Founded in Portland, Oregon, in 1953, The Original Pancake House puts local hungers to rest with an array of fresh, made-from-scratch breakfast choices, cooked to order until 8 p.m. every day. The wide-ranging menu demonstrates its training in conflict resolution by bringing together sweet and savory flavors in offerings such as the bacon-filled buttermilk pancakes served with whipped butter and hot syrup ($8.50). Meanwhile, a bushel of oven-baked granny smith apples adorn the signature apple pancake topped with pure, sinkiang cinnamon ($10.50). Yolk-related creations include the irish omelette, distinguished by its charming brogue and fluffy eggs paired with homemade hash composed of kosher corned beef, potatoes, onions, and cheddar cheese ($11). An array of sides, including hash browns ($4) and toast with preserves ($1.50), stand ready to provide gastronomic accompaniment.
Katie Cakes, one of Granny Lala's best-selling products, were inspired by a little girl named Katie with severe food allergies that included gluten, eggs, dairy, and a host of other ingredients commonly found in the tastiest treats on earth (cakes, cookies, cookie monsters, shredding guitar solos, etc.). With Katie's third birthday approaching, all she wanted was a proper birthday cake. Her parents put in a hopeful call to Granny Lala, who surfed a tidal wave of inspiration and water to create the Katie Cake—a quinoa-based bundt topped with dark chocolate ganache. Each delicious single-serving cake is gluten, soy, demon, and dairy free.
Great Harvest specializes in baking tasty delicacies and healthy, homemade breads ($4.50–$8.50 per loaf) that are high in fiber, free of preservatives, and crafted with freshly milled flour every day. The bread selection changes each day of the week according to a monthly schedule; previous offerings include golden honey wheat and Dakota bread. Gluten-free and high-protein breads are available in a variety of flavors, including gluten-free cinnamon-chip bread. For carb connoisseurs that prefer breaded delights that are easily juggled, Great Harvest bakes scones, muffins, cookies, cinnamon rolls, and bars.
Originally opened as the Top Hat Drive-In in 1953, Sonic has grown into a burger-franchise mecca that today operates out of 3,500 locations across the country, making it the nation’s largest chain of drive-in restaurants. Sonic specializes in made-to-order American classics—including burgers, hot dogs, milk shakes, and marshmallow Ford Thunderbolts—which customers order and receive without ever having to leave their cars. Unique menu items include toaster sandwiches stacked on thick slices of texas toast, as well as the brand’s signature tots and fresh limeades.
Sonic’s numerous awards include a 2011 Zagat survey ranking it among the top five fast-food restaurants in three categories: Best Value Menu, Best Milk Shake, and Best Drive-Thru. The benevolent eatery has also donated more than $2 million to public schools throughout the country through their program Limeades for Learning, which helps to fund educational projects and retirement plans for classroom guinea pigs.
Beneath the softly glowing paper lanterns above the sushi bar, chefs at Happy Teriyaki #4 are hand rolling maki destined for both individual plates and the all-you-can-eat sushi bar. But it's the signature sauce, fresh vegetables, and charcoal-broiled meats in their teriyaki dishes that are their claim to fame: the restaurant earned the title of Best Teriyaki in Evening Magazine and KING 5's Best of Western Washington awards in both 2011 and 2012.
The owners' pride in their work is not only evidenced by their artful and flavorful culinary creations but also by the restaurant's inviting ambiance. Colorful Japanese screens add a touch of authentic flair to the dining room, where high-backed, private booths prevent fellow guests from copying homework. Beyond praising the "fast, tasty and affordable" food, Jennifer Johnson of the Weekly Volcano commended the staff for "service [that] has not only been efficient and swift but pleasantly provided."
Showmanship meets scrumptiousness at Iron Chef Japanese Steak House, where chefs juggle cooking utensils and show off their chopping chops while they grill teppanyaki menu selections such as steak, chicken, and seafood. Scallops and lobster tails dock at the hibachi as pincers grasp chopsticks or silverware in anticipation of a seared seafood feast ($38.99). Succulent strips of new york steak ($22.99) sizzle interpretations of Broadway tunes, drawing cheers muffled by mouthfuls of salmon ($23.99) and sukiyaki steak ($18.99). Dinner opens with a prawn appetizer, hot tea, salad, and steamy bowl of soup. Entrees arrive shortly after with vegetables and steamed rice, and the meal concludes with a dessert and a contest to determine who can hold their palm to the grill for the longest.