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Sep 22, 2009 09:34 AM

Lunch Driving North from SEATAC

Hi! I'm flying into Seattle on Saturday to begin a two week tour of the Pacific Northwest. Thanks for the great food tips on this board - - we're planning on visiting Lark, Quinn's, and Monsoon for our dinners in Seattle.

My question, though, is about where we should stop for lunch on Saturday. We'll be driving north from SEATAC to Vancouver, BC around lunchtime. What's close to I-5 for a quick tasty lunch? Maybe a hole-in-the-wall spot? We're planning on oysters on Chuckanut Drive, but I have a feeling we'll need to eat sooner and would prefer not to eat crummy fast food. Given that we're driving through Seattle, I'm hoping you'll be able to point me toward something good.

Thanks in advance!

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  1. There are not many quick restaurants I would recommend in Skagit county (Mount Vernon). BUT, if it fits within your lunch schedule, the Skagit County Food Co-op actually has a wonderful restaurant in it! Local, fresh, organic ingredients, creatively prepared with a very wide variety of choices. It is right downtown in Mount Vernon -just off I5. It is my "go to" place for q tasty, healthy lunch. They have an upstairs dining area now as it has become so popular. Try it!

    4 Replies
    1. re: sedimental

      You probably want to avoid Mount Vernon. They are presenting the key to the City to Glen Beck.

      1. re: JohnnyT

        At first I thought this was a joke; but no, Mt. Vernon is actually honoring Glenn Beck on Saturday. We will avoid the crowds, thanks.

        Should we visit Mt. Vernon on the way back south next Wednesday and stop at the Skagit coop? We'll be driving from Vancouver to Harstine Island in the Puget Sound. I initially thought we'd just stop at Pike Place to buy provisions for our stay on the island before grabbing the Bremerton Ferry. But, given that we'll have plenty of time in Seattle later in the trip, would it be better (or less expensive?) to stop at the Skagit coop for provisions? As it'll be a Wednesday, I also saw that Bellingham and Wallingford have markets those days, which we may be able to visit depending on what time we're driving by.

        If anyone has thoughts about where we should stop for great groceries on the way south, it'd be appreciated. We'll generally be looking for in-season produce and local meat and fish.

        Thanks again for all the tips. Good stuff.

        1. re: RChicago

          I am from Bellingham and can tell you that the downtown Saturday market is wonderful for fresh organic produce, local cheese (fresh goat cheese!), etc. Bellingham also has a coop downtown - not far from the Market -with an exceptional array of local cheeses, breads etc... and other things you can't get at the open market (like wine!). I don't care much for the restaurant in the B'ham coop though (Skagit is better for that, reminds me of the old "Moosewood"). Skagit coop is less expensive but has less selection for things like cheese and wine. Bellinghamsters will pay higher prices for the finest organic foods and that is reflected in the pricing at the coop. The market is much cheaper.

          1. re: RChicago

            The Wednesday market in Bellingham is on the south side of town in Fairhaven. Much smaller than the Saturday market, but still great. While you are in Fairhaven you can buy great cheeses from Quel Frommage and bread from Avenue Bread and you'll have a fabulous lunch. If you want fish & chips or clam chowder, hit the red double decker bus on the corner. Love their chowder!

      2. If you drive North from the SeaTac airport on HIghway 509, and get off at Cloverdale, you'll drop into South Park, where you'll find Muy Macho, for a great plate of mix-and-match tacos. It will be useful to bring along a Spanish speaker, but I get fed nicely without...

        1. We flew into SeaTac a couple of weeks ago and stopped for lunch at Dick's in Seattle. Hamburger, fries and a shake. Totally hit the spot, if htat's what you're craving. IIRC it wasn't too far from I-5 (my sister was driving and she's familiar with the area).

          4 Replies
          1. re: coney with everything

            Thanks, coney. Is there one Dick's in particular that you'd recommend? There look to be several and if one is the original, better than others, etc., it would be great to know.


            1. re: RChicago

              The Dick's in Wallingford on NE 45th is very close to I-5, but frankly, since I-5 basically cuts through central Seattle, alot of better lunch spots are also very close. For example, why not continue down 45th, make a left on Fremont and grab some sandwiches from Paseo? (call ahead from your cell). Or get off earlier at Dearborn and have Vietnamese at Green Leaf, pho at Pho Bac, or bahn mi from Vietnam Saigon Deli or Seattle Deli. Find out where mobile vendors Skillet or Marination Mobile are and if convenient, grab a burger and fries (which absolutely blows Dick's away) or some Korean tacos or Hawaiian sliders.

              Eating raw oysters from Taylor's shop near Chuckanut drive is a great plan, and this Saturday looks to be nice weather-wise. I'm not aware of much else that is worthwhile along the I-5 corridor between Lynnwood and the border (though I'm sure there are some Bellingham favorites I'm overlooking).

              1. re: equinoise

                Hey, I would say Dick's is pretty much McDonalds... it's main draw is that it's open late and its where everyone goes when they're drunk.

                I would go with the Vietnamese suggestion at Green Leaf.. it's relatively close to the I-5. Kind of a hole-in-the wall and they've got good pho... although if you're going to vancouver, you might find better pho up there

                1. re: acnericng

                  I would disagree about Dicks, it is definitely a cut above McD's for food and atmosphere. If the OP isn't looking for a sitdown lunch, I think it's a decent choice.