Christina Choi: Owner, Nettletown
2238 Eastlake Ave E, 588-3607
So you're the owner of the new restaurant Nettletown. Previous occupant Sitka & Spruce was well known for its communal dining, and yet here you've opted for a counter-service kind of place. Why?
My food is a little bit homier and less composed than the food at a "fancy" restaurant, and I wanted my presentation to reflect that. I also wanted to create the kind of casual place you could go to every day.
As the creator of Foraged and Found Edibles, which provides wild foods to farmers markets and restaurants, you spend a fair amount of time trudging through forests in search of magical in-season chanterelles. I'm guessing you were the kid who ignored the five-second rule.
Yeah, I guess so. I definitely ignored the five-second rule. I've never been afraid of dirt or bugs, and wild mushrooms have a lot of both.
You say your menu at Nettletown will be heavily based on the seasons. Can you pick a favorite, or is that like Sophie's Choice?
Hmmm. That's a hard question. I guess spring is really exciting because all of the new things that pop out of the ground. I would pick spring. Although it's hard not to get excited about summer as well.
Explain to me your obsession with nettles.
Well, they're one of the healthiest wild plants you can eat. Not the most healthy, probably. Someone could argue with me about that. But they taste really good, and you can do so much with them. They're prolific, really.
Don't they sting?
Only bad people.