It was a beautiful Thursday evening on Alki Beach, the sun setting in the distance to our left turning the sky all the best shades of soft pink, sherbet orange and dusky blue. Dogs chased after sticks, a lone woman on a stand-up paddle board floated slowly by without paddling, the boardwalk bustled with families on an evening stroll.

“Sometimes you just forget all this is here,” my friend said with a contented sigh.

We were sipping margaritas and sharing a Fire Box from nearby Fire Tacos, our feast spread before us on a blanket with guacamole and chips in close range for dipping as we watched the sunset.

I’ve been to West Seattle less than a dozen times since the bridge closed in March 2020 and she’s right — when you don’t live on “the island,” it’s easy to forget the beautiful views from Alki. But as the Sept. 18 bridge reopening date looms, it might be time to become reacquainted with the neighborhood. To help lure you (or if you live in West Seattle, introduce you to some new neighbors), here are three newish things to devour the next time you find yourself there.

Charcute

Instagram.com/charcuteandco

Sandra Watson has been putting together beautifully intricate charcuterie boards and grazing tables in West Seattle since August 2021. Order at least 24 hours in advance, picking the size box you want — I went for a Three’s Company box ($85), recommended to serve 4-6 — and your preferred date of delivery. Watson does free delivery in West Seattle, White Center, Burien, Des Moines and Normandy Park — and said if you don’t have an address in any of those locations, she’s done plenty of grocery store parking lot drop offs. Lucky for me, I was able to meet Watson at a friend’s apartment (who happens to live steps from the quaint Beveridge Pub where we took our Charcute box).

Watson says creating the boards and boxes let her tap into her “inner artist,” a sentiment that is obvious the minute you open the box. Ribbons of prosciutto wind around salami roses and hunks of cheese, dried and fresh fruit, nuts, crackers, little tubs of olives and cornichons and a jar of honey. There are also delicate macarons, yogurt pretzels and lumps of truffle sprinkled atop to satisfy the sweet tooth.

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Pair the box with a glass of bubbly (or honestly anything) and you’re set for at least a few hours of snacking.

Fire Tacos

11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Tuesday-Friday, 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, 4 p.m.-9 p.m. Monday; 2738 Alki Ave. S.W., Seattle; 206-778-8169

This Kent-based food truck branched into a beachside brick-and-mortar this past April, serving up birria tacos with your choice of slow-cooked goat, lamb or beef, served with an optional side of con for dipping. Different from a crystal-clear French-style consommé, the beef stew consomé here is a rich broth bobbing with onion and bits of beef, a deep mahogany in color.

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Unable to decide which tacos to get, we got the Fire Box ($23), which includes one taco de birria (the meat served in a crunchy red corn tortilla with onion and cilantro), a quesataco (just like a taco de birria with a layer of crunchy melted cheese), a mulita (a flat crunchy red tortilla topped with meat, onion, cilantro, melted cheese and another crunchy tortilla) and an 8-ounce container of the consomé. We also added a vampire taco ($5.25), which was like a bigger mulita without the top tortilla.

Chips and guacamole ($7) and a couple of margaritas ($13) made for a beach feast. We got all beef for our tacos, which was super tender and flavorful enough that a dip in the consomé was delightful, but nowhere near necessary. Any taco with that layer of crunchy, melted cheese took things over the top, adding in a layer of crispness and flavor that you didn’t realize you wanted until it was there. Does every taco need a layer of crunchy cheese? No, but wow is it nice. The guacamole was nice and heavy on the lime, which I always love.

Lily’s Salvadorean Restaurant & Bar

4-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-8 p.m. Sunday; 2940 S.W. Avalon Way, Seattle; 206-397-3429; lilyssalvadoreanrestaurant.com

If you’ve fallen in love with Lillian Anaya Quintanilla’s pupusas at a farmers market sometime in the past decade, you’ll be happy to know you can now get them daily in West Seattle. Quintanilla opened in March in the space most recently occupied by the vegan spot Allyum. I picked up takeout — two orders of pupusas: one pork, bean and cheese and the other spinach and cheese ($12.75/order). Each order comes with two pupusas, a side of cabbage curtido and a tart, spicy sauce. The pupusas are pancake thin, a crispy, crunchy exterior giving way to a creamy inside with just the right amount of oozy cheese and filling. Pile a forkful of curtido on each bite for an extra bright crunch. I’m looking forward to going back and dining in — there’s plenty of seating inside as well as a small patio. I’ve got my eye on the whole fish and of course more pupusas.