Life at Hooverville, Home Depot's Menu, Great Guinness Head at Home

Selections from Voracious, our daily food blog.

At Home at Hooverville This SoDo bar takes its name from the shantytown that occupied its space (and many more that populated the country) during the Great Depression, named for (and blamed on) President Hoover. This two-year-old spot has the look and feel of a place that's been around much longer. With peanut shells on the floor and a smiling yellow lab wandering behind the bar, this place has got an ease to it that makes it hard not to like. Tall bar stools crowd the bar, while booths fill the room and the front windows, which, appropriately enough, have bars on them. At 5:15 on a Wednesday evening, the place is pleasantly crowded. Barkeep: Shannon How long have you been here? I've been here for a year, but I've been bartending for six. Where we you before? I was in San Diego and New York, upstate New York. Lotta kids. Lotta fake breasts and fake tans. I have never seen so much silicone in my life. In San Diego? No, in Saratoga Springs. But I grew up in the Pacific Northwest, so I am happy to be back. It's my favorite bar I ever worked at, my favorite hands down. Everyone knows each other. What would you have, if you had a drink right now? A Mandarin and soda, or a beer. I'm boring, what can I tell you? Drink of choice: Guinness. [She pours half a pint from the tap, and returns to pour the other half.] From the bartender's friend (who wants a peek at my camera, he tells me, so he can tease Shannon about the photo): A Guinness is classic. Shannon: Guinness is good for you. I'm a bit intimidated by this tall, gorgeous pint of stout, with its velvety head. This is a fat beer, a lot to put down. At first sip (complex, molassesy), I like the dark stuff more than I remember. And frankly, it seems just the right beer to have at this place. With an unpretentious, just-off-work crowd (literally, suits and Carharts), and an over-the-top extrovert for a bartender, I'll be back. — Adriana Grant The New Menu at Home Depot What: Camion Taco Truck Where: 11616 Aurora Ave. N. (Home Depot) When: lunch How much? $7.50 Would I eat there again? Yes, even if I did dine from the trunk of my car. Well, not really but in the adjacent parking lot to Aurora Avenue Home Depot (Bitter Lake), a new taco truck called Camion has set up shop. I stumbled upon the Mexican 5th Wheel on my third trip to Home Depot over the weekend. You can't miss the handwritten neon poster board taped to a tree on your way out of the parking lot that reads: "Homemade Tamales." Camion's menu has my favorite Triple Threat—tortas, tacos, and tamales. I was told that the last tamale had just been sold but more would be ready in two hours. Without my regular laundry list of items to pick up at Home Depot, I didn't have two hours to kill. I opted for the Mexican Plate, which came with a choice of meat (pork carnitas for me), avocado, black beans, grilled jalapeños and green onions, salsa fresca, rice, and tortillas. There were a couple of chairs on either end of the truck for seating. I chose to eat out of the trunk of my car (though the chair view from the bluff overlooking the Home Depot nursery looked nice). The pork was moist and full of flavor. The grilled jalapeños and onions melted in my mouth with each bite. Take a lunch break from your next home project. You won't be sorry. — Brad Hole Great Guinness Head at Home Who doesn't love a good pint of Guinness? A creamy velvet foam top followed by a gulp of chocolaty stout. Everyone knows that a pint just tastes better when it's been slowly poured from a nitrogen tap at an Irish bar. A few years ago, Guinness introduced the "surge" can that came with an internal widget that sounded more like you were shaking a can of spray paint than pouring a beer. The surge can was OK, but still nothing like the real thing. While picking up lunch at Ballard's Treehouse Bar & Grill the other day, the owner showed me the latest gadget the marketing geniuses at Guinness recently introduced; The Guinness Surger. The Surger (what looks like a hybrid coffee-cup warmer from the '80s) requires just a couple of steps beyond simply pouring your pint from a can, but the results are remarkable. Once your pint has been poured, place a small amount of water into the reservoir base of the unit. Place the pint of Guinness into base and hit the button. Watch the vibration of sound waves travel up from the bottom of the pint, leaving you with the perfect meringue head without leaving your house! — Brad Hole

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