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This is the second installment of the favorite foods that I experienced on my recent trip to Seattle.  Might as well start with my favorite kind of food…sweet food.

Theo’s Chocolates in Fremont

The first and only organic and Fair Trade chocolate factory in the country is in Seattle…of course.  Theo’s starts with raw cacao beans and turns them into luscious creamy feel-good chocolate.  Stepping into retail store was a little like stepping into the chocolate room in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.  Once inside, you are surrounded by mounds of generously-sized samples of about 15 different chocolates.  Flavors included coconut curry, hazelnut crunch, fig fennel and cherry almond.  My daughters thought they had entered chocolate heaven.  I did some damage myself, walking away $40 poorer, but significantly happier.  Among my purchases was a balsamic pear truffle, three Big Daddy bars and 1 lb of roasted cocoa nibs that I look forward to experimenting with soon.

El Camion

The biggest, best tamale you’ve ever had for $2.25.  What more is there to say?  “The burritos are exceptional,” my Aunt said.  “Right,” I thought skeptically and I was proven wrong. It was the best burrito I had ever tasted, big enough to feed 2 or 3 people for $6.60.  El Camion may be the best and cheapest mexican food I’ve ever had outside of Oaxaca.

Columbia City Bakery

My father first turned me on to this small independent bakery in the Columbia City neighborhood of Seattle.  Columbia City Bakery turns out some of the best bread in Seattle and supplies many local restaurants.  What’s more, this boutique bakery offers a rotating variety of impressive and sometimes unusual pastries like whisky cake (yeah baby!), tender shortbread, polenta rosemary tarts as well as more traditional cookies and pies.  What’s more, they are nice as all get out with a warm welcoming store and friendly speedy staff.

Puget Sound Consumer Co-Op

When PCC started in 1953, it was a storefront with white 5 gallon buckets of grains, a scale and various assorted long haired-hippies.  You brought your own bags and it was all volunteer.  Today the co-op is full service with everything from produce to cruelty-free personal care products to prepared foods.  Check out that bulk section!  That’s not even the whole thing!  The PCC stocks as much local produce as possible. When you shop there with your kids, the children can pick a fruit or Kid’s Pick snack for free.  Other coops I have visited have a “this is what we could find” feeling to them, but the PCC is filled to capacity with fresh local and organic produce.  They are also community-minded.  PCC helped start the P-Patch community gardens in Seattle and they started the PCC Farmland Trust which has bought several farms in Washington, to preserve farmland in the area.  The people that work there are helpful and enthusiastic.  Ryan (doesn’t he have a nice smile?) pulled me aside to show me an image on his computer of some mushrooms that his friend had foraged in Eastern Washington.  You don’t get that kind of foodie passion at your average Safeway.

I love a trip home except for the 3 lbs I gained in a week?  It’s my JOB I told myself.  My many readers neeeed to know, that’s why I’m eating all this chocolate….for you.  Do I sound convincing?  If you find yourself in Seattle or on the Internet enjoying a little Seattle-themed retail therapy, try to show more restraint than me.  😉

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