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Nov 19, 2008 09:32 PM

In Seattle on a college-budget

I will be visiting Seattle for two weeks over my college's winter break. I am a food writer and love to support small organic vegetable farms. Any suggestion where I can eat real food on a budget? What about markets?

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  1. elemental@Gasworks immediately comes to mind, it's a very good deal for what you get (and what you see on the menu is what you pay, tax is included and tipping isn't allowed.) Getting in can be a hassle as they don't take reservations and have few tables, but a foodie on a two-week break and a student budget should be willing to make the time/convenience tradeoff.

    Eat a lot of breakfasts or lunches in the Pike Place Market. The Crumpet Shop, Matt's in the Market, Pan-Africa Cafe, Le Panier, Cafe Yamarka, Piroshky Piroshky, Jack's Fish Spot, Emmett Watson's, etc. etc. Avoid the Pike Place Bar & Grill. The Athenian & Lowells might be interesting for the view and atmosphere but the food's not exciting for the price - better off having happy hour mussels in the upstairs bar at Maximilien.

    Markets, besides Pike Place, you should check out the farmers' markets in Ballard (Sunday) or U-District (Saturday).

    A word of advice, do your own math when buying from the "high" produce stalls in the Pike Place Market (the stalls near the Pike Street end of the market selling all kinds of produce that are not representing individual growers). Even though I live within blocks of the market and shop there every few weeks, I still regularly bust vendors adding 20 or 50 cents per pound to the price they punch into the scales. There's always a lame excuse - "oh, wow, we must have changed the price this week" - but it happens entirely too often to be accidental. The only high stall where I haven't had this problem is Sosio's - and the low stalls closer to the North end of the market, actually run by or on behalf of individual producers have always been honest dealers.

    1. There are lots of interesting, cheap restaruants on University Avenue near the UW--after all, they cater to college students. And Seattle's International District has great options. I love Wonton Noodle House for a delicious, filling, cheap bowl of SuiKau Noodle soup with bbq pork. There are a bunch of vegie markets that are super cheap and the produce is great -- my hunch is that a lot of it is locally grown by the same folks who sell produce for a whole lot more at Pike Place and other more upscale farmers markets.

      2 Replies
      1. re: o_pinon

        In the International District, don't miss Green Leaf. It's the best Vietnamese in town and very inexpensive.

        1. re: christy319

          I second that! They're delicious, I had dinner there last night. Also its totally the opposite end of the spectrum I love Dicks hamburgers. Really simple. Good local company, who give all their workers benefits. Also everything is made fresh. Best fried ever. Really good and cheap!

      2. How about the Agua Verde Paddle Club & Cafe, near the UW?

        1 Reply
        1. re: zoogrrrl

          Agua Verde is outstanding. Great fish tacos.