Craft Supply Store

Cheap, bustling, and colorful

Glo's Even if you attempt to avoid the crowds by going to this small, bustling hot spot for midweek lunch, prepare to wait outside with a slew of sleepy-headed hipsters. They know, despite this diner's unfussy aesthetic, Glo's is the source for one fantastic eggs Benedict. The tiny kitchen operates like a busy craft store. From what looks like an oversupply of raw materials—check out the racks and racks of eggs—comes what might seem an incongruous creation. A pair of perfectly poached eggs will arrive smothered in a lemony, highly buttery Hollandaise sauce, two near spheres decorated with exact slivers of black olive. In anticipation of this pleasure, you'll happily sip your mug of strong coffee outside in the drizzle. Other pleasures await: thick-cut slices of French toast, well-spiced roasted potatoes, and pancakes studded with bananas, hazelnuts, and chocolate chips. A chain supply store it's not, but this mirror-walled enclave crafts many a fine ode to the egg. ADRIANA GRANTServes: breakfast, lunch. 1621 E. Olive Way, 324-2577. CAPITOL HILL $ Homestyle Hong Kong Cafe Homestyle HK actually looks more like a paint-your-own-ceramic store than a shop for craft supplies, because the room is set up to be scrubbed down, with plain tile floors and stainless-steel tables, with not a stainable, char-able surface in the place. The reason for the workshop furnishings becomes apparent when you look around at all the tinfoil-covered clay pots on the tables. Half contain rice porridge, the other half baked rice with toppings like pork and preserved cabbage or seafood with XO sauce. The waiters carefully bring each bowl from the oven to your table, lifting off the top when it arrives so you can suck in every plume of steam the bowl contains. Your task is to pour over a dish of soy sauce and then stir up, letting the rice bake onto the pot so it gets all brown and crispy (say a quick prayer of thanks to the dishwashers before you dig in). Diligently working away at their own bowls are hordes of lunchers, who supplement their labors with boiled shrimp and leek dumplings and bowls of skinny egg noodles in a delicate chicken broth (the versions with fish balls or braised short ribs are my favorite). At less than $8 a pop, this ain't banquet food—it's homestyle. JONATHAN KAUFFMANServes: lunch, dinner. 615 S. King St., 748-9168. INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT $ Pho Bac While Pho Bac's fairly limited menu is a far cry from Ben Franklin's aisle after aisle of Popsicle sticks, glitter tubes, and googly eyes, the interiors of both of Pho Bac's I.D. locations appear as though that's where the decor was sourced. The plates accompanying the pho are garnished with piles of crisp, watery bean sprouts and fresh basil, while the walls are covered in artificial ivy and lined with fake floral arrangements. The menus vary according to location—12th and Jackson is limited to the Vietnamese beef-noodle soup alone, while Seventh Avenue adds apps like spring rolls and a greater variety of noodle and stir-fry rice dishes. But the two restaurants are clearly related, evidenced by their similar strands of white Christmas lights and seat coverings that share the same snowflake-and-leaf pattern. The decor, despite the owners' best intentions, may be a bit thin, but the broth is far from it. Rich, meaty, and full of delicate rice noodles, the soup is some of the best in town. Slurping it can cure what ails you, whether it's a hangover or that pesky late-season flu bug. AJA PECKNOLDServes: lunch, dinner. 415 Seventh Ave S., 621-0532; 1314 S. Jackson St., 323-4387. INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT $ Seattle Deli Seattle Deli gives me some sense of what my craftiest friend feels when we stop in at the yarn store on Pike Street. I loop around the room once and then stand by the door while he spends 45 minutes meandering around with other daydreaming knitters, feeling up blobs of wool or plotting grandiose projects around a skein of embroidery floss. The moment I step into the Vietnamese deli, I start drooling at all the prospects it offers. Should I paw through the stacks of sticky-rice desserts and fresh spring rolls, or ask the woman behind the counter to dish me up sweetened beans and coconut milk for a glass of che? Should I add a puffy fried bread to my order, just to see what it tastes like? What would I cook with the tubes of bright-red sausage or the cotton-candy-like shredded meat in the refrigerator case? Some days I fill a grocery bag with a day's worth of, um, projects. Other days, reality sets in, and I ask the sandwich maker to fix up one of what I think are the city's best barbecued-pork banh mi. JONATHAN KAUFFMANServes: breakfast, lunch. 225 12th Ave. S., 328-0106. INTERNATIONAL DISTRICT $

 
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