The Ave Food Review

July 31, 2012

Sup fools. You might have real­ized that there hasn’t been a bath­room review in quite some time. This is due to the fact that I work a lot and don’t really have time to wander around campus look­ing for clutch places to pee. I also don’t have any friends, so that elim­i­nates the possi­bil­ity of other people contribut­ing to the site. The good news is that it’s summer so there’s not that many people on campus that need my services. For those that are indeed taking classes and think they would have had a much better bath­room expe­ri­ence if I kept updat­ing during the summer, I’m sorry. But not really.

To continue with the summer-long trend of not doing bath­room reviews, I decided to review some­thing else UW-re­lat­ed. The idea behind this post was the cata­lyst to get me and my ex-co-blog­ger Danny into blog­ging, so it’s cool to finally be able to put the orig­i­nal idea in motion, although I do like where the blog is now in terms of content. With­out further ado: the best places to eat and drink on the Ave.

Honor­able Mention: There are a lot of qual­ity estab­lish­ments on the Ave, but while this is great for customers, it makes it very diffi­cult to rate all of them. There is an unequiv­o­cal top ten that we must honor. Howev­er, that does not mean that we cannot cele­brate the others that just missed the cut. They include the following:

Trabant Coffee and Chai (45th and Brook­lyn): This is easily the best coffee near campus. Noth­ing else can really compare. This is a decent study spot when not super busy. Only receives mention because it is tech­ni­cally not on the Ave (45th and Brook­lyn) and drinks are insanely expen­sive. Is it worth it? You be the judge.

Mongo­lian BBQ (45th): The huge perk of Mongo­lian is that you get one bowl for $9, and what and how much you put in it is your prerog­a­tive. If you are creative and effi­cient with manag­ing space in your bowl this can mean up to three days’ worth of leftovers.

Memo’s (47th): Okay, every­one knows that the food here is absolute garbage. If you go here just for the food you are doing it completely wrong. You go for the expe­ri­ence. It’s one of the only 24 hour joints on the Ave and it serves Mexi­can food. The perfect drunk­/high eating estab­lish­ment. Hang out with your drunk friends, bond over awful Mexi­can food that magi­cally becomes the nectar of the gods when combined with excess alco­hol, and bond with other equally drunk people. All at 2am. The only down­side to a Memo’s outing is that you end up drop­ping stacks because all the menu items are over­priced and you’re so drunk that you don’t care about what things cost so you keep buying food until you’re satis­fied. Any trip to Memo’s is going to be a memo­rable one if you’re not blacked out. It became THIS close to getting ranked but their food is so bad when you’re sober that I didn’t have the heart do it.

Orange King (15th and 42nd): The nicest, coolest old Korean ladies work here. They are so goddamn nice. Tech­ni­cally not on the Ave though. This is a top 3 burger place for sure­sies. They also have some teriyaki and other Orien­tal menu items too. You can be assured that your food made by those Korean ladies will contain love and kind­ness in every bite, not to mention copi­ous amounts of MSG.

Pagli­acci Pizza (45th): One of the disap­point­ments on the Ave is the lack of pizza places where you can get pizza by the slice that’s open reason­ably late. There are three places that sell pizza as far as I know on the Ave. Pizza Brava is terri­ble and Mod Pizza only makes small personal pan. Pagli­acci is the only place that fills this quin­tes­sen­tial colle­giate void of pizza by the slice, and that is incred­i­bly impor­tant. You can get it in the dorms but it’s over­priced and just not the same.

On to the Main Event. Hold on to your butts.

10. Cafe Alle­gro (42nd, in the alley): If some­one’s doing a rank­ing of Seat­tle eating estab­lish­ments, then a coffee shop needs to be on it, peri­od. This is the oldest and best one off-cam­pus, and on-cam­pus for that matter. They brew good coffee and the baris­tas know their shit. It’s a good place to study on slower week­days if you want to crank out some read­ing. Avoid during midterms and finals to not deal with people distract­ing you because, believe me, they will. Did I also mention cheap refills?

9. Pho Thy Thy (41st): Fuck your Bloody Mary or what­ever stupid hang­over cure you use. Pho is the best reme­dy, and Pho Thy Thy makes it best. That broth is absolutely clutch any time you’re sick or really hungover. A medium bowl costs six bucks and is so big it’s almost impos­si­ble for one person to finish. The bonus cream puff is pretty neat.

8. Chipo­tle Mexi­can Grill (42nd): Chipo­tle is one of the only national chain joints near campus besides all the coffee places and that new 7-11 across the street from here. Do I really have to explain the appeal? Fat, deli­cious burri­to. Made fast. Carry out. Eat around six or 7 before going out and you’re good for the rest of the night. You’ll prob­a­bly still be full of burrito and beer by 2am when all your friends want to go to Memo’s so it’ll be a great excuse not to eat food there (but you should still go because it’ll be a good time). The only draw­backs here are its national chain status and long lines pretty much when­ever you go there. I’ll contend that you’ll defi­nitely get what you pay for and then some, espe­cially if you aren’t a wiener and load up on Tabasco sauce.

7. E.J. Burger (45th): The undis­puted best burger place on the Ave. Some people swear by A Burger Place but here’s why E.J. Is better. One, E.J. does­n’t freeze their patties ever. ABP does. Two, ABP is on aver­age $1.50 more expen­sive than E.J. for a very simi­lar product. Three, E.J.’s house sauce is amaz­ing. Four, they give you a mound of fries that would rival Ayers Rock (Mt. Urulu for all you aborig­i­nal read­ers out there). Five, free refills. All run by very friendly Kore­ans to boot.

6. Yogurt­land (43rd): Aka the democ­ra­ti­za­tion of frozen cultured dairy prod­ucts. Here’s the deal with Yogurt­land: there’s about 20 differ­ent flavors of yogurt and you can combine them in any way you want. Then you can put on any combi­na­tion of the 50 or so toppings they have on top of your yogurt. If you do the math, that comes out to about a bajil­lion differ­ent combi­na­tions of yogurt and toppings. It’s paid by weight. How awesome is that? Yogurt­land is frequented by inter­na­tional students but do not let that be a draw­back from how insanely good their frozen yogurt is (I refuse to abbre­vi­ate to froyo).

5. Aladdin Gyro-cery & Deli/Al­addin Falafel Corner (41st, 45th, respec­tive­ly): These are two differ­ent restau­rants but they’re run by the same family so I included both of them. They make pretty much the same things, primar­ily damn good gyros and falafels. With the Ave being as multi­-eth­nic as it is, it’s a good alter­na­tive (or a better one, some might argue) to all the Thai joints. Speak­ing of which…

4. Thai Tom (45th): Out of all the Thai places, this place takes the cake. The Ave would­n’t be the same with­out a mass of people wait­ing on the side­walk to sit down in one of its four chairs. Or if you don’t feel like wait­ing in the rain for 45 minutes you can always get pick­-up and eat your spicy, deli­cious conglom­er­a­tion of noodles and vegeta­bles drowned in some crazy sauce at your place.

3. Nook (50th): What makes Nook so freak­ing good, besides the fact that they make all their menu item ingre­di­ents from scratch all the time, is that it is elusive. It’s only open from 9am-12pm, five days a week. On top of that, they usually sell out within an hour or two after open­ing so you need to get there early. Given how many college students are actu­ally awake and func­tion­ing by 9, it goes with­out saying that most people sleep in and miss it. You need to plan your outing to Nook. It’s not a spon­ta­neous thing. It’s kind of like the McDon­ald’s break­fast phenom­enon. You know they stop serv­ing it by 11 but by the time you real­ize that you want an Egg McMuf­fin it’s 10:52 and you think to might make it by 10:59 so they’re oblig­ated to serve you but then you decide it’s not worth all the stress and you end up hating your­self for miss­ing McDon­ald’s break­fast for the 200,000th time in a row. That’s what going to Nook is like except with food that is 50 orders of magni­tude better in every single aspect than Egg McMuf­fins.

2. Univer­sity Teriyaki (41st): There’s not a whole lot to say about UT. It makes some of the best Korean and Orien­tal food on the Ave, it’s cheap, and it’s fast. I’ve gotten a plate of chicken teriyaki in less than three minutes on more than one occa­sion. Some people have mixed feel­ings about their tangy sesame salad dress­ing sorta deal, but I am person­ally a big fan. They also have a huge menu of all sorts of Asian foods, from gimmicky Amer­i­can­ized sushi to upgraded versions of Panda Express dishes to absolutely lush bibim­bap (the shit that comes in the boil­ing-lava-hot stone bowl) and other tight Asian dish­es. Ramen with the rice cakes are clutch during the winter, I might add. Pretty much every­one that has grad­u­ated from UW has eaten here and they all like it to vary­ing degrees rang­ing from “That was quite nice” to “dope­nasty”. If you didn’t like UT then you’re prob­a­bly better off buying over­priced yuppie shit at U-Vil­lage and living there for the rest of your life.

1. Hawai­ian BBQ (50th): Did people actu­ally think that some other spot was going to be #1? That’s comedy right there. I don’t really know how to explain how good this place is. They give you two moun­tain­ous piles of food easily compa­ra­ble to Mt. Ever­est and K-2, one of them being a heap of incom­pre­hen­si­bly satis­fy­ing fried greasy food, and the other a heap of equally satis­fy­ingly incom­pre­hen­si­ble fried greasy rice. And a little cup of sauce approach­ing cocaine-like levels of addic­tion, and some­times a fried egg on your rice depend­ing on what you got. All for no more than eight bucks. One plate will absolutely do work on the stom­ach of a malnour­ished college student. Good thing they’re very liberal with their take-out boxes. Yeah, the store is dirty and small and down­right decrepit. Yeah, they only take cash (they have an ATM if you don’t have any). And who knows if they pass health inspec­tion? I sure don’t, and I frankly don’t care. The dirt and grime from the store prob­a­bly adds to the taste of the food (good thing, not a bad thing). And it’s not that dirty anyway! It’s a trek for the people living in the dorms but it’s worth it and then some. In fact, one of the reasons I live where I do is because of its prox­im­ity to Hawai­ian BBQ. It’s that good.

There it is folks, your top ten food stops on the Ave. If you disagree with any or all of the spots, you can complain in the comments section, but it is highly improb­a­ble that I will care about anything you say. In fact, there is a higher chance of me buying Pizza Brava again than me caring about your comment.

Hope­fully I’ll visit some bath­rooms on campus on my days off but we’ll see about that. The prob­a­bil­ity of that happen­ing is less than me eating at Pizza Brava but greater than the chance of me eating at a Thai place on the Ave simply because there are so g-damn many of them that statis­ti­cally speak­ing I would even­tu­ally stum­ble into one random­ly. Bottom line is, updates may or may not be occur­ring in the near future but stay tuned anyway. Later.



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