130 Boren Ave.
I have to admit, I was hesitant about checking out 13 Coins.
The online reviews just aren’t very good.
But then I thought, “What do people in Seattle know anyway?”
After all, this is the city that actually erected a statue of Vladimir Lenin – the man who introduced the world to the most destructive and violent ideology of the 20th century.
And of course Seattle is the city that replaced the testosterone-fueled rock-and-roll of my youth with grunge.
Instead of Bon Scott and David Lee Roth singing about kicking butt and sexy chicks, we got scruffy, effeminate dudes staring at their shoes mumbling something about suicide and no self-esteem.
So, am I gonna take advice on where to eat from these people? Not a chance.
My breakfast at 13 Coins was an example of what makes suffering the indignities of modern travel all worthwhile.
First of all, the place is just cool.
Of course all the hipster Yelp reviews come to the exact opposite conclusion.
But I assure you, if you are seeking a discrete spot away from all those neo-Marxists, 13 Coins is the perfect spot.
As you walk in and your eyes adjust to the dim lighting, you notice a row of high-backed booths off to the left, upholstered in black leather.
On the right is more black leather, this time in the form of enormous swivel barstools, wrapping each patron in a cocoon of privacy.
That is where I chose to ensconce myself complete with a perfect view of the flaming grill in front of me.
The primary reason I chose to ignore the lackluster reviews and give 13 Coins a try is because I heard they serve a mean “Hangtown Fry” for breakfast – an elusive culinary delicacy I’ve been wanting to try for years.
A Hangtown Fry is an omelet of onions, bacon, and oysters.
What’s not to like, right?
It’s a West Coast specialty that originated in Placerville, California during the height of the Gold Rush in a town so rough-and-tumble locals just called it “Hangtown.”
As in, “Hang him by the neck until he dies.”
Legend has it that some cocky miner – flush from a big score – walked into a Placerville saloon, threw his winnings on the bar and demanded the most expensive entrée the cook could assemble.
In those days before refrigeration, eggs, bacon and oysters were rare luxuries.
I sat there mesmerized while the cook sautéed and flipped onions, eggs, oysters, and bacon over an open flame right in front of me.
The result was a decadent breakfast for the gods.
While I can always wish for a few more oysters, you could taste the briny shellfish in almost every mouthful.
The bacon offered a smoky essence and the onions added a nice bite.
Omelets don’t get much better than this.
On the side, I requested 13 Coins famous hashbrowns – crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, these hashbrowns were a pile of oily, greasy goodness.
Clearly, the old school atmosphere gives this place its claim to fame, but the food doesn’t lack for attention either.
No doubt about it, “hip” isn’t a word you’d use to describe 13 Coins or its throwback Hangtown Fry.
Which is fine by me. I’ll take oysters and bacon, AC/DC and Van Halen over hipsters any day – even in Seattle.
Rating: Bought the Shirt!