/ +1 206 446 2425


Monday, August 22, 2011


PALERMO - There are moments when I come back to this city and wonder if it isn’t the coolest place on Earth.

(This is before I’ve been here too long and the too-close buildings become too close, but till then, hoo boy.)

I cooled my heels after some field research for my WSJ gelato story, sat outside of Caffè Malavoglia, ordered a whiskey (they were out of Fernet), and slow-sipped until peckishness settled in and I realized that even on a Monday, I could roll down to the nighttime fest of the Ballarò market for a panelle sandwich.

Who would have thought that a chickpea fritter sandwich from a street vendor could be so good?

Here’s why: extra-fresh bread laden with sesame seeds, extra hot fritters, along with a shot of lemon and a spritz of salt to wake it up, all in an atmosphere that makes you feel alive.

Hoo baby. So good, I burned the roof of my mouth. Twice.
After that, as my good friend Francesco says, the shutters go down. Time for bed.

This is Joe Ray reporting from The Motherland.

Twitter Facebook Delicious Digg | More

Thursday, May 26, 2011


“Look at those fries,” a friend said walking past Seattle’s Capitol Hill sandwich shop, Homegrown. Stuffed to the gills, we still considered a plate.

I wound up there for lunch a few days later, convinced we’d head to the neighboring Sitka & Spruce, but for reasons I didn’t understand, nothing on Sitka’s menu looked as interesting as Homegrown’s catfish po boy with slaw.

Homegrown calls itself a ‘sustainable sandwich shop’ which is about as interesting as sustainable wine - it’s only worth it if it’s good.

It’s worth it. We try a fun spin on grilled cheese made with cured ham and mozzarella, along with solid homemade chips and a beet salad, but the po boy, made crispy with the slaw, is the show stealer - a sandwich with momentum. So much momentum, we forget to order the fries.

After lunch, visit Homegrown’s top-notch neighbors: The Calf & Kid for cheese and sausage from Rain Shadow Meats. I’ll go back to try Sitka & Spruce, though I might smuggle in some Homegrown fries.


1531 Melrose Avenue
Seattle, WA
+1 (206) 682-0935

Count on $10-15 for lunch.

Follow me on Twitter: @joe_diner and on Facebook.

Twitter Facebook Delicious Digg | More