Salmon Sando

Local Tide, $16

Sweet, sweet salmon. What can we say of her wonder? Songs have been written of this divine creature, as have poems, prayers, and spiritualisms. There is no question of the Indigenous cultures that have flourished in close friendship with salmon, and the marvel of frothing river tops in seasons of migration. From the Tulalip to the Chinook, the tribes along the Pacific Coast have over millennia echoed in resplendent communion with their natural collaborators.

Cured, slow-poached, and dissected into filets by tracing the natural grain of the fish, the team at Local Tide approaches their salmon cuts almost like artisans approaching a virgin piece of uncarved wood. Topped with pickled onions, and placed in between toasted slices of brioche, there is simply nothing bad I could say about the Salmon Sando at the elevated Fremont fish counter.

Salmon are amongst many species that face the detrimental impacts of climate change and pollution, which damage habitats and alter breeding patterns in populations. Perhaps the one lesson we can learn from Local Tide is this: treat a blessing well, and she will treat you in return. ANN GUO

The Marie Antionette

Polar Bar at Arctic Club Hotel, $17

Let me eat cake! Meg van Huygen

The swanky-fabulous Polar Bar inside the historic Arctic Club Hotel just reopened last month, after several years spent closed, and I’m just delirious with joy about it. I wasted no time in testing out every single cocktail on the fresh menu, and there were quite a few that I liked, but the one that really made me feel a feeling is the Marie Antoinette. The cocktail itself is light and uncluttered—gin, elderflower liqueur, lemon, and bubbly, like a French 75 with a flourish of St. Germaine. Tres femme. But then! Extremely importantly!!!! It comes with a piece of cake as the garnish! It’s not small either. A nice big slab of pound cake, balanced on the lip of the glass, acting for all the world like a lime wheel. A big buttery vanilla walrus on the tightrope. A thrill to behold, and an immaculate delight to eat. I’m hella gonna get one on my birthday. MEG VAN HUYGEN

Lao Sausage

Taurus Ox, $17

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If you haven't yet had a chance to stop by Taurus Ox in the 3 years or so they've been open, now is the time to haul your ass over to this delicious spot. In fact, this Laotian restaurant got so popular, that they had to move out of their cozy Madison Street digs to a more spacious location on 19th Avenue. (Their old spot will be a new Laotian burger place. Sounds incredible.) Anyway, their signature Laos Sausage is a great way to acquaint yourself with Taurus Ox. The sausage is a balanced mix of spicy and savory, with punches of lemongrass coming through. It’s cut and served on a bed of rice (your choice of jasmine or sticky), alongside cold, steamed veggies (tomato jaew or jaew bong) that help cool your mouth from all the heat. If you’re looking for something else to satiate your hunger, my friend Brandi absolutely swears by Taurus Ox’s mango coconut rice and Lao burger. "They live in my head on a loop," she told me recently. You can't go wrong here. JAS KEIMIG

Lamb Burger

Island Soul, $19

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It's easy to find a hamburger in this city. Some of these hamburgers are even good. Lamb burgers, on the other hand, are hard to find, and when found, are almost never good. But the one sold by Island Soul, a Columbia City restaurant that specializes in Caribbean dishes, always catches me by surprise. It has slices of tomato, onions, cucumber, tzatziki sauce, spinach, and a grilled lamb patty between brioche buns. Apparently, if these parts are combined right, you end up with what is at Island Soul, a near-perfect lamb burger. CHARLES MUDEDE

3 Ounces of Every Banchan

Ohsun Banchan, $24

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I am a fermentation true believer: give me your pickles, your misos, your krauts and kimchis, bubbling with live cultures and possibilities. In late 2022 a major new destination for banchan—the world of Korean side dishes—opened on First Avenue in Pioneer Square, on the same block as the iconic Central Saloon, where almost every PNW band (great or otherwise) has played at some point in the last hundred years. Ohsun’s remodel of the space at First and Main is bright and airy, an open kitchen making 100% gluten-free food with a focus on a kaleidoscopic offering of housemade banchan. 

You can order a nice bibimbap or dubu jorim to eat onsite, each dish paired with an assortment of banchan, or you can do like I did recently and order every single currently available banchan to-go in a 3-ounce snacking size and take them home for a playdate. You’ll leave with a half-dozen or so little containers of onion jangajji, pickled mu radish, spicy squid, cucumber muchim, apple cucumber potato salad, and more, an ever-changing menu of banchan interacting with the seasons. Once home, your bevy pairs beautifully with whatever starch and protein combo you might be into: a simple bowl of rice and tofu, some nice mackerel or salmon collar (perhaps from Pike Place), or my favorite, an unsung cut of steak like hangar or London Broil (visit Beast & Cleaver for these, the best butcher shop in town). Good banchan such as what you’ll find at Ohsun is like the Best Supporting Actress of cuisine accompaniments: it can both steal the show and uplift every other performer in the picture. JORDAN MICHELMAN