First Look: Skillet
Well, it’s my first look at Skillet anyway but not for many others. In fact Skillet is adding another stop to their traveling schedule next week and even opening a non-mobile location in May! But let’s not get ahead of ourselves….
Skillet is a foodie’s dream version of Meals on Wheels. An Airstream trailer has been retrofitted into a commercial kitchen. The folks who are running the show are trained chefs. Their idea is to "…provide seasonally relevant, locally sourced and impeccably executed bistro style food up and down the west coast……out of our airstream trailers". And they seem to be doing a very good job at meeting that goal. I think every Seattle (and some national) publications have given them a big thumbs up. So I’ve been anxious to see what all the fuss is about.
You may remember that a couple weeks ago I had plans to try them out. But my plans were thwarted when their support vehicle was stolen. Well, it turns out it wasn’t actually stolen it just wasn’t in the place where it had been left the night before. Illegal parking will get you towed in this town… So that’s a (mostly) happy ending to that story! But today was the day I finally had my chance.
I found them stationed in the alley behind the Old Pequilar in Ballard. I was there on the early side – about 11:30 – but already people were milling around waiting for their orders to be ready. Since I’d looked at this week’s menu online, I already knew what I was going to order, Fish Tacos. But not just any old fish tacos. These were made with local halibut which, if you aren’t aware, is at peak season at the moment. I placed my order with Josh, who was outside the trailer facilitating the order process. He asked if I was a blogger which was sort of apparent since I walked up with camera in hand. We chatted just a quick minute and then I wandered for a bit since nothing is cooked until an order is placed so they take just a few minutes to pull together.
Once my order was ready I meandered out to the sidewalk along Market Street to grab a seat on a bench. While walking I took a bite of the black beans accompanying my tacos – they were so good I almost forgot about the tacos! Well, not quite, but the beans were tender but not mushy, a little spicy and bursting with flavor. I am a big black bean fan and these exceeded my expectations.
Once I was at my bench it was time to try the main course. Each taco was assembled in a double layer of tortilla - the same way the little taco trucks do it if you’ve been to any of those. And it’s a good thing there was a double layer. The tacos were filled with smoky, flaky (but not dry), thick-cut halibut, a roasted tomato salsa, sprigs of cilantro, a cilantro flavored sauce and topped with beautiful red cabbage slaw. Each element on it’s own was delicious and the combination even better. The only change I would have made would have been a bit more of the cilantro sauce – that flavor of that sauce made me very happy.
A couple of things for you to know: the menu is limited to just five or so choices for each meal (Skillet is open for breakfast and lunch only). And, other than the burger which seems to remain fairly constant, the menu changes frequently so by the time you get there fish tacos may or may not be on the menu, for instance. But I’m betting they will have been replaced by something equally wonderful.
I really like the idea that they will be moving their location around – although I know that might bother some of you. But for me, I figure it’s a chance to visit different neighborhoods now and then. I’m sure I’ll be back soon – that burger was really calling my name but I told it to just hang on. When it’s halibut season there’s really no other choice for me!
Currently serving Ballard, South Lake Union and SODO once a week
Next week Capitol Hill is added
In May (or maybe June), a take-out window opens in the ID