Lunch at Paseo, Seattle, WA

This is a mighty popular place in Fremont that sees long queues for lunch, even on a weekday. They are best known for their sandwiches, made using crusty yeasty baguettes, slathered with a garlic aioli sauce, and then stuffed with slow roasted pork shoulder or other meats done “caribbean” style.

We were here on a Tuesday afternoon – just dropping by after coming from Udub. There are no signs to indicate where the restaurant is, only a tremendous queue, and amazing smells.

The whole place is pretty dingily thrown together, which also indicates how serious Seattlelites are about their food. Not as dingy as Singaporean hawker centres, but this is probably largely because of the difference in weather.

There are even signs on neighbouring houses telling Paseo customers to please keep off the lawn. The next door laundromat also has a stern warning against using their laundromat parking when you are not a laundromat customer (i.e. queueing up for oh-so-sinful sandwiches next door)

We got the grilled scallop sub and the caribbean roast.

The huge scallops were grilled in a ginger garlic sauce (quite asian) and then stuffed into this sub. They kept falling out while i was eating, which either indicates my lack of skill or perhaps a need for a better binding sauce. Still. Amazing.

And the caribbean roast – too much meat for me, but the meat is really tender and moist, I have no idea how long they have to roast the pork shoulder for to get it to this consistency. Presumably they fry it after roasting (the smells coming from this shack… to die for) before filling the sandwich. I really liked the huge strips of caramelized onions and also the romaine lettuce. To reduce waiting time they don’t bother shredding the romaine, they just lay an entire leaf down along the length of the baguette, which makes so much more sense than how most sandwich places shred their vegetables. Then again, I’m sure they don’t use romaine.

There is almost no seating, maybe 2-3 small tables? And nigh impossible to snag one of them – what we wound up doing and also what I think most people wind up doing is eating in their car (if they can’t wait). Take away is fine and good but I would recommend eating your sandwich within 15 minutes of collection.

Now you don’t really have to queue with the rest of the customers – they take call in orders! And get call in orders about as frequently as they attend to live customers at the counter, so you feel pretty stupid waiting – probably call ins have to queue to pay for their order though I’m not sure about that. They also don’t accept credit card – it’s not necessary either since the sandwiches here are really affordable too – we spent < $20 for 2 subs and a coke. After ordering/paying (actually quite fast), they give you a ticket with your number on it and you wait another 15-30 minutes for your sandwiches – make sure you don’t join the wrong line! Sometimes the waiting-for-food people form a sort of line which is confusing. There should be a clear line on the left for taking orders.

This is one of the reasons I'm so glad to be coming back in the fall!


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