Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Seattle... Let Me Count The Ways

Things I love about Seattle, in a somewhat particular order:

1) Friend since freshman year of high school, Uma
2) Brett, at Deep Roots Tattoo and Piercing (the man is a genius)
3) The FOOD
4) Shops that sell clothes with skulls on them
5) The Coffee (it’s not a myth – Seattle coffee is the best I have had in this country)
6) The FOOD

This is one of those rare times that food is so low on a list of things I love, but I listed it twice to make up for it. Hope you will forgive me this once.

Seattle has a fairly large Asian population (13.12%, to be precise) which potentially explains the fabulous array of great restaurants. The University district (surrounding University of Washington) has every possible kind of Asian restaurant including the best Thai food I have ever had (Thai Tom – post to come), Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Vietnamese, fusions of all of the above, and about a million bubble tea shops. In addition, the U District has a number of Vietnamese delis that sell Vietnamese sandwiches. Am I the only one that has never heard of a Vietnamese sandwich? Well, I have been missing out.

The particular Vietnamese sandwich from Saigon Deli that you see above consists of shaved carrots, radish, cucumber, cilantro, tofu (also available with chicken or pork), all on a toasted baguette with what I think was mayonnaise thinned with soy sauce. The tofu was very fresh (I have a serious suspicion that it was made in-house), marinated in soy sauce, sesame oil, tons of black pepper and lightly fried. The deeply flavorful tofu had a thick and meaty texture and played off the super crunchy, fresh vegetables. The bread was crusty and warm while the inside of the sandwich was cool and light. Fabulous.

I am never one to mention price when it comes to food (I would rather not buy shoes for a year than have to save on food - I have my priorities set, thank you very much) but I found the price of the Vietnamese sandwich to be bordering on the absurd. It was $1.75. Seriously. That’s all. Perhaps I am a jaded Boston-dweller, but $1.75?? I think that the quality and sheer volume of the ingredients in the Vietnamese sandwich could command far more than that… Whatever. I am not complaining.

We went back to the Saigon Deli the next day to try other things off their extensive menu (shrimp spring rolls with a thin, not too peanut-y sauce in the picture below).

Every meal at the Deli ends with styrofoam cups of home-made, sweetened yogurt. It was the lightest and creamiest yogurt I have ever had, by far. The silky smooth and deeply chilled yogurt was absolutely key to my surviving a giant conference in Seattle during a heat wave. Here’s a valuable warning – UW doesn’t have A/C. I am lucky to be alive. All the credit is due to the sweetened yogurt. Well the yogurt, and the conference beer.

Many more Seattle-themed posts to come! Most of the pictures from my 10 days there were of food. Not sure what that says about me.

Saigon Deli and Restaurant
4142 Brooklyn Ave NE
Seattle WA 98105
(206) 634-2866

And just in case anyone is interested:

Deep Roots Tattoo and Piercing
4517 University Ave NE
Seattle WA 98105
(206) 633-2639

[Ask for Brett. He’s the one with the giant spacers and tattooed palms. Ouch.]



Jonathan said...

Looking forward to the future posts. A trip about food is worth reliving.

Uma said...

what happened to post about thai tom? i went there yesterday and thought of you...i almost took a picture of the "swimming rama" dish, it was gorgeous and tasted like heaven. i miss you, and so does seattle. come back to visit soon!