If you didn’t catch this last week, I started a new, fun little post type called Local Plate. 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, and 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. Here’s another post from The Eatside.
The only way to realistically describe the lustfest that is Gyro World in Factoria (4057 Factoria Blvd S.E.) is to take you back. Waaaaaay back.
Remember that hot jock (or replace with cheerleader/hot chick for the dudes) that sat in front of you in fifth period Chemistry that wore the over powering cologne/perfume you couldn’t get enough of, who then became your high school crush? When you started dating and wore his Letterman’s jacket to school you were constantly enraptured by that scent. You couldn’t get enough of it–or him.
Now replace the high school hottie with Gyro World’s chicken souvlaki gyro, some falafel and a side of dolmades. Hot, right? Swear to God, get this to go, and you’ll want to stay in your car forever.
To help you navigate this newfound love between you and your crush, let’s break this down into parts: travel, ordering, retrieval and consumption.
Travel: Because you can get it to go, you should. If you can pack it into your messenger bag or that milk crate on the back of your bike, be my guest. Otherwise, take a car, a cab or a bus out to Factoria. Don’t let the strip malls, freeway congestion and Taco Bells confuse you, you’re headed in the right direction. You probably think going all the way out there for Greek food isn’t worth it, but how will you really know unless you let that sweet tang of tzatziki pass over your lips?
Ordering: Don’t get in line until you know what you want; you’ll end up ordering only one thing, and then while you’re waiting for your order to come up, you’ll see the four other dishes you can’t live without. Look over the menu, and make sure you order at least two sides (besides your gyro). The meat and veggie dolmades are like Greek foie gras: buttery, silky dumplings of meat or veggies coupled with delicate rice, spices and something resembling quinoa, all rolled up and steamed in a tender grape leaf. Also, you’re obviously getting a side of falafel, and skip the baba ghanoush. It smells more garlicky than it tastes, needs more salt and is too runny. The spanakopita is so-so, could use more feta, but earns back points for being warm, soft, flaky and BIG. They don’t skimp.
Moving on to the main event: our gyro. While the lamb is certainly the crowd-pleaser, don’t overlook the freshly grilled chicken Souvlaki. With ample chunks of tomato, onion and enough feta to make up for the spanakopita, you can’t beat this mouth-watering delight. If you want more veggies, they literally have a super gyro with Greek olives, peppers, etc.
Retrieval: Leaving to look around the forlorn Factoria Mall would be a major mistake. You don’t even have enough time to check your messages before your entire order is ready. Clearly, on your way through the Mall you saw this is not the kind of place you want to stay and eat at, so make sure your order is to go. Checking your whole order is probably a good idea, although they never forget anything. Stop salivating, get in your car, and put the bag of steaming hot love into the backseat. You cannot be trusted to eat and drive. Seriously.
Consumption: Before you shovel the gyro down your gullet in under five minutes, start by taking one bite of everything else, and save the rest of your sides for dinner. Then devour the gyro like you’re in a food-eating competition.
Eating the gyro is a time and limb commitment, so don’t plan on answering the phone or shaking any hands while you eat. This beast requires the strength and agility of a tight end, partially because you don’t want to risk having to share it with that dude in accounting that always hovers around like you’re gonna give him a bite, and also because it turns into a sauce disaster half way through. If you can actually eat this all in one sitting, turn it around halfway through and join the sauce party on other end. Waste not, want not.