Food & Culture
Five Things You Need to Eat in August
Ube pancakes, egg cream, and blistered tomato memories
By Tiffany Ran August 3, 2023
Food has the wonderful effect of capturing a time and place. Many dishes in this city bring memories into the present, celebrate history, and preserve the abundance of our current season. What is old can be made anew. And in this bustling city where creativity, change, and traditions intersect, we can return to many familiar flavors as much as we can indulge in the new.
New combo at the new Ludi’s Restaurant
Seattle lost a landmark restaurant when Ludi’s announced its closing in 2019. Luckily, the family-owned operation has reopened in a new location on Second and Stewart, not too far from its previous spot. At last, Ludi’s famed ube pancakes return! With its new address, Ludi’s will also introduce new menu items. The Iloco combo comes with two styles of longganisa sausage, the standard, sweet longganisa, and a garlicky Ilocano style. The plate also includes its usual and generous sides of garlic rice, pork chop, and lumpia. It is the most indulgent breakfast, especially if you cannot choose between the pancakes and the sausage combo, then opt for both. You certainly wouldn’t be the first.
Seattle’s own egg cream
Those who know egg creams know that this old-fashioned drink does not contain egg or cream. Elm Coffee Roasters introduced its own version, a noncoffee summer drink that fuses grilled bananas, almond milk, Spinnaker Chocolate, and soda water for a surprisingly light yet creamy chocolate-banana combo. This version is one that owner Brendan Mullally says has evolved with some tweaks along the way. The current version, developed with the help of Elm manager Jeremy Sossei, is one that brought Mullally back to the egg creams he enjoyed during his time spent living in New York.
Time, Four Ways, Served over Rice
Second-generation owners Marin and Sho Caccam opened Onibaba in the former Tsukushinbo space as their way to pay homage to their parents’ restaurant. For nearly 30 years, Tsukushinbo stood as one of Seattle’s most celebrated Japanese restaurants before it closed last year. Onibaba specializes in onigiri and ochazuke, a traditional rice dish of tea poured over rice and assorted garnishes. Their ochazuke with saba (pickled mackerel), ume (sour plum), and takana (preserved mustard greens) is topped with hot tea before consuming to make a light, refreshing rice soup that is perfect for summer. In this busy bowl of vibrant flavors, preservation and time play a role in every component from the funky takana, savory-sour mackerel, sweet and fruity plum, to even the delicate tea poured over top. It’s a dish that grounds you in the present while capturing the fruits of the past.
Tomato Season is On at Off Alley
It doesn’t seem like summer in Seattle until tomato season. Then you’ll find tomatoes, large and small, in varied hues of yellows to reds, on restaurant menus throughout the city. While this is often a simple, unadulterated tomato salad adorned with only flake salt and good olive oil, Off Alley’s lamb fat-blistered cherry tomatoes carry additional flavors of earth, sweet tomatoes, and hints of campfire. The dish was inspired by Chef Evan Leichtling’s memory of a last summer when the winemaker raised a flock of lambs for the dinner. Leichtling used the fat from those lambs on a dish to compliment one of the winemaker’s wines. He revisits that fond memory with this season’s cherry tomatoes grown by celebrated tomato farmer Billy Allstot of Billy’s Garden and in turn, invites us to do the same.
A Crumpet on Our Side of the Pond
Crumpets do not hail from Seattle, Washington, but thanks to The Crumpet Shop at Pike Place Market, we can also have crumpets for breakfast, made fresh daily. Over the years, the longstanding, family-owned and operated Crumpet Shop has offered assorted flavors ranging from sweet to savory. The pesto, tomato, and cheese is a familiar favorite, but ask for English cheese, specifically the Red Leicester, for the closest to the UK version you can get on this side of the pond. Recently, the family behind The Crumpet Shop announced that it’ll sell the business, but they’re continuing its operation until the shop can be passed on to the right hands. The future of Seattle’s only crumpet shop is unknown. Only time will tell.
Pike Place Market
Tiffany Ran is a writer and the chef behind food pop-up, Babalio Taiwanese. Much of her food exploration includes jumping between catering, restaurants, and the pop-up world. You’ll find her writing featured in Vice Munchies, Lucky Peach, Goldthread, JoySauce, Northwest Asian Weekly, in addition to Seattle magazine. She is the proud dog mom of a chow chow named Ponky Bear.