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Columbia City is a fine place to eat any day of the week, but cognoscenti know to visit the neighborhood on Wednesdays, when the wonderfully diverse farmers market unfolds on Edmunds Street.
Workers who miss the market can partake of its bounty at La Medusa, the cozy Sicilian eatery which every week patches together a delicious three-course meal from market finds.
La Medusa's bread comes from Columbia City Bakery, which consistently produces some of Seattle's very best loaves. Columbia City's central drag looks very much like an old-timey Main Street as imagined by a food lover. There's one of almost every establishment needed for good eating: In addition to the bakery, there's a homey diner (Geraldine's Counter), excellent Thai (The Spice Room), sushi (Wabi Sabi), pizza (Tutta Bella), barbecue (Jones Barbeque) and the city's top salted-caramel ice cream at Full Tilt. Why wait until Wednesday to go?
And Zibby Wilder wants to talk Central District.
The sign at 14th and Madison says "Welcome to the Central District" and for food lovers, the CD is truly welcoming. Though many recognize the CD for its concentration of Ethiopian restaurants, the depth and breath of its culinary offerings really does mean there's something for everyone.
Starting at one end of the spectrum, there's the James Beard award-winning Crush, Anchovies & Olives--Ethan Stowell's song to seafood, Marjorie's Southern soul, and Skillet--one of the most red-hot spots in all of Seattle.
Moving through the cuisines of the world you can find the city's best Ethiopian at Adey Abeba, Mesob and Saba; Southern spice at Catfish Corner and Oprah's favorite fried chicken at Ezell's. Teriyaki fans can get a great, cheap dish from the small kitchen inside Union Market (which also boasts the city's most diverse candy aisle--Pollo lollipops, anyone?) and authentic Mexican at the Tres Reyes food truck stationed at the car repair place in the old Shell station on Union and 21st.
For less-adventurous fare, there's neighborhood favorite Piecora's pizza and Central Cinema also makes a mean pie - nicely paired with with a hot bowl of curried popcorn. Beehive Bakery recently opened its doors at 23rd and Union, breathing new life to a sad location once considered cursed, and offering tasty, fresh-baked cookies, pastries, and cakes.