Friday, June 15, 2012

Cheese Meat(s) Beer: The Delicious Trinity


However, 250 Flora has opened in the same location. It is excellent. We hope to have a review up soon.

Post-work at the Black Drop and Modsock. Pre-movie (First Position) at the Limelight. Ashley and I were looking for a good place to get a couple of glasses of good wine or champagne and a great burger. Working in the area, we didn't want to hit up any of the usual suspects. The we remembered Cheese Meat(s) Beer, the new cafe/restaurant located inside the Whatcom Museum's Lightcatcher Building at the corner of Flora and Grand . We'd been there about a month ago and had a great burger.

Ian, Travis and Annalou greeted us warmly as we entered. The interior space was full but not crowded and we decided to sit at one of the comfortable wooden bars next to the windows. More people came after we were seated and sat outside in the tranquil plaza beneath the luminous Lightcatcher wall, just beyond a set of Zen-like boulders set into the corner near the cafe. Just after 7 pm, the sun lowering, the place was full of an almost ethereal light. 

We ordered a couple of glasses of Spanish Cava to start off with. The white sparking wine was served at a perfect chilled temperature, refreshing and at the same time still offering a palate full of subtle flavor. Apricot with pear, slight citrus finish. Dancing on the tongue with freshness. 

Noted this nice statement on the menu: "Everything on the menu is made from scratch by us, unless noted. All our ingredients are from local farmers byway of Acme Farms, Northwest Earth and Ocean and Farmer Ben."

We decided to start off with the Big White Bean Salad: "house smoked local caught marble salmon, corona beans, mama lil's pickled Hungarian goat peppers and capers served with local greens and lemon vinny." 

The salad was beautifully presented in a shallow bowl, mixed and dressed elegantly. We always enjoy it when every bite seems to offer up a slightly new combination of flavors. First the delicately smoked salmon, then the crisp presence of the local greens. Next the sweet lightly roasted goat peppers with sweet onion and the rich capers, then the rich and textured white corona beans. Well balanced, light, full of rich and bursting flavors, complimenting with a few sips of Cava in between. Suddenly, the movie no longer mattered. It was all just too good sitting there in ease-full declining light of the day eating such beautifully prepared food, drinking excellent wine, no reason to go anywhere else in the world at that moment in time.

Next up was the Alsatian Style Pizza: "with roasted garlic creme fraiche, Italian sausage, shiitake mushrooms and shaved cheddar." Delivered to the table by the chef, Travis, on a sturdy cutting board with a dressed arrangement of greens beside it. The crust was light and redolent of homemade bread, not too thick and cooked to a golden brown. Just looking at it was delicious. The garlic creme fraiche and shaved cheddar were in sweet balance with each other. The Italian sausage was rich and tender. The shiitake mushrooms were good. I thought they were slightly overpowered by the richness of the other ingredients. However, Ashley thought it was "near perfection." Adding cool dressed greens to each bite made for another beautiful course.

The last item of our "quick bite before the movie" was the No Condiment Burger: "Long Valley Ranch beef, Ralf's pretzel bun and house pickles served with local greens dressed with apple vinny." We added Beecher's Flagship cheddar.

What arrived at our table was a thing of beauty for lovers of the simple burger sandwich: the fresh pretzel bun cut in half with a thick patty of juicy perfectly cooked meat and a healthy slab of slightly melted cheddar cheese. To the side, house sweet pickles and fresh greens with a light apple vinny dressing. We turned the sandwich over and layered the delicious pickles over the meat and the greens over the bun. First taste was like burger heaven, juices dancing around and getting all involved and happy with each other, soaking into the bun and dripping onto the greens on the plate. Every bite getting better and better. Until it was just an empty plate and laughter and damn that was a great burger!

By the time we left (10 happy minutes late for the movie), the place was comfortably full. Obviously, word of mouth had spread that Cheese Meat(s) Beer is one of the best new places in town to go for an excellent lunch or dinner. Ashley and I will definitely be going back. I mean, we had some cheese and we had beautiful meat and excellent Cava, but didn't even try any of the fine selection of beer. Something we will do very soon. Thanks, Travis, Annalou and Ian. Great job!

Cheese Meat(s) Beer
250 Flora St
Bellingham, WA 98225
Wednesday - Friday • noon-8pm
Saturday and Sunday • All day Brunch • 10am-5pm

All photos by Ashley Berger and Scot Casey

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