It's not easy to draw attention away from the belly-dancer that performs at Spiro's Greek Island on Friday and Saturday nights. But the aroma of tender gyro meat is up to the task, pulling diners' focus towards the kitchen. Inside, chefs labor over traditional Greek dishes, seasoning beef, lamb, and chicken with natural spices, sea salt, and housemade marinades. They also slice tender cuts from imported Greek broilers, and fry falafels before wrapping them in pitas, scattering them across salads, or dressing them in miniature togas. For dessert, warm honey drizzles onto flaky bougatsa, a custard-filled pastry lauded by reporters from Seattle Times Newspaper. Servers bear the plates out to the bright dining room, where paintings of Greek scenes adorn the walls.
Corks and Canvas Events, like a work of fine art, came about by pairing a good idea with a passion to create. The founders both came from the marketing world, where they spent their days devising campaigns and events to inspire their audiences to take action. A shared love for art and wine inspired them to bend their action-creating talents toward a new goal—hosting painting and wine events in area wineries and wine bars, allowing guests to "uncork their creativity" and promote the burgeoning Washington wine industry.
Their idea took the form of Corks and Canvas Events, where experienced artists lead guests step-by-step through the painting creation process. Guests re-create various paintings, everything from lush vineyard scenes to preening roosters, while sipping on glasses of local wines.
With more than 700 locations, Jamba Juice proves to the masses that nutrition can be speedy and delicious. Since the beginning, the company’s product philosophy has revolved around choosing whole fruits and other natural ingredients over artificial flavorings, sweeteners, and preservatives. The menu is completely free of high-fructose corn syrup and trans fats, and it offers additional accommodations for vegan and gluten-free diets.
This naturalistic approach is fully realized in Jamba Juice's selection of smoothies. Made with 100% fruit juice, sherbet, and frozen yogurt, the frosty delights range from all-fruit smoothies such as peach perfection and strawberry whirl to more indulgent creamy treats, including peanut butter moo'd, an enticing blend of peanut butter, bananas, nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt, and milk chocolate.
For those with heartier appetites, steel-cut oats steep in soymilk before being enhanced with toppings such as apples, cinnamon, and brown-sugar crumble. The lunch hour presents protein-packed mini wraps, toasted bistro sandwiches and California Flatbreads that pack only about 320–420 calories each.
The amiable bakers at Cow Chip Cookies drop 11 types of dough onto sheets before baking their signature cookies to a golden finish. Fresh ingredients from The Butter Creek Farm are used to craft cookies available in flavors such as classic chocolate chip with Ghirardelli chocolate and Mock Baby Ruth cookies featuring a peanut-butter-and-oatmeal cookie-dough base spotted with chocolate and butterscotch chips. As the cookies drop, each one takes on its own slightly different shape, just like a handmade pillow filled with shredded college rejection letters. Gift boxes delight recipients with heart-shaped treats, seasonal shapes, or custom flavor combinations.
Ishtar Greek & Mediterranean Cuisine is named for an ancient Mesopotamian goddess of love, and the restaurant itself is a love letter to the Middle Eastern home of Iraqi immigrant and founder Alaa Hamadi. Inside, the smell of grilled lamb and chicken floats through in the air as arabic music softly plays, transporting the senses to the Persian Gulf and its surrounding cultures—the best of both worlds for Hamadi, who, as he told The Thunderword, fled Iraq in 1991 to escape the oppressive regime. Today, the large halal menu reaches beyond Persian cuisine to embrace Greek dishes and a few American standards, ranging from fluffy falafel balls to skewered beef and lamb morsels to gyro meat hand carved into the shape of the Mediterranean Sea. Huge windows run around the dining room's perimeter and wrap up onto the ceiling, and on sunny days, bamboo shades pulled over them give the impression of dining beneath a rustic arbor as light filters down through grape vines.