08 January 2009

seattle menu one

After picking up our rental car and creeping up the flooding I-5 to Marni and Greg's house, we weren't sure we wanted to drive all the way back to the International District (ID) and then wait for a table at the Tamarind Tree, but in the end we couldn't think of a good, close alternative, so we got back in the car and went downtown.

The Tamarind Tree is one of my favorite restaurants, and it's not just their food, which is very good, it's their beautiful little patio that makes the experience feel tropical even in the middle of one of the darkest foggy, windy and floody Seattle nights.  The patio is covered and surrounded by nearly opaque amber panels and is snuggled up against a retaining wall that takes you up to the higher levels of the ID.  We sat next to a concrete wall with a waterfall running down it under a very warm heater and were provided with blankets in case we got chilly.  Our waitress was terrific.  As Marni said:  "I'd buy the Brooklyn Bridge from her."

Okay, here's what we ate:

*Nam Tau Lui--Shitake Mushroom Satay (one of the best items of the evening)
*Ca Tim Lui--Asian Eggplant Satay
*Gie Cuon Cai Me--Tamarind Tree Roll
*Bahn Xeo Cai Me--Vegetarian Tamarind Tree Crepe
*Dau Que Xao Hu--Garlic Green Beans Tofu
*Bahn Mi Tom Bot Chien--Crispy Prawns Baguette
*and my other favorite, which I can't find the Vietnamese name for, butterflied grilled prawns wrapped around a grilled sugar cane

And dessert!  

*Quartet of mini ice creams:  black sesame seed, roasted coconut, ginger, and taro
*Banana Cakes: rice wrapped in red banana, grilled and served with a coconut sauce with green onion
*White Chocolate Ginger mousse

And drinks!
*Something with lime and coconut
*Something delish with seaweed, longon fruit, plum floating inside.  I think it was tamarind.

I won't recount each dish, but rather make a wholistc proclamation about this restaurant and it's rustic food:  you get a full sensory experience here--the crunch of peanuts, big plates piled with fresh herbs and lettuces against tangy dipping sauces, savory grilled tofu and vegetables, cool wraps around hot foods, steaming noodle bowls, desserts with delicately sweet green onions, etc. etc., and this is all echoed in the physical environment--the very warm heaters with periodic gusts of wind, the clouds moving over Boeing Field, drops of rain, splashes from the waterfall--and when you leave the Tamarind Tree, you're a little shocked to find you're right next to a produce market in an industrial corner of the ID.

It wasn't quite the same without Solid Gold Buddah there encouraging excessive ordering--he's in India now and was the discoverer of Tamarind Tree way back before it was so popular.


eliza.e.campbell said...


Mark A. said...

I feel full reading your post, La. I can see it all in my stomach's eye. Then there's Christian, juggling herbs and green things to stuff them up some crispy, savory roll. Not so much Viet food here and none in London.