Some think of raw-food diets as restrictive and bland, but with chef Francisco Hernandez pulling the strings in the kitchen, that's not the case. “One look at AmeRAWcan Bistro’s menu is enough to convince anyone that raw doesn’t mean boring,” according to the News Tribune writer Rosemary Ponnekanti](http://gr.pn/Uj9hgP). “Vegan burgers, sesame falafel, kelp noodles, kale chips and cheesecake are just some of the possibilities.” Raw cuisine this delectable requires preparation methods unfamiliar to some. Hernandez and his team soak seeds until they sprout, grind cashews for faux milk and cheese, and dehydrate grains for “bread” that they use to create sandwiches or feed to health-conscious ducks in the park. They never heat any ingredient to more than 116 degrees, which preserves the full spectrum of vitamins and enzymes in each morsel.
While many of the restaurant's dishes mimic foods that are normally cooked, others are straightforward in their freshness; tomato-cucumber gazpacho, for instance, with chopped sweet peppers, basil, and mint. Smoothies and juice blends fresh-squeezed from granny smith apples, parsley, and beets wash raw bites down.
At a separate kitchen station, the chefs layer organic meats and cheeses onto organic, preservative-free bread baked by Essential Baking Company of Seattle, crafting hearty sandwiches that they serve on a set of plates designated for meat. Though the menu is healthy, patrons can find hints of decadence in the form of raw chocolate truffles, beer, and wine.
In keeping with the rest of the Plum Restaurants family, Plum Burgers food truck has no meat products on board. Its burgers are entirely beef-free, organic, and vegan?but within these restrictions, the cooks have gotten more than a little creative. The Jerk + Yam burger piles yam and Jamaican-spiced grilled tofu with caramelized onions, whereas the 8-ounce Mediterranean burger layers mint-kissed seitan with pickled figs. Other patties incorporate lentils, portobello mushrooms, and panko-crusted tempeh as meat substitutes.
Also on the menu are a variety of sandwiches and sides, including the popular Mac & Yease, which is a vegan version of mac and cheese that can also go gluten-free upon request. Milkshakes made with vanilla coconut ice cream conclude meals with cool, sweet sips. To track the truck's location, customers can refer to its homepage. It even takes pickup orders via phone call, text, or really loud yelling from across town.
Shakabrah Java's short-order wizards whisk together a menu of meaty, vegetarian, and vegan-friendly breakfasts, earning the diner the 2011 award for Best Breakfast from Tacoma Weekly. During morning hours, veggie skillets brim with a kaleidoscopic harvest of yellow squash, zucchini, and tomatoes; chefs can accommodate vegans by replacing the eggs with marinated tofu. Between bites, diners can sip cups of MarketSpice tea that come directly from Pike Place Market, or mimosas, beers from taps and bottles, and wine.
There was once a pair of friends who shared the same name. These friends—the Gregs—also shared the belief that even casual food should be fresh. So they put their heads together to found Zaw Artisan Pizza, where seasonal, organic, and locally sourced ingredients top carefully crafted take-and-bake pies. Diners can watch over the counter as pizza artistes decorate white, whole wheat, or gluten-free crusts with toppings such as free-range chicken breast, hearty spinach, and fresh artisan cheeses. Each pie leaves the shop unfrozen—as evidenced by the lack of freezers in all six stores—to be baked to a golden crisp inside the customer's oven or backyard iron forge. To further their commitment to quality, the Gregs strive to source local ingredients from neighborhood farmers' markets whenever possible, and craft each batch of dough with Bob's Red Mill flours.
Every pizza at zpizza is freshly prepared, hand thrown, gently coaxed into the oven using soft birdcalls and pheromone trails, and fire-baked to crispy perfection. The dough is prepared fresh daily from 100% certified-organic wheat, and zpizza is also happy to offer certified organic and gluten-free crusts, sating the pizza desire of the allergic, dieters, and wheat sympathizers. Toppings include award-winning Wisconsin skim mozzarella, MSG-free pepperoni, certified-organic tomato sauce, additive-free sausage, and fresh produce. Try a large ZBQ pizza (with barbecue sauce, mozzarella, barbecue chicken, roasted pepper, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and sweet corn) or a chicken curry and yam rustica (with mozzarella, curry chicken, yam, mango chutney, raisin, and cilantro). Vegans can delight in a small Berkeley (with marinara, vegan cheese, veggie crumbles, zucchini, tomatoes, mushrooms, red onions, and bell peppers), and traveling tongues can sate their wanderlust with a mouthwatering Moroccan rustica (with pesto, mozzarella, roasted eggplant, feta cheese, caramelized onion, and pine nut).
Wooden arches and light-gauze curtains invite diners into Queen Sheba, a cool, tranquil interior rich with the meandering aromas of exotic spices and authentic Ethiopian recipes. An intimate table hosts diners as they enjoy hearty stews crafted with traditional spice mixtures such as mitmita and berbere, which accentuate the chunks of lamb or beef. A spongy serving of injera, a disk of unleavened bread, soaks up spicy sauces, and bites of fresh-cut okra accompany all plates, acting as edible silverware for the authentic stews, not unlike a using pixie sticks as chop sticks. Vegan red-lentil stews or ground peas seasoned with ginger and garlic further rope in taste buds trying to play hard to get.