A travel journal
to Seattle by El Gallo
Quote: The Seattle University area (the "U. District") is a unique village within Seattle. It has always obeyed different laws, heeded different drummers, and protected different fauna. It's a mingling point for travelers and adventurers, a good place from which to explore Seattle.
There are other features in the building. See College_Inn_Pub review.
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 19, 2004
4000 University Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
The Continental has long been one of my favorite haunts/caffeine scores/declamation areas. It's almost totally atmosphere-free, but that's where a lot of cool people have hung out for years, if only drinking coffee and eating the meringues, baklavas, and luscious Honey Bars.
But you eat there, too - and very well for decent prices. They have gyros and spanikopticka and Nagasaki and fetid cheese and all that Greek stuff. It's really good, seriously. Just hard to spell.
I'm a habitué, and it just seems like authors and relics from the ‘60s and artists and such are always coming in. It's a place that can give that "second living room" feeling without trying to. Or there's Starbucks next door if you're a total write-off.
50th & University Way
You can rent canoes and rowboats at the Waterfront Center and paddle around Lake Union, the Ship Canal, or the channels of the Arboreteum.
Phone: 206.543.9433. Cost: $6.50/hour. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org. Map: http://www.washington.edu/home/maps/southeast.html.
The Northwest Outdoor Center at 2100 Westlake Ave. N will rent you a sea kayak for $10 to $15 per hour. They also have guided tours, classes, and neat stuff like Christmas lights paddles. Phone: 800/683-0637 or 206/281-9694. Website: www.nwoc.com.
Combine kayak rental with great Mexican food and beer at AguaVerde (Boat Street in the University District). Down underneath the place, you can rent kayaks and stroke off to explore the Canal, Lake Union, or even Lake Washington. Upstairs, it's a cheerful, happy place full of people sipping Mexican beers and trying the unusual tacos. Eat in the colorful converted house or out on the deck, or take your plate down to the park benches by the water. A great guitarist plays there on Wednesday nights. Website: www.aguaverde.com.
Another great place to mix boating with chow is Ivar's Salmon House (Northlake Ave, under I-5). It's nice inside, with all the cedar and northwest Indian carvings, but I like to buy take-out up front, then carry it around to the barge. You can sit right on the water watching boats go by (or pulling in to tie up and eat), feed chips to the seagulls, and get a great view of the downtown skyline, including the Space Needle. You can get the salmon and cornbread, or just the famous chowder, for under $2. It’s a good place to eat if you're out kayaking, too.
Paddle rentals With Chow
Around University District
Attraction | "The Blue Moon"
Member Rating 5 out of 5 on December 31, 2004
Blue Moon Rainbow Bar & Grill
722 NE 45th (right AT I-5)
Seattle, Washington 98105
Although all the other streets in the University District are Avenues, what should be 14th Avenue is officially called 'University Way.' So of course, everybody calls it 'The Ave.' Below Campus Parkway is 'Lower Ave,' which is of no tourist interest until it hits the water at Boat Street, where Agua Verde and Boat Street Cafe offer very pleasant dining. North of 50th is the 'Upper Ave,' with a solid row of cheap foreign chow. In between is just The Ave, boulevard for students, street people, beatniks, bozos, buskers, and boners. And the length of it is almost solid restaurants—almost all of them in the cheaper price range, and almost all offering lunch specials. Here's a partial guide:
Lets start south and work our way north, like fire ants and killer bees. At 4114 is Shultzy's Sausage, where only a boor would call them hot dogs. Under $5 will get you some incredible wienies on your buns—bratwurst, Kosher, Italian, even Cajun Andouille. They even have an in-house oxymoron—the sausage hamburger. It’s a homey place popular with pre-football crowds, with a big window opening to the passing Ave. traffic. This block is also packed with several very nice coffee houses, by the way—Perkengruven fits into the Euro-ghetto style with its antiseptic Scandic interior.
Now we’ll jump up to 4311, where the Russian Bakery serves Piroshky, Pelmeni, traditional borsch Piroghies, and stuffed cabbage (and you can get something for as low as $2.95). That's pretty much it for Euro-centric cuisine. The rest tends towards Third World Beat eats.
We’ll start out right with Orizuru, a Japanese place set back in a parking lot at 4128. They have good food and a style that tends to please a largely Japanese clientele, as well as normal prices. But the nice thing is that they have tables outside—a rarity on the Ave.
At the corner of 42nd is Shalimar, occupying the spot that was the center of the Ave. for decades: the 24-hour Coffee Corral, owned by handball god Mike Chase. Nowadays, it’s a decent Indian place where you can get an Indian salad for $3.50 or a muligatawny soup and naan for $3.50. Can you pass that up? The name alone...muligatawny. Cool.
Across the street at 4139 is a heavy hitter in the cheap eats sweepstakes—Aladdin Falafel. You can order to-go right out the front window or go in the back, where tapestries and that weird/wired Near East music create a sort of cut-rate seraglio feel, sometimes marred by the presence of doofus frat kids. But the main thing is that they do it CHEAP. Their starting sandwich, with a dozen choices including gyro, chicken, and falafel, is only $2.76. UNDER $3! You can add size, sides, and goodies for more money. Size may not matter, but sides do. There is another Aladdin above 45th at 4541, but it is just a counter and grill. Same low prices, though.
The east side of the block north of 42nd, up to the post office, is almost totally packed with a world-spanning variety of food with alluring odors. All are tasty, and all run about $5.95 to start, also to-go. But one that calls for special notice is The Himalayan Sherpa. When was the last time you ate at a Tibetan restaurant? Especially one that sells Yak meat? Charts show that Yak beats out beef in fat, protein, cholesterol, bardo, karma, and feng shui. They have lunches starting at $3.99 and a buffet for $5.95.
Then the international row starts up: Noble Palace (Chinese), My's Vietnamese, which is unadorned but has a wide selection of some very good stuff, including 'Vietnamese sandwiches', Then Pixxa Brava, and Thanh Vi, another popular Vietnamese joint. The block is topped off by the Thai-Ger Room(sic), the Wok Chinese cuisine, and Ina Ka Japanese cuisine.
Across the street are a few more places of note. Than Brothers Bakery features Chinese/Vietnamese cuisine but also French bakery items and has been, for some reason, a hangout for Ethiopians, Eritreans, and other African students. Up at 4235 is the University Noodle Shop, with a Thai/Nam orientation. You can get vegetarian Pad Thai for $3.95. And at 4237 is a MAJOR player in the cheap lunch scenario, China First. They have a $3.25 lunch special from 11am to 4pm every day of the week. You can choose from a dozen specials: Lemon Chicken, Sweet and Sour Pooch, Kung Pau Rat—the usual. It all comes with rice, soup, a pot of tea, and a fortune cookie. Not bad. And the place actually has some decor. The best bet is sitting in the front window. If you have a crowd, grab the round table with the lazy susan in the middle. Lunch, including drink, can be had for $3.25—not too shabby.
One thing you won't find on the Ave. is sidewalk seating. If that's what you want, duck over to Brooklyn, a block west at 42nd, where you'll find nice umbrella tables outside the Saigon Deli, NOT actually a deli but called so probably due to translation difficulty. They serve good food, especially if it involves noodles, and employ nice people. It’s not extremely cheap, but there's always a special of soup or noodles for around $4.95. And you're sitting out in the sun. Next door, the Korean Kitchen also has tables and shade if you prefer kimchee to pho.
Also a step off the Ave. is Cedar's Restaurant on 43rd, just past Flowers. This was the first of the Lebanese places in the district over 25 years ago, and they're still going strong. They do Near East food perfectly, and you can pig out with huge feasts or just get a sandwich of shish kebob, kibbey, falafel, gyro or shawarmah for $3.50.
Flowers, right on the corner of 43rd, is worth a visit if only for the ceiling. It's completely mirrored, which can impart some odd and disorienting effects as you lean back in your chair or wander around looking up and stumbling into the salad bar. The ceiling is a hangover from back when Flowers was actually a florist shop (they kept the name so they wouldn't have to change the old sign). I had my first psychedelic experience with Hawaiian Wood Rose seeds I bought in this place in 1968. I just wish I could have eaten them on the spot and gooned out on the mirrored ceiling. It’s not a super cheap place, but it’s good, and their specialty, an all-you-can-eat vegetarian buffet, is only $6.95.
The 4300 block is mostly taken up with bookstores, big shops, and the Varsity theater, but there are also several very narrow Asian places and the Russian bakery. The Tokyo Garden is worth mentioning. You can get teriyaki with rice and salad for under $5, miso soup for a buck, and some pretty cheap sushi. A 12-piece Taka roll goes for $4, for instance, or you can get a plate with salmon, tuna, ebi, hamachi, and taka, with a bowl of miso soup, for $6.45.
Up at the corner of 47th is the Greek ghetto Costas on the corner and the Continental Cafe one door south. Neither is all that cheap. Costas has more atmosphere, but don't go off on some big Greek trip with posters of Corfu and all. The Continental is almost totally atmosphere-free, but that's where a lot of cool people have hung out for years, if only drinking coffee and eating the meringues, baklavas, and luscious Honey Bars. I'm a habitué, and it just seems like authors and relics from the sixties, artists and such are always coming in. It's a place that can give that 'second living room' feeling without trying to. Or there's Starbucks next door if you're a total write-off.
The 4700 block features two Indian places across from each other: both nice, with table cloths and such, and both featuring all-you-can-eat buffets. Neelams at 4735 bills itself as 'Authentic Indian Cuisine,' and if there's any doubt, just note how many of the customers are wearing turbans or caste marks. The curries and tandoori meats here are for real, yet you can stuff yourself at their 14-item buffet for just $5.95 during the week and $6.95 on Sunday. Across the street at 4728 is the oddly named Spice Rack, featuring 'Indian-Mediterranean Cuisine.' They handle both the sea and the subcontinent (what the hell is a subcontinent anyway? Atlantis?) competently, and their buffet is $5.99.
North of 50th is a concentrated strip of eateries on the east sidewalk that is different from the funky student places lower down the Ave. The lower rents in this less-trafficked area let them keep prices down, but most go upscale in niceties. Northeast Thailand at 5004 has a very authentic style, with quietly gentile service and settings. You can get soup for lunch here from $3.99, and most lunches are $4.95. They also have the distinctive Thai iced tea, done just right.
At 5014 is something different, even on this strip—the Hawaiian Barbecue. There's a distinctive Hawaiian taste and attitude, and they have it. There are lots of goodies for under $5 here, or $3.45 for small orders of stuff like ginger chicken. Their mahimahi fish burger is only $3.65.
At 5018, the Kiku Tempura House is staunchly Japanese and has decent prices, but it’s nothing to flip out about. Next door at 5020, Inay's Manila Grill, on the other hand, serves some very unusual and scrumptious Philipino dishes: Adobo, Pancit, Lumpia, and a fantastic sausage dish I forget the name of. From 10am to 2pm daily, you can lunch there for $3.25—the Ave's "price to beat."
The Mandarin Chef next door has nothing special to offer, but it's one of the better Chinese restaurants in the area, with a highly regarded chef, despite its modest location. Dinners start at $6.75—a great deal.
Tandoor, next door at 5024, is also understated but a major value. Sparkling clean set-ups and snowy white linen cloths advertise their conscientious approach. It’s a fine Indian restaurant, yet it only charges $5.95 for lunch and $6.95 for Sunday brunch, when you'll see a lot of the area's Indian population chowing down.
Finally, at 5026 is A-Pizza Mart for a sort of 'resume normal eating' buffer zone. But check it out—a 10-inch pepperoni pie is only $2.99.
Monkey Junction, Afghanistan