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Like many chefs I’ve spoken to, McCrain has a predilection for Vietnamese food, the aromatic broths, the graceful condiments, the unexpected elegance that comes from grilling meat. Christine Keff, the chef of Flying Fish, spent a year traveling through Vietnam and southeast Asia, crediting that experience with transforming her understanding of food and cooking. Chef Seth Caswell of Emmer & Rye, when asked to name his favorite casual food, said “without a doubt bahn mi,” the Vietnamese sandwich of grilled pork, shredded vegetables and French bread.
The consensus holds that if the food culture of Seattle has a distinct accent, it is Asian.
“I like ethnic food with a different taste palate" than what he works with at his own restaurant, McCrain said. “I crave flavors like soy sauce or Thai basil.”
So it seems he is like many chefs, who despite of, or perhaps because of, what they do for a living enjoy eating relatively simple food:
Ericka Burke, chef at the Volunteer Park Café, admitted to frequenting Dick’s Drive-In for its Deluxe and fries with tartar sauce as well, as the Rancho Bravo taco truck a block away.
The Wallingford truck is also where chef Brandon Kirksey likes to go on his day off. “Bravo burrito, torta al pastor, lengua tacos, and horchata,” said Kirksey of Tavolata, “and all for under 20 bucks!”
Chef Charles Walpole of Anchovies & Olives munches on Tim's salt and vinegar potato chips. They are “something I always eat at home,” he said.
The head of the four-restaurant, Tavolata-Anchovies-Wolf-Staple & Fancy empire, chef Ethan Stowell, said he is a big fan of the croissants from Café Besalu and on his night off has been known to have pizza delivered to his home from Pagliacci.
“My wife likes the Brooklyn (with pepperoni, sausage, mushroom, olives, peppers),” Stowell said. “I like the plain cheese pizza.”
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