Christa’s Sandwichboard

20181004_135317_HDR

My second job back in high school was at a gourmet deli & wine shop on the edge of downtown.  We had the most delicious bread, delivered from a local bakery and nearly everyday I would walk home with the day-old loaves tucked under my arm; the taste of grilled cheese sandwiches dancing on my tongue.  It was the summer of bread, and though evidence of my daily carb smorgasbord slowly began to take its toll on my waistline, for those short glorious months I had money to spend on whatever I chose and a seemingly endless supply of potato rosemary bread to go with it.

20181004_141406

After I went away to college and my high school bread baby quickly gave way to a much sleeker starving college physic, the deli shuttered its doors taking those yeast infused temptations with them.  Over the years, bakeries came and went all along 1st street but the quintessential deli seemed to be ever elusive until Christa’s Sandwichboard set up shop.

Christa’s is bigger than it looks from the outside and like all good deli’s, comes stocked with a cold case full of cakes and salads. The decor is vintage cottage quaintness at it’s best with a bit of Victorian flavor thrown in to match the surrounding antique stores.  It’s the perfect place to tuck in and catch up, which is just what my sister Sammi and I did on a sunny day a few weeks back.  It was a celebration of her finally passing her investment banker test or financial test or whatever it was and which I still don’t understand a thing about, and so we took our respective babies out for sandwiches, soup & cake.

20181004_133958

We both ordered the mushroom soup, and I don’t say this lightly, but honestly, it was one of the better soups I’ve ever had.  Creamy, yet brothy, with bits of mushroom floating blissfully throughout, it was surprisingly decadent.  My sandwich, a Basil Mozzarella & Tomato concoction, made for some messy eating, with balsamic oozing  deliciously thru my fingers.  By the time I was halfway thru eating it, I was a hot mess and Huck; despite a table with ample empty chairs which he had rejected in favor of my lap, was gladly licking off all the tangy sauce which fell onto his arms.

IMG_1500

We ordered a celebratory piece of cake, which in true trendy fashion, was ombre purple with silver sugar balls which Huck couldn’t get enough off.  After properly destroying the cake, the evidence of which could be found all over the table and ourselves after the babies got ahold of it, we left Christa’s Sandwichboard with full bellies and happy memories; a true deli-licious afternoon indeed.

 

Christa’s Sandwichboard

1206 1st Street Snohomish, WA 98290

 360-568-9866

Open Tuesday-Sunday 10:30AM~5PM

Emory’s

20180510_191023

One of the disadvantages of living in suburbia is the belief in the perpetual myth that there are no good restaurants outside of the urban center.  Sure there are miles and miles of Applebee’s & Olive Gardens and even an occasional mom & pop cafe that has somehow managed to withstand the onslaught of competition from the plethora of Starbucks stores which surround it.  But good food? Inventive food? A place worthy of first dates and silver anniversaries alike? A place like that is rare my friends, whether inside big city limits or out.  Hence one of the many reasons why I love Emory’s; it’s all of those things and more and the best part? It’s right in my backyard.

20180510_185738

 

Edgar and I went there recently for a rare grown-up date night out and I had almost forgotten what it felt like to sit and enjoy my meal without someone doing gymnastics on my lap or being used as a human napkin.  It felt nice and once I had that prosecco in hand, even nicer.  Edgar ordered some foo-foo concoction covered in toasted coconut and lime wedges and I could tell that the food runner was a bit confused as to which one of us ordered which drink but I shrugged and said “it’s the Latin in him I guess” and the Pina colada was gingerly set down in front of him.  He declared it delicious, and we plowed through battered green beans ordered off the secret bar menu and a fresh & tasty wedge salad.

20180510_185753

By the time out entrees came, we were, in all honesty, stuffed to the gills but we didn’t let that hold us back, though Edgar did eventually take most of his lamb shank home.  I had ordered parmesan crested cod and I was not to be so easily deterred for that dish was the crowning glory in an already delicious meal and besides, who takes home fish? It just never reheats the way other food does and unlike pizza and Chinese food, leftover fish is never half as good as it is fresh.  So yah, I was eating it whether my pants liked it or not.

20180510_191443

Once we rolled ourselves out of there, it was just a leisurely stroll across the parking lot to the car; no meters, no parking garages and no questionable dark alleys to contend with.  We were home in a flash, PJ’s on, Netflix primed and the satisfactory feeling of having done something very adult like.  I guess living in surburbia does have it’s perks.                                                                                                                                                         

20180510_185337

 

 

Emory’s

11830 19th Ave SE

Everett, WA 98208

Hours: 2pm-Close Daily

Saturday & Sunday Brunch 10am-2pm

425-337-7772

 

13 Coins Restaurant

20170407_224009

Back when I was a young underage thing, my super hip uncle, who happened to live on Capital Hill at the time, would sometimes meet up with my mom & I at The Hurricane, the first 24 hour cafe that I had ever been in.  The Hurricane was kinda grubby and full of wannabe grunge guitar players but to my 15 year old self, it was heaven.  I was out past the hour I probably should have been in bed, surrounded by drinking adults who were ignoring me just enough to let their censored kid-guard down.  I sat there & enjoyed my watered down Dr. Pepper reveling in the anomaly of the moment & feeling like I had Arrived.  To this day I have rarely felt that cool again.

13 Coins is the grown up version of those late nights; instead of sticky tabletops & questionable clientele, it has high-backed booths & swiveling captain’s chairs with a Frank Sinatra vibe.  Walking in its’ doors feels like a step back through time, when the Martini’s flowed and men wore sharp suits.  It’s the kinda place where Don Draper would have fit right in had 13 Coins been in downtown Manhattan and he had actually existed.

20170407_224750.jpg

The name 13 Coins stems from an old Peruvian folk story that tells of a poor young man in love with a girl from a wealthy family.  Begging her father for his permission to marry the girl, the father asks what he could possibly offer her in life? The young man reached into his pocket and pulled out all his worldly monetary worth, 13 little coins, but pledged his undying love, care and concern for the girl as well.  Apparently his declaration of devotion was enough to move the father into agreeing to the marriage and 13 coins became a symbol of love & devotion.

20170407_224808

So what better place to celebrate my husband and I’s rare night out than at a restaurant named after a folklore romance? Pasta was the theme of our night, from creamy hazelnut cappelletti to a pancetta infused spaghetti carbonara.  Not your typical 24 diner fare, right? That’s because 13 coins is a great restaurant, that just happens to operate round the clock.  So the next time you find yourself in the city & your mom is watching the kids, and you are miraculously still awake past 10pm, head over to 13 Coins to revive some of that old school magic.  Sipping on chilled Prosecco while retreating into the privacy of those infamous leather booths, I felt vaguely nostalgic for my 15 year old self and her flat, tasteless soda.  Had I known those moments of cool were to be few and far between, I would have relished it more.  Sitting there, at 13 Coins though, with my handsome date and a glass of bubbliy magic in my hands, I was as cool as ever, at least I liked to think so.

20170407_223900

 

 

 

 

13 Coins Restaurant

*255 South King Street

Seattle, WA 98104

206-682-2513

*New location opens Feb. 2018*

 

 

 

 

TNT Taqueria

20160716_170334

One of the things I miss most about my hood living LA days, is the vibrant street food culture.  Though I am sure its varieties pale in comparison to some cities like Mumbai or Bangkok, LA’s plethora of street vendors seemed like an exotic and slightly dangerous way of eating compared to the refrigerated snacking of my youth.  The food on those makeshift carts was real & authentic and though maybe lacking in sit-down restaurant ambience, they made up for it with pure flavor and refreshing simplicity.

20160716_163333.jpg

So when I stumbled across TNT Taqueria, a hip walk-up taco shop on 45th street in the Wallingford neighborhood of Seattle, I was transported back to the streets of Hollywood, with the smell of sizzling tortillas in my nose and shouts of “champurrado” echoing in my ears.

20160716_163010With locally sourced meats and five unique homemade salsas made daily, TNT takes taco truck grubbing up a notch.  It’s street flavor with a not so street feel.  The menu is uncomplicated, as tacos should be, and the bottled Coke is ice-cold. There are a few other items on the menu, from tortas to quesadillas and lets not forgot the pretty killer breakfast menu.  And good news here;  if it takes me 2 hours to leave my house due to my kids playing hide & go seek with my car keys and then another hour and a half to reach the restuarant due to London’s pea sized bladder and the million stops that that requires, TNT Taqueria will still be serving breakfast once I actually arrive. Yes!! Breakfast all day, you heard that right Mamas, you might actually eat a warm egg again in your life!

As London and I clamored up on the outside stools, ready to munch down on my burrito, a breakfast burrito I might add, we were surrounded by festive music, bright colors and delicious smells.

20160716_163311Though he ended up eating pretty much only his cheese quesadilla, he at least tried mine, even hesitantly dipping a corner of it into the creamy avocado dip.  Perhaps someday when he himself is out exploring the world & he comes across unfamiliar culinary terrain, I hope he remembers moments like these and drives right in & tries it. And though his cultural awareness began not on the streets of Hollywood, but in the slightly less diverse Pacific Northwest, I hope it stays with him, evolving year after year, pushing him to seek out those unknown flavors and challange his tastbuds every chance he gets.

 

 

 

 

TNT Taqueria

2114 North 45th Street

Seattle, WA 98103

206-322-0124

Open Daily 8am-10pm

20160716_163031

Deru Market

When I am knee deep in matchbox cars and I’ve forgotten what its like to drink coffee while its actually still hot; I reminiscent about my LA days, where an afternoon sipping lattes would just happen, the natural progression of a lazy brunch sunday.  It didn’t require days of heated negotiations about who was going to watch the kids or a barter system of babysitting favors.  You just went to your favorite cafe, ordered a latte and probably that piece of cake that you knew you shouldn’t eat and sat down.  It was that simple.
shot_1454190430943Now anyone can tell you, myself included, that life after kids will never be that simple again.  The sheer amount of crap you have to bring with you to dine out with children is daunting and if you intend to enjoy that latte hot you better be ready with a little bribery as soon as that porcelain hits the table.  Odds are, you will spill half of it all over yourself on the way to the table anyway but hey.. it will still be hot!

Hence the reason why I immediately fell in love with Deru.  It’s urban, crisp, busy and packed; all those LAish things I miss~yet still completely accommodating to life with the wild ones.  As young families buzzed and ate around us, no one cared that my toddler was performing rare feats of chair gymnastics while simultaneously drinking his entire hot chocolate in one gulp.  We were just part of the chaos.

shot_1454190875018

I am not sure what was better, the Margarita pizza or the bowl ‘ol cappuccino; though drinking from a basin of hot, frothy milk made me feel rustically Mediterranean, which I liked.  The pizza was everything one wants a Margarita pizza to be~fresh and chewy with tomato sauce that tasted like sunlight.  It was wood fired of course, as all good pizzas are, and we polished it off in no time.

shot_1454191102828

 

 

 

 

Deru is a bit of a hybrid; part restaurant, part market.  One could feasibly package up a posse of side dishes, wood fired pizza included, and head out into the big wide world to find a quiet spot to grub down.  Yet doing that would mean missing out on that chaos I love so well; the clang of dishes and loud conversations and the scramble for a seat amid the hustle and bustle of a seemingly big city restaurant tucked inconspicuously into a tiny corner of suburbia.  And missing that would, quite simply, be a shame.

shot_1454190448552

 

 

 

Deru Market

Open Monday-Saturday 9am~9pm

Closed Sundays

425-298-0268

723 9th Ave Kirkland, WA 98033

Little Red’s Bakery

shot_1403755943269

  There’s few things finer on Earth than a perfectly made chocolate chip cookie.  This being America and all, a land filled with cult status baked goods, finding one little amazing cookie should be a simple enough task but I assure you that it is not! I have taken a bite out of many subpar imitations on my quest to discover chocolate chip perfection and the road leading to my long sought perfect treat is littered with crumbled disappointment. However I have finally found the elusive perfectly made chocolate chip cookie and thankfully it is just east of the Mountains from me so I can’t eat them everyday which is good because I’d be fat as hell I’m sure.  With crisp edges and a soft, almost under baked center; they are as close to circular perfection as one can really come.  And when the one doing the baking happens to be your spunky little sister, well, all the better.shot_1422481628779

I’ve traveled back and forth over Hwy 2 all my life & Little Red’s is a welcome bright spot on the well traveled road.  It plies its’ customers with tasty lattes and sumptuous baked goods concocted right there, in the itty bitty little oven.  It is no small wonder that Aubrey, the owner and operator of Little Red’s, can pull it off, especially in the high mountain heat of a Leavenworth summer.

shot_1434902681769 shot_1422480656599

She uses locally roasted Cafe Ladro beans for her frothy lattes~a sophisticated choice often not available this far from urban dwelling.  Aside from her caffeine quenching treats, there are daily baked specials such as banana nutella muffins (so good), homemade pop tarts, maple bacon bread and breakfast burritos.  As if this wasn’t enough, Little Red’s also offers homemade sack lunches complete with made to order sandwiches, fruit and a cookie; perfect for taking on a hike or early morning road trip.

SAMSUNG

I won’t even mention my favorite thing that she bakes, an oatmeal & raisin something or other which defies my tastebuds every time and blows every other version out of the water. Completely.  Seriously, it’s criminally good.  It’s her sweet revenge on me for all those years I tortured her with my big sister antics when we where kids; she’s trying to make me fat.

shot_1422472125345

   It’s been amazing to watch Aubrey’s dreams come to fruition and though I may be a bit bias, she is my little sister after all, she really does encompass everything which most people want with their morning cup o’ joe.  That is good coffee, a sweet treat and a radiant smile~which is not a bad way to start your day I’d say.

shot_1434903729033

Little Red’s Bakery

15395 US HWY 2

Leavenworth, WA 98826

425-876-8793

Hours: Mon-Wed 6am-4pm

Thurs-Sun 6am-6pm

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Little-Reds-Bakery/216062388406984

Honey Court Seafood Restaurant

shot_1422222350129   My redneck mountain upbringing doesn’t readily lend itself to sampling exotic foods; it’s a failing I’ve tried to correct little by little over the years.  I look with envy at others happily crunching away on octopus or salmon roe, seemingly oblivious to the fact that what they are eating is, infact, disgusting.  Yet they look so fulfilled, so adventurous that somehow I can’t help but feel left out while staring down at my plate of familiar, predictably boring food.  So this year, I’m determined to branch out my tastebuds and what better place to start than in the International District in Seattle.

As any adventurous eater can tell you, there are definite places to avoid while searching out ethnic food, so I always rely on a recommendation from someone who’s eaten at a specific place and survived.  I friend of mine posted a photo of some succulent honey walnut shrimp from the Honey Court Seafood Restaurant awhile back and it intrigued me.    I just couldn’t get that shrimp off my mind.  So last Sunday, we headed down to the Honey Court for a taste of said shrimp and adventure.

shot_1422221704498shot_1422220458425

The place was packed, which I took as a good sign and luckily the lobby has the requisite giant fish tank which seems to grace every Asian eatery from Seattle to China, so London had plenty of fish to stare at while we waited for a table.  Keeping true to my vow of being a more adventurous eater, I ordered crispy prawns with green onions off the dim sum cart as soon as we were seated and they were straight up awesome.  Fueled by my success in food cart pickings, Edgar chose a sticky rice packet which he said was great and I took his word for it.  I couldn’t push my adventurous luck that far, at least not yet.  We ordered more food, including that infamous honey walnut shrimp and as it piled high on our table, we realized that maybe we’d overestimated our eating abilities.  Still, we wielded our chopsticks high and valiantly tried to finish our chow mien but in the end, we had to concede defeat.  After all, we had to save some for dinner because who doesn’t love Chinese leftovers?

shot_1422334675053

Honey Court Seafood Restaurant

516 Maynard Ave South

Seattle, WA 98104

206-292-8828

Hours: Open 11am~2:30am Daily