Keep an open mind on a sojourn to the South Sound.
By James Ross Gardner

Seattle Met

A SEATTLEITE IN TACOMA might maintain a sense of superiority up to a point—during that last bend in Interstate 5 when our southerly sister city’s stubby skyline swings into view. While rolling up Sixth Avenue, with its gauntlet of fast food chains and nail salons. While uttering “aroma of Tacoma” more than once to ding the city for its pungent paper mill. But come brunch time at Shakabrah Java, west of the city center, a Seattleite’s confidence begins to crack. One strains to think of a King County diner that compares. College students fill mismatched chairs and drain pots of coffee; men on work breaks gab over biscuits and gravy—a forthright simplicity that would be the envy of half a dozen Capitol Hill restaurants. On the menu: sun-dried tomato skillets, baby red potatoes kissed with garlic. By the time a waitress named Haney ferries an omelet to the table—the Farmers Omelet, heavy with squash, zucchini, mushrooms, and sausage—that arrogance has all but fizzled...

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