Walking through Bumbershoot at the Seattle Center, different scents wafted into my nose. Smells of freshly ground coffee beans, juicy tacos with succulent meat from MexiCuban, smokey dough from Candela Pizza, and the sweet scent of popsicles drifted through the hot air. Though the food program at Bumbershoot was excellent, it lacked an international taste. The culinary options were predominantly seafood, Mexican, and Italian. While the seafood was deeply Seattle, giving more space to European, African, and Asian food vendors would have been greatly appreciated and could have better recognized the ethnic and cultural diversity within Seattle. Despite this, I found the food delicious! I tried all sorts of food at the Labor Day weekend festival and here is what really caught my eye.
As I found myself staring at all the beautiful outfits people wore and letting the loud music thrum through my body, Amazon employees handed out Seattle Pops. They had all kinds of flavors including Cookies and Cream as well as Lime. I chose a Cookies and Cream pop and it was the right call! The frozen treat melted in my mouth and the cream slowly trickled down my throat. When I asked the employees why they were out in the heat handing out their little miracles they said, “We’re trying to spread joy.” I smiled and walked on.
As I passed more and more people I noticed a woman holding a bowl with veggies and rice. I immediately got curious and politely asked what she was eating. She said, “It’s a hummus bowl with rice and pickled vegetables that I got at Mamnoon Street Eats.” The aroma was delicous: spices and a hint of vinegar that pulled the smell to the nearby air. I thanked her and walked away. The next person I spotted had a juicy looking burger from Eva’s Wild. It featured a creamy sauce with a salmon burger tightly wedged between two toasted pieces of bread. By this time I had noticed some common choices, so I figured that I should give them a go.
I sampled the lobster slider between two mini-buns. The meat was cold, but buttery. The roll had an all-together pleasant crunch from the not-overwhelming celery minced and placed into the roll. It was not a meal, but a very filling snack and only for ten dollars! It took me a minute to figure out the name, but then I realized it was called MARKET Seattle.
The next place I ate was called Delish Ethiopian Cuisine; there was something truly special about this stall. I even talked to the owner, Mr. Delish himself! He shared that his business opened six months before COVID-19 hit, and how they served a large variety of vegetarian options at his restaurant. He also said that within thirty minutes his stall was sold out! I decided on the veggie rolls and they did not disappoint. The spicy lentils stuffed into the injera were perfect little bites. The rolls had just enough substance to be chewy, but enough sauce to be juicy. I thoroughly enjoyed myself and left the stall with a grin.
The last thing I ate were the pierogies at Dumpling Tzar, a quite nostalgic taste for me. I had classic—potato pierogies speckled with dill and a dollop of sour cream in a sauce of white vinegar. The food had always had a more acidic flavor with homemade pickled and salad dressings. As someone growing up Jewish, the pierogies brought back fond memories of my mom and I heating them up and snacking on them after going to the Kosher grocery store.
I enjoyed the food at Bumbershoot thoroughly, though I wish there could have been more international diversity with more European, African, and Asian foods. Still, it was evident that Bumbershoot officials knew what they were doing. I enjoyed myself and I am not alone. But what mattered most to me, when I ate the well curated food at Bumbershoot was how rooted I felt and how happy my body was.