Work your way down the global-local Emerald City eats buffet.
The most important work at Kamonegi, in Seattle’s Fremont neighborhood, happens in a small closet. That’s where owner Mutsuko Soma or one of her deputies spends hours each day, making the restaurant’s Japanese soba noodles by hand. Rolled and cut, they join Northwest specialties — spot prawns, razor clams, and buckwheat honey — in a parade of dishes emblematic of the best of Seattle’s current culinary scene. Personal and craft-driven, here the talent is creatively turning something from somewhere else into a local cuisine.
It’s a pattern in action at Alcove, where Emme Collins marries her Seattle upbringing and Afro-Brazilian roots to serve dishes like moqueca made with local halibut. And again at Archipelago, where Aaron Verzosa cooks a dozen courses of Filipino food seen through a Pacific Northwest lens for eight people at a time — dishes like Washington-raised steak topped with orosa sauce, based on banana ketchup.
Each of these spots has been nourished by the community — some literally, through crowd-funding — and that community’s home base is Book Larder. To call this bright, energized space a bookstore is a disservice to the cooking classes and meals it offers; to call it a cookbook shop would be to forget about the non-food books it carries that line up with its ideals of inclusivity and social justice. It is — in the vein of San Francisco’s Omnivore and New York’s Bonnie Slotnick — a home and gathering place for the city’s food lovers and hungry visitors, where people congregate in search of their own answers to what, how, and why we eat what we do.
In Seattle, most often the answer to “how” is: washed down with a local beer. At Lucky Envelope, Ray Kwan and Barry Chan employ the same global-local outlook of Seattle’s food scene through brews like Two Pepper Pale Ale (habanero and shishito, if you were wondering) and Tea-Smoked Helles Lager. Like all the makers in Emerald City right now, what Chan and Kwan create tells you immediately who they are and where you are, as the best food and drink does. kamonegiseattle.com, alcoveseattle.com, archipelagoseattle.com, booklarder.com, luckyenvelopebrewing.com
Photography: Courtesy Lucky Envelope Brewery, Howard Frisk Photography/Courtesy Visit Seattle CVB
From the October 2019 issue