Forget lengthy lists of hard-to-pronounce preservatives?each batch of Empire Ice Cream starts with a base that contains just four ingredients: eggs, evaporated cane juice, and cream and milk from Fresh Breeze Organic Dairy. From there, the ice cream makers simply fold in extra ingredients to make various flavors, relying on local providers like Hayton Farms, who supply the berries for the shop's raspberry and strawberry ice creams, or Stumptown Coffee, who delivers the ground espresso beans for Empire's coffee-flavored ice cream. There's even a unique bacon-flavored ice cream made with real pieces of local, natural bacon, as well as a s'mores ice cream loaded with house-made marshmallows and real vine-ripened graham crackers. Brownies and cinnamon rolls from Eat Local are also available in the shop, and sometimes make their way into decadent sundaes.
Since its founding in 1998, The Australian Pie Company has equipped Seattle eaters with Australian products and piping-hot pastry pies stuffed with hearty ingredients. 2, 5, and 9 inch pies satisfies hungers and occasions of all sizes, with many beef and chicken varieties, some with vegetables others with cheese inside each pie. The Australian Pie Company also stocks its shelves with national products such as Vegemite, Arnott's biscuits, and Billy Tea, valuable when channeling one?s muse to pen a spec script for a Crocodile Dundee sequel. The pie company caters parties and anti-cake conventions with 2-inch pies by the dozen).
Meet the Owner: Rod Neldam is a third-generation baker. His grandfather ran a bakery in Oakland called Neldam’s Danish Bakery for many years, beginning in 1929.
While You’re Waiting: Take a look around. The walls sport the work of local artists, and management swaps in a new batch of pictures, paintings, and photographs at the beginning of every month.
When to Go: Grateful Bread hosts open mic nights every second Tuesday of the month from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Inside Tip: If you’re in the market for something specific, make sure to time your visit correctly. Challah is only made on Thursdays and Fridays, and wild rice and onion breads only emerge from the ovens on Saturdays.
While You’re in the Neighborhood: Take a stroll through the four acres of native plants, orchards, and nurseries at the Magnuson Community Garden (7400 Sand Point Way NE).
If You Can’t Make It, Try This: Grateful Bread hits the farmers’ market circuit Wednesday through Sunday, making stops at Wallingford, Queen Anne, and Shoreline Farmers’ Markets. Check the website for a current schedule.
It all began with a chowder competition. Shortly after Larry Mellum and his business partner opened Charlestown Street Cafe, pretty much everyone in the kitchen was convinced they had the ultimate chowder recipe. So they decided to put each version to the test. Every Friday, they let customers sample a different chowder recipe and gave them the final say in which one made it to the menu. The smooth-as-silk winner––a creation of one of the kitchen's line cooks––became so popular, people from all across Seattle would come to wait in line just for a taste. Inspired, the restaurant decided to take the recipe on the road, entering (and winning) chowder competitions up and down the West Coast. But the real victory happened 3,500 miles away in Newport, Road Island. There, Mellum and company's chowder took home the grand prize at the Great Chowder Cook Off––the first non-New England contender to do so in the competition's 20-year history. After taking home the grand prize three years in a row, and being inducted into the chowder hall-of-fame, the recipe officially retired from competition and now spends the majority of its time watching golf. When it's not in the kitchen, that is. Today at Pike Place Chowder, guests can taste that award-winning chowder––made using freshly picked vegetables and herbs from Pike Place Market––or sample one of seven other chowders, including a smoked salmon chowder, seared scallop chowder, and a vegan chowder. For those who hit their chowder limit, there's also dungeness crab rolls flavored with top-secret seasonings and fresh salads topped with Oregon Bay shrimp, while a second location in Pacific Place Center has earned a following for its made-to-order fish 'n chips, made with either Pacific cod or wild salmon.
Sample Donut Selections
National Press: Bon Appétit ranked Mighty O on its list of the Top 10 Best Places for Donuts in the country.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Prepare your sweet tooth with a savory prelude at Diggity Dog Hot Dog & Sausage Co. (5421 Meridian Avenue N).
After: Walk off those chocolate glazed and lemon poppy donuts at Woodland Park (1000 N. 50th Street).
In the kitchen of Fainting Goat Gelato, batches of dense, velvety goodness are churning slowly. Organic milk from Fresh Breeze Farms absorbs organic sugar, thickening as it gets colder, before Yalcin folds in the flavor. He infuses one vat of his low-fat treat with local berries and another vat with Turkish hazelnuts. Maybe later he'll make use of some pistachios from Sicily. He uses local ingredients whenever he can but recognizes that sometimes nuts grow better across the Atlantic, and more than anything he wants to make his gelato sing with rich, full, true flavors.
By using such prime ingredients, the gelato that Yalcin and his wife make in Fainting Goat Gelato takes guests on a journey as expansive as their own. The husband and wife moved to Seattle from Turkey in 1997 and subsequently focused on raising their daughters, but after their youngest started applying to college, they wanted to begin a new adventure. Today they keep their shop stocked with 18 flavors at all times, creating an ever-rotating menu that at any time might include fig-vanilla, honey-lavender, or Nutella gelato. Cups of Turkish coffee, espresso, and tea help round out the experience and thaw tongues chilled from licking a scoop of strawberry or lips frozen from kissing a snowman.