Hospital cafeteria fare is something I avoid whenever possible. So, on days where I find myself at the UW Hospital Campus I always make the trek to Agua Verde Café & Paddle Club even if it means standing in line for 20 minutes just to order.
Same goes for a few other medical facilities in the city that while top rated-- for some of the best health care in the country-- house some of the worst food stuff anywhere.
This explains why I'll only drink coffee--with an accompanying biscotti-- from the Tully's stand while at Children's Hospital and absolutely refuse to consume anything prepared by the kitchens of Harbor View and Providence.
In a different part of town, on work days when running around First Hill affords limited options with very limited time, I try to make the most of lunch without having to recur to the dreaded pantheons of the bland, unappetizing and inedible which include, sadly, Swedish's Lobby, Heath, Cherry Street and Market Cafés .
Sometimes the quickest option is coffee and sandwich or salad at Starbucks. On days that sustenance requires something light, inexpensive and fast without compromising on flavor or quality I cross the street to enjoy a waffle or panini and hot chocolate at Arosa Café.
And when hunger calls for comfort food that will get me going on long days, with a serious dose of spice, heat, maybe some beans and carne asada I walk to the nook between Bank of America & the Nordstrom Tower (1229) where Blue Water Taco Grill is somewhat hidden at.
This is a Seattle based joint that serves some of the best and freshest Mexican food in town. They have a few locations but this is the only one I eat at because of its proximity to many of the offices and clients I visit during my work day.
The room is colorful, cozy and clean with aluminum small bistro tables and chairs. Ordering is fast and easy, prices are great and the staff is friendly and efficient that aims to please and have always given me great lunch suggestions when I arrive, usually in a hurry, not sure of what to eat.
They have a lovely albeit limited salsa bar (the Smoked Chipotle is my favorite), a comprehensive menu of delicious fare that ranges from taco salads, burritos, taco and carne asada plates to tostadas, nachos, shrimp cocktail and quesadillas.
Their beverages (with free samples to help in your selection) are lovely too. Agua frescas made out of lima (lime), Jamaica (hibiscus flower), tamarindo (tamarind, one of my favorite tropical fruits!) and the nicest Horchata I've ever tasted in the city with a beautiful body and the loveliest of cinnamon undertones.
This time I ordered their Carne Asada Plate ($6.25). This is just the right amount of rice, beans, cheese, sour cream, guacamole, flour or corn tortillas (corn are best) and a choice of sauces (the offer four different ones) and it was so good there were only but a few grains of rice left on the plate and a very big smile as I walked out, reinvigorated.
Blue Water Taco Grill
1207 Madison Street
Seattle, WA 98104