So I eventually gave it up, not for any radical political reasons or for my health or for anything that I could ever honestly pinpoint.  I just woke up one morning and stopped eating chicken.  Then last year, I took a trip to Italy, and knew in my heart that I wanted to truly experience the culture, and particularly the cuisine.  To my mind, it seemed absurd to explain or impose my bizarre food restrictions in a language I couldn’t even speak.  Particularly at certain farm dinners that were being served family-style for multiple people.  So I started nibbling on cured meats, maybe a bite of poultry, a piece of cow here and there.

What put me over the edge and probably started this whole culinary adventure was the prosciutto I ate every morning at a villa in Paterno.  It was unlike anything I’d ever tasted, and I craved it.  The realization slowly began to dawn on me… What else have I been missing?  And so it began.  For the record, I’m currently crazy about pig, coming around on cow, and still haven’t formed an opinion on many of the other meats (lamb and duck in particular never seem to be prepared the same way twice).  Chicken bores me.

So, veal.  It was actually quite good, nothing outrageous.  Lighter in color than beef, and with a consistency that was actually more like a pork chop than a steak.  It was also completely overshadowed by the spicy sausage, which was spectacular – coarsely ground, with tons of fennel and garlic and pepper.  I ate it right up.

LuLu’s was probably the most pedestrian place we ate at during our stay in Eastsound.  And as I mentioned, there were a few other places I had hoped to make it to, but just didn’t seem to be in the cards for this trip.  Guess I’ll just have to go back.  Which shouldn’t be too hard, since Orcas Island has cemented itself as my very favorite island around these parts.

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