Don’t miss the duck sandwich at this farm-to-table cafe in Phinney Ridge.
Opening the door at Stock unleashes the fragrance of long-simmered broths, giving visitors a lift as encouraging and welcoming as the scent of fresh-baked bread at a bakery. The cafe is advertised as “farm to table,” but an equally appropriate subtitle would have been “laid-back” or “faintly Asian-influenced” or just “Mmmm!”
As you order at the front counter, you’ll probably see owner Chris Blanco or his staffers chopping up reams of shallots, bruising lemongrass or otherwise laying groundwork for crocks of kimchi or jars of pickles or big pots of the aforementioned stocks.
Kids are welcome here, basic wooden tables rule rather than chic design and the beautifully bottomless cups of Tony’s coffee are self-serve. Plenty of plugs are available for laptops, but it feels more like a spot to chat, read the newspaper or take down a board game from the stack on the back bookshelf.
500 N.W. 65th St., (Phinney Ridge) Seattle; open 10 a.m.-9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m.-3 p.m. Sunday (stockseattle.com)
The menu: A short selection of sandwiches, soups and salads, plus a gratifying vegetable hash that becomes outstanding with the $2.50 addition of house-made sausage. There’s a selection of smaller plates, too, such as shrimp meatballs ($4) and a cheese omelet ($5). Most dishes are perked up with pickled vegetables, fresh herbs or other lively additions.
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Don’t miss: The irresistible duck sandwich, slow-roasted meat piled on a roll with house-pickled beets and other tasty toppings (while it feels a little insult-to-injury for the duck, add on the optional $2 fried duck egg).
What to skip: Surprisingly, the aromatic pho ($8) isn’t nearly as satisfying as the other entrees.
A debate: Friends who grew up with congee as their kitchen comfort food may question how anyone could pay $8 for the simple rice porridge. If you don’t already have a rich chicken stock on hand and other tasty pre-made additions (or possibly a grandmother to put it together for you), I’m good with paying up for Stock’s. There’s a small $4 serving available, too.
Prices: Duck sandwich ($12), Stock hash ($9), pho ($8), congee ($8), most with optional and highly recommended toppings such as a $2 fried duck egg or a $3.50 turkey meatball. Entrees tend to be filling.