Saturday, October 27, 2012

Eating my way home

by Erin Murphy
- from Death al Dente, Book One of the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, by Leslie Budewitz, coming in August 2013

In my family–and maybe yours, too–food is love. But while I’m far away from my family and my sweet hometown of Jewel Bay, Montana, I still love to share great food with my friends–or sometimes, enjoy it all by myself.

A few recent haunts here in Seattle, in the Pike-Pine Corridor on Capitol Hill, close to home and close to work: Just around the block from the headquarters of SavClub, the international warehouse grocery chain where I work, is The Oddfellows Café + Bar. You’d swear, the old guys in their wicked dress uniforms just stepped out for a moment–the place is that full of antique charm and Odd Guy memorabilia. But this is brand-new food. Tasty-tasty. I adore the breakfast panini–a fried egg and bacon sandwich served with a touch my Italian mother would approve: a mixed green salad. Vinaigrette at 7 a.m. will spark any day. Or the breakfast skillet–eggs, spinach, cheese, served in your own personal cast-iron pan–yummers. I’ve been known to take a stack of work and escape for hours to one of the wooden tables, burnished by the elbows of time, wondering who else has sat here over the decades, and watching my neighbors meet, greet, and eat.

Seattle = great coffee. Starbucks, yes, and so much more. Love Stumptown Coffee Roasters and Caffé Vita – I drank gallons of their espresso in college in Missoula.. Both right in the neighborhood, and both hip, hot, and delicious.

When you gotta have sushi, nothing else will do. And tucked in where the plumbing supply shop used to be is Momiji.  Northwest to the max, with fir and cedar woodwork, paper and glass art, and fish so fresh they’re practically still swimming. Love to lounge in the front window and watch the world whiz by on 12th Ave. Love the dining rooms, too, overlooking the courtyard rock garden. Try the Casanova roll–snow crab, avocado, and eggplant topped with this crabby-spicy goo and rolled in rice and jewel-like roe. You won’t be sorry. (Though I hope the plumbers didn’t move too far!)

And books. Right around the corner is the Mother Ship, Elliott Bay Book Company. Peeps in Pioneer Square were a little peeved when it relocated, and I get that, but what heaven to pop around the corner, browse the stacks, and find the perfect read.

It all makes me forget, for an hour or two, how much I miss Jewel Bay.

(Death al Dente, the first book in the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, debuts from Berkley Prime Crime in summer 2013. The series is set in a small, lakeside resort community in Northwest Montana, on the road to Glacier Park. Guess where my author, Leslie Budewitz, lives! Leslie is also a lawyer and won the 2011 Agatha Award for Best Nonfiction for Books, Crooks & Counselors: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure (Quill Driver Books, 2011). Visit her website and blog.)

(Thanks to the Oddfellows Café + Bar for the photos, used with permission.)


  1. I could use one of those breakfast skillets just about now...

  2. Legal advice for writers? What a great idea the Books, Crooks and Counselors book is... I'll have to pick up a copy, because that is one area that always stumps me!!!

  3. I have Leslie's book, and can confirm that it's an excellent resource. A great place to look for quick answers as well as an overview of what happens in the legal system and how it works.

    ~ Krista

  4. Willow, it's a snowy day in Montana, and I could use one, too -- but it's a long trip back to Seattle!

    Krista and Victoria, thanks!

  5. I am putting your book on my wish list right now. It sounds great.