Sun shines on a marvelous melting pot of picnic fare
The Greater Seattle area has a lot of great places that have the supplies to put together a great grab-and-go picnic.
Seattle Times food writer
The time's prime for an all-American picnic. But before you ice up your cooler and set your checkered blanket with the obvious — say, Ezell's fried chicken and Safeway potato salad — remember this: You live in Greater Seattle, where in addition to the traditional picnic-fixin' options, we've got a globe-spinning array of eats from around the world — if you know where to look. Here are a handful of stops to consider before heading out into the sunshine. What's your favorite picnic-shop stop? Come talk on the blog: seattletimes.com/allyoucaneat.
15015 Main St., Suite 110, Bellevue, 425-865-0439
Hours: 10 a.m.-8 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays.
The name is International, but it's the Eastern European specialties that rule at this Kelsey Creek Center sensation: a Black Sea's worth of smoked seafood, near-black salamis, smoky sausages and other imported meats (Unsure what you're looking at? Ask for a taste), hulking hunks of feta (among other cheeses) plus dense and delicious rye bread — sliced, or by the heavy loaf — to lay them on. Kids will clamor over the candy display and bakery treats (poppy-seed cake!), and I turn into a kid in a candy store when it comes to the array of cold appetizers built with scarlet beets, pickled eggplant and mini-mushrooms.
225 12th Ave. S., Seattle, 206-328-0106; 22618 Highway 99, Suite 113, Edmonds, 425-776-1788
Hours: 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. daily.
For years, Seattle Deli was my go-to spot in Little Saigon for Vietnamese takeout: made-to-order banh mi sandwiches, hot egg rolls and pork-filled pastries, steam-table tofu and sesame-speckled sweet bean balls. And then a sibling store opened in Edmonds — minutes from my front door. Now you can find me here weekly, stocking up on all those crazy-cheap eats perfect for a picnic, as well as grab-and-go goodies like rice-paper-wrapped spring rolls, shrimp and green papaya salads and Technicolor sticky rice. Cash only.
Salvadorean Bakery and Restaurant
1719 S.W. Roxbury St., Seattle, 206-762-4064; www.thesalvadoreanbakery.com
Hours: 7 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.
Salvadorean sisters Ana Castro and Aminta Elgin bring a taste of El Salvador to this White Center wonder billed as a bakery but also prized as a pupuseria and Latino grocery. Who needs potato chips when you can have yuca chips? Why drink Sprite when there's Jarritos? Coleslaw on your picnic-packing list? Try their sharp, vinegary curtido. Take out some tamales, don't forget the pupusas (prepared with handmade tortillas), and be sure to fill up a bakery box with cookies, cakes and pastries, including my favorite pumpkin-filled turnovers.
The Spanish Table / Paris Grocery
Spanish Table: 1426 Western Ave., Seattle, 206-682-2827; www.spanishtable.com
Hours: 9:30 a.m.-6:30 p.m. Mondays- Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays.
Paris Grocery: 1418 Western Ave., Seattle, 206-682-0679; www.parisgroceryseattle.com
Hours: 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays.
Provisioning a picnic at Pike Place Market is a no-brainer, but why not take a European detour down to Western Avenue — home to the sprawling Spanish Table and its petite soeur, the nearby Paris Grocery (open since September). Between the two, you can "olé!" and "ooh la la!" over jamón and jambon, chorizo and charcuterie, Matiz fig-bread and madeleines. The shops are well-stocked with wines and cheeses from the mother country and offer enlightenment when it comes to both. Need some literary inspiration to take to la playa or le parc? They've got that, too.
Take 5 Urban Market
6757 8th Ave. N.W., Seattle, 206-420-8104; www.take5urbanmarket.com
Hours: 8 a.m.-8 p.m. daily.
OK, now what if you want some good new-fashioned "American food," made from scratch and quality products? Come see Richard Aspen, whose Ballard sandwich stop and grocery-cafe has swiftly become a neighborhood favorite. A classic meatloaf? They've got it. Ditto for the bacon-laden potato salad. Spinach salad is sublime: generously strewn with candied walnuts, blue cheese and ripe pear.
Remember that "Silver Palate" staple, curried chicken salad? Take 5's take is stuffed into a pita pocket. Carrot cake is pretty (and portable) in its big muffin-cup. Expect to find plenty of chips and other snacks, a fridge full of cold beverages (alcoholic and otherwise) and smiling service from the cozy crew.
Nancy Leson: email@example.com.
About Nancy Leson
Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants. Check her latest thoughts in her All You Can Eat blog. Her column appears each Wednesday. Her restaurant roundups appear monthly, on Fridays, in the Restaurants and Entertainment sections.
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