NFT Radar: El Camion

There are a lot of good taco trucks in Seattle, but El Camion is one of the best. This isn’t your standard three-taco deal. Their selection is massive. It’s basically a restaurant on wheels. Taco-wise, they offer ELEVEN different fillings. If you’re not in a taco mood but still want something south-of-the-bordery, they have a about a million other dishes from burritos to tortas to special plates. They make their tamales fresh every day (fillings vary). Breakfast burritos are served all day. If a burrito the size of a baby isn’t enough food for you, tack on a side of rice and beans or chips and salsa. Speaking of salsa, their numerous varieties are also made daily in-house and some of them will really kick your ass. Wash it all down with one of several classic Mexican beverages including Horchata, Jarritos, Mexican Coke, pina coladas or, on those not-so-rare rainy days, Mexican hot chocolate. Bonus for the meat-averse, unlike most authentico taco trucks, they have vegetarian versions of just about everything. While El Camion is certainly worth a special trip, there is no better way to reward oneself after an always grueling visit to the adjacent Home Depot.

11728 Aurora Ave N 98133

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: The Rat and Raven

On The Rat and Raven has a very Clever Dunne’s vibe. Apparently, that’s not a coincidence. When frat annex, the Irish Immigrant, closed, the owners of the beloved Cap Hill Irish bar brought their cozy dive aesthetic to the U.D. There’s lots of space to spread out here. Big, cushy booths provide a stress-free environment for large impromptu gatherings or just watching the match. Shuffleboard is more interesting on their extra long table. Happy hour is 4-7 daily and all day on Sundays, offering lots of cheap, delicious drafts; among them all-too-drinkable Magner’s Irish Cider. They also take $2 off their heavenly pub food menu. Famished folks can partake of mind-blowing burgers like the Hawaiian or the Big Blue Shroom (all available veggie). The exceptional badass can take the Raven Challenge by downing a four beef patty, cheese and bacon burger. Victors get their photo on the wall of fame. If you’re just in a snacking mood, the Beer Battered Cheese Curds will hit the spot in a way mozzarella sticks never could. The weekend brunch, greasy in all the right ways, will cure whatever ails you (assuming you’re hung over), as will a pitcher of mimosas.

5260 University Way NE 98105

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Peaks Frozen Custard

Molly Moon can’t be everywhere at once. And that’s just fine because my neighborhood has frozen custard. It’s like ice cream but smoother and, thanks to an egg yolk infusion, probably worse for you. That’s also what makes it so damned tasty. It’s slow churned to eliminate ice crystals and maximize silkiness. They have to make it fresh every two hours. This delicate process makes frozen custard a little more special. Even if you think their two constant flavors, chocolate and vanilla, sound ordinary, they have an ace in the hole. Alumni Flavors of the Day include Peanut Butter Cookie Dough, Salted Caramel Cashew and Chocolate Malt Madness. On holidays, they get sassy with themes. Valentine’s Day had Raspberry Red Velvet Cake. On May 5th, those mad geniuses made Horchata with Abuelita Chocolate. Cinco de Licious! If you really want to be a hero, you can bring a pint or two home. Peaks isn’t just frozen treats. They also do lunch by way of paninis, veggie chili, and stratas. Kiddies can enjoy the rocking moose and the rest of us can scam the free Wi-Fi and occasionally hear some live singer-songwriter types. But isn’t frozen custard enough of a draw?

1026 NE 65th St 98115

X-Posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: The Pig ‘n Whistle

The P n’ W is a decent destination for dinner and drinks. There are delightful twists on classic apps like the breaded green tomato caprese and the revelatory pretzel crusted cheddar sticks. Their sandwich menu offers not only a competent burger (meat and veggie) but also surprises like the brat burger and the fried green tomato, ham, bacon, egg sandwich. They have a terrific list of micro brews and imported beers to accompany your meal. Save room for cobbler or perhaps a root beer float! Brunch, however, is another story. I don’t normally like to give a negative review based on bad service from one individual. But because the food wasn’t all that great either, it feels warranted. Our toast came out late and was still, somehow, cold and chewy as though it had been sitting around for a while. There was a (thankfully) long hair on my omelet and when I mentioned it, very politely to the already bitchy waitress (after I had eaten most of my mediocre breakfast), her response was “Oh.” I wasn’t looking for a comped meal but an apology would have been nice. I’ll be back for those cheddar sticks. But brunch? Never again.

8412 Greenwood Ave N 98103

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co.

Space is a dangerous place so you’d be remiss to travel through it unprepared. Fortunately, the Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. is there to ensure you have everything you need from copious amounts of astronaut ice cream to that all-important map of the (known) universe. They also provide you with creature comforts like Cosmic Kitties, Paper Soap and an Instant Yard to get you through those endless nights out in the cosmos. It’s a cute little shop full of space-themed toys, t-shirts books and knickknacks and the perfect gift destination for cosmonauts of all ages. Oh, and if you’re wondering why a space traveler would need the complete works of Dave Eggers, it probably has something to do with 826 Seattle, the local chapter of non-profit youth writing program he founded. All of the stores proceeds go directly to the kids so you can feel good about that purchase of emergency underpants. That’s not where their community outreach ends. Every year, they also stage a protest against Pluto’s demotion from regular planet to dwarf planet. Someone has to speak up for the little guy!

8414 Greenwood Ave N 98103

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Pillagers Pub

It’s true; they were a little overused for a while. But pirate themes will always be cool. And the Pillager’s Pub banks on that. A little bribery in the form of Build-Your-Own Bloody Marys doesn’t hurt. Starting at noon on Saturdays and Sundays, they start you with a large glass full of vodka and then send you to the buffet where you can customize the hell out of your Bloody. Choose from several bases, loads of hot sauces and a bevy of pickled vegetables. If you’re feeling more like a flagon of ale, their house brands, Three Skull and Baron, offer a lovely selection. Because pirates need to eat, they offer a delightful menu of bar grub, including creative uses for tater tots (Tachos!). During daylight hours, they also have a kids menu to keep the shorter members of the crew happy while the big pirates carouse. Take the party home with you by purchasing a (pretty tough looking) growler full of one of their signature beers. Regular members of the crew can utilize punch cards, which result in treasures like t-shirts, pints glasses and free growlers. With incentives like this, how can you not choose a pirate’s life?

8551 Greenwood Ave N 98103

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Birth and Beyond

I generally dread the idea of even entering a maternity shop. Frumpy clothes! Smug sales people! Other pregnant ladies! But there are some things every pregnant lady needs and finding them on the internet isn’t always possible. For those things, Birth and Beyond is the answer. Granted, it’s located in the stroller-mom heavy Madison neighborhood. But when you need nursing bras, you need nursing bras. Who the hell knows what size you are anymore? They do! They carry the big cup sizes in case nature has been a little extra kind to you. They also have a nice selection of cute nursing apparel that’s cut to accentuate your changing womanly features instead of making you look like a marshmallow in casual wear. The staff is very knowledgeable and accommodating (Need to change or feed your baby on the fly? There’s a place for that). New to this mommy business and need some tips? Check out their class schedule for an affordable way to bone up on your skills. Of course like with every maternity shop, you can also easily spend a million dollars on baby shit you don’t need. But it’s absolutely worth the visit for the things do you need.

2719 E Madison St 98112

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Unicorn Bar & Restaurant

Hipsters across the city highly anticipated the coming of the Unicorn. A circus-themed bar named after a popular mythical creature and the promise of pinball? Hard to go wrong with that concept. That’s why opening night drew a line around the block of folks waiting in the rain to peek inside. A line! In the rain! For a bar! Me, I waited till the next day and enjoyed the mellow happy hour vibe that involves chairs and fast service. Though, due to budget constraints, there were some disappointments (no juicer for cocktails or pinball room yet), there were also many pleasant surprises. The whimsical circus decor is spot-on. There are plenty of big, comfy booths and the jukebox rocks. Most impressive is the menu: a selection of gourmet corndogs, which also come in veggie versions! The titular Unicorn dog is topped with cream cheese, caramelized onions and Siracha. Another inspired dog involves a chewy latke-like coating and is served with sour cream and applesauce. Round out your meal with a salted caramel apple or fried candy bar. When funds permit, they do plan to finish the basement, so go grab a corndog and help this My Little Pony become a full-fledged Unicorn!

1118 E Pike St 98122

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: Salvatore Ristorante

Italian is one of those cuisines that, if not done right, is not only a huge disappointment, but also a waste of calories. What’s the point of ingesting all that oil and fat if every bite isn’t a transcendent experience? Fortunately, Salvatore understands this. A real guy from the real Italy he’s owned and operated his titular Ristorante for 20 years. Every night, he gregariously greets regulars like family and welcomes newbies into the fold like a cunning cult leader. You can leave eventually, but not before he stuffs you silly with traditional Italian flavors done right. Start with the luscious Bruchetta or just nibble on complimentary fresh bread. It’s wise to order from the lengthy specials menu, as it showcases a mixture of Salvatore’s recent whims (Salmon Ravioli) and classic family recipes (Spaghetti and Meatballs). The regular menu is also full of gems like the hearty Wild Boar. Pair your meal with a vino from their fantastic wine list. I’d tell you to pace yourself so you can cram in dessert, but they’ll do it for you. The Salvatore experience is Italian in every way, meaning you’re in it for the long haul. Sit back, relax, and enjoy the caloric orgy.

6100 Roosevelt Way NE 98115

X-posted from Not For Tourists.

NFT Radar: La Isla

I know that Madonna song is about San Pedro, but it’s hard not to get it stuck in your head when dining at La Isla. This amazing Puerto Rican restaurant in Ballard is certainly where my stomach longs for me to be. Popular for a damned good reason is the Pernil Special: slow roasted pork shoulder that’s been “marinated for days” in some kind of magic elixir, making it super tender and flavorful. Also mind-blowing is the Pastelon: a Puerto Rican “lasagna,” layered with sweet plantains and cheesy goodness, plus your choice of meat or veggies. All entrees come with a generous helping of house recipe rice and beans and tostones (or sub these with sweet mash or maduros), plus their incredible mojito garlic sauce. Smother everything on your plate in it or try to resist shooting it straight from the dish. Get a box for your meal so you can have dessert. They have the best Tres Leches in town. And with lunch and happy hour specials (half-price apps and strong cocktails, 3-6 and 10-1 nightly), there are plenty of ways to lower the bill. If eating and drinking isn’t enough to entertain you, they’ll set you up with Dominoes.

2320 NW Market St 98107

X-posted from Not For Tourists.


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