Patty Pan Grill

For grilled felafel and ginger mint ice tea, you gotta go to Ballard.

Don't try to go to Patty Pan Grill for dinner—you'll look like a tool showing up at the teeny building after 6 p.m., when it closes. At lunch, however, you'll get a healthy meal that won't put you in a food coma for the rest of the afternoon. The little restaurant, which opened November 2004, serves up vegan and vegetarian food suitable for omnivores. Recently, a friend and I spent a sunny hour on the bench in front of Patty Pan. I devoured a falafel sandwich ($5), which was unlike any other I've tasted (in a good way). The chickpea batter wasn't fried, it was cooked on the grill. Definitely get the seasonal veggie medley on the side for an extra $2—on our visit it included summer squash, kale, chard, onion, and bok choy and was sprinkled with a spice blend of mild chile powder, cumin, oregano, and salt. My pal had two veggie tamales ($3.50 for one; $6 for two): One was green chile and cheese with tomatoes, the other black bean chipotle. We thought the green chile one was infinitely better because the cheese kept the cornmeal moist. We washed everything down with house-made ginger mint iced tea, which was poured out of a blue plastic pitcher into wax-coated paper cups. If you can't make Patty Pan's normal hours, you can also get a taste of the restaurant's menu at the Ballard, Columbia City, Lake City, and Madison Park farmers markets. Watch out, omnivores, it seems vegetarian food is becoming omnipresent. MOLLY LORI

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