Monday, June 12, 2006


The meat is clearly the specialty here, but this smart little restaurant has done something fantastic for the vegetarians: they've created a tofu version of their messy, saucy, delicious sandwich that doesn't hold back on all of the other elements... plenty of grilled peppers, onions, cilantro, spices and greasy (in a delicious way) sauce and slices of tasty tofu on a fresh warm baguette type bread.

It is probably my favorite tofu sandwich in the city, but one that I eat somewhat rarely because it drips so freely in flavorful fats that I tend to leave Paseo 95% satisfied, 5% preoccupied with finding myself some spinach.

The restaurant is small, and popular which lends to long waiting times and difficulty snagging one of the greasy plastic tables. It's not really the sort of place that you'd go to with the intent of spending the evening at your table and lingering over a slow dinner because it is so small and chaotic feeling inside.

But the food is delicious, and supplies exactly the sort of vegetarian indulgence that I dream of stumbling upon in a restaurant known for it's amazing meat.

UPDATE 2/10/08

Went to Paseo the other evening within an hour of closing time, and found that they were sold out of sandwiches (as their hand lettered sign applogized, "yes, really.") So instead I ended up with a rather delicious dinner out of two remarkable sides:

1. The House Salad. I love this salad... it begins with a base of fresh green romain lettuce, then is genorously piled with thin, crisp shreds of purple cabbage, marinated beets sticks, cilantro and a tangy lime vinegrette.

2. Tofu with Rojo Sauce. I was really surprised at what I recieved here... given the price (under $4), and the designation as a "side", I was expecting a small pile of something, but instead received a full dinner sized plate with a nice mound of basmati rice (it always tastes really good here... butter?) with a great pile of their delicious tofu strips in a rich and spicy red sauce. I was having a hard time figureing out the flavours in the sauce... I think I could pick out a red pepper/tomato base/onion base, but the details of the rest were elusive. It sure was good though.
Paseo in Seattle

Thursday, June 1, 2006

El Sombrero

My favorite detail about El Sombrero is the salsa, which tastes fresh and homemade and keeps coming with hot chips as long as you'd like.

My experience with the rest of the food (vegetarian options only) has been somewhat hit or miss... the vegetarian burrito is pretty good, and I've ordered it smothered in their unusual and good creamy chipotle sauce (usually reserved for a chicken dish), but the avocado tostada was a disappointing mound of iceberg lettuce and avocado slices. I don't know what I was expecting... maybe that's what a tostada is. Also slightly disappointing is the fact that they have homemade tamales, but none that are meatless.

I've heard decent review of the meat dishes, but have to say that the vegetarian options are a little bit lackluster compared to the options at other places around town.

The staff is pleasant and consistent, and seems to be headed by a matronly woman who always looks beautiful and in charge.

There is also a full bar that makes blended drinks, which is a nice addition, and they don't use any lard in their re-fried beans.

Edit: El Sombrero has awesome vegetarian spinach enchiladas.
El Sombrero Family Mexican Restaurant in Seattle