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Thursday, December 18, 1997 - Page updated at 12:00 AM

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Budget Bites

Budget Bites

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# # Soup Daddy Soups ($); 106 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle; 206-682-7202 ------------------------------------------- When Karl Martin - the Big Daddy at Soup Daddy - took this long-vacant space in Pioneer Square and transformed it into a soup kitchen last summer, he brought new meaning to the concept of a hot meal and a respite from the streets. When the clock strikes lunch, 9-to-5ers looking for salvation from office gossip and microwaved leftovers slam the place, standing in line for soups (five choices daily), sandwiches and salads. In the morning, the bleary-eyed do a quick-stop for a latte and a bagel. Soaring ceilings, brick walls and soft jazz help make this a great place to hang out before clocking in. Open 8 a.m.-3:30 p.m. weekdays.

Sure there's rye, but why not try the pastrami with Swiss on a warm, onion-speckled "dip stick" (a bagel disguised as a baton). The Russian dressing (a Thousand Island-like condiment famous on the East Coast, misunderstood on the West) had a slightly sweet, Miracle Whip-ish quality. But that didn't keep me from scarfing every bite. As for the ginger tofu veggie soup, it's nothing fancy: spiral pasta and cubes of tofu floating with fresh vegetables in a satisfying, ginger-spiked broth.

HALF-SANDWICH & SMALL SOUP: I wouldn't say you couldn't hold a candle to it - but you might be able to hold a candle in it. The mushroom-flecked potato leek soup is heavy-duty stuff. A serviceable roast beef and cheese sandwich wears a swab of horseradish; you choose the bread.

CARROT CAKE: Who can resist a tiny orange carrot of icing screaming "Eat Me" from atop these cream-cheese-frosted squares?

Soup Daddy Soups Itemized bill for 2 guests

PASTRAMI MINI-SUB, SMALL SOUP: $5.69 HALF SANDWICH, SMALL SOUP: $3.99 CARROT CAKE: $1 TALKING RAIN SPARKLING WATER: $1.25 MARTINELLI'S APPLE JUICE: $1.25

TAX: $1.20 TOTAL: $14.38

Copyright (c) 1997 Seattle Times Company, All Rights Reserved.

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