Endless Road Trip Seattle: Hipster Hangover Brunch

I bet by this point in my Seattle journey you’re like “she must be done talking about grease-laden brunch foods.” But, my friends, you are sadly mistaken.

Smith is an ultra-hipster tavern featuring rustic, seasonal pub fare and a relatively small yet lovingly curated, unique beer list. A cavernous bar featuring taxidermy and slightly creepy portraits of old men with beards, it may seem like a strange choice for the first meal of the day, but I had been dreaming about their gastropub grub every morning of my trip. Trust me, feeling like you’re chillin’ on the set of a Portlandia sketch is worth it for this brunch.

My old apartment in Capitol Hill was a short three-block walk from Smith, so my body had been used to their piping hot mugs of Stumptown coffee, their creamy, salty sweet potato fries dipped in rich aioli, and their beefy breakfast entrees on a very regular basis.

The number one stunner, though, is Smith’s breakfast sandwich. This is no run-of-the-mill McMuffin knock-off. It might just be the heartiest and best hangover meal in Seattle: fatty, thick shreds of brisket topped with a runny fried egg, fried green tomatoes, hot mustard, and melted gruyêre cheese, all piled onto a warm, buttery potato bun. Rob ordered it and to this very day he won’t stop waxing poetic about how delicious it was; this is a Texan appraising brisket, so no small praise.

Smith / 332 15th Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102 / 4pm-2am Mon-Fri / 10am-2am Sat-Sun

Also on The Endless Road Trip: Seattle
1. The Most Powerful, Brouwerful Hour
2. Clucking Great Fried Chicken
3. Porky Passion at Paseo


Endless Road Trip Seattle: Porky Passion at Paseo

The best sandwich in Seattle is not exactly the most photogenic one, but trust me, with flavors and textures his heavenly, it doesn’t matter one bit. Welcome to one of my most favorite things I’ve ever put into my mouth: the Caribbean Roast sandwich at Paseo, a little cash-only sandwich shack on the beach.

Originally located on the side of a busy road in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, Paseo has been such a longstanding favorite with locals that they were able to open a second location outside Golden Gardens, a beautiful seaside park in Ballard. You walk up to a window in the little building, place your sandwich order (feel free to add on rice and beans or their amazing corn on the cob), pay with about $8 cash, then chill on a wooden bench enjoying the lovely sea air while waiting for your paper-wrapped, sloppy, meaty masterpiece to arrive.

The star of the Caribbean Roast is its pork shoulder, which is soaked in Paseo’s special tangy marinade and slow-roasted until it is melt-in-your mouth tender. Huge hunks of said pork are nestled in freshly-baked local Macrina Bakery bread slathered with garlicky aioli, alongside crisp lettuce, cilantro, pickled jalapeños, and – my personal favorite – thick rings of sweet, roasted onions.

Seattle is passionate about Paseo—so passionate that the shop often runs out of bread halfway through the day! I told my Texan boyfriend, who was visiting with me, that any time you mention to a Seattleite that you had Paseo for lunch, they jealously exclaim “Aannuuugghhh! Paseo!”.He laughed, thinking I was joking. By the end of that night, everyone we mentioned our Paseo trip to indeed muttered envious, guttural noises. I guess people just can’t help their reaction once they’ve experienced the Caribbean Roast, the true coup de grâce of the sandwich world.

Paseo Ballard / 6226 Seaview Ave. NW / 11am-9pm Tues-Sat
Paseo Fremont / 4225 Fremont Ave. N / 11am-9pm Tues-Fri / 11am-8pm Sat 

Also on The Endless Road Trip: Seattle
1. The Most Powerful, Brouwerful Hour
2. Clucking Great Fried Chicken

Endless Road Trip Seattle: Clucking Great Fried Chicken

Most people think of salmon as Seattle’s prime protein, and while it’s true that seafood is a Northwest mainstay, this city can cook up some fried meat just as well as any southern hotspot. Thanks to Oprah, Seattle has been lauded for Ezell’s chicken, but I have a different go-to for fried bird: Skillet Diner in Capitol Hill. Famous for their cult hit bacon jam, Skillet started out as a small food trailer that became so popular they were able to afford a brick-and-mortar place in Capitol Hill; prime real estate.

Skillet’s burger and grilled cheese are amazing, but to me, nothing beats their fowl. I’m most fond of the fried chicken sandwich on fresh potato bread with pickled and charred jalapeño aioli and kale. It’s served with another Skillet signature, their ridiculous poutine, a giant pile of fries smothered in a gratuitous amount of herbed cheddar sauce:

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Endless Road Trip Seattle: The Most Powerful, Brouwerful Hour

As loyal ES readers may remember, earlier this year I moved to Austin, Texas from my longtime home of Seattle. Last month I went back home for a visit, and I made it a point to be a food tourist in my hometown and revisit my favorite food and drink experiences of the Emerald City.

Seattle has a pretty intense happy hour culture. Seriously — every bar, restaurant, and coffee shop has some sort of drink or food special going on in the early evening. Why? Probably because it’s so dreary and unappealing outside most of the time, businesses need to drag people out of their cozy apartments by any means possible.

One of my favorite happy hours in Seattle technically isn’t a happy hour at all; it’s Power Hour at Brouwers, an amazingly stocked Belgian beer hall in the pleasantly funky Fremont neighborhood. With 64 beers on draft (almost all local or regional craft brews) and over 300 beers available by the bottle, this place is heaven for beer lovers, especially those seeking out hard-to-find European varieties.

Not only is Brouwers’ booze selection great, but they have a solid food menu. These are no average happy hour bar bites; we’re talking freshly baked pretzels with beer-cheese sauce, Belgian-style mussels, frites with spicy, creamy Dragon Sauce.

Brouwers is also home to some of my favorite sliders ever: Carbonade SlidersBelgian-braised Kobe beef with bacon and St. Bernardus beer, topped with the aforementioned beer-cheese sauce on a brioche bun. Richest baby sandwiches ever?! Maybe, and perfect when washed down with a strong, sweet ale.

Power Hour can be enjoyed from 3-6pm any day of the week, either inside Brouwers’ cavernous, castle-like inside or their serene outdoor patio. Happy hour pricing or not, this little taste of old Europe is worth a trip outside, rain or shine.

Brouwer’s Cafe / 400 N. 35th St, Seattle, WA 98103 / 11am-2am daily

Artsy Photo of the Day

Rise and shine! It’s not just poutine, but morning poutine!

From the lovely Blue Glass in Seattle. Fries covered in sausage gravy and white cheddar cheese. Talk about an amazing way to start your day.

More: Tater Tot Poutine
NYC Tour de Poutine

Macaroni and Cheese Hot Dogs. Seriously.

Here’s a shocker for everyone: I’m here to report yet more breaking hot dog news! Two of my favorite trashy bar foods, mac & cheese and hot dogs, have found each other at last. Then they found my mouth.

We’ve covered the existence of macaroni & cheese hot dogs before on ES, but I’d never seen them in the wild… until now. During one of my many bar-hopping benders last week, I cruised into Po Dogs in Seattle for a late-night meat fix, and discovered the accurately named Mac ‘n’ Cheese Dog: Homemade macaroni and cheese topped with Tillamook cheddar cheese. As a professional food writer, I advise you to order barbecue sauce on this as well.

For those of you who demand yet more cheese-drenched meat options, feel free to order the Dub-T Dog: creamy cheese sauce, crushed potato chips, topped with mustard and ketchup.

I mean, why not? Frankly (no pun intended!), I would like to cover most of my meals in melted cheese. This is a step in the right direction.

Previously: Peanut Butter Bacon Hot Dogs. Seriously.
Octopus Hot Dogs. Seriously.

A “Different” Take on Chicken & Waffles

Foodwise, Seattle does a lot of things right. Seafood, apples, cherries, Pike Place Market, etc… Good job, go Northwest, most of the time I am very proud of the culture here.

BUT! Sometimes I am just embarrassed for this city. Such an incident occurred today when I was out grabbing some groceries at the market near my office. The special of the day:

You guys. YOU GUYSSSSS. I know Seattle isn’t known for its amazing, authentic soul food, but COME ON. Chicken ‘n’ waffles, but the waffles are legit EGGOS wrapped in saran wrap?! A whole box of Eggos costs less than $6.99. This is total pandering to the “southern food trend,” and I don’t like it one bit.

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