Blu Berry Frozen Yogurt and Topping Bar sings a lullaby to restless sweet teeth with a symphonious menu of smooth fro-yo, blended with fresh ingredients and smothered in more than 50 decadent toppings. A conglomeration of 10 flavors—including fancy french vanilla, cookies and cream, and red-velvet cake ($0.40/ounce for each)—greet patrons as they enter the treatery and beg to be sprinkled with crushed pecans or peanuts, glazed in hot caramel, or mercilessly drowned in a tsunami of marshmallow sauce. The self-serve setup allows patrons to mix-and-match flavors and toppings, and customers can sample spoonfuls before they decide on how to construct the tastiest fedora for a snowman.
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).
Emerald City Smoothie's menu showcases a variety of frosty cups of drinkable fruit blended to order. Smoothies come in couture 16-, 24-, and 32-ounce containers and prices range $4.25–$6.25, depending on the number of add-ons. The peanut passion is a popular option, bringing baseball's chosen legume to bat with a team of bananas, strawberries, and protein. Acquaint innards with antioxidants as you sip the sambazon smoothie, which deploys cold açai berries, cranberries, and strawberries to fight the hand of time's middle finger. Kids’ options ($3.95 each) include the chocolate champ, a chocolate, peanut butter, milk, and protein mishmash.
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.