THE HURRICANE CAFE
2230 Seventh Ave., DOWNTOWN 206-682-5858
open 24 hours daily
NUTRITIONISTS, FOOD CRITICS, and your mom all agree—late-night dining is bad for you. Perhaps that explains why polite Seattle largely frowns upon night-owl spots, and maybe that's why the Hurricane Cafe, whose wee-hour aura oozes unwholesomeness, thrives in defiance.
The food, for certain, is not what packs the place at 4 in the morning on a Saturday. My last visit touched all corners of the menu: an omelet, onion rings, sirloin steak, strawberry milk shake, and jalape�oppers, all topped off with a slice of apple pie (yes, I had help). The pepper-crusted sirloin was surprisingly good; the onion rings, milk shake, and poppers decent; the rest simply dreadful. The promise of unlimited hash browns seemed generous on the surface, but really wasn't; the pale, limp fries could spark a prison riot.
Late night at the Hurricane is a happening, though, and enough of one to excuse such pitiful potato products. Actual shady characters are part of the mix, along with a healthy complement of punks, ravers, and the clinically lonesome. Just as many of the booths are occupied, of course, by drunken voyeurs who love them all and are dying to know the answers to questions such as: Will the jockey-sized man next to us be able to finish those grande nachos, the chicken-fried steak entr饬 and the pint of chocolate milk all by himself? Is that frumpy middle-aged man across the aisle with the fresh Paul McCartney T-shirt the father of those teenaged girls sitting with him or something far, far worse? Might that woman waving a big hunk of meat on her knife and berating the waitress for screwing up her order be a vegetarian? Scenes like these are well worth indigestion —they're priceless fodder for the following morning's hangover breakfast. Graciously, the kid with the Cramps "Bad music for bad people" shirt in the corner helps me name the appeal of the place: bad food for bad people.
BIMBO'S BITCHIN' BURRITO KITCHEN
Have the cheap, enormous basic burrito under the fabulous, wall-to-wall kitsch of cheesy lights, would-be oil masterpieces, and love scenes on black velvet. For a smaller snack, get one of the tacos: A hard shell filled with something different like the garlic roasted potatoes will do you right, but be sure to get another one with a soft corn tortilla, too. Don't expect consistently stellar service from a place self-described as bitchin', but hell, it's good and it's open late (until 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday). 506 E. Pine St., 206-329-9978. noon-11 p.m. Mon.-Thurs.; noon- 2 a.m. Fri.-Sat.; 2-10 p.m. Sun. CAPITOL HILL
THE PEOPLE'S PUB
A cozy atmosphere and good German food available late at night in Seattle—who knew? Try the paprikaschnitzel, a pork cutlet saut饤 with onions and peppers. Eating paprikaschnitzel isn't quite as fun as saying the word out loud, but it's pretty close. Served with a surprisingly light and fluffy sp䴺le and some red cabbage, the dish is an authentic German feast (which wouldn't be complete without the proper beverage accompaniment, and there's an impressive selection of German brews on tap). 5429 Ballard Ave. N.W., 206-783-6521. 3 p.m.-2 a.m. Mon. and Wed.-Fri.; 11 a.m.-12:30 a.m. Sat.-Sun. BALLARD
In this fancy but thankfully low-lit expanse of grill and gleam, waiters dodge about filling imported crockery with olio e balsamico for crusty bread, while chefs dish up lovely crustaceans, grilled poultry, and smaller tapas-style plates, and the nightly applewood grill selection offers entr饳 like leg of lamb, Methow Valley ham, and goat. The goat-cheese fondue is one of the best midnight snacks in town, and yes, indeedy, they serve food till 1 a.m. every night, something little short of a miracle in Seattle. 2030 Fifth Ave., 206-448-2001.5 p.m.- 1 a.m. daily. DOWNTOWN
A squadron of large model airplanes hangs from the rafters; the decor's a garish orange and purple mishmash. The food is solid, hits-the-spot greasy spoon fare. The place is a longtime hangout for various aviation types (Boeing is just down the road) as well as traveling truckers and graveyard shifters, who gather to share their stories—both boring and rivetingly bizarre. A late night at Randy's is best described as a cross between the banality of a Hopper painting and the slashed-eyeball surrealism of a Bu� film. 10016 E. Marginal Way S., 206-763-9333. 24 hours daily. SOUTH PARK
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