José Garzón is the owner of Garzón, a popular Latinx street food pop-up which recently took up a long-term residency with a takeout window inside Belltown’s Black Cat Bar. He grew up on an island off the coast of Ecuador, and traveled (and ate his way) through the world as a musician for much of his life, including for Bremerton Christian pop-punk band MxPx. Since Garzón stopped touring in 2016, he’s delved into the Seattle-area restaurant scene, working at fine-dining restaurants like the Barking Frog in Woodinville before learning about pop-ups from chefs like Melissa Miranda and Shota Nakajima in 2018 — which inspired him to launch Garzón the following year.
The business started off with pop-ups in Snohomish County, where the chef has been living, in Lake Stevens, for the past four years. He regularly dines in the area and recently shared his favorite restaurants in the county with Eater Seattle. The following spots are organized alphabetically.
622 5th Ave S, Edmonds; barkadaedmonds.com
The menu at Barkada is a mix of Filipino and Hawaiian dishes, inspired by owner Brian Madayag’s family history — his mother first immigrated to Hawaii from the Philippines in the 1960s before moving to the Seattle area.
Garzón loves the mixed plates at Barkada that come with various meats, like Kalua pig and chicken adobo, along with rice and salad, as well as the cocktails. “The dude’s for real,” Garzón says about Madayag. “It’s very family-oriented. His kids are in there, and his wife bartends sometimes.” He says many Filipino families in Snohomish County are also regulars at the restaurant.
The Cottage, Community Bakery
7530 Olympic View Dr STE 101, Edmonds; cottagecommunitybakery.com
The Cottage is a bakery focused on naturally leavened breads in Edmond’s Perrinville neighborhood, offering more than a dozen types of bread, buns, and focaccia as well as pastries like lemon bars, cookies, and galettes. The storefront is only open on weekends, but the products are available at a number of other businesses Edmonds, like Kelnero bar and Walnut Street Coffee. Garzón says he loves everything the bakery has to offer — as well as the entrepreneurial spirit of its owner, Conor O’Neill, who started the business by baking out of a converted garage.
415 1/2 Main St, Edmonds; check Daphne’s Facebook for updates.
Garzón describes this 15-seat bar as “the hidden gem of Edmonds.” It’s the type of neighborhood bar where everyone knows your name, he says, and newcomers are often welcomed with an announcement from the bartender and a free shot. Garzón particularly likes the whiskey drinks at Daphne’s but says all of the cocktails are excellent. “You feel very comfortable being there, even if it’s your first time,” he says.
Lewis and Main Restaurant and Brewery
101 W Main St, Monroe; lewisandmain.com
Lewis and Main’s chef, Josh Soult, has experience at a number of well-respected restaurants in the Pacific Northwest, including as a sous chef at The Barking Frog. Garzón appreciates how Soult combines this fine-dining training with the flavors he was exposed to while living in the American South. So while diners can order foie gras or a wagyu New York strip at the restaurant, they can also get cornbread or fried chicken.
430 91st Ave NE #1, Lake Stevens; ljsbistroandbar.com
Garzón describes LJ’s as an “institution” in the area that's been around for almost ten years (he worked there as a line cook in 2018). He says he loves the pork chops — which are pan-seared and cooked with a bacon-mustard cream sauce — as well as the pasta dishes — all made from scratch.
El Mariachi Birria Y Tacos
4808 Evergreen Way, Everett; @elmariachibirria on Instagram.
El Mariachi, formerly called Los Tamaahles, is one of Garzón’s favorite food trucks. The focus of the menu is beef birria — served in a super-crispy griddled taco oozing with cheese along with consome (broth), or in birria ramen, a growingly popular creation that combines noodles with consome, lime, and onions. The truck also serves tortas and tacos loaded with al pastor. It pops up at various breweries around Snohomish County.
2927 Wetmore Ave, Everett; narrative.coffee
Narrative Coffee is where Garzón often starts his mornings before heading to Seattle for work or before exploring Snohomish County on a day off. “I’m at Narrative Coffee three to four days a week, at least,” he says. Garzón says the business, which started as a coffee cart, serves the best biscuits he’s ever eaten as well as excellent coffee served without the pretension he experiences at some Seattle shops.
10016 Edmonds Way, Edmonds; eatonopoke.com
Eating Ono Poke reminds Garzón of the seafood he ate while growing up in Ecuador. Unlike some other poke shops, he says, owner Steven Ono doesn’t drown his fish in sauce, instead, letting the flavors of the fresh seafood shine with subtle sparks of salinity and acidity. Garzón gets the poke there at least once every other week and eats it on the nearby beach. It’s also the perfect spot to stop before getting on the ferry. “It reminds me of the fish from home,” he says.