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2-topping week in Greater Seattle: 3 lunches


Lunch number one: Red Mill Totem House

Elise Wayne and Reggie Ogbonna

Elise: While we totally failed on taking any pictures of either the food or the hangout, it was super fun to explore the Ballard Locks while meeting Reggie in person! We got our burgers and shakes and then wandered through the Locks to find a nice shady spot surrounded by flowers and greenery.

Important questions

Is this the best restaurant in Seattle?

Reggie: Probably not, but they do have a very good veggie burger! Neither bland nor mushy. Would recommend it!

Elise: For juicy big burgers that you can eat on their many park benches outside the "hut," I'd say it's a perfect choice but it, unfortunately, does not get the title of "best restaurant."

Is it especially Avalara-friendly?

Reggie: Yes, because they gave us a free berry lemonade and I think other Avalarians also like free things.

Elise: Red is close enough to Orange for it to be Avalarian-adjacent.


Lunch number two: Kikuzu Ramen and Izakaya

Amanda Chen and Abigail Hamilton

Amanda's garlic ramen

Abigail: I still can’t believe that 1) you were willing and able to join me for lunch on short notice on a gorgeous Tuesday while you’re working AND still unpacking, and 2) dine-in is finally a safe option again, thanks to a 70% vaccination rate in Seattle.

Amanda: I was excited to finally meet you in person after working with you for a few months virtually. Besides, I’ll do anything to get a break from unpacking!

Abigail: I love that we seem to love the same things about food — all the dimensions. And that we were totally unanimous in what we ordered. And that we left the lunch with about 57 unfinished conversations about a multitude of things.

Amanda: We were definitely on the same wavelength. How funny was that there were two completely different menus, which we realized after the waitress said no to a few small plates you attempted to order that most of the items in one menu don’t exist anymore.

Abigail: I hope you admired my ability to press forward regardless of the obstacles, haha!

Abigail: I keep wondering where will our favorite lunch-together spots near the office will turn out to be! There have been a lot of closures and new openings, but many of my favorites will still be there. For example, on “comfort food days,” I love the katsu plate from — it comes with that standard little simple torn iceberg salad with sesame dressing that I love so much!

Amanda: I love a good sesame salad dressing — looking forward to trying that place out! My favorite spot so far is Nijo Sushi Bar & Grill, their sushi is so fresh and amazing. Looks like they also have Karaage Chicken, we might just have to do a little comparison test!

Abigail: Because Nijo is a super-favorite of mine, I can tell you ahead of time that the karaage won't be quite as good as at Kikuzu, but who cares because everything else, like you said, (the best sushi and sashimi!) is so, so, so good. Nijo is in my personal firmament of places to go and be with food and people together in the best way.

Important questions

Is this the best restaurant in Seattle?

Abigail: In terms of chicken karaage, it just might be! That was some amazing karaage: Big, moist chunks marinated in something deliciously garlicky and fried to perfection. And the dipping sauce wasn’t any old “spicy mayo,” either. It was just right, and light.

Amanda: Even though my move to Seattle has just been a week old, I’ve been to a few ramen places throughout the east coast, and I would say this is one of the best! Totally agree with Abigail that the chicken karaage is to die for. The garlic ramen broth also has just the perfect combination of flavors — rich, garlicky, but not too heavy.

Is it especially Avalara-friendly?

Abigail: I would say yes, because it has its own unique décor (Like Avalara's signature tiki lounges do). In this case it’s window-linings of 4 x 4 lumber arranged like busted-up palisades. What do you think, Amanda?

Amanda: I agree.



Lunch number three: Dakshin South Indian Bistro

Loryn Bortins and Jaime Stockton

Loryn (and her husband) and Jaime met as Dakshin for a quick lunch on a Friday afternoon at a small, walk-in restaurant in Kirkland. While there were tables to sit down, it was very casual. Go up to the counter, order your food, and pick a table. They had vegetarian and non-vegetarian options alike and everything everyone had was absolutely delicious!

We spent the time chatting about life outside of work — primarily our kiddos and running, and planning our upcoming joint race day.

Important questions

Is this the best restaurant in Seattle?

Jaime: It’s in Kirkland, so not Seattle. I don’t know about the “best”, but it was really delicious and satisfied my Indian craving! It’s my first Indian restaurant in Washington, and it hit the spot!

Is it especially Avalara-friendly?

Jaime: It was a great spot for a quick meet-up for lunch. They were super fast and we were able to do it during a workday without feeling like it was going to take forever. It was great for quick, casual dining that you knew wasn’t going to take the entire afternoon for those of us who had afternoon meetings.

I had never had a dosa before, but I definitely want a lot more! I got the butter chicken with dosa and it was amazing.

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