There is a time and place for the uber-nice, fancy food spots in Seattle. We definitely have our favorites (as seen here), but what really gets us excited is when we hear from a friend of a friend’s cousin that the best $2 tacos are being sold discreetly in the back of a bar or there is a spicy banh mi for $1.50 from a dive-y street cart. These are the real heroes in our eyes! Check out these four secret and cheap spots we have learned about in the last year. They are all worth checking out and all are dirt cheap and delicious.
You probably would never guess that this brightly colored coffee shop in Beacon Hill would also be home to some of the best tamales in the city, but that’s what makes it so great! The owners are from Mexico, which means they know what they are doing and there are 7 different choices at only $2.50 a pop. In our opinion, tamales can sometimes be dry, but not these. They are soft and warm, flavorful and filling. Our favorite was the pork with red salsa, but the chicken was delicious too. Don’t forget to get a Cafe de Olla (Mexican spiced coffee). This is Seattle after all.
This convenience store on 45th Street in the Wallingford neighborhood will sell you a 5-hour Energy and make you a fresh and colorful poke bowl. While there is excellent poke in this city, we like the Stop N Shop because the portions are large, the fish is extremely fresh, and the soy sauce is house made. In addition to the rice and fish, the bowls are loaded with other toppings including lettuce, edamame, seaweed, crab salad, ginger, sesame seeds, and some other delicious stuff we are probably forgetting.
Lyon’s, located on Dexter Avenue, is the neighborhood grocery store of your dreams. Not only can you get your fix of Pop-Tarts, cereal, and ice cream, but you can grab a warm deli sandwich for lunch or dinner too. Lyon’s has an extensive list of sandwiches that includes both standard and unique flavors. We love the Caribbean Roast Pork and the I Love NY, but we also had our eyes set on The Bird, which sounds like Thanksgiving dinner (think turkey and cranberry sauce).
Fried chicken from a convenience store might scare some people, but we’ve never been choosy. It’s a good thing too, because the fried chicken you can purchase from the Quick Pack is the perfect consistency of tender and crunchy. How do they get it so right? It's cheap, fast, and tastes as good as it smells. Ask for their hot sauce if you like a little heat to your bird-- it's a great addition. And while the Quick Pack is small, you can still grab a drink and something sweet as you check out to round out your fried-chicken-in-a-convenience-store experience.
Got a secret and cheap food spot we need to know about? Please share! We promise not to tell a soul…