Q&A: Keren Brown, author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle

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Northwest TripFinder (aka Lauren Braden) pulled up an ethernet cord with Frantic Foodie (aka Keren Brown), author of Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle, for a little chat about her new book.

photo by Ronald Holden http://www.cornichon.org/
photo by Ronald Holden

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.

Food Lovers' Guide to Seattle book by Keren BrownLauren: 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!


Read our review of  Food Lovers’ Guide to Seattle.See Keren’s blog, Frantic Foodie.Buy Food Lovers Guide to Seattle on Amazon.com.

Lauren Braden’s new book, 52 Ways to Nature, Washington: Your Seasonal Guide to a Wilder Year, is now available for pre-order
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