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A meal I just remembered I made, and definitely want to recreate...Ginger carrots, kale pesto salad and spicy tofu sticks with smoked paprika smear.

In case I haven’t mentioned it enough yet, I’ve been doing some part time freelancing for a local paper here in Seattle, The Seattle Weekly.  They have a strong food division called Voracious, with many talented and edgy writers I’m excited to work alonside of moving into 2011.

Since last October, I’ve been writing and gaining steam, and now write two columns a week regularly (and contribute to a handful of others).  The columns are The Eatside and Lists.

The Eatside: Whether you’re looking to impress at a swank new steakhouse, grab a cheap eat at the nearest roach coach en route, or just plain old fill the void, The Eatside brings it to you every Tuesday. Covering any and all ‘hoods east of Lake Washington, Seattle native Siiri Sampson seeks out high- and low-brow chow from sushi to schnitzels and everything between.

Lists: A nationally focused, fun look at a random, food focused list every week. You never know what’ll center on, but you’re bound to get at least one good snort or belly laugh per week.

Each week, I’ll share a piece from either one of these columns, or another I’ve contributed to, just to spice things up, and give you something different to read about.  While still food focused, it’ll be a small breath of fresh air to mix it up here on A Half Cup.

Without further ado, here’s the first of many Local Bites.

*****

Go for the Gold, but make sure you haven't eaten in the last 24 hours. You'll be needing the room.

Diners are a dime a dozen, all across the country. But foodgasm-inducing nachos, eggs Benedict and fried chicken are slowly slipping out of proper diner fare. And you can pretty much forget about finding a joint that does their flapjacks and cinnamon rolls as good as their steak sandwiches.

Enter Lil’ Jon in Bellevue (3080 148th Ave SE), a true time warp of an all-American diner from the outside, and a “greasy spoon” minus the usual ‘napkin blotting’ required in these calorie-obsessed times on the inside. This place has ‘late-night-munchies-run’ written all over it; too bad it closes at ten.

Prepare yourself for friendly service, and ask about the soup of the day (you’ll probably get a free sample). Homeade surprises like Reuben Soup–yes, there is corned beef and sauerkraut in it–will remind you of those fatty childhood classics your grandma churned out.

But getting back to the nachos. And the crispy chicken sandwich. And the omelets with extra crispy hash browns. (If you’re starting to get the feeling you should wear elastic-waisted pants, go for it, you’ll fit right in). Since you can order breakfast all day long, do. There ain’t no shame in a Frisbee-sized pancake rubbing up against a French Dip. But trust us, the portions are more than you bargain for (and the prices less than you expect), so don’t get all full up on the French Fries and Lj’s sauce before you’ve wolfed down at least two bites of the massive cinnamon roll, ok?

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