Editor’s Note

Dinner and a Pandemic: Saluting Adaptation in an Irrepressible Seattle

Traditional restaurant odes may be on pause—but our July/August issue is an ode to the city.

By Allecia Vermillion August 4, 2020 Published in the July/August 2020 issue of Seattle Met

Melissa Miranda in the dining room of her restaurant, Musang—now a command center for her community kitchen collective.

The first night I dined at Melissa Miranda’s restaurant, Musang, back in February, I had a flash of clarity. I knew exactly what I would say about her remarkable Filipino restaurant on Beacon Hill in the next issue of Seattle Met. Rarely, if ever, do stories unfold in my brain with such ease—from the funny exchange with our server that would open my piece, to a culminating ode to the kare kare and the oysters that, on a subsequent visit, delivered a burst of cold-smoked flavor as I sat chatting with the bartender.

Remember chatting with bartenders? Or having clarity on literally any aspect of your life? Needless to say I’m still waiting to write that perfect ode.

Ten days after my last dinner at Musang, Seattle restaurants—and businesses across the state—shut their doors in the face of coronavirus concerns, ushering in an era of uncertainty that seems unlikely to end any time soon. Though a season of powerful protests and necessary conversations around racial justice serve as a reminder: Upending our norms can be a good, even vital thing.

Like many of her fellow chefs, Miranda pivoted hard and fast. Within days, Musang had reorganized itself as a community kitchen, making hot meals for whomever needed them. This issue of the magazine salutes her efforts, and so many others’ across our irrepressible city. 

The first time I read associate editor Benjamin Cassidy’s timeline of how Covid-19 unfurled here in the Puget Sound, I had to pause and emote a few stress tears before I could pick up those pages and continue reliving it all. Deputy editor Allison Williams marshaled our whole staff to show how Seattle is busy reinventing the way we work, date, eat dinner, even visit the doctor. If we do this right, our new normal will be even better, safer, and more just than the life we knew before. And until then, well, Musang’s kare kare is equally delicious as takeout.

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