For April Fool’s I decided to go with a savory theme on Instagram, because I don’t like mean pranks. (I do have a history of pranking people, especially my spouse. That being said, I like fun-for-everyone pranks, and stuff that takes a while to set up.)
To go with that, let’s have a roundup of some of the places I go to eat real food!
The Amazon Salad Zone.
While this isn’t its real name, given that it’s right by the Doppler cafeteria, it might as well be. There’s this spot on 7th and 8th near Virginia that has four salad shops in close proximity, and I love three of them. (Nothing wrong with Evergreens, it’s just not my personal salad jam.)
And the salad spots are rather distinct, which means there’s likely something for everyone. Mr. West is hipster salad central, the place you take fancier business meetings and agency chats. Juicy Cafe is hippie salad goodness with smoothies. Sweetgrass is Amazon hipster salads, all seasonal add-ons and jicama. They’re all good, they’re just different types of good. Pick which sounds good to you and go for it.
Columbia City Bakery.
4865 Rainier Ave S + farmers markets; website.
Their pain du campagne is probably one of my favorite breads made in Seattle. It’s a softly sourdough behemoth of a loaf, so large you can buy it by the half loaf, and it is amazing with butter and radishes. I may basically live on that in spring and early summer.
Also, it’s just such a pretty loaf.
Various locations; website.
I still miss Pike Street Fish Fry, but Nosh is doing a pretty darn good job of covering for them while they’re gone. (PSFF, please return – and bring deep fried lemon slices back with you!)
Their servings are huge, the mushy peas delicious, and the fries both crispy and soft. My only real regret is they don’t serve lemon slices, but I can deal for the good stuff.
(Also, the entire Westlake truck pod is pretty spiffy. It’s just worth checking out.)
Let’s be honest for a moment: I like Dough Zone more than I like Din Tai Fung. There. I said it.
DZ Crossroads has the pan-fried jian bing, amazing scallion pancakes, and I like their xiao long bao more. However, they are taking forever to open in Seattle, and getting to that part of Bellevue is a pain when you lack a car. But DTF now has a Pacific Place location that’s already on par with their University Village spot. Even accounting for the wait, it’s less effort for me to get to DTF Pacific Place. And I have a xiao long bao habit to feed.
When Dough Zone Seattle opens, though, there will be a reckoning.
Red Mill Burgers.
Various locations; website.
This place pretty much saved my butt in high school. I had this horrible schedule for cello where my parents basically had to get me straight to cello after school, which often meant I was starving while en route. (Still not sure why I wasn’t just given the car to get to my lessons, given Seattle rush hour traffic, but whatever.)
Red Mill Interbay was on the way, so I usually got a cheeseburger and a root beer to keep my stomach under control. I may not have always been in great shape for lessons, but at least I wasn’t starving during them.
Nowadays going to Red Mill is a rare thing, but it’s still awesome. I usually get the Red Mill Deluxe with Cheese and call it good. Though I’m still in shock that they’re accepting credit cards. It feels like the end of an era.
I’m including these two together as I feel like they fill similar niches for different neighborhoods. They’re both cafes with bakery foods and hearty eats; Fresh Flours is just all over while Preserve is in Greenwood.
They’re both… calming. The kinds of places I’d want to sit with friends and chat, or read a book. Where I’m sure I’ll be able to find something I want to eat, and likely something will surprise me. (I do appreciate that both teams are big fans of putting caramelized onions in their savory baked goods. It makes for some awesome treats.) Preserve does some hearty cheese plates to boot, so I usually stay there longer while I’ll grab up hearty bites at Fresh Flours.
I may have picked up the Matcha & Red Bean muffin at Fresh Flours, but I love that you can pick up Tokara’s wagashi while you’re there. Going to Tokara proper is awesome, it’s just hard to schedule going to the open houses sometimes.