Saturday, May 30, 2009

Sunlight Cafe, Seattle

This is my second trip in five years to this interesting cafe, and I am sad to say that if it weren't for the food, I would never return.

First, let me clarify. I love me a good, independent diner. I can overlook their bad coffee and burnt toast because that is just all part of the experience. Grassroots? I'm totally for it - but do it well like at Beth's (definitely where I go when I need my hippie/alterna/omelet fix). So what is it that Sunlight did so badly?

Before I tell you, I also have to let you know that I am aware that one bad experience does not a bad restaurant make. However, word on the street about Sunlight is almost exactly what we experienced.

1. Great food.
2. Ridiculously poor service.

This is the kind of place you feel horrible (well, kind of) about writing a negative review. All the ex-portlanders have to have SOMEWHERE to remind them of their grassroots town, full of armpit hair and dreadlocks, but just because everyone can wear their own clothes and be their own unique snowflake does not excuse the kind of service my friends and I received.

We were on a 1 hour power lunch. There were maybe 5 tables sat. Even though Seattle was a beautiful 75 degrees, the place was seriously roasting, even with fans. We sat for 15 minutes before even being greeted. Our very sweet server wrote down our orders and left. I had ordered a glass of wine, and she came back after 10 minutes asking who had ordered the wine and which kind (she couldn't read her own writing). The wine came in a very silly glass (think 1600 mead hall or 1980 grandmother's house), and was mediocre at best. When we finally did get our food, 35 minutes later, it was amazing!

My friend had the brown rice salad with the lemon tahini sauce. I had the toasted avocado and cheese sandwich. My other friend had the half sandwich/soup combo. All the food was very good, but we barely had a chance to enjoy it before my friends had to get back to work. All in all, if you mess with the natural social flow of meals, I consider your restaurant unacceptable.

And our server...oh our sweet, unaware, blank, ditsy server. She was the kind of girl you would see feeding the homeless or working with the elderly (well, let's face it, that's basically the clientele at Sunlight), but if you want her to remember something...anything, you're out of luck.

But the food is just so good, I might accidentally forget and brave the Sunlight Cafe yet again. After all, Seattle's smelly, hot, coffee-burning, hard-core, alterna cafes are a dying breed...and that's just not right, man.

Bottom Line:
If you're a vegan and you have 2 or more hours for lunch, this is your spot.

~the secret snob

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