A crisp Pacific breeze floats over Coho Cafe's patios, fanning guests as they sip signature cocktails and deconstruct towers of dungeness crab and avocado. It's as if the ocean wants to give each coastal location a big old pat on the back?and why wouldn't it? The chefs have surely earned it through their tireless commitment to quality Northwestern seafood, expressed in creative combinations such as cod tacos topped with three-bean chili and smoked-salmon fettuccine with dill-sorrel cream.
On cooler days, large rock fireplaces send their warmth through casual dining rooms defined by tropical colors, curved walls that undulate like mountain streams, and fish statues. A glance at the tables on any given night reveals everything from stuffed, roasted chicken to a classic New York steak in addition to the seafood?which still isn't enough variety for the chefs. The specials menu sports new dishes every two weeks to make use of seasonal ingredients and flavors. To pair with them, friendly servers can offer guidance in selecting among the wine list's variety of Northwestern and imported bottles.
The minimalistic aesthetic at Taqueria La Venadita does nothing to prepare eaters for the food, which is anything but lackluster. Street tacos come stuffed with some surprising grub, including beef cheeks and tongue. Of course, you can also opt for more conventional fillings such as pork or chorizo.
When choosing the daily cupcake flavors at Confetti Cupcakes, the shop's bakers ask themselves one very important question: what sounds yummy? Depending on the day, they might whip up decadent chocolate mint cupcakes, light and refreshing lemon cupcakes, or rich red velvet cupcakes. Of course, if you happen to drop in on a national holiday, you might be in for a special treat. Confetti Cupcakes has been known to whip up specialty themed treats for holidays big and small; baking up pralines and cream cupcakes for Fat Tuesday, peanut butter and chocolate cupcakes for National Peanut Butter Lovers Day, and tuxedo cupcakes for National Dress Your Dessert in Formalwear Day.
At Flat Iron Grill, executive chef Jeff Olsen puts an international twist on traditional steak-house staples made with locally sourced organic ingredients. Small doses of chorizo, chimichurri, or chili-spiked truffle sauce lend distinctive Latin and South American flavors to the menu?s grilled steaks, black cod, and clam pappardelle. To accompany the rustically roasted entrees, the bartenders pour tipples from their selection of more than 180 whiskeys, which include rich bourbons, smoky scotches, and locally distilled creations.
Echoing the menu?s rustic elegance, the Western-themed dining room surrounds guests in warm-colored walls and metal work from Gagnon Welding. A spotlighted longhorn skull hangs on a terra-cotta red wall alongside local artists' black-and-white photographs of Washington landscapes. Patrons can also dine on an outdoor patio shaded by light-tan umbrellas and clouds lassoed into place by helpful cowboys.
The fajitas alone are worth the trip to Agave Cocina & Cantina. Chefs start with sizzling meat, seafood, or veggies, adding sauteed peppers, beer-braised black beans, sweet yellow onions, and guacamole. Those ingredients all come together on warm, house-made tortillas, which are fresher and less likely to get rained on than backyard-made tortillas. Elsewhere on the menu you'll find signature dishes including prawn and scallop enchildas, chile rellenos with three cheeses, and tamales stuffed with beef and pickled red onion.
In addition to its food, Agave boasts more than 150 premium and hard-to-find tequilas. These tequilas turn up in hand-shaken drinks such as the margarita botanica, a blend of fresh lime juice, basil, chartreuse, and agave nectar. Diners can also opt for a tequila flight to taste test multiple kinds in one sitting.
Not much has changed since Lovie Yancey opened the first Fatburger in 1952. Since then, the chain has expanded, but the food has stayed the same: 100% USDA lean beef burgers grilled to order and hand-scooped ice-cream shakes. Each restaurant stays true to Yancey's vision, even down to retro-influenced digs with jukeboxes blasting old school favorites designed to make listeners flash enthusiastic thumbs-up signs. Inside the kitchen, cooks stack burgers from 2.5-ounce burgers to 24-ounce triple burgers on toasted regular or gluten-free buns as fresh onions crisp inside fryers filled with cholesterol-free oil. Diners can also enjoy Fatburger’s signature chili made with a secret blend of herbs and spices or milkshakes topped with dollops of whipped cream that resemble fluffy, white clouds shaped like marshmallows.