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The 15-Minute Seattle Field Trip All Food-Lovers Should Take - Bite-Sized Guide: Seattle

The 15-Minute Seattle Field Trip All Food-Lovers Should Take - Bite-Sized Guide: Seattle
From The Kitchn - August 15, 2017

I live on a rural island, a 15-minute ferry ride west of Seattle. Even people who have lived in this area for decades might never have ventured to Vashon. It seems far away and dreamy, a small town set in green forests and rocky beaches. We have a fair number of people living in yurts here, along with two avant-garde mixed-media performance troupes, a store downtown dedicated solely to origami creations, more llama farms than anyone can count, and a coffee roaster-cum-natural foods store that also sells herbal remedies and local ice cream.

Another writer years ago once described Vashon as "Mayberry meets Burning Man," and it's still the best description I can gather. This place is pretty funky and wonderful.

Until a few years ago, however, no one was coming here for the food. We had a couple of burger joints, two mediocre Mexican restaurants, a gathering place in the middle of town that was more about the ambience than the meals, and a boring Chinese restaurant. That's about it.

Now, however? Now people come to Vashon just to eat. And if you have to be gluten-free, you are in luck. All the best places here know how to feed you, too.

Gluten-Free Girl's Guide to Vashon Island

1. May Kitchen + Bar

17614 Vashon Highway SW; 206-408-7196

Five years ago, when May's was set to open, all of us locals would have been thrilled if it had been merely okay. A Thai restaurant on the island? Sign me up. Well, it turned out to be spectacular. (Travel and Leisure named it one of the 10 best Thai restaurants in America.)

Enter into May's and you feel like you are in a different worldand, in a way, you are: The wood on the walls and decorations were shipped to Seattle from a demolished house in Thailand. You can get pad Thai made to order at the table and some seriously fabulous cocktails. I must order the fried watercress appetizerfresh watercress coated in rice flour and flash fried, heaped in a towering pile, drizzled with coconut milk and served with tamarind-Thai chili dipping sauceevery time.

Make a reservation in advance. You will need it.

2. Gravy

17629 Vashon Highway SW; 206-463-0489

Full disclosure: My husband is one of the chefs at this Northwest-meets-French-technique-meets-Southern-barbecue neighborhood joint. He decided to return to the line after five years away from restaurants because this place is so darned good.

The owners, wife-and-husband team Pepa Brower and Dre Neeley, worked at some of the better restaurants in Seattle, in the front of the house and the kitchen, for decades. In their own space they offer a menu that changes every season, with succulent fried chicken; market fish with gremolatas; a farmers market snack plate; and an unbelievable burger made of rib-eye, smoked ham hock, and duck breast. Seriously: This alone is worth the ferry ride.

On Sundays, Gravy becomes a barbecue joint, with pulled pork, ribs, collard greens made with house-made pork confit, and andouille sausage. Come on over.

3. Pure Organic Kitchen & Juicery

9925 SW Bank Road; 206-259-2179

4. Vashon Island Baking Company

5. Glass Bottle Creamery

6. Zamorana

7. Zombiez

8. Bramble House

9. Vashon Farmers Market

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