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First Look: Skillet


Well, it’s my first look at Skillet anyway but not for many others.  In fact Skillet is adding another stop to their traveling schedule next week and even opening a non-mobile location in May!  But let’s not get ahead of ourselves…. 

Skillet is a foodie’s dream version of Meals on Wheels.  An Airstream trailer has been retrofitted into a commercial kitchen.  The folks who are running the show are trained chefs.  Their idea is to "…provide seasonally relevant, locally sourced and impeccably executed bistro style food up and down the west coast……out of our airstream trailers".  And they seem to be doing a very good job at meeting that goal.  I think every Seattle (and some national) publications have given them a big thumbs up.  So I’ve been anxious to see what all the fuss is about. 
You may remember that a couple weeks ago I had plans to try them out.  But my plans were thwarted when their support vehicle was stolen.  Well, it turns out it wasn’t actually stolen it just wasn’t in the place where it had been left the night before.  Illegal parking will get you towed in this town…  So that’s a (mostly) happy ending to that story!  But today was the day I finally had my chance.

I found them stationed in the alley behind the Old Pequilar in Ballard.  I was there on the early side – about 11:30 – but already people were milling around waiting for their orders to be ready.  Since I’d looked at this week’s menu online, I already knew what I was going to order, Fish Tacos. But not just any old fish tacos.  These were made with local halibut which, if you aren’t aware, is at peak season at the moment.  I placed my order with Josh, who was outside the trailer facilitating the order process.  He asked if I was a blogger which was sort of apparent since I walked up with camera in hand.  We chatted just a quick minute and then I wandered for a bit since nothing is cooked until an order is placed so they take just a few minutes to pull together.
Once my order was ready I meandered out to the sidewalk along Market Street to grab a seat on a bench.  While walking I took a bite of the black beans accompanying my tacos – they were so good I almost forgot about the tacos!  Well, not quite, but the beans were tender but not mushy, a little spicy and bursting with flavor.  I am a big black bean fan and these exceeded my expectations.  
Once I was at my bench it was time to try the main course.  Each taco was assembled in a double layer of tortilla – the same way the little taco trucks do it if you’ve been to any of those.  And it’s a good thing there was a double layer.  The tacos were filled with smoky, flaky (but not dry), thick-cut halibut, a roasted tomato salsa, sprigs of cilantro, a cilantro flavored sauce and topped with beautiful red cabbage slaw.  Each element on it’s own was delicious and the combination even better.  The only change I would have made would have been a bit more of the cilantro sauce – that flavor of that sauce made me very happy.
A couple of things for you to know:  the menu is limited to just five or so choices for each meal (Skillet is open for breakfast and lunch only).  And, other than the burger which seems to remain fairly constant, the menu changes frequently so by the time you get there fish tacos may or may not be on the menu, for instance.  But I’m betting they will have been replaced by something equally wonderful.  
I really like the idea that they will be moving their location around – although I know that might bother some of you.  But for me, I figure it’s a chance to visit different neighborhoods now and then.  I’m sure I’ll be back soon – that burger was really calling my name but I told it to just hang on.  When it’s halibut season there’s really no other choice for me!
Various locations
Currently serving Ballard, South Lake Union and SODO once a week
Next week Capitol Hill is added
In May (or maybe June), a take-out window opens in the ID
  1. Stephanie permalink
    10-Apr-2008 3:41 pm

    That looks and sounds wonderful! Any idea what the beans were seasoned with?
    Those look like they are made with corn tortillas, (I\’m hoping) because that\’s my idea of a real fish taco.
    I had a halibut fish taco at Anthony\’s in the SeaTac airport, and was disappointed. I had heard all kinds of wonderful revues, but it was just, OK. I\’ve had better.
    Good blog. BIG HUGS, Steph

  2. renay permalink
    10-Apr-2008 4:09 pm

    the food looked real good.

  3. Catherine in Seattle permalink
    10-Apr-2008 4:50 pm

    How do you locate Skillet Street Food?  I live in the area, & wondered if it plans to stick in that Ballard location for another day or so?  Thanks for your great blog!  Found it through Orangette.

  4. currie permalink
    10-Apr-2008 9:46 pm

    the food look  even better than some formal restaurant

  5. Culinary permalink
    10-Apr-2008 10:27 pm

    Catherine in Seattle:  Two things .  One, I can\’t reply to your email as you\’ve blocked email to you.  Two, follow any of the links in the post and you\’ll go to the Skillet schedule and location info. 
    Currie:  Yes!  It\’s very good! 
    ~ B

  6. Unknown permalink
    11-Apr-2008 12:18 am

    I was there for the first time today, too!  Sadly, I forgot to bring my camera so I couldn\’t blog about it (well, I could, but I really like to incorporate photos).  Maybe next time.  I also had the fish tacos and found them to be just lovely.  I was there close to closing time–around 1:45–and there were still customers lined up at the trailer and eating on their car bumpers.  Thanks for a great read!

  7. Unknown permalink
    11-Apr-2008 12:22 am

    I posted the previous comment and for some reason it didn\’t register my name…whoops!  I\’m Katrina of Cabbages and Kings ( 

  8. Culinary permalink
    11-Apr-2008 6:35 am

    Hi Katrina!
    Funny it was the first day for both of us.  Bummer about the camera but I guess you\’ll just *need* to go again soon so you can blog it!  The things we do for the sake of the blog….  yeah that\’s it – it\’s all for the blog…  ;-)
    ~ B

  9. Eric permalink
    13-Apr-2008 6:55 pm

    This fancy food in an airstream seems to be an upscale twist on an old favorite.  Have you ever stopped by the taco bus on Rainier Ave S?  Strictly low-budget Mexican but extremely delicious.   E

  10. Culinary permalink
    14-Apr-2008 5:59 am

    Hi Eric!
    I haven\’t been to the one I Rainier but I have several in my area that I\’ve tried.  In fact I was thinking I should do a Taco Bus "project".  ;-)  Those are great, too.   And this is a little like that except that the menu changes each week and normally isn\’t Mexican food. 
    ~ B

  11. Jennifer permalink
    14-Apr-2008 7:27 am

    Fun and smart with an educated taste.When will this retro trailer take a path to Northern California?What a fabulous wagon!Thanks for your time and love and attention to food and wine and fun with a creative twist, C.F.-jenj

  12. Culinary permalink
    15-Apr-2008 6:09 am

    Hey jenj:  There are some other similar things going on around the country and I wouldn\’t be suprised if there\’s one somewhere in NoCal.  In fact the article (linked above) mentions 2 I think.  Not sure how close they are to you but they might be worth checking out. 
    ~ B

  13. shea permalink
    16-Apr-2008 8:06 am

    i am going to be on vacation for twelve days in the northern oregon/washington area at the end of next month (I\’m out there once a year; permanent residence is near Boston), and "Skillet" is definitely going on my list of MUST FINDS. hopefully their non-mobile location will be open by the time i\’m in the area, but if not, i will just have to follow my nose! fish tacos are an absolute favorite of mine, and i would have loved to have seen the process of putting all of that together. (And you\’re right, there is nothing better than fresh, local west-coast halibut! Nothing else can compare!)

  14. Culinary permalink
    16-Apr-2008 8:29 am

    If you go to the link in the post you can see a schedule of where they are, including map.  Speaking of links… please do not post any more comments here with commerical links in them or I will delete them. 
    ~ B

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