Summer Food in Seattle
The Ultimate After-Dark Hot Dog
We can’t help ourselves: On warm summer nights, there’s nothing we like better than a hot dog from a street vendor. In fact, they’re so good, we couldn’t pick just one!
Dante’s Inferno Dogs’ chicken sausage with banana peppers and mustard hits the spot. $6 >> Multiple locations, including Ballard, Ballard Avenue NW between Vernon and Lone on Friday and Saturday nights; dantesinfernodogs.com
Monster Dogs’ Seattle Dog is what we’re scarfing late night; it comes slathered in cream cheese and piled with trimmings. $5 >> Multiple locations including Capitol Hill, E Pike Street and 10th Avenue E; seattlemonsterdogs.com
Spontaneous lunches on park benches, lakeside picnics and lolling on the grass are what the summer is all about. Here, we’ve chosen our favorite ready-made salads—grab one to go and make a beeline for your favorite sunny spot.
When a summer bike ride takes you along the shores of Lake Washington, be smart and stop into the Leschi Market, an indie grocer that makes a killer smoked salmon pasta salad that is best eaten on the grass in Frink Park right next door, with a view of Lake Washington across the street. $8.99/lb. >> Leschi, 103 Lakeside Ave.; 206.322.0700; leschimart.com
Town and Country’s Ballard Market is our fave for picnic supplies. We especially like the sweet-smoky and irresistible broccoli, raisin, sunflower seed and bacon salad. $7.99/lb. >> Ballard, 1400 NW 56th St.; 206.783.7922; townandcountrymarkets.com
When we’re on top of Queen Anne, our first stop for park vittles is Pasta & Co., where the smoked mozzarella, penne and spinach pasta salad always satisfies. $9.95/lb. >> Multiple locations, including Queen Anne, 1935 Queen Anne Ave. N; 206.283.1182; pastaco.com
A quick stop into Bert’s Red Apple Market, maybe the friendliest neighborhood grocery around, is a pre-beach no-brainer. Along with ripe peaches, nectarines and plums all summer long, the market makes a tasty turkey poppy-seed salad with just a smear of mayo, red grapes and sliced toasted almonds. $8.99/lb. >> Madison Park, 1801 41st Ave. E; 206.322.1330
After a hike in the shade of old-growth pine trees at Seward Park, nothing beats the healthy Emerald City Salad from PCC, made with wild rice, kale, bell peppers and a lemon vinaigrette. $8.99/lb. >> Multiple locations, including Seward Park, 5041 Wilson Ave. S; 206.723.2720; pccnaturalmarkets.com
There’s something so right about fresh salsa and hand-mashed guacamole, spicy tacos and a shivering margarita when the sun is scorching hot. We’ve chosen our favorites so that you can work your way through them all summer long.
Fresh Fish Tacos
When it comes to fish tacos—something we crave almost as much as the summer sun—nobody does it better than Flying Fish. Fresh, warm griddled tortillas accompany the catch of the day (sometimes halibut; other times, cod), grilled to perfection and served with smoky roasted tomato salsa. Enjoyed out on the sunny patio under a bright orange umbrella? Beyond compare. $17–$22 >> South Lake Union, 300 Westlake Ave. N; 206.728.8595; flyingfishseattle.com
The classic, delicious guacamole at El Camino is our pick for the best in town. Not just because it’s perfectly seasoned and simple (just avocado, lime juice, salt, white onion and diced jalapeños), but because it arrives looking like a porcupine, with fresh-fried plantain chips and house-made salsa fresca. $8 >> Fremont, 607 N 35th St.; 206.632.7303; elcaminorestaurant.com
Bright, fresh and tropical from bits of mango, serrano and tart lime juice, the prawns and rock fish ceviche at Barrio, served as an entree or as part of a ceviche sampler, is worth seeking out. $13 >> Capitol Hill, 1420 12th Ave.; 206.588.8105; barriorestaurant.com
’cue it up
When the craving for barbecue hits, it just has to be fed. With Seattle’s iffy reputation for good barbecue in mind, we looked around and found some pretty dang delicious local joints serving up nearly every style of barbecue.--Alicia Arter
Kansas City–Style Barbecue
Thick and molasses-y sauce rules Kansas City barbecue, which is made with lots and lots of smoky meats. Extra sauce comes on the side and adds some real “oh baby” to the meal.
Bring the kids or your noisy friends to this friendly spot in the old Issaquah Oddfellows building. The K.C. ’cue is slung by expat Stan Phillips, who learned the craft at his papa’s smoker in Kansas City. The walls are covered with vintage photos from Issaquah and K.C., and plenty of Kansas City football ephemera. Most people dine in, since the place seats 65 indoors and more outdoors, though picnickers can nab takeout and go to Depot Park a few steps away. >> Issaquah, 58 Front St. N; 425.392.4551; stansbarbq.com Go for: The hickory-smoked baby back ribs ($12.99 half-rack with a side dish), which are neatly trimmed, tender and meaty, and come with sweet, mild or hot sauce served on the side. With a side of: Creamed white and yellow corn spiked with a little heat, and the house baked beans ($1.99 each). Wash it down with: Soda pop (we love the Henry Weinhard’s orange cream), eight beers on tap (two from Kansas City) and a full bar.
You can spot Carolina ’cue by its tangy orange-hued sauce laced with vinegar and mustard, which gives the juicy smoked beef, ribs or pork a nice zing.
Definitely worth the half-hour road trip to Bothell, the darn near perfect pork and beef is made by Charleston-born David Hayward. He’s a local barbecue champ who turned his passion into his business when he won $100,000 in the state lottery a few years back. The 30-seat café, in the front of the quaint Country Village shopping area, also has patio tables outside and shares outdoor space with the Country Village picnic area. >> Bothell, 23806 Bothell Everett Hwy., Suite A; 425.949.8672; carolinasmoke.com Go for: The generous pulled pork sandwich ($9 with a side dish) or the cut-to-order baby back ribs ($14 half-rack with a side dish) with three sauces: Carolina honey (a vinegar-honey-mustard sauce), sweet apple-butter sauce and Burning “B” hot sauce. With a side of: Coleslaw with mayo dressing, homemade baked beans or smoked mac-and-cheese ($2 each). Wash it down with: Sweet tea made right on the premises, plus soda pop, beer and wine.
Memphis purists insist on pulled pork sandwiches topped with coleslaw—and when they order ribs, the sauce is on the side. The typical Memphis barbecue sauce is brown, thanks to molasses, and has some heat to it, too.
Rufus Berry, an Arkansas native, is the ’cue man at this friendly Burien spot with old car license plates on the walls, and room for 16 to chat and chew. Picnickers take their to-go bags to nearby Ed Munro Seahurst Park. >> Burien, 11614 Ambaum Blvd. SW; 206.444.5141 Go for: The can’t-stop-eating-them pork ribs ($12.95 with baked beans, potato salad and cornbread) and the pulled pork sandwich ($5.95 with coleslaw, beans or potato salad), smoked with applewood and served with Berry’s barbecue sauce. With a side of: Cinnamon-spiced peach cobbler ($4.50). Wash it down with: Cold soda pop or a beer, or perhaps a chilled glass of wine.