The other day my friend told me about a vegetarian Thai restaurant she and her husband had found in Bellevue that had a lot of gluten-free options which were clearly marked, and many vegan items too. I looked up the place and it was the same restaurant I used to go to in Seattle when I was still at UW and I was so excited I talked my husband into ordering take-out that very evening and drove through a blinding rain to pick it up. When I was at UW we English teachers would usually celebrate the end of the quarter at Araya’s Place, and meat eaters loved it just as much as the vegetarians in the group even though it is strictly flesh-free. The freshness of the produce plus the enlightened awareness of food intolerances makes the place truly a stand out in a world of Thai places on every other block. I had no idea that they had opened up shop in Bellevue, and apparently they have only been here on the Eastside since May 2012. The best thing is, long ago our favorite noodle soup place closed in Fremont, and we have been in search of one ever since. Araya’s soup, finally, ended our search, and it isn’t as far as Fremont. (Though we love Fremont, we usually stay on our side of the bridge.) Another reason we no longer have to go to Fremont, is Flying Apron opened up shop in Redmond~ though that was a good two years ago I think, or maybe even more, I still feel incredibly lucky whenever I go there. For my son’s recent birthday I ordered a cake from there and it surpassed all expectations. It was chocolate cake with vanilla icing, completely gluten, dairy and egg free, and oh my gosh, I don’t know if it’s because I so rarely eat cake, but I thought it the best dessert I’d ever put into my mouth. The rest of the family seemed very impressed too and there wasn’t much left on the plates afterward so I can assume their smiles and thumbs-ups were due to full, happy mouths. So, I guess we’ll only be heading to Fremont when we need our troll fix, since the Eastside now has our soup and baked goods covered, because no one can replicate the troll. Ever.