*See Also Seattle Weekly's Snackdown Returns
Hanna Raskin's high on Tukwila, Seatac, Federal Way, Des Moines and Burien.
I recently booked a hotel room near the airport so I could make a quick eastbound getaway on a 6 a.m. flight. My plan had nothing to do with eating: All my culinary hopes were pinned on the Doubletree's free chocolate-chip cookie.
But since I was in the mood for sushi, I ventured out for dinner at Miyabi, a restaurant I liked so much I added it to my review list. After dinner, I crossed the street for dessert at Unicone, the outstanding Japanese crepe stand that's maintained its Southcenter Mall location even though it's now back in the International District. My low expectations were obviously unfounded.
As my expedition suggests, there's an impressive Asian food scene in Tukwila (other favorites include Mali Thai Cuisine and Seafood City), Seatac (home to Mango Thai and Uwajimaya's in-airport teriyaki counter) and Federal Way, perhaps the local epicenter of Korean cuisine.
For fans of kimchi and seafood soup who'd prefer to cook at home, the terrifically well-stocked H Mart specializes in all the necessary ingredients. But it's hard to resist the temptation to eat out when nearby restaurants including Youngwol Noodle, Traditional Korean Beef Soup, Palace BBQ, Kokiri and Korean fried chicken emporium Hanmaum do such a bang-up job.
While the incredible array of Korean offerings in Federal Way tends to overshadow its other restaurants, the city's culinary scene is far more diverse than some residents of Seattle realize: Alongside a Korean strip mall, Afghan Cuisine & Banquet Hall serves stupendously delicate mantoo, while Blanca Rodriguez grills a gorgeous (and elegantly compose) steak at Pimentia Bistro.
Over in Des Moines, the leading kitchens are oriented east, toward the Sound: Wally's Chowder House & Broiler and locations of Salty's and Anthony's HomePort are probably the city's most popular restaurants. But serious eaters flock to this corner of the county for restaurants which find their influences further south: Taqueria La Estacion, Tortas Locas and El Fogoncito in Burien help make this district the neighborhood of choice for devotees of Latin cooking.
And Mike Seely's betting on Auburn, Kent and Renton.
A perfect day in Auburn starts at Emerald Downs, where a very cheap, serviceable breakfast buffet's can be had at the Quarter Chute Cafe. But the eating doesn't have to end at the track.
Assuming your trips to the paddock limited your visits to the buffet, you'll want to stop by The Sun Break for a hunk of banana bread. The pastry's so popular that a burglar last month tore off the restaurant's front door so he could steal a loaf from the oven. ""I wish I'd have known," owner Bruce Alverson told KING 5 News. "I would have left it sitting outside the door for them with a napkin." You'll find the bread alongside the cash register. And if a slice puts you in the banana mood, the Washington Banana Museum - easily the best single-subject food museum in western Washington - is a short stroll from the restaurant's newly-repaired front door.
For lunch, there are plenty of options in Kent, including Nazes Seafood, an Australian-run fish-and-chips joint; Banyan Tree, locally celebrated for its noodles and curries; Saimin Says, purveyor of phenomenal loco moco, kalua pork and mac salad; BBQ Pete's, an offshoot of the Puyallup Fair's favorite smoked meat stand and Wild Wheat Bakery, where the pastrami and lox are made from scratch.
And since a day which starts with wagering should end with a steak dinner, there's Melrose Grill in Renton. Housed in a building that's served as a tavern for more than a century, Melrose offers a 21-ounce porterhouse (served with a salad and choice of potato) for $35, so even if your pony finished last, you can eat like a winner.