Lauren: When did it dawn on you that you are a “foodie?”
Keren: I have always liked great food but when I realized that I could spend hours plotting meals and get excited over simple things like a new-to-me spice, I knew I was really into food.
Lauren: I’m happily eating my way through your book. I totally thought I knew Seattle food, but I’m discovering a plethora of places in your book that are new to me. When you were researching the book, tell me one of your finds that was brand new to you?
Keren: There is this tiny specialty store called Thanh Son Tofu. I wasn’t sure what to expect when I walked in but once I got through browsing all the Asian staples, I enjoyed choosing my tofu. It is house made and the silkiest tofu that I have ever tasted. Who knew that there was a store all about tofu?
Lauren: Seattle is a food-loving city. We line up at Salumi for lunch and don’t mind bumping elbows for some Serious Pie. Tell me about a restaurant that you included in the book that isn’t quite on the Seattle foodie radar yet, but that you predict will soon be huge?
Keren: Gorgeous George’s, a small Middle Eastern restaurant. I love the food there. It has white tablecloths but is quite casual. You can get kebobs, shawarma and the best hummus. Call before because he is not always open. I think people are just discovering it. All it takes is some TV show to mention it and it could become a sensation.
Lauren: I find some of Seattle’s most-hyped coffees to be over-rated. Like, I can’t stand the coffee at Cafe Ladro – it’s way too robust for me. But I think the hype around Portland’s Stumptown drip coffee is pretty right-on. Who serves up your favorite cup of coffee or makes your favorite latte? Is there any Seattle coffee that is over-rated in your mind?
Keren: I am not a big coffee person (especially pregnant now), but there are a few places that I really enjoy for learning about the coffee experience. One of them is Seattle Coffee Works, I just love how the owner Sebastien’s eyes light up when he talks to you about coffee and he will take you through every step of the roasting process.
Lauren: I have to ask this. I have looked all through your book and see nary a word about Seattle’s favorite cheap soup – a steaming bowl of $5 pho. Did I miss it? And what about Seattle’s other favorite staple – take-out teriyaki? I think of Seattle’s Teriyaki as Philadelphia’s Cheesesteak or Chicago’s deep-dish pizza. Why did you leave it out? Or perhaps I should ask, what could the grilled skewers of chicken draped in sugary sauce do to win your love?
Keren: As for the Pho, there are a quite a few Vietnamese places in the book like Tamarind Tree, Long Provincial and Green Leaf. Since space was limited, I really wanted places that had great pho but also had other items that I feel comfortable recommending and a matching atmosphere.
I actually pondered the Teriyaki thing a lot and tried quite a few places but I couldn’t find a place that I could actually say was the experience I wanted. For me to recommend it, it really has to stand out. Also, I see Teriyaki as the kind of thing that you find a joint and just walk in. It is when you are hungry and want something cheap and filling. It is not something that you plan too much. What are your suggestions? I would love to hear.
Lauren: I’m with you! Teriyaki joints are not places I frequent often because I don’t eat meat, so I’ll have to hand this question over to the readers. Readers? Best teriyaki?
Thanks so much, Keren, for the chat and best of luck with the book!