During a stretch of economic hardship, Brad and Lisa Havens decided to trade in their worry for a tandem bicycle, on which they rode to wineries, outdoor concerts, famers markets, and art festivals over the stretch of nearly 1,800 miles. On this mobile sojourn, the Havens eventually pedaled their way to the idea for Tandem Dinner and Wine Bar.
In the comfy eatery, a constantly changing selection of local Northwest wines complements Brad’s contemporary take on American classics, including butternut squash ravioli, crab cakes made with local Dungeness crab, and mac and cheese. Besides crafting menu items from local, organic ingredients, Brad also leads cooking classes to share his skills with customers.
Paying homage to the epic journey that started it all, they mounted a tandem bicycle to the outside of the new restaurant. To decorate the rest of the space, they collected pieces inspired by the feel of their own home, with history behind each item. Live music fills the space with laid-back atmosphere during concerts held three nights a week.
Ensconced in a building dating back to the 1920s, Alexa’s Café & Catering’s dining room is flanked by brick walls and wainscoting, and is filled with pine furniture where guests cozy up to platters of guilt-free comfort fare for breakfast and lunch. The café’s hearty portions come compliments of owner Leigh Henderson’s deep-rooted love of feeding people, which is also the catalyst for the café’s ever-evolving menu. In the evenings, Alexa's pairs heartier fare such as burgers with wines and tap beers from local breweries such as Mac & Jack's. Alexa’s also totes its fresh fare to special events, from business luncheons to Batman-themed bat mitzvahs.
There's something for everyone at The Den Coffee House & Cafe, from the drip coffee connoisseur to the gluten-free pastry lover. Hot and cold drinks are prepared with care by the Caffe D'Arte-certified baristas, and guests can pick up whole-bean coffees or loose-leaf teas for home brewing and drinking. Pastries and other sweets are baked fresh daily, including banana bread, gluten-free brownies, and signature cookies. The Coffee House also hosts several different types of alternative milks including coconut and almond. Live music on the weekends provides a lively atmosphere without the help of caffeine or by switching out sugar for smelling salt.
Owner and baker Chandell Witham knows real passion for baked goods. To put herself through culinary school, the single mother of three had to work long hours as a bartender in a disappointingly donut-free environment. Her perseverance paid off and today Chandell spends plenty of time with her children and her brainchild, Fritters N Jitters, where she mans the kitchens and whips up tasty donuts. Every morning, she bakes off fresh batches of comforting plain donuts. As patrons order, the innovative baker then outfits each ringed pastry with customizable frostings and toppings to fashion quirky confections her guests can marvel at alongside a steaming cup of coffee or fresh-squeezed donut juice. Frosting choices include classic flavors and wild variations such as mint or crunch peanut butter, and can be accented with a choice of sprinkles, candy pieces, or salty portions of pretzels or crispy bacon.
Preservation's plates of Pacific Northwest cuisine change with the season. Start with a plate to share such as buttermilk-tempura-battered calamari ($9), onion gnocchi ($8), or duck leg confit ($12). Main courses from the sample menu include an all-natural roasted pork loin perched atop a ziggurat of risotto made with apples, leeks, and hazelnut ($25), and the ling cod tronchonette: pan-seared Bruce Gore cod with sautéed parsnips and leeks and sourdough crouton in a citrus broth ($21). Preservation's dishes use locally grown, organic produce and sustainably-raised meats and wild fish whenever possible (click here to see a list of its local producers). Pair your meal with Preservation's wines from smaller wineries throughout the Northwest to make a deliciously local dinner. Or stop by for soup ($6 for the soup of the day), salad ($8 for a salad with baby spinach and cranberries), a sandwich ($13 for a smoked duck sandwich), or Benedicted eggs ($10–$12) and gravied buttermilk biscuits ($8–$9) during brunch on the weekends.
Carolina Smoke's pitmasters release bold, succulent taste bursts with a slow-smoked menu of down-home eats. All meats are hand-rubbed and eye-watched, never pre-cloaked in flavor-smothering sauces or frowny-face masks. Sink teeth into the tender beef-brisket sandwich ($10) or delve deep into the flavor furnace with a prime rib ($21). Diners can further slake smoky cravings with a half or full rack of baby-back ribs ($14, $22) or feed famished fingers a gratifying grip of hot wings ($10). The restaurant's policy of allowing eaters to add their own sauce permits patrons to customize flavoring and ink unique impressions on napkin and facial canvases. Behind the eatery's shingled sides and white shutters, dining-room guests can bookend bites with sips of Carolina sweet tea.