Soak It Up In 'Almost Classy' Style at Lowell's


Soaking Spot: The iconic Lowell's in Pike's Market. The restaurant's motto is "Almost Classy" presumably because it's kind of a lunch counter with three floors with stunning views of Puget Sound. Between the vista and the location in the market, I've always avoided it as a tourist trap.

Time of the Soak: Saturday, 10:57 a.m. I planned to meet my friend Kimberly at 11, luckily I got downtown a few minutes early and realized they stop serving breakfast then. I called, panicked, offering to order. She was killing time at a nearby bookstore waiting for our meet time so we rushed in under the wire. I have to say, I felt a little skeptical, no breakfast after 11 and nothing but tourists taking a break from Christmas shopping? None of it boded well for the breakfast experience.

Level of Hangover: Usually when I write a "Soak it Up", I come up with some fakey hangover thing like lack of sleep or too much incense at a choral mass. I drink frequently, but rarely in large quantities. But today I came in at a solid 7 on a scale of 1 to 10 after a video-games and karaoke booze fest with friends from childhood. Maybe that explains all the cynicism building up to the minute we actually ordered. I soon found out the bad attitude was completely unwarranted.

Soaking it Up: We decided to split the dungeness eggs benedict and take our number upstairs where they'll bring the order to you. The second floor is the table service and clearly we didn't have time to be seated before breakfast ended and my Rock Band-induced headache demanded eggs. The woman handed me a coffee mug and we truged up the stairs.

Success of the Soak:
As I reached the top of the stairs, I gasped. The Olympics rose in snow-covered glory across the frigid grey waters. "Oh my gosh," I breathed, temporarily forgetting how badly I needed a cup of coffee. Our table looked out over the water and sipping the warm, caffeinated liquid, I slowly eased back into the land of the living with the backdrop of nature's majesty to help me along. Then the food arrived--it was pretty traditional benedict, but they don't skimp on the crab which tastes nicely steamed, not rubbery, like something recently reheated in the microwave. The creamy hollandaise and toasted muffin worked perfectly with the rich seafood to kill the final remnants of my hangover.

Hair of the Dog: The bar is on the second level, where the table service is, which we weren't early enough for. But in truth, when I'm fighting an actual hangover--which is rare--all I want is coffee and keep it coming. On the third floor you get it yourself so no waiting around for waiters, just coffee, coffee, coffee until all is once again right with the world.

This isn't the first time I've assumed that just because something is kind of famous, I won't like it. But looking out over the water, sipping a little more coffee while the tender crab and rich hollandaise erased the poor decision to "sure I'll have another one" from the night before, I wondered what else I was missing with my tendency to judge "touristy" Seattle eateries as so much fodder for tourist dollars.

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