For the past couple of years, I've had a dream of running a local non-profit food truck (or coffee stand) that employed people in need of work experience. The proceeds would go to the non-profit that ran the whole deal, and everyone involved would be filled with joy.
The seed was planted when I was attending college in New Jersey, and my dad took me to a cafe that served amazing quiche. At the register, a card boasted that 20 cents of every dollar went to women escaping domestic violence situations. I thought "what could be better?" People want to buy food. They want to feel good about themselves. Why wouldn't you sell them food that makes them feel as though they've done their good deed for the day?
The dream grew when I visited FareStart in Seattle a few years ago for a wedding. The food was excellent, and no one felt badly about the celebration, because FareStart employees those that have been deemed "unemployable" for whatever reason. They take these individuals, and teach them cooking skills, so that they can have gainful employment, and we all benefit with tasty, tasty food.
Of course, this dream usually involved me and the non-profit I was working for, but I am always game to celebrate another's victory. Today I visited Cafe Works in Everett. I went halfsies with my coworker. So, I got to enjoy half of The Pilchuck, and half of the Cam.
I was ready by the time we got there. I had to walk in the cold, windy rain, for half a mile, uphill both ways (well not uphill, and only .4 miles both ways, but super cold and rainy). There wasn't much of a selection. There are some breakfast items, a delicious assortment of pastries from Petite Sweet, and a variety of savory sandos. I have to say, I think simplicity is sweet. I know that menus do better when they are parred down, and everything I tried here was great, so the menu is working.
Cafe Works is doing great work benefiting both Housing Hope and Cocoon House. I've never felt better about a lunch I've had. We even split a bear claw, and then checked out the furniture shop. Please visit this awesome place and EAT UP MY FRIENDS!
I know it's a gross pun. Sorry, not sorry. I'm not always a fan of puns, but when I am, they are pho related. There are so many great ones, and the best are totally NSFW. You can goggle it yourself. I'm not going to spoon-feed you.
Although my mother cooked a wide-variety of cuisine growing up, Vietnamese was not one of them, and growing up in New Mexico, there wasn't a whole lot of exposure. Of course, there was a growing population of Vietnamese immigrants when I left, and now I hear that pho is pretty popular in NM. My first exposure to Vietnamese food was through the home cooking one of my coworkers would bring to shift. I remember, vividly, choking down florescent-green rice and seafood(?) that required more chewing than I was comfortable with at the time. I have a huge problem with wasting food, and I also hold a personal value that food offered should not be refused. I ate the meal, and smiled politely, but my pregnant belly was not happy.
Fast forward a few years. I'm working in Seattle, in an office setting, and I have a cold. I'm most likely disgusting, but I can't go home. My employee offers to get me pho. What? He says it's like chicken noodle soup, but better. Better? It's amazing, and this one moment is not only my introduction to pho, but the start of my love affair with sriracha.
Pictured above is 1/10 of the sriracha I like to put on my Pho, I was sharing with a friend, and had to add more to my spoonfuls.
Pho is delicious. It really is a more perfect version of chicken noodle soup. I actually think it very similar to posole. I suppose almost every culture has developed their own comforting and inexpensive soup with a plethora of toppings you can do with or without, depending on your resources at the time. All I know is that this beautiful dish led me to my favorite hot sauce, and have I mentioned that amazing bahn mi (also banh mi)!?
These beautiful dishes were most recently tasted at the South Everett Pho 36 (AKA "Golden Pho"). You should check it out. Definitely worth your while. Eat up my Friends!
I'm a not-for-profit worker that loves food, both healthy and indulgent. I've eaten the 12 egg omelette at Beth's Cafe: toast, hash browns, and all. Take that Adam Richman!