Like many law firms in town, Schwabe is filled with more than its fair share of bookworms. Inspired by the intersection of literature and food, the Schwabe team embarked on a month of dining at restaurants with literary themes.
"And you will always love me won’t you…And the rain won’t make a difference?"
The first stop on our literary tour was Ernest Loves Agnes (600 19th Ave., Seattle; 535-8723; ernestlovesagnes.com), the new italian venture filling the vacant space formerly occupied by the kingfish cafe. as many followers of the lost generation will recall, ernest hemingway fell in love with his elder nurse, agnes von kurowsky, while recovering in an italian hospital during wwi. although agnes ultimately broke his heart, their love affair inspired the story of frederic and catherine in a farewell to arms.
Ernest Loves Agnes (brought to us by the people of Big Mario’s, Lost Lake and Comet Tavern) offers a range of artisan pizzas, classic Italian plates and a full bar. Some would argue that the pizza is the greatest addition to the otherwise void marketplace in the 19th and Mercer neighborhood. One can walk in for a quick slice or sit down for a personal wood-fire pie. We opted for the latter and ordered the “Meat Pie,” topped with spicy coppa, hot Italian sausage and a spicy honey. The crackery crust was baked to perfection and the honey provided a sweet aftertaste to the tender meat.
In addition to the pizza, we tried the mussels with Italian sausage -a nice pairing away from the typical mussels and chorizo dishes in town. Served with warm toast to soak up the broth, this plate is a meal in and of itself. Our final dish was the hearty meatballs with marinara and Pecorino Romano. This dish has the most potential, as the basic sauce and cheese were delightful, but the meatballs were not quite cooked consistently throughout. Like many new restaurants, Ernest Loves Agnes has shown promise; however, it still has some kinks to overcome.
Our favorite attribute of Ernest Loves Agnes is the ambiance. The dark wood bar, soft leather seats and private dining tables provide for an intimate spot for local hipsters and more- seasoned neighborhood residents to spend a rainy evening. Unlike my reading of A Farewell to Arms, we were not crying at the end of my meal at Ernest Loves Agnes, but still wanted more. We will definitely be back.
"My big fish must be somewhere."
Other creations of Hemingway are Santiago, a wise old fisherman, and Manolin, his young apprentice, both characters in The Old Man and the Sea. It is a story about a new generation being inspired by a mentor. Manolin (3621 Stone Way N., Seattle; 294-3331; manolinseattle.com), follows suit, as it is owned by four former chefs of renee erickson restaurants (e.g., the walrus and the carpenter, the whale wins). a literary nod to the master?
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