Three Girls Bakery
1514 Pike Pl, Suite 1, 622-1045
Mon-Sat 7 am-6 pm.

I know, I know, there are hundreds of food options in the Pike Place Market. I wouldn't know where to begin in listing them, though, since I've rarely cheated on my favorite sandwich: the marinated-eggplant special at Three Girls Bakery.

A friend dragged me to the 3GB lunch counter--tucked behind the bakery's prominent to-go window--soon after I landed in Seattle, and demanded I order the eggplant sandwich. The prospect of marinated eggplant, hummus, onion, sprouts, tomato, and provolone slapped into a sourdough baguette didn't sound all that appealing. Did it come with a side of Altoids, so my breath would be civil afterward? I didn't even know what marinated eggplant was.

Turns out it's delicious. Concocted by a mythical man named Carlo--who used to work at 3GB (apparently, he's since left to start his own business, Papa's Eggplant, dealing exclusively in nightshades)--slices of eggplant soak in an oil-vinegar-spice cocktail until they shrink up, turn translucent, and acquire a distinctive pickled flavor.

In the sandwich ($5.50), the tangy little bits of eggplant--which gain a meaty texture during marination--are overwhelmed by the hummus; opt for a light swipe of mayo instead. Thankfully, the old sourdough baguette has been ditched in the time since I first discovered the sandwich--one bite and the eggplant would fall out on all sides--and replaced with sturdy nine-grain sliced bread, so I no longer have to be a pain and customize my market-lunch standby with several snobby demands. Not that the staff at 3GB, also home of a "most famous" one-third-pound meatloaf sandwich, would mind. They'll put anything you like on top of your eggplant, with minimal sass.

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