As the 19th-century gourmet Jean Anthelme Brillat-Savarin mostly wrote, "A festival without fried cheese is like a beautiful woman with one eye." But Bumbershoot is all things to all people, including philistines, and fried cheese is not to everyone's taste. To that end, we here at the Seattle Weekly nutritional labs have developed test menus for all make and model of food-court diner. (Consult the map on p. 19 for directions to each food court, listed in parentheses.) For just a few Jacksons a day, a dining adventure awaits!
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Most public festivals suck since there's nothing a committed vegan can eat. Except at Bumbershoot that's just not true. Among your options are the vegetarian burritos at Big City Burritos (Mural), the veggie combo plates at Horn of Africa (Bagley), the falafel sandwich—minus the yogurt, that tangy destroyer of bovine souls—at La Jitana (Bagley), and veggie pad Thai at Thai Heaven (Key roadway). Vegans deserve junk food just as much as the rest of us, and there's enough oil and sugar on the kettle corn at Pioneer Popcorn (Key roadway/Memorial Stadium) to satisfy this basic human need.
The formalities must be observed: In the grand tradition of ballparks, county fairs, and Bon Jovi shows, Bumbershoot has not neglected the all-American epicurian. Frankfurter USA (Key roadway) sells kielbasa and other sausages. Smokey's BBQ Grill (Memorial Stadium) smokes up ribs, beef, and hot links. Ray's Food (Key roadway/Mural) does garlic fries—need we say more? And, of course, no alfresco feast is complete without Little C's Funnel Cakes (Mural/Fountain Lawn).
Not only have the fascists roped off drinkers to protect them from impressionable minds, several of the food courts lack booze. However, at both the Mural and Fountain Lawn beer gardens, swillers are mere steps away from the hot dogs and curly fries at Ziegler's. Ray's Food, around the corner from the Mural, dispenses foot-long corn dogs and elephant ears. The Fisher rooftop garden only has one food stand—Chutney's Queen Anne—but lager and curry works for 60 million Brits, so why not you? Of course, nothing tastes better when you're drunk than Little C's Funnel Cakes (Mural/Fountain Lawn), and nothing prevents a hangover like heavy doses of fried dough. That's a medical fact.
The Health Nut
Provided you stick to light beer and dance in public at every show, you can attend Bumbershoot and maintain your trail-hardened physique. Just eat such body fuel as roasted corn at Corn Roasters (Fisher/Mural), the chipotle-spiced nuts at Sahale Snacks (Bagley), and the Lebanese chicken shawerma at La Jitana (Bagley). By purchasing the Greek salad at St. Demetrios (Key roadway), you support a church, and studies have shown that prayer increases life expectancy. Finish your meal with an antioxidant-packed açai smoothie at Sambazon (Fisher). Generations of Brazilians have been using this blueberry-like Amazonian fruit to scourge their blood of free radicals. Now this powerful health toolTM can be in your hands.
The World Traveler
Bumbershoot is practically the Epcot Center of food stalls, what with the Russian Hot Pockets at Kaleenka Piroshky (Key roadway); the Filipino adobo and pancit (noodles) at Espi's Sausage and Tocino (Mural); sambusas and garlic-lemon chicken at Horn of Africa (Bagley); jambalaya and crawfish étouffée at New Orleans Cookery (Mural); and the Amish delicacy known as Little C's Funnel Cakes (Memorial Stadium).
For all those who are compelled by pride to leave the bib at home, or who need to eat and text-message at the same time, Bambuza Bistro (Bagley) serves Vietnamese skewers; Ziegler's (Mural/Memorial Stadium/Bagley), corn dogs; Thai Heaven (Key roadway), chicken satay; and New Orleans Cookery (Mural), alligator on a stick. Finish it off with chocolate-dipped fruit (on a stick) at Shiskaberry (Fisher). Bring your own Wet-Naps.