The city of Seattle is speckled by pho joints, each one serving its own rendition of the beloved belly-warming noodle soup. However, Le's Phở Tái remains a cut above the competition with its commitment to using locally grown ingredients and creating flavorful broth. Chefs begin the process of preparing the beef stock more than 20 hours before the soup hits the table, setting beef bones and spices to boil in order to procure what reporters from Journal Magazine praised as "exceptional flavor". Once the broth is ready, the chefs add thin vermicelli noodles along with cuts of tender beef, fresh seafood, and crisp veggies. They serve the soup in massive bowls alongside plates of bean sprouts and jalapeno slices.
When chefs aren't cooking pho, their attention is absorbed in the preparation of other Vietnamese specialties—chewy spring rolls, tangy teriyaki dishes, and bahn mi sandwiches with barbecue meats and french bread. Servers carry these dishes out into the warm, casual dining room, along with glasses of sweet iced-milk coffee and refreshing coconut juice. The accommodating staffers encourage guests to call ahead to place food orders for faster service, particularly if they have to speed back home to make sure their cats don't start scratching the Bruce Willis statue they’ve been sculpting out of peanut butter.
Fill up on fare from Cafe Happy in Kirkland and be sure to satisfy your stomach.
Cafe Happy is a popular spot for vegans.
Both the young and the young-at-heart will dig the family-oriented menu and ambience at this restaurant.
For some fresh air during the non-winter months, dine outside on Cafe Happy's patio.
Always five minutes behind schedule? Pick up your food to go instead.
Parallel-parking experts can find room on the street, though patrons also have access to the restaurant's adjoining lot.
Sunlight Cafe: A User’s Guide
Seattle’s Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant | Grilled Nutburgers | Kalani Espresso | Housemade Baked Goods
Brunch: eggless Sesame Crunch waffle with Vermont maple syrup
Lunch: Nutburger, a grilled patty of roasted nuts and veggies topped with cheddar on a seven-grain bun
Dinner: fresh-herb risotto with seasonal organic vegetables, organic arborio rice, and parmesan
What to Drink
Kalani espresso and coffee—organic, shade grown, fair trade, and locally roasted
Additive-free beer and wine, both a buck off during happy hour
Where to Sit: Grab a table in the south dining room to soak up the sunlight streaming through the large windows or station yourself at the bar to watch chefs whip up your meal.
When to Visit: Weekend brunch gets busy fast, so arrive early to avoid the wait—a good rule of thumb in general since Sunlight doesn’t take reservations.
While You’re Waiting
Scope out the regularly changing paintings on the walls, all made by local artists.
Free WiFi lets guests peruse the internet on their mobile device or the desktop PC they cart around in a wagon.
The kitchen is meat-free, but not vegan; most dishes can be made vegan upon request.
The cookies, breads, and pies are made in-house without refined sweeteners
Try the famous lemon-tahini dressing. You can also pick up a bottle to take home on your way out.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Learn why all that glitters isn’t it gold—because some of it is glass—at Alexander’s Bead Bazaar (6307 Roosevelt Way NE)
After: Swing into The Atlantic Crossing (6508 Roosevelt Way NE) for Irish whiskey and English Premier soccer.
Madhu Cuisine of India: A User’s Guide
Pan-Indian Cuisine | Rich Curries | Lunch Buffet
Appetizer: keema samosa, stuffed with lamb, paneer, and raisins
Entree: chicken vindaloo, made with potatoes and chili sauce
Side: garlic naan
Dessert: mango ice cream
“Deep-fried, though not greasy, and addictive enough that you will gobble one pakora after another.” — Seattle Times
Can’t decide? When you come for lunch, check out the buffet, where you can sample bites of different items or pick one to fill your plate, your bowl, and your glass.
Some Friday and Saturday nights, DJs take over the back room, turning it into a low-key dance lounge and spinning records into the night.
Pakora: an Indian snack made of chicken, fish, veggies, or paneer, battered in chickpea or lentils and lightly fried, usually served with chutney.
Paneer: a white South Asian cheese made from boiling cow's or water buffalo's milk and curdling it with whey; it dates back to at least 6,000 BC.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Clear your palate and make your mark by depositing your gum at Pike Place Market’s Gum Wall (Pike Street at Post Alley, just west of 1st Avenue).
After: Give back by dropping some coins in Rachel the Pig (Post Alley and Western Avenue), a bronze piggy bank at Pike Place Market—proceeds benefit the market directly.
Five Things to Know About Chaco Canyon Cafe
Organic is a way of life at Chaco Canyon Cafe. This vegetarian restaurant showcases the freshest ingredients possible and helps preserve the planet in the process. Read on to learn more about this veggie haven:
The 100% vegetarian menu also includes raw, gluten-free, and vegan items. The kitchen strives to accommodate a variety of diets and appetites with dishes ranging from lentil burgers topped with Vegenaise to thai peanut bowls to raw sunflower-seed “tuna pâte” sandwiches served on raw buckwheat-flax flatbread.
The beverage selection is almost as extensive as the food menu. In addition to beer and wine, the café serves a wide variety of fresh-pressed juices and blended smoothies. Guests can choose from signature combinations or build their own concoction.
The café buys its produce directly from local organic farms. Chaco Canyon promises the best, freshest ingredients possible in its seasonal menus and backs that up by going to local farms to search out what grows best there.
Chaco Canyon Cafe’s mission is to make a zero net impact on the planet. Called an “idealistic utopia” by The Stranger, this claim isn’t far from the truth. The café backs up this goal by recycling, reusing, or composting about 90% of its waste and serving food that is 90%–97% organic year-round.
Currently, there are two locations. One in University District and one in West Seattle. A Greenwood location is expected to open in the fall of 2014.
The aromas of peanut sauce, lemongrass, and spicy chili pastes drifting throughout the dining room at Araya's Place may seem familiar at first, but the eatery isn't like most Thai restaurants. It eschews meats and dairy entirely, forging a distinctive menu that led The Stranger to hail Araya's University District location as "Thai vegan heaven."
Working exclusively with GMO-free tofu and produce sourced from local farmers whenever possible, the chefs cook classic Thai dishes as well as a handful of slightly more imaginative creations. "I do not want to be only Thai vegetarian food," owner Araya Pudpard explained to the Seattle Post-Intelligencer in 2008, "I want to be international vegan food."
The international twists are evident throughout the menu's otherwise familiar selection of stir-fried noodle dishes and aromatic curries. A mélange of assorted garden vegetables, deep-fried and served with sweet-and-sour sauce, make up the veggie tempura, and the jasmine-tinged creme brûlée conceals a vegan and gluten-free custard beneath a one-molecule-thin layer of crisp sugar.
But even with these occasional twists, Thai staples still dominate the menu's pages. One of the restaurant's more iconic dishes, the tom yum soup, is so spicy that it has appeared on the Food Network show Heat Seekers, which features two chefs who travel around the country looking for mouth-burning dishes and ice sculptures to lick afterward.