The Eatside: Kirkland Ford's Drive-In

Our new columnist visits a car dealership . . . for soup.

What is it about knowing some seemingly fascinating piece of information that other people don't that makes you giddy? Whatever it is, we're not immune to it, and we're champing at the bit to spill the beans on one of the best secrets we've uncovered in a while as far as the Eastside is concerned. Located off I-405, the Ford of Kirkland Cafe is nestled among suburban strip malls and shopping plazas. Ford dealerships are a dime a dozen all across America, but how many of them have a tiny cafe hidden in the back corner with the fabulous Deanne cooking up a surprise daily special from scratch with a smile? Only this one. A tiny sign on the side of the building says "Cafe" with an arrow, but that's where the help ends. After circling both buildings almost twice, we finally realized they're trying to keep it hidden from outsiders. But that's no match for our investigative skills. This one-woman powerhouse churns out a full-length breakfast starting at 7 a.m., toasting breakfast sandwiches and sending that wonderful skillet scent wafting through the dealership. If you can't make breakfast by 10:30, fear not: Deanne's back on track with a different lunch special every day starting at 11:45. During lunch, an ongoing stream of customers funneled in and out of the little nook ordering all sorts of sandwiches and salads. By far, the crowd favorite is the daily special; when we were there, it was"Spicy (but not too spicy) Chicken Soup & Grilled Cheese Sandwich." This piping-hot, mammoth bowl of Southwestern soup is topped with melty strips of cheddar and a healthy dollop of sour cream. Keeping it company is the ever-faithful grilled cheese, oozing with more cheddar. How can this be only $5? If you're more interested in a solo sandwich, take a bite out of Deanne's California Turkey Sandwich ($4.50, or $5.50 with chips and a drink), with huge cuts of roasted turkey breast, sizzling bacon, Swiss cheese, chunks of avocado, tomato, onion, and ranch dressing. But whatever you get, you're going to be satisfied, as well as enticed by the idea of the next day's special. It's always something different and homemade. Asked what she'd be making tomorrow, Deanne nonchalantly replied, "Oh, I was thinking roast beef with homemade mashed potatoes and gravy." Yeah, no big deal, it's just what most people make only when their in-laws come over!

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