Like all great stories, Cakes by Crème de la Crème's was written through persistence. Pastry chefs Michael Jones and Bart Utz first met when they were taking baking courses together. They formed a partnership, worked at several establishments, then pooled their resources and struck out on their own, starting Cakes by Crème de la Crème. The duo, who have chalked up experience working at venues such as the Washington Athletic Club and the Sunset Club, combine their expertise to craft delicious and visually intricate cakes for all occasions. This expertise has garnered press attention from The Knot, who recently included them in their "Best of Weddings 2013" feature.
Their tiered wedding cakes roll out a spectacle for the eye and the tongue, with romantically elegant designs finished in buttercream icing and fondant. They customize cakes to each client’s specifications by creating a unique border or design, and by giving customers a choice of unique flavors, such as banana cake with strawberry preserves and cream-cheese filling. Jones and Utz also specialize in affordable dessert cakes, tortes, and tarts and custom party cakes, which they can mold into inspired designs such as stacks of favorite books, a college’s logo, or a turntable with vinyl records on top—an homage to the days when every cake was also a record player.
Like any German pub worth its pretzel salt, Berliner Pub has an outdoor beer garden with communal tables inspired by German beer halls, 18 German beers on draft, and a menu of housemade brats and schnitzels. Waitresses clad in Bavarian-beer-maid ensembles bustle about holding liters of Munich's popular Hofbräu lager or Mai-Ur-Bock from Einbecker, which is considered to be the first brewery to brew a bock.
On Saturday nights, a band set up in front of a shelf of steins plays traditional German music, which consists of accordion sounds, guitar riffs, and then some more accordion sounds. During every Seattle Sounders home match, a bus transports fans to the soccer game and back to the pub for a quick drink around the indoor or outdoor fire pits.
At Casa Durango, chefs whip up a smorgasbord of Mexican eats, with a spread of tortas, tacos, salads, and burritos paired with frosty tropical cocktails and margaritas. Like a computer manual written by Stephen King, the menu is as lengthy as it is appetizing. It presents dozens of different steaks, enchiladas, seafood, and chicken dishes ladled with zesty sauces and complemented by sides of savory rice and beans. The dishes run the gamut from traditional, homey plates of marinated lamb shank and slow-simmered pork to group-pleasing dishes of nachos and taquitos. And when it comes to entertaining groups, the restaurant also hosts karaoke performances that lighten the mood on weekends.
The chef and owner opened 4th Street Grill & Lounge to serve Vietnamese recipes she learned from her family. By fusing these dishes with American elements, she creates an accessible menu where East can meet West somewhere other than the prime meridian.
As the morning transitions into lunch and dinner, the kitchen stops churning out omelets and french toast in favor of crispy crab-and-prawn rolls and yakisoba noodles topped with teriyaki sauce. Bartenders pour glasses of wine and beer when they aren't mixing colorful cocktails and martinis.
Since Frank Tonkin Sr. opened his first Taco Time in 1962, each location has hand-chopped its own vegetables and concocted pots of fresh-cooked pinto beans every morning. Try the classic beef crisp burrito ($2.79) or its meat-free cousin, the veggie soft taco ($4.69), with a side of spherical, seasoned Mexi-fries ($1.69 for a regular). Watch your figure through southwest chop-salad-colored glasses, with black bean and corn salsa, pico de gallo, and mixed veggies ($5.59). Or opt for a cup of white chicken chili, another of many healthy options at just 139 calories ($1.99).
Amidst warm red drapes, exposed brick, and white-linen-covered tables, Vino's Ristorante distributes delectable homemade-pasta handiwork typical of Northern Italy for lunch and dinner guests. The ahi tuna carpaccio ($10.50), complemented by arugula, capers, and dijon mustard, appeases vestigial shark fangs, and the large prawns are buoyed in a white-wine sauce with capers and lemon ($9). Plant-based palate-pleasers include Vino's romaine salad tossed with gorgonzola dolce dressing ($5.50), and standards such as spaghetti bolognese ($10.50) or veal scaloppini in lemon-butter sauce with capers ($17.50) execute traditional culinary prowess with the precision of a robotic chess champion.