Prior to my brief sojourn in August, my exposure to Seattle was two-fold: watching Grey’s Anatomy in high school, and hearing excellent things about it in college from native Seattleites.
I stayed with my friend Hannah and her family, which was great. It is pretty special to contextualize college friends in their home environment, especially when that environment involves adventures in cooking salmon whole.
Wassup, fish? You were one tasty finned creature.
Now, I know Seattle is known for its rain and its salmon and that giant thing that was built for the 1962 World’s Fair, but I came to know Seattle for its sandwiches. Hannah picked up at the airport and we went directly to get banh mi at Saigon Deli in the International District, conveniently on the way from the airport to Hannah’s house. Cilantro needs to appear in more sandwiches I make for myself. Maybe I’ll start a container garden for the winter.
We went to Pike Place Market, watched the guys throw the fish, tried some uncooked chocolate pasta (what?), and bought some Rainier cherries to have as the dessert course for the lunch we were both anticipating. A few hours earlier, we had been waiting on line at Salumi to order sandwiches. The employees make the wait a lot easier by bringing around plates of samples. Bless them. It’s only right, considering that the store is owned by Armandino Batali, father of Mario.
My sandwich had mozzarella, peppers, onions, and Agrumi salami, a variety cured with citrus and cardamom. Slathered together on some great chewy-crunchy-airy bread, it shot me right up to sandwich heaven. My favorite part of Salumi, besides the actual food, was this narrow walk-in refrigerator filled with salami. If I could live anywhere…
The final sandwich stop was Paseo’s, where I got the straight up Cuban roast sandwich for which they are apparently known. Very hard to eat, in a great way. Thick, succulent grilled onions. Well-seasoned and perfectly-textured pork. Really, how was I ever a vegetarian?
Seattle treated me well. The weather was ideal, the company great, the coffee unforgettable, and you know how I feel about the sandwiches. And Mount Rainier bid farewell to me on my way back East, for a breath-taking finale to my West Coast summer.