Before she was a feminist Seattle City Councilwoman, fighting for equal pay and family leave benefits, Jean Godden was a full-time columnist and editor for the Seattle PI and The Seattle Times. And in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Godden also wrote restaurant reviews for the PI. Recently, a friend gifted her one of her old, yellowed reviews, found in a frame at Goodwill. Goddard says the Seattle restaurant scene is nothing like it used to be, and that's a good thing. "It was kind of funny being a woman, because if you didn't have a male companion with you, they would seat you near the kitchen." —Rachel Belle
What restaurants did you review in the 70s that are still open today?
You reviewed Dick's?
Well of course I reviewed Dick's! Didn't everyone review Dick's? I wrote about Dick's frequently! It's such a Seattle institution. I go probably once a month. Absolutely! [I order] a Deluxe of course and, if you can stand the wait, they have a wonderful milkshake. A Dick's milkshake may be one of the most wonderful things you can imagine. I would rather have one than dessert.
Do you have any fun stories from back in your critic days?
We used to try really hard not to be recognized. I remember one time I wore a wig and dark glasses. I had to eat lunch and dinner at the same restaurant on the same day and I was trying to throw them off so they wouldn't know I was reviewing. I don't remember the name of the restaurant, but it was the same building as Rover's was in. But I do remember the owner would go around to your table and say a poem that she'd written. It was a little weird. The food was good though! The poem...the poem I would say was so-so. She'd give you a dramatic reading.
What's your favorite restaurant in the city?
I was just recently at Voula's [Offshore Cafe] for my birthday and I picked it because it's sort of an institution over in the University District. It has one of the best breakfasts in town and it has a wonderful Greek flavor to it. You might go in and have a gyro. As a matter of fact, they had a curried chicken soup when I was there that was out of this world.