Wednesday, May 22, 2013

la Baleine -- the Whale -- arrives on the Homer Spit

             la Baleiene (French for "the whale") on the Homer Spit, its windows reflecting the mountains across Kachemak Bay.

    The freshest food in Homer is easy to find. Just go almost all the way to the end of the Homer Spit, and there on the left is la Baleiene, painted the ocean's blue. Inside, le Cordon Bleu-trained Mandy Dixon greets her guests warmly.

                                        Mandy Dixon surveys the Dixon family's new restaurant, la Baleiene.

     The cafe opened on May 10, little more than a week before we arrived on May 19. The deep familiarity with  restaurants showed -- even though it had been in business only a few days, everything was in order. The staff handled each new customer with ease and consideration, whether they were asking for soup and sandwiches to be served at one of the wooden tables, or choosing pastries and box lunches to go. And the prices

     Mandy's seafood ramen dish, with crab beignet and shrimp toast tied for second in an invitational seafood cooking competition on May 8. While the salmon ramen dish is on the menu, we tried the cafe's chowder, which shows her skill at marrying wild seafood  flavors with a rich cream base and the perfect seasonings.

             The breakfast sandwich, veggie version (you can get it with bacon too ) on grilled ciabbata with fresh greens, cheese, and caramelized onions, leeks and mushrooms. 

     I ordered the breakfast sandwich, with its variety of options -- bacon, egg, more cheese, and always with  bright greens, rich onions, leeks and mushrooms, and a few bites of fruit to set off the other tastes.

      We decided on chocolate chip cookies to go for our dessert, but could have had many other choices.

                                    Hard to beat these chocolate chip cookies that exemplify Mandy's years of training as a pastry chef -- buttery, chocolate filled, rich -- all the things that they should be.

       Catering to locals with a 5:00 a.m. opening, and to visitors with lunch served until 4:00 p.m., la Baleiene is open Tuesday through Sunday at 4460 Homer Spit Road across from the SeaFarers Memorial.

        The to-go items were disappearing fast; the staff replenishes them throughout the day.

       A Homer Tribune article gives more information about the local foods and "Homer Style" cooking that guests will enjoy at the cafe.

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