Corks and Canvas Events, like a work of fine art, came about by pairing a good idea with a passion to create. The founders both came from the marketing world, where they spent their days devising campaigns and events to inspire their audiences to take action. A shared love for art and wine inspired them to bend their action-creating talents toward a new goal—hosting painting and wine events in area wineries and wine bars, allowing guests to "uncork their creativity" and promote the burgeoning Washington wine industry.
Their idea took the form of Corks and Canvas Events, where experienced artists lead guests step-by-step through the painting creation process. Guests re-create various paintings, everything from lush vineyard scenes to preening roosters, while sipping on glasses of local wines.
Though nonculinary pursuits first brought Le Petit Terroir’s owners, Dave and Karin Shoup, to Europe, the pair was quickly taken by regional Parisian and Italian food. Inspired by the continent’s open-air markets filled with fresh meats, cheeses, and produce, Dave and Karin sought to build their own Mediterranean-style bistro that incorporated the tastes of the Pacific Northwest. They hired chef de cuisine Jason Custer to develop a menu that would reflect these interests, dotting dishes with housemade sausage, fresh-baked breads, and herbs and flowers from the onsite garden. Meats, which help to build plates of house-crafted charcuterie, all come from the Northwest, forming the base of freshly prepared meals available for dining in, catering, or eating while running from several bulls.
For more than 40 years, Robert C. Mathwig has owned Family Pancake House and defended his sanctuary for the fluffy breakfast staple against the ravages of time, stringently maintaining the same wholesome business practices that set the cozy eatery apart from the competition on its very first day. The kitchens still make most of the menu from scratch, sourcing as many ingredients as possible from local suppliers to ensure that each order arrives to its table at the peak of freshness. The whole menu of breakfast treats and savory later-day meals is available all day long, with fluffy pancakes, crepes, and omelets sharing space at diners’ tables with grilled cheeses and breaded pork chops.
Family Pancake House takes its friendly moniker to its logical conclusion by acting as a supportive family for the community that has kept the eatery's doors open for nearly half a century. The company routinely sponsors youth sports teams, and employees often volunteer their leftover flour supply to sweaty-palmed gymnasts.
Ensconced in a building dating back to the 1920s, Alexa’s Café’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.
Daily-made batches of breads, cakes, and pastries cast intoxicating aromas across this charming French-inspired café, where passionate bakers prepare every morsel from locally sourced ingredients while wearing internationally sourced berets. Cups of slow-roasted Pegasus coffee chase tastes of made-from-scratch soups and signature sandwiches, such as a BLT slathered in roasted tomato jam and garlic aioli, on the lunch menu.
The inside of ViaVita Café & Wine Bar traces the timeline of a single day. Floor-to-ceiling windows cast morning light onto a display case of pastries and cheeses—an addendum to the counter that bears morning coffee orders. Nearby, granite-topped tables sit far enough apart to suggest an open, Parisian patio, but close enough together to support a cross-stream of chatter over lunchtime sandwiches. The day ends on the other side of a semicircular wine bar. There, walls wearing distressed paint encapsulate a rustic alcove, where hanging plants and Greco-Roman-style pottery evoke the dining room of a hillside villa.
The decor and seasonal menu at ViaVita Café & Wine Bar champion a European-flavored escape, where diners can stop at any time for a meal, a snack, or a glass of wine. From the crepes and omelets of brunch—served with duck-fat potatoes and chocolate-orange butter—to afternoon paninis and dinners of pan-seared Alaskan salmon, meals realized by imaginative chefs spark and fuel long conversations. Imported and domestic beers, as well as wines from small vineyards on multiple continents, complement the diverse bouquet of flavors and pair especially well with cheese and charcuterie boards. During special events, guitar music acts as a soothing soundtrack for bites, and sommelier seminars instruct patrons on how to age libations without sending them to PG-13 movies alone.