[eat] the london plane

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My enthusiasm for Pioneer Square knows no bounds. Each week there is news of something amazing that is happening or about to happen – a new bar or restaurant that is going to open – a new company who is signing a lease and bringing their business to the neighborhood. It’s incredibly exciting to be here right now, as I’m constantly telling people who come and visit Impact Hub. I honestly think I try to sell the neighborhood as hard as I sell the capacity of our event space or the value of a membership. Pioneer Square is awesome.  

I think we all owe a tip of the hat to Matt Dillon, who recognized the potential of PSQ and has led the effort and actively recruited business owners to bring new bars and restaurants to the neighborhood. I have written about how I find his first Pioneer Square restaurant, Bar Sajor to be inaccessible – that I am not the appropriate audience for whatever it is that they’re trying to do there. So it is with a great sigh of relief that I can report that his new venture, The London Plane, delivers an entirely opposite experience  – starting with a warm, friendly and enthusiastic staff who are helpful and gracious – and who know my name. 

The London Plane now occupies two different locations on Occidental between Jackson and Main. The first space – the smaller shop on the southern end of the block is a wine bar, cookbook store and now- with the opening of version two – an event space. The second London Plane, and the subject of this post, is all of those things and much much more. It is a flower shop, a market, a bakery, a deli, and a restaurant that is serving breakfast (thank god, there are NO breakfast options in PSQ other than coffee shops- despite what the sign at McCoy’s says), and lunch. It’s a condensed version of the Melrose Market and reminiscent of Assembly Hall– a one stop shop for delightful things in a bright, cheerful and colorful space.  

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Upon entering, you are immediately greeted by a display of flowers which are a sight to behold – an instant mood-booster. The flowers are available to purchase by the stem, and on my visit there was a team of florists working to design really interesting and architectural bouquets. Potential suitors, please take note: after seeing these, I will never be grateful for a grocery store bouquet and I MIGHT even be disappointed by flowers from Pike Place Market. 

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The second thing that you’ll see is the bakery, larder and grocery where you can purchase items to-go. Salads are available by the pound, and there is an assortment of cheeses and charcuterie items. Further back, you’ll find a wall full of upscale grocery items such as “impossible to find” chai (according to my coworker), Foraged & Found mushrooms (also impossible to find, unless you go to the Ballard Farmers Market which I DON’T because Ballard is far) and other high quality ingredients that you’d need to make an impressive (yet expensive!) dinner. 

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And should you prefer that someone do the cooking for you, you can opt to dine in the quarter of the space which is the restaurant, which as I mentioned, serves breakfast and lunch. 

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We ventured in for a late lunch which was disguised as a meeting to discuss all things 220 & Change. I ordered a pear and bay leaf soda (would have preferred the celery soda which was listed on the menu but unavailable at the time. Frankly I’ve been disappointed by every celery soda I’ve had after trying Anna Wallace’s version that they’re pouring up at Rain Shadow Meats, so if it wasn’t THAT then I probably dodged a bullet of disappointment). Two in our party ordered trios of salads (choose an assortment from a list of about six) while the other two opted for cups of soup which are served with a slice of their phenomenal sourdough bread – pardon the hastily snapped photos below, but everyone was quite eager to dig in: 

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trio of salads
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soup: celery root puree with wild mushrooms and hazelnuts, served with sourdough bread
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kale and farro soup? (i can’t quite remember, but it was great)

The menu at The London Plane changes daily (necessary if you want to maintain a commitment to fresh, local, seasonal ingredients) so that means that there is a lot to look forward to in the coming spring months. And because the space is designed for it and and partners are primed for it, there are many other things that you can look forward to from The London Plane: classes on flower arranging and cooking, a “Larder Share” – a community sourced subscription program – the idea of which I am obsessed with but carries a price tag that I cannot possibly commit to at this time (or ever?! geez), private events and a vibrant community of people who are committed to great food, wine, locally grown flowers and of course, the Pioneer Square neighborhood. Full circle. Full stop.

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