Mean Sandwich

Mean Sandwich draws a great cross-section of people throughout the day. The generously-sized sandwiches are all served on Macrina’s Seeded Buns, and everything else is made in-house. The bun absorbs the juiciness of the fillings and keeps the generous pile of inners together. Kevin and Alex are usually there, and you’ll occasionally find their adorable three-year-old daughter holding court with the customers. If you love a delicious sandwich get on over there!

Leslie

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Mean Sandwich

John Montagu, the Fourth Earl of Sandwich, is said to have invented the sandwich so he didn’t have to leave the gambling table to eat. Three hundred years after his birth, the now ubiquitous finger food ranges from humble to haute. At Mean Sandwich, located in Ballard, everyday street food and elevated cuisine find a happy meeting place. You can grab something to nosh on when you’re in a hurry, or treat your snobbiest foodie friend to lunch. They won’t be disappointed.

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Mean Sandwich is the brainchild of Kevin and Alex Pemoulie, formerly chef/owners of Thirty Acres, a critically-acclaimed restaurant that landed on Bon Appétit’s 2012 list of 50 best new restaurants in the country. Before that, they both worked at David Chang’s legendary New York restaurant Momofuku. After the birth of their daughter, they wanted to refocus. They shuttered their ode to fine dining and moved to Seattle, Alex’s hometown, to focus on casual, accessible food.

“We’re challenging ourselves in a different way entirely,” Kevin says. “Before we opened, I worked for a long time on the menu for Mean Sandwich. Obviously, everything here is going between two pieces of bread, but we make everything in-house, from the corned beef of our namesake sandwich to our sausage.”

Already high expectations for Mean Sandwich were elevated last fall when Eater put it on their list of 23 most anticipated openings around the country. Now, open nearly a year, the Pemoulie’s have backed up the hype, so much so that they made Bon Appetit’s 2017 list of 50 best new restaurants in the country.

The menu is simple: six signature sandwiches, a side salad, and Skins and Ins, an awesome combination of fried potato chunks and their skins. All sandwiches are griddled and served hot on a Macrina Seeded Bun.

The eponymous sandwich features tender thick-cut corned beef, pickled red cabbage, yellow mustard, mint, and a subtle dash of maple syrup. It’s based on a Thirty Acres dish and it’s worth a driving across town for—even at rush hour. None of the sandwiches feel too precious, but each has a special twist, that something you couldn’t do at home. You get the sense that the same care and effort they once put into each creative small plate at Thirty Acres goes into each sandwich. In addition to the standing menu, a special sandwich is offered every day, such as the Glazed Pork Belly with pine nuts, radicchio, and roasted tomato mayo. With the onset of the cooler weather, a fresh daily soup is also available.

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Behind the small storefront, the interior space is simple with a couple of booths and seating lining the windows, 18 seats in total. In warmer weather, the large backyard is an oasis of fun. Diners pack the eight picnic tables and many wait for a turn at the ping-pong table. Patrons of Peddler Brewing can order sandwiches through a pickup window located in the brewery’s beer garden.

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With a successful first year nearly behind them, Kevin and Alex are interested in opening a second location. “If the right opportunity came along we’d definitely entertain the idea,” Kevin says. “It seems that if you divide the city by a harsh north-south line, a lot of people wind up sticking to their neighborhoods during the weekdays, especially during the cold months. It’d be helpful to be in another part of the city.”

Meanwhile, to expand their reach, Mean Sandwich plans to make their sandwiches available through every delivery service in Seattle. “We just want to serve people great sandwiches,” Kevin says.“Right now we’re operating exclusively with Caviar, but we’re looking to use UberEats, Postmates, Doordash, Amazon Restaurants. We literally just want to use every single one.”

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Kevin and Alex have embraced Seattle and its food scene. They frequently take their daughter along as they try new restaurants or return to favorites. “The city is great,” Kevin says. “We live half a mile from Mean Sandwich, see Alex’s parents a great deal, and love our walkable neighborhood.”

Their gamble to leave fine-dining behind and take their talents West has given Seattle a chef-driven take on the old standby. They’ve kept the everyday convenience of the Earl of Sandwich’s pedestrian invention and made it tasty enough for the most discerning diner.

Mean Sandwich opens at 11 a.m. seven days a week. Check their website (meansandwich.com) for evening closing hours and much more. 

The Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition

Figgy Pudding

We are spreading holiday cheer in more ways than one this year! The 28th Annual Great Figgy Pudding Caroling Competition is just around the corner, and we are excited to be part of this wonderful tradition. If anyone can get you into the spirit of the season, it’s our caroling team, The Baker’s (Dirty) Dozen!

Not only is Figgy Pudding Seattle’s biggest holiday music event, the competition provides tremendous support to the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank. Everyone is welcome to join us on Friday, December 5, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. in Seattle’s Westlake Center as we sing our hearts out during one truly magical night. You can find our team at the corner of 6th and Pine. With your help, we will make it to the Figgy Main Stage to compete against the top caroling teams!

While The Baker’s (Dirty) Dozen warms up their vocal chords, practices scales and rehearses Christmas carols, cue up our Wintery Mix playlist below and take a moment to donate to the Pike Market Senior Center & Food Bank.

FarmRaiser: Freshening Up the School Fundraiser

School FundraiserMove over glossy gift wrap catalogs and generic chocolate bars! There’s a new school fundraiser in town. With the virtuous goal of bolstering local farms and businesses while also supporting schools, FarmRaiser is freshening up the old-school fundraiser model.

Mark Abbott dreamed up the idea for a fundraiser that offers wholesome products that people actually want after his son sold hundreds of dollars worth of highly processed foods one year. From that initial seed grew FarmRaiser, a fundraising program that allows schools to purchase farm-fresh foods and products from local purveyors at wholesale prices, sell these items at a retail price to friends and families, and then keep most of the profits within their community.

“One of the best things about FarmRaiser is that kids get excited about the products they’re selling, not just the prizes they might get for selling something,” says Christina Carson, chief cultivator at FarmRaiser. “They love seeing farmers bring in boxes of fresh, local produce, smelling freshly baked breads, and learning how to use scales in weighing products.”

School Fundraiser

Our friend Cheri Bloom who runs the gardening education curriculum at Montlake Elementary introduced us to FarmRaiser in 2013. Cheri is always looking for creative ways to build funding for her program while staying true to its mission. FarmRaiser offered the perfect solution, supplementing grants from Les Dames d’Escoffier, Whole Foods Market and the Seattle Department of Neighborhoods.

“What I love about FarmRaiser is that I have seen how successful it has been for local farmers and food artisans and at the same time directly linking with our school’s mission,” says Cheri. “Last year’s campaigns did as well, if not better, than other fundraisers we have had. I expect this year to be better with more awareness of FarmRaiser and the students involvement in the campaigns.”

After teaming up with FarmRaiser at Seattle schools last year, we knew we wanted to take part in this program once again in support of Stevens Elementary, Montlake Elementary and Queen Anne Elementary. This year you’ll find our Cranberry Apricot Nut Bread peeking from FarmRaiser bags alongside Mt. Townsend Creamery cheese, Willie Greens Organic Farms produce, and Loki Fish Company seafood.

“I think it is a win-win,” says Macrina Bakery Founder Leslie Mackie. “We get to expose new customers – young and old – to our products and they get to enjoy a hand-delivered fresh loaf of artisan bread made from flour grown here in Washington state. It’s a really smart way to get kids jazzed about buying local and celebrating the wonderful businesses in their neighborhood!”

Check out FarmRaiser online for more information.

Photos courtesy of FarmRaiser

Pumpkin, Spice & Everything Nice

Cozy scarves, crisp leaves and piles of orange pumpkins, that’s what fall is made of. Judging from local breweries, coffee shops, and supermarket shelves, we’re not alone in our love of pumpkin. Spiced with cinnamon, sweetened with brown sugar, or blended with butternut squash, pumpkin-spiked pastries and pies have taken over our Autumn Menu. With so many to choose from, we bet you can find a favorite for any time of day.

Pumpkin Cranberry Muffin & Vegan Pumpkin Scone

Fall Menu

The sun may not be up when we climb out of bed, but the promise of pumpkin keeps us from hitting the snooze button. Both of these breakfast staples are topped with a sprinkle of sugar and toasted pumpkin seeds for extra texture and flavor. Pair them with a cup of Caffé Umbria coffee or a Mocha to kick-start your morning.

Brown Sugar Pumpkin Spice Cupcake & Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookie

Fall Menu

When the afternoon lull sets in, the combination of chocolate and pumpkin or spiced cake and brown sugar buttercream will put some bounce back in your step. Teamed up a cupcake or cookie with our cold-brewed iced coffee and sail through the rest of your day.

Pumpkin Cheesecake with Cranberry Compote & Pumpkin Pie Bar

Pumpkin Pie Bar

These desserts were so popular last holiday season, we knew we had to bring them back. Our silky cheesecake and signature bars are full of autumn flavors and intriguing enough to set themselves apart from the pack. Pick one up to enjoy after dinner with a cup of hot cocoa.

Open House Event: See Sodo Behind the Scenes

BBGA Open House

In conjunction with The Bread Bakers Guild of America (BBGA), we are proud to participate the 4th Annual International Guild Open House! Everyone is welcome to take part in this event that showcases the people and products that define Macrina.

The open house takes place this Saturday, June 21, from 2 to 5 p.m. at our Sodo locationLeslie Mackie and Jane Cho will take you behind the scenes at our bakery; sample some of our newly released breads, including the Raisin Pumpernickel, Pizza Bianca and Seeded Sardinian Flatbread; and share their baking tips and tricks. Attendees will also take home a Macrina Bakery 20th Anniversary tote bag and freshly baked loaf of bread while supplies last.

More than 51 bakeries across the country are participating in this open house event, which was created by the BBGA as a way for communities to connect with their local bakeries. For us, the open house gives the Seattle community an opportunity to experience the art and passion we put behind our products.

Comprised of industry professionals, educators, students, and home bakers from around the world, the BBGA formed in 1993 to shape the skills and knowledge of the baking community through education. Visit BBGA online for more information and events.

Meet the Artist: Kirsten McElfresh

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If you’ve ever strolled through the University Village, you’ve probably seen Kirsten McElfresh’s work. Since 2009, Kirsten has decked out dress forms and display windows for the bustling center’s Anthroplogie location. A departure from her day-to-day work, Kirsten chooses a different creative outlet in her free time: Painting. Currently on display in our SODO café, Kirsten’s work highlights nature’s organic beauty.

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Take us through your creative process.

My latest work has been paintings and drawings of plants that have inspired me from my ventures in gardening and foraging. I like to play with the paint color in my backgrounds and will often paint multiple layers and even sand it down again and again before it feels right.

Was there a moment when you knew you wanted to be an artist?

Art has been a part of my life as long as I can remember. I used to draw still lifes of my stuffed animals when I was a kid, and I loved doing crafts with my grandmother. It was never a decision I had to make; it’s just who I am.

Where do you find inspiration?

I spend a lot of my free time working in my garden. Otherwise I am out hiking the woods with my husband and dog, foraging for mushrooms or other choice edibles. I find inspiration in the unique individuality and subtle flaws of each plant, and I try to highlight that in my work.

If you could enjoy a meal with three artists, who would you choose?

In college I had three friends [who] majored in studio art with me. We were the ones that would stick around the art building all hours of the night just making work and debating about art. We were art nerds. I would definitely want to have a meal with them; having a community to discuss and debate art really helps you grow and improve.

How did you decide to show your work at Macrina? 

I feel that the subject matter of my art works well with a restaurant. It’s so nice that art is not restricted to galleries alone and that many businesses help the arts. By showing in alternative spaces, we are exposing people to artwork that would otherwise not have seen it.

Look for Kirsten’s pieces in our SODO café through the end of September and then at our Belltown café for the month of October.

The Swinery: Stay for a Sandwich, Bring Home the Bacon

The Swinery Menu

“This is basically a Carlton Farms/Macrina/Swinery-cooked sandwich,” James Dillon grins as he hands over a plate of Carolina-style pulled pork and tangy slaw hugging the edges of its buttery bun.

James fell into ownership of The Swinery when its founder Gabriel Claycamp left abruptly in 2010. At the time, James was running a successful construction company while investing in the sustainable butcher shop. Despite The Swinery’s rocky start, business has been booming since the change in ownership.

“It’s been a tremendous uphill learning experience for me,” James explains of life in the food business. “I’m in a whole other universe. Fortunately for me, the product was always really good. All we had to do was basically understand what the costs were to run it and how to train a proper crew.”

According to James, the current crew is really into what they’re creating, which is evident upon entering The Swinery. Customers are greeted by silver steel pig and a jar of bacon-spiked caramels. A butcher case displaying a parade of locally-sourced meat leads to a blackboard menu of meaty sandwiches, all served on our toasted Brioche. At the back of the shop rests a fridge stocked with tubs of bacon chocolate chip cookie dough and farm-fresh eggs.

The Swinery Case

James and The Swinery team take pride in their sustainable meat business, roasting whole Carlton Farms pigs, shelling out Mad Hatcher eggs by the dozen, and teaming up with Painted Hills Natural Beef for their prized pig – or, shall we say cash cow – the Swinery Burger. And, lest you forget the name of the place, these guys will gladly top any of their sandwiches with bacon or pork belly, naturally.

“The pig represents probably one of the greatest things the animal world gave us, because you can eat the whole thing. You can eat it nose to tail, and I’ve eaten it nose to tail.”

Don’t believe him? Order the Swinery Spectacularrr, a towering feast that puts James’ theory and the crew’s skill to the test.

With meat-centric diets trending and more people interested in where their food comes from, The Swinery has carved out a nice piece of the market. Their courtyard, also known as the Inner Sanctum of the Temple of Porcine Love, sees a rotating ensemble of meat enthusiasts, from the regulars who can’t resist the Spectaclularrr’s siren song to the Paleo crowd who just wants 10 pieces of crispy, smoked pork belly.

Bring a healthy appetite, your stretchiest pants, and some time to take it all in.

“You gotta be careful,” James says, eying our empty plates. “I’m going to put up a sign that says, ‘The Home of Slow Eating.’”

Meet the Artist: Mickey Williams

The Aristocrat

Although, Mickey Williams has always fancied himself an artist, it wasn’t until he started taking portraits that he knew he had found his medium. Mickey has since fine-tuned his craft into something much more than photography. His work is where graphics and fine art meet, creating an intriguing blend.

“It sounds cliché, but I see things everywhere,” Mickey explains of his inspiration. “The ideas will come to me at times while I am talking to somebody and they are expressing their own style or mannerisms. Sometimes it’s just that I came across a prop that I am drawn too and then I start thinking about the people that could work with it.”

From there, he sets up the scene, stockpiling props to build his vision along the way. Once he has the shot, he pulls the image apart and laces it back together, adding layers of lacquer – sometimes even objects – bringing the image to life.

Mickey’s cryptic portraits and spellbinding, documentary-style photographs display eerily intimate moments. Adorned subjects stare out from their frames as if held there in captivity. Sometimes he uses professional models, but for the most part, Mickey prefers photographing “everyday people.”

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Well, there are a handful of characters he would love to place into one of his illuminated worlds: Isabella Rossellini for her amazing beauty, Mick Jagger’s early years, and Frida Kahlo, an inspiration. Mickey wistfully talks about the pull to photograph his children and the heartbreak of seeing time pass so quickly by doing so; a feeling that conceivably gets funneled into his work.

After a hiatus from the camera, Mickey is getting back into photography again. Upon a suggestion of a friend, he is showing his work in our SODO café this month. And he is already dreaming up his next show.

“I am working on having a solo show that would be hung out in the woods in a Seattle park in late September. It would have all the typical aspects of a gallery show, with music and food, but be out under the stars. Could be amazing or a travesty, but that’s half the excitement.”

Meet the Artist: Jim Olson

Jim Olson Artwork

Some of the pieces available at our SODO location. Image courtesy of Jim Olson.

Jim Olson’s beautifully offbeat pieces on display in our SODO Café are tangible products of his rich imagination. Described as “hammered assemblages” by Narthex Gallery Curator Scott Ward, Jim’s work breathes new life into abandoned objects.

“I create art from salvaged material,” Jim explains. “Weathered wood and hammered metal create a rough, heavily textured style that is the signature feature of my work. Repurposing materials keeps them from ending up in the scrap heap. There was a day when you could freely roam the junkyard and take home whatever caught your eye.”

Now, Jim combs construction sites, millwork and metalwork shops as well as the occasional dumpster for treasures to repurpose into works of art. Hearing his fans describe the pleasure his work brings them fuels his passion and inspires his creativity. While art has not always been his trade, Jim’s inventive imagination and creative spirit came in handy in his former 42-year career as a salesman for a series of Wall Street firms.

“I used a technique called ‘Story Selling,’ which involves weaving a perceived interest of the prospective client around your product or service. Sometimes it worked; sometimes it bored a prospect to tears. The same is true of my art, a bond is created or it isn’t.”

His technique has certainly captured Seattle’s attention. Jim’s work will be on display at our SODO Café through the end of June. He will then show his pieces at The Elliott Bay Book Company in for the entire month of July. You can also find his work at NuBe Green in Capitol Hill.

Consider the Bun

Wheat Cider Buns are the natural choice.

Wheat Cider Buns are the natural choice.

As the weather turns warm this time of year, we can’t help but notice another change in the air. Once laced with the spicy scent of stoked fireplaces, our neighborhood now harbors the aroma of backyard barbecues. Maybe more so than other regions of the country, Seattleites embrace summer like a best friend they haven’t seen in ages.

Grocery lists are readied and shopping baskets fill with the goods of summer. But, there’s one thing that’s often overlooked or purchased haphazardly: the burger bun. Consider the bun with its hollows and crust to hug its contents, be it a grilled portobello or juicy hamburger, a slippery tomato slice or crisp onion ring. Any old brand just won’t suffice.

Packed with hearty ingredients that you can pronounce, like whole-wheat flour and cracked wheat berries, our Wheat Cider Bun is a virtuous compliment to organic vegetables, grass-fed beef, or Dungeness crab salad.

This is the time for outdoor living. Are you ready?