99% Food, 1% Skin

La Bodega and Tender at the Bone

We almost missed La Bodega as it was tucked away in a nook of a building.

Once I saw the store, it made me smile.

The color and lights filled the space with a tropical atmosphere among gray Pacific Northwest office buildings.


The space was small, and was packed with seats for about 20 people.

The menu included sandwiches, empanadas, and all the sandwiches could be made into rice dishes as gluten free options.

I had the signature Puerco asado, and had to try the yucca flour empanadas which La Bodega had highly touted its wheat free property.

The empanadas was amazingly crispy with yucca flour.

The skin was very thin and a little grainy.

There were 3 different fillings for the empanadas for the day, and I had the beef picadillo.

The ground beef with onions was very tender, soft without resistance — a contrast to the crispy skin outside, and very fun to eat.


The Puerco Asado sandwich was a messy goodness!

The pork was soft; the vinegary cabbage and pickled red onions played the crunchy role in the sandwich.

The house aioli seemed to be buttery avocado-based, there was some nice caraway spices in the sandwich, and made the sandwich exuded this deep character.

La Bodega used Macrina‘s bread — chewy hard on the outside and soft inert, the whole sandwich had a symphony of texture.

My friend had the sausage sandwich, and my Dad would love this!

The sausage was very fragrant — garlicky, cilantro and even basil scent.

The coleslaw on the top was another sauce-dripping yumminess; it was sweet, sour and fruity.


Both sandwiches were excellent and I have to bring my meat-lover father here next time he visits!

La Bodega on Urbanspoon

Tender at the bone was the prequel to Comfort me with apples.

The stories were a collection of memories from when the author was at a very young age to post college.

The notorious stories about her mother’s inability to cook and her ability to poison people.

Rachel was, however, inspired by others in her life who brought delicious home cook food to her life.

There was the adventures she took with a Caribbean home helper at the food market and in the kitchen.

Her food experience when her mother sent her to boarding school where she learnt both French and French food — her first experience with moldy cheese and soufflé.

The memoir continued onwards to her partying years in high school and then, to college during the 60s when racial tension was high, and her experience waiting tables.

After college, she moved to Berkeley and lived in a commune where she had experienced dumpster-diving for food, and lived self-sustainably by growing their own food.

Waitressing was her primary source of income in CA when she moved there; and eventually she started her writing career and went onto a fascinating wine buyer trip in France.

It was amazing to observe how the events in Rachel’s life all at the end contributed to what she is doing today as the editor of Gourmet.

It reminded me of the book Outliers: The Story of Success where the author mentioned successful people often times had many intentional or unintentional related experiences in their lives to help them get ahead.

When I looked up how to be a food writer online, the top listed experience was to work at a restaurant.

This book was another fun light read that I highly recommend.