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November 5, 2008 at 6:15 AM

Hangover helpers: What’s your cure?

Drink too much last night? You aren’t the only one. Whether you’re celebrating victory today, crying in defeat or just reveling in the fact that the election-to-end-all-elections is over, I thought I’d suggest a few places where one might take the “cure” — so to speak. Yeah, yeah: Say all you want about fried and fatty foods being a better hangover preventative than an after-the-fact fixer-upper, but ask Joe Sixpack what he’s eating today and I bet he’ll say “a Big Mac” or “leftover pizza.” You, my friend, might consider these:

Big Mac, my donkey’s arse: I’m voting for Lunchbox Laboratory (7302 1/2 15th Ave. N.W., Seattle 206-706-3092), where I elect the prime rib burger king, add a slab of cheese, a spoonful of “million island” dressing and a side of “‘Tato Tots.”

And forget those skinny golden arches this woozy Wednesday: much ‘mo bettah, to my thinking, is the poutine at the Steelhead Diner (95 Pine St., Seattle, 206-625-0129): house-cut fries dripping with real gravy and spiked with fresh Beecher’s cheese curds.

Think offal is awful? Not today. You need a bowl of menudo. Made with tender slow-cooked honeycomb tripe, big booze-soaking kernels of hominy, pig’s feet (if you’re lucky) and enough chilies to slap you awake, this beloved Mexican hangover-cure is served as a “weekends-only” special at many local restaurants. But you’ll find it today (until they run out) at Muy Macho (8515 14th Ave. S., Seattle, 206-763-3484) and El Sombrero (4868 Rainier Ave. S., Seattle, 206-725-1418).

And speaking of spicy soup: Sure, you can hit your favorite Korean restaurant and sweat it out over a big bowl of soondoobu (raw egg, cooked as you watch! dried laver to replenish lost salt! lots of weak barley tea to wash it all down!). But why not down the dish that says it all: “De Hangover Soup,” sold as such at Cho Dang Tofu (in Pal-Do World 17424 Highway 99 Suite 107, Lynnwood, 425-918-1508 and 2200 S. 320th Suite B201, Federal Way, 253-839-2459). This bubbly bowlful is built with beef short ribs, vitamin-filled nappa cabbage and plenty of kickin’-hot red chile powder. Can’t handle the kimchi today – one of many small dishes served alongside? Tell them to “hold the panchan.”

High-protein breakfasts are a big help. So? What are you waiting for: they’ve got your number at the 14 Carrot Cafe (2305 Eastlake Ave. E., Seattle; 206-324-1442): “Tahini Toast.” This clever concoction starts with sourdough French toast (though you might want to start with a cup of Caffe Vita coffee and add a couple squeezes of fresh lemon — no joke). The egg-soaked bread is schmeared with tahini (nut butter to the rescue!) and served with a refreshing bowl of fruit and (stomach pain-quelling) yogurt. And hey, hey, hey! When you feel as if you’ve been hit with a 2 x 4, what better remedy than the “Two by Four” served at The Original Pancake House? East (130 Parkplace Center, Kirkland, 425-827-7575) or west (8037 15th Ave. N.W., Seattle, 206-781-3344), they’ll plate you up with two eggs cooked to your liking, plus four of the best buttermilk pancakes this side of heaven.

Dare I need to explain why the words “joe” and “bar” might have an especially potent pull today? I’ll do it anyway: the crepes at Joe Bar (810 E. Roy St., Seattle, 206-324-0407, www.joebar.org), served at this joe bar after 11 a.m. Allow me to suggest a lemon and honey crepe (honey = fructose, and you need it), better still, for our purposes, when you add fresh bananas. Bananas are known to replenish electrolytes, magnesium and potassium.

While we’re on the subject of nutrition, note that along with bananas, B-vitamins are also well-known hangover helpers. Good news, busy over-imbibers! You can get both in a quick megadose, by ordering a banana smoothie with a shot of Energy Boost at area Jamba Juice stores (with more than 20 locations throughout Greater Seattle).

What? That sounds entirely too healthy? Then it’s time to up the grease-ante the good old-fashioned, flag-flying American way (or its Chinese-American equivalent). First up, the Five Point Cafe (415 Cedar St., Seattle, 206-448-9993), whose signature signage — “We cheat tourists and drunks since 1929” — is your first clue you’ve come to the right place. Have the bigger-than-the-plate chicken-fried steak with hash browns. And yessireebob, they’ve got your hair ‘o the dog. Or dive right in (so to speak) at another ancient hangover hangout, Tai Tung (655 S. King St., Seattle; 206-622-7372), where egg foo young — grease on a plate! — offers broad patties, way too many sprouts (cooked to death and back) plus a gravy-train slick of Franco-American proportion.

Lest you think Chinese restaurants hold the crown for greasy-good-relief, consider that Japanese gut-bomb katsu. Order it up and you’ve got your meat cutlet, your oil-sucking panko and rice (nice!). They clean it up right at I Love Sushi on either lake: (Union, at 1001 Fairview Ave. N., 206-625-9604 and Bellevue, at 23 Lake Bellevue Dr., 425-455-9090). That said: when I’m feeling punk, I’m inclined to enjoy mine at Tsukushinbo (515 S. Main St., 206-467-4004) in old Japantown.

So: How about you? Feeling a bit under the weather today after too much gloating or gloomery? Where do you go to take the cure? and what, exactly, cures what ails you?

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