At Cinebarre, the latest action-packed thrillers and romantic comedies light up the theaters' screens—but the establishment is as much a restaurant as a movie theater. Each row of seats faces a table, and during the show, waitstaff silently peruse the theater, taking orders for cocktails and a wide variety of gourmet eats. The plates range from warm tortilla chips with house-made salsa to burgers and pizzas. To make things more fun, each dish also gets a movie-themed name: think Goldfingers (hand-breaded chicken tenders), the Bull Durham (pizza topped with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, and sausage), or the Fight Club sandwich, which the chefs refuse to talk about.
Stan Phillips spent his childhood at his father’s side in their Kansas City backyard, his little hands barely strong enough to handle the wood for the family’s smoker. Now that he’s grown, Phillips brings his family’s recipes to his Issaquah restaurant, where he slathers meats such as beef brisket, ribs, hot links, and ham with a traditional dry rub, smokes them over hickory wood, and dishes them out with sauce on the side. When diners step inside the rustic barbecue joint, they can order their meats by the pound, or dig into sandwiches such as the Cowboy, whose pork is pulled apart with a spur. A full bar slings cocktails, wines, and craft beers to suit every entrée, and the dining room displays a full Sunday football lineup on its large televisions.
Within the century-old confines of Uptown Glassworks' warehouse, furnaces melt handfuls of kaleidoscopic frit into malleable shapes manipulated by a team of professional glass blowers. But these tradesmen don't just create works for the gallery; they also share their secrets with students in a variety of activities, from introductory courses on making beads and paperweights to advanced instruction that can be applied toward college credit or used to fix the pockmarked walls of glass houses.
During the shop's Blow-Your-Own sessions, participants apply color to clear, molten glass that has recently emerged from a 2,000-degree furnace, then blow their mixture into 1 of 20 different shapes. The next day, patrons can pick up their cooled and packaged creations, comparing their handiwork to the gallery's collection of products, which are made by more than 90 local and regional glass artists.
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.
A tall glass of wine, a sizzling plate of food, and a serene room can make for an exquisite meal. The team behind Chantanee Thai Restaurant & Bar know that well, and for almost 20 they have brought their refined Thai staples and chill service to the downtown Bellevue community. Duck dishes arrive wok-crisped and glazed with rich garlic sauce or slow-cooked in a fragrant combination of coriander and five-spice powder. Platters of stir-fried vegetables and cashews get a kick from housemade chili paste, which can be used to make any dish spicier or just more red if you happen to love the color.
On one wall, a large Thai-inspired art piece gleams gold over the room and a circular booth with lime green cushions pops amid earth-tone chairs and blonde wooden tables. In another artistic play, a row of stout wooden planks hangs from the ceiling, visually separating the dining room from the nearby lounge area. There, a curving bar winds the length of the room and bartenders mix up complex drinks, pour absinthe, or set their signature Blue Blazer drink on fire.