Critic's Picks

What We're Eating Now: July 2018

This month’s favorites: impeccable dumplings, endless rosé, and a cubano sandwich stuffed in a waffle iron.

By Allecia Vermillion, Rosin Saez, and Sean P. Sullivan June 19, 2018 Published in the July 2018 issue of Seattle Met

Little Neon Taco satisfies cravings with its breakfast taco (left) and pork belly taco (right).

All the Tacos at Little Neon Taco

It’s the newest taqueria on the block, and unlike Monica Dimas’s other joints—Sunset Fried Chicken, Westman’s, Tortas Condesa, the original Neon Taco—it’s no mere walkup window. Spacious digs on First Hill beget a bigger menu graced by nine tacos, like one with slabs of crispy pork belly and fresh salsa that tests the max capacity of a corn tortilla, plus sandwiches, mole pork ribs, and sides aplenty. Don’t sleep on the agua fresca either—Rosin Saez

Squid Ink Spaghetti at Le Messe

Brian Clevenger’s signature formula—fresh pasta, simple seafood, seasonal vegetables—found a third home in a minimalist white wedge just off Eastlake Ave. The house signature is a bowl of jet-black noodles dressed only with Plugra butter and the hum of chili, lemon, and marjoram. Like the foie gras mousse on grilled bread (or bucatini that glistens with egg yolk, or the evening breezes from the adjacent courtyard), its charms are simple but manifold. —Allecia Vermillion

Cubano at Navy Strength Coffee and Juice

Layers of braised pork, ham, pickles, swiss cheese, and other cubano sandwich fixings stuffed in a King’s Hawaiian roll and pressed in a waffle iron sound like a college student’s late-night dream snack, but in fact it’s among the latest offerings on the new morning menu. The Belltown cafe, sibling to the tiki bar next door, wins breakfast with this waffle sandwich hybrid. —RS

Lamb and Carrot Dumplings at Jiaozi! Dumpling House

The name of the mildly crescent-shaped dumplings that are a staple of northern China is also the moniker of a low-key new spot in Chinatown–International District that serves a dozen impeccable varieties, steamed or panfried. The cumin-spiced lamb with shreds of tender carrot is a standout, as is the pork with shrimp. If you can tear yourself away from all these hand-filled wonders, the noodles with red chili oil are fiery good. —AV


More Rosé, Please

Renegade Wine Co. Rosé Columbia Valley 2017 $12

Rosé is having a moment in Washington. Such wines were once given scant attention by winemakers and consumers alike, but now you can’t leave a bottle shop without someone quipping, “Rosé all day.” And no wonder. This pale copper–colored wine brings aromas and flavors of guava, strawberry, kiwi, and pink grapefruit that make you thirst for more.

Pair with Summer salads. —Sean P. Sullivan


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