"Eating is the best way to connect with people," says bin on the lake's Chef de Cuisine Dylan Giordan. "My favorite part about this profession is being able to create a community and camaraderie through thoughtfully prepared food."
"Thoughtful" is perhaps the most appropriate adjective to assign to Giordan's cuisine. The chef, who adheres to a cooking style described as "Northwest with a Mediterranean influence" practices what he has dubbed the "A Study Of..." program. This approach allows him to highlight a particular ingredient on the menu, such as pork, cheese, or lamb, and then whip up items that firmly affix that item, with all of its diverse flavors and uses, as the star of the dish. The focus could also turn to a particular style of cooking. For example, a recent menu included a section dedicated to the study of braising, yielding up hearty, warm, and comforting plates such as braised lacinato kale with garlic and chili, and tomato braised beef brisket with Greek creamed spinach.
To round out his cooking resume, Chef Giordan delights taste buds with contemporary offerings including white-truffle parmesan popcorn, rabbit meatballs, and Idaho trout. Of course, with such attention lavished upon the cuisine, the restaurant boasts an equally-thoughful wine list, with varietals available in 3- or 6 oz. pours, by the bottle, or, in rare cases, by the grape.
Named for a the eight-spoke Thai horoscope wheel, Noppakao Thai Restaurant puts guests in control of their culinary destiny—even for just one night. The menu introduces diners to some of the finest examples of Thailand's rich culinary culture: from aromatic coconut-milk curries, to savory rice noodle stir-fries and rice dishes of marinated tofu, chicken, pork and trout. Each dish blends Eastern flavor with elegant presentation, with basil leaves, sliced peppers, cashews, and colorful curry sauces layered upon fragrant foundations of jasmine rice. Chefs lovingly craft specialty dishes of lemongrass chicken, garlic pork ribs, and deep-fried duck swimming in red curry, capped off with desserts of coconut milk ice cream and sweet mango sticky rice.
The interior reflects Thailand's island landscape, with towering palm trees, glowing lanterns reminiscent of sea life, and an aquarium. The walls also feature a giant, antique-style treasure map and sketches of jellyfish playing jump rope with pirates.
Most people like to have a say in what they’re eating—hence the popularity of buffets, build-your-own-burger joints, and smashed-open gumball machines. Fueled by an understanding of this fact, the Chilly Wave Yogurt staff rotate 15 flavors of self-serve soft-serves, including root-beer float, snickerdoodle cookie dough, and a tart peach mango. Guests can swirl their creations into cups and pile on more than 40 toppings, from Andes mints and marshmallow cream to mandarin oranges and trail mix.
The nonfat and low-fat yogurts are rich in calcium and loaded with probiotics to support healthy digestion, among other nutritional benefits. They contain between 100 million and 400 million live and active yogurt cultures per gram—and the National Yogurt Association only requires 10 million cultures per gram to earn its seal of approval. Except for a single flavor, the kosher-certified yogurts forgo high-fructose corn syrup, and many varieties are gluten-free.
Owner Mike Salimi mans the counter at Nova Restaurant most days, opening and closing the cash-register drawer and handing over pizzas, homestyle burgers, sandwiches, and seafood to hungry customers. He has finely tuned his pizza recipe throughout the past 20 years, using trial and error to arrive at his current series of steps: hand-making pizza dough, homemade sauce, and toppings that are purchased each day. He also whips together an array of seafood dishes, including oysters, prawns, and Irish-style fish 'n' chips made with halibut or cod and coated in a specialty batter. He hangs colorful abstract paintings on the eatery's yellow walls, which is the closest humankind will ever get to decorating the sun.
At Lucia, the signature spaghetti comes with white truffle-oil fondue, homemade meatballs, pink sauce—and a minimalist backdrop. The restaurant's split-level dining room is a study in simple black and white, brightened by a smattering of red throw pillows and candles. The space's clean lines shift the focus to the culinary team's upscale versions of Italian classics, which have been featured in The Food magazine. Entrees, for example, range from chicken parmigiana with béchamel sauce to grilled wild salmon in a saffron reduction. Pizzas, meanwhile, come crowned with gourmet toppings such as basil pesto, crimini mushrooms, and prosciutto.
QFC supplies kitchens and cabinets with a scrumptious array of fresh meat, organic produce, and homemade baked goods. Reward teeth for not biting into wax fruit by sinking pearls into artisanal Discover Delicious cupcakes, freshly baked in a variety of flavors. The salty-sweet fusion found in maple-bacon cupcakes provides a tasty way to satisfy USDA bacon requirements, and the peanut-butter-and-jelly cupcake brings together a delectable duo as classic as spaghetti and meatballs or onions and tears. Meanwhile, traditional tastes such as German chocolate, red velvet, and Boston cream keep decadence familiar, and all flavors can capably carry themselves during a birthday, dinner gathering, or midnight rendezvous.