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.
A health-food emporium, Thrive offers gluten-free, vegetarian, and 95% raw and organic meals. Along with its lush, natural inventory, Thrive offers local community members the tools to create meals from those foods on their own. From the kale-packed raw juices to the cooking-with-kale classes, Thrive aims to make healthy eating delicious by dispelling myths that eating kale is the first step in turning into a garden gnome.
Monika Kinsman is the founder behind the scenes at Thrive, and she has always been ambitious. She drew inspiration as a child from her jet-setting single mom and entrepreneurial grandmother, and set her sights on joining the FBI after graduating high school. The unfortunate setbacks of her and her mother’s poor health momentarily altered her ambitions, opening her eyes to the healing powers of raw foods and the inspiration of community dining. Two master’s degrees and an internship with the FBI later, Monika realized that what she really wanted was to work for the betterment of herself and her community, and with that, Thrive was born.
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.
Turnpike Pizza specializes in New York–style pizza and northwestern brews. The restaurant takes on an air similar to a cafe, with floor-to-ceiling windows, brick walls, a handwritten menu sign. The staff even reserves a corner booth for a family of whirring bean grinders. Chefs use a paddle to remove thin-crust pies from the oven, instead of using it to swim through the stream of marinara sauce that flows through the kitchen. They can craft pizzas to fit dietary restrictions by sprinkling on fistfuls of vegan cheese or bakingthe best tasting gluten-free crusts. Gelatiamo gelato and sorbets cool tongues after hot meals, and pitchers of craft beers and glasses of Italian wine can cool them during meals.
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.
The cooks at Wedgewood II Vegetarian Thai don't just leave meat out of dishes. They find inventive new ways to make vegetables the focus of classic Thai dishes that are full of flavor, without relying on unnatural enhancements like fish sauce, MSG, or magic beans. Instead, they make iconic dishes such as pad thai with tofu, or craft their signature Rama Delight with stir-fried spinach, carrots, garlic, and a savory peanut sauce. They also sweeten their curries and fried rice with chunks of fresh pineapple––a mere precursor to sweet desserts such as mango sticky rice pudding or a deep-fried banana.