We drive over Stevens Pass with some frequency, a trip that usually takes us 2 ½ or 3 hours and often requires a stop for sustenance along the way. Often that means the School Bus for barbecue, cornbread and hot pinto beans, or on the way home we may push on for Fred’s Rivertown Alehouse in Snohomish, but other times it means the Sultan Bakery. It’s not fancy, the service is slow, there’s not much to drink except coffee and water, and they have a definite tendency to run out of the very thing I was craving, but they make the best old-fashioned sour cream doughnuts I’ve had anywhere, and their sandwiches are as big as your head. Maybe bigger.
The menu here is flexible, with separate items written on a variety of white boards and set out or taken down as necessary. You can pretty much always count on there being tuna or plain deli meat sandwiches, with tomato soup or chili or maybe split pea to go on the side. They usually have French Dip or open-face turkey sandwiches, although not always, and depending on time of day there may be both breakfast sandwiches and a prime rib plate with mashed potatoes. We have tried some of their hot food, but every time we stop here I secretly hope they’ll have either the egg salad or the BLT.
Here’s what we got last weekend. I normally prefer my BLTs on thin toasted sourdough bread, but the Sultan Bakery’s country white bread is an exception. It’s like ultra-Wonder bread, cut so thick you think you’ll never fit it in your mouth, but squishing down to almost nothing. It’s exceptional for egg salad, as it molds around the filling without coming apart, but it’s also excellent with tuna or bacon. And as you can see, a single sandwich can easily feed two people. I saw a turkey sandwich across the room that looked nearly twice as big as this one – I believe a to-go carton was required for that.
The tomato-basil soup is deceptively heavy, being so laden with cheese you can almost stand a spoon up in it, and as I recall the chili is equally solid. The sandwiches here used to come with a really good goopy macaroni salad, but unfortunately that’s been discontinued. However, getting sufficient calories is not going to be a problem. And if you are still hungry after lunch, there are always doughnuts. Or cookies, or brownies, or turnovers, or bearclaws, or…