Food options in downtown Seattle crush the gastronomic wasteland of far Eastgate in Bellevue. I only eat out one day a week, but when I do, I like to make it count.
For example, in the morning, my selection of coffee includes Seattle Coffee Works (best mocha), Moore Theater (Mexican mocha), Bedlam (mocha with lavender or cinnamon), Le Panier (mocha with pumpkin friands), Cafe D’Arte (mocha … you get the idea) … and at least four Starbucks and a Tully’s. (Or, for a really long walk, Espresso Vivace.)
To avoid the worst part of commuting, I leave early. Not a lot is open that early, but if I’m not-so-ridiculously-early, I can indulge in a slow, sit-down breakfast at The Crumpet Shop. Not only do they serve mochas and crumpets, they have groats:
A quick alternative is a poppy bagel, tomato, basil and egg sandwich. With mocha, of course.
Lunch options are much better, but require some degree of walking up several flights of stairs, breaching the gauntlet of panhandlers/petitioners and dodging throngs of tourists/buskers queued up (for a non-mocha) at the (not really the first) Starbucks in Pike Place. For that effort are delicious rewards, such as the portobello panini at Michou. $6.50 for a whole one:
Or $3.25 for a half an option on one of many fine sides like carrots and feta, quinoa, beets or roasted Brussel sprouts (i.e. Stuff The Kids Won’t Eat).
When a longer walk is necessary, I head over to the various food trucks that dot downtown. (Don’t tell, but Seattle really wants to be like its cooler sibling.) Among the treasures:
- Marination does tacos. Tofu: excellent. Beef: excellent. Pork: outworldly, with a wonderful, slow burn after being eaten:
- Now Make Me a Sandwich – Its name just doesn’t roll off the tongue very well, but the logo is a hungry viking.
- Now Make Me A Logo: 5 stars!
Because I’ve been trying to go easy on the go easy on meat, I was drawn to the Buddha Call (sauteed spinach, roasted sweet potatoes, mushrooms, red peppers and manchego cheese with garlic tahini sauce). It’s quite fantastic and does not need the home fries pictured below.
- Monte Cristo – Their #1 (“Classic grilled cheese”) accompanied by the spiced blueberry au jus is fantastic but… frack, they’re going to Portland. Maybe The Grilled Cheese Experience can fill the void? Grafton cheddar, New Moon jack, and gruyere versus three cheddars. “More research is needed.”
- Hallava Falafel serves up a good falafel sandwich with the spicy Russian red relish. (I have since found at least two other falafel places along the way in case I need my humms fix.) If I’ve biked that morning, I’ll indulge in fries and tzatziki sauce, but hold the mega-garlic because:
- Contigo shows up at the PI building. Their $2.50 tacos are tiny, but lets one try everything without pigging out. As seems to be my theme, I like the mushroom ones the best.
- Maximus/Minimus has a good pulled-pork sandwich washed down with ginger lemonade. Unlike most of the other trucks, they make it out to the east side once in a blue moon. Theirs is the most distinctive food truck.
- Box Nature Sushi – wait, sushi in a food truck? Yeah. The roasted veggie and shrimp California rolls were good. The (former) co-worker who went with me suggested we eat in Seattle Coffee Works – which was surprisingly okay with that (as I did buy a big mocha). Mochas and sushi don’t mix well with edamame.
- Buns should be awesome, but I’ve been mildly disappointed both times I’ve been there. One novel thing they do that I’d like to see others follow is online orders. These hugely cut down the time waiting in line and being panhandled.
- Skillet is the most expensive of the food trucks, but has a fantastic poutine. I would not recommend having this with the burger as it’s too much food for one.
A benefit of all of the walking has been its negation of any additional calories I’ve consumed from eating at food trucks. If I’m still downtown next summer, when the days are long again, I may try to walk over to the massive Food Truck Pod near South Lake Union (stomping grounds of Amazon.com) as they seem to draw the best ones.