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Our Neighborhood Snackdown final match pits White Center against Wallingford. Which is the better neighborhood for eating?

Chris Kornelis loves eating in White Center .


Snackdown Finale! White Center vs. Wallingford

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Our Neighborhood Snackdown final match pits White Center against Wallingford. Which is the better neighborhood for eating?

Chris Kornelis loves eating in White Center.

White Center is the best neighborhood in Seattle for people who like to eat, not for foodies who like to be seen eating and heard talking about food.

The motivation behind the establishments here is to create good food at prices their customers can afford, not--as could be said about basically every other neighborhood in this town--to transplant an experience to a foreign audience.

The butcher shop, Carniceria El Paisano, sells tamales because folks in the neighborhood like tamales. They're indigenous to the neighborhood. That they are just a buck, served seven days a week, and delicious makes them an unspeakably great deal. They're also indicative of what you're going to find all over town in hole-in-the-wall bahn mi slingers to taco trucks and corn-on-the-cob vendors: non-pretentious, delicious, affordable food.

On 16th, the neighborhood's strip, Proletariat doesn't offer cheap pizza, but you'll be hard-pressed to find a better pie in town. Around the corner, on 14th, there's Big Al Brewing, a clubhouse brewery if there ever was one. In addition to their own impressive handles (try the Kolsch), they regularly feature "local hero" brews, which are recipes from their home-brewing regulars. At Big Al, you can bring in your own bag of tamales or a pie from Proletariat and make it a meal.

Wear what you want. Drink what you want. Eat how you wish. It's that kind of neighborhood.

Jay Friedman is sticking up for Wallingford.

Wallingford as a winner of the Great Neighborhood Snackdown? Absolutely. After all, Wallingford has evolved from a neighborhood where families frequented pizza joints to a place where hungry hipsters enjoy fast-food and food-truck options to award-winning restaurants--and good dessert choices as frosting on the (sometimes provocative) cake.

While most of Wallingford's food scene is on 45th, a couple of other places are well worth checking out. At Art of the Table, Dustin Ronspies prepares food that's fun, creative, bold, and artistic. Enjoy small-plate nights or the intimacy of fixed-price supper clubs. Meanwhile, Cantinetta is a high-quality Italian restaurant that every neighborhood craves for one of its corners. Pastas are divine, and you'll also want to enjoy pastry chef Lorna Stokes' creations. And Kisaku, a favorite of the Japanese community, has some of the best sushi in Seattle.

On 45th are eateries for the budget-minded and the bigger spenders. Here you'll find burgers, fries, and shakes at Dick's; or tortas, tacos, and other Mexican treats at Rancho Bravo--one of the older taco trucks in Seattle. You can find some of the city's tastiest vegetarian dishes at Sutra. And for some of the finest organic fare in the city, check out Tilth, where chef Maria Hines won a James Beard Award as Best

Chef of the Northwest in 2009.

Perhaps the jewel of Wallingford is Joule, appropriately named for the spark and energy of its food. Chefs Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi have received numerous accolades, including an appearance on Iron Chef America and semifinal status for a James Beard Award for Best Chef Northwest. Also, Joule was named one of the top 50 best new restaurants by Travel + Leisure in May 2009.

Joule's menu contains a limited number of items under the "Abroad" and "Native" flavor categories, as well as a seven-course "Collected" flavor menu for $35 per person (served family-style for the entire table). It's East meets West as you jump about the menu. Expect a symphony of bold flavors. The Joule chefs are great with the grill, which you'll notice in their preparations of beef tongue to octopus to fingerling potatoes. It's always great to get a little glass jar of kimchi or pickles, and if you find whole fish on the

menu, grab it. Note that Sundays are typically special at Joule, where there's family-style dining during the Urban BBQ series or the winter Sunday Supper series.

Finally, dessert lovers should have no fear, as there are options for a sweet finish in Wallingford. Molly Moon draws long lines for its popular ice cream. Another option is Fainting Goat gelato, with its bright, delicious flavors. And if you're not looking for a frozen treat, stop by the Erotic Bakery. Open 25 years, you'll find provocative cakes turning in the glass display, but if you prefer a "quickie," cash in on the cupcake craze and grab your choice of penis and vulva cupcakes--and maybe some sex toys to boot.

How many neighborhoods can provide the makings of a happy ending after fulfilling your culinary dreams?

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