If you don't know what a piadina wrap is, here's a rundown: It's an Italian flatbread wrap, served from unpretentious stalls throughout Italy, especially in the Emilia-Romagna region. It's part of a long tradition, too. As a writer from Saveur notes, in as early as the nineteenth century, poets were writing homages to the wrap, praising its smoothness and its often-impressive size.
Nowadays, Americans can get in on the historic trend, and dig into custom piadina wrap of their own at Strada: Street Food of Italy. Stuffed with delicacies from sausage to fried rounds of calamari, the wraps come dressed up in customizable extras, too. Pesto or marinara sauces smother more than 25 toppings, including Mediterranean specialties such as white bean relish, black olives, and spicy arugula. There's gelato for dessert, too, rather than the original frosty Italian treat, frozen pizza.
Videogame aficionados unite at Pixel Battles, where Xbox 360s, Wii Us, PlayStation 3s, Kinects, 3D gaming, and a retro room tempt fingers with the newest digital challenges. One of the only video game venues in the area allows players to cozy up to black leather chairs and plasma TV screens to test their skills. Gamers can settle into the latest games with friends on multiple plasma TV screens. In addition to individual gaming, Pixel Battles also hosts themed birthday parties, special events, and tournaments to help gamers battle in healthy competition.
Edge Coffee isn't just community-oriented, it is also a reflection of the community. That's because they source most of their ingredients locally, whether it is their coffee beans from local roaster Sisters Coffee or their pastries and bread from Marsee's and La Provence. These ingredients form the basis of their menu, with staff grinding, blending, and pouring coffee into classic drinks or lattes made with premium Monin syrups. Atop their breads, they create breakfast staples such as bagel- and english-muffin sandwiches or their signature boxed lunch specials served with a juicy kosher pickle and locally made kettle chips. Even their drinks have Oregon connections, with fresh smoothies incorporating Oregon strawberries alongside unique add-ins such as protein powder or a splash of energy-boosting Rockstar. They also serve beer from Oregon, such as the Overcast Espresso Stout, which fuses the flavors of beer, chocolate, and coffee.
Tabletop candles cast a mild glow around Cafe Allegro's quaint dining space, where authentic Italian pastas, sandwiches, and hearth-baked pizzas convey the restaurant's 15 years of culinary mastery in every mouthful. Cream sauces, marsala marinara, meats, and fresh vegetables top a latticework of traditional pastas, and calzones swell with myriad ingredients and pride at no longer taking a back seat to pizza. Glasses full of Italian wines reflect the twinkling bulbs that frame the bistro's windows, and a banquet room with an outdoor patio hosts festive events.
More than 25 breads, made from fresh, natural wheat flour, fill the racks at House of Bread, ready to be toted home and eaten, or sliced for the bakery's hearty sandwiches. The stone-milled flour combines with honey, which serves as a natural sweetener, and natural ingredients to create mouth-watering loaves of challah, raspberry swirl, gluten-free rice bread, and over 20 others. A rotating schedule of breads, muffins, and scones keeps the menu as fresh as the pastries.
Though ownership has changed over the years, Original Coffee Brake has remained a staple of the Aloha community since 1993, and has always been operated by locals. Scott and Kereah Carpenter, the current owner-operators, are no exception. And since they've taken over, they've worked hard to retain the community atmosphere that keeps customers coming back. This means that on any given day you might see baristas celebrating a regular's birthday or Scott practicing ballroom dancing with his mom. While visitors relax in leather armchairs, staffers craft breakfast burritos, sandwiches, and homemade soup as well as a variety of coffee drinks, brewed with beans roasted in-house by Scott.