Bent Burger’s namesake burger is not for the faint of heart or stomach: chefs top a freshly ground beef patty with hot links, fried eggs, candied bacon, and cheese. Then, they wedge that already hulking load between two grilled cheese sandwiches. This creativity garnered acclaim from a reporter from Examiner.com, who called the eatery a “local treasure,” and the same creativity extends to the rest of the menu. The Human Torch burger sets tongues aflame with pepper jack cheese and grilled habanero peppers, and The Thing burger showcases the bold flavors of caramelized onions and blue cheese. These inventive mouthfuls buddy up with more than a dozen flavors of shakes and malts, including green tea, chai, and pumpkin.
Bent Burger’s decor matches the playfulness of the cuisine: the tables are shellacked with comic book covers, and life-sized comic book heroes pop against a backdrop of burnt orange walls.
In sustainably-aware Seattle, where locally-sourced, all natural and organic foodstuffs are practically the rule, it’s no surprise that a sandwich shop like Homegrown is so popular. The friendly Fremont location of this citywide mini-chain works off of the ethos of “sandwich environmentalism,” where ingredients are found nearby and used to the utmost. Sandwich fans order at the front counter, then grab a small butcher-block table inside the small yet airy warehouse-chic room before feasting. Selections change seasonally and range from sophisticated to classic, with French, whole grain or gluten-free bread choices. Winter combos may include sliced ham with Beecher’s jack cheese from the acclaimed Pike Place Market creamery, caramelized onions, and sage aioli; roasted chicken breast with house-made pesto and roasted garlic aioli; cayenne-rubbed roast pork loin with apple butter and pickled red onions; and a marinated Portobello, goat cheese and pesto combo.
The chefs at BluWater Bistro elevate classic comfort food by working mainly with premium, largely local ingredients. Take, for instance, a BLT—reinterpreted with additions of Pacific Northwest king-salmon fillet and pesto mayo—or a burger ascending to gourmet status with layers of Tillamook cheddar spread over wagyu beef raised on pastures near the Snake River. BluWater Bistro's owners strive to match their chefs' quality and creativity by giving each waterfront location a refined yet cozy aesthetic, surrounding diners in large windows, fireplaces flanked by leather furniture, and flat-screen televisions that play more interesting shows when they sense lulls in conversation. The Green Lake establishment also extends to an outdoor patio. The kitchen staff continues sending out dishes from the full menu as late as 1 a.m. every night of the week and shows up early on the weekends to prepare brunch.
Trago Cocina & Lounge’s two-story edifice looms over Lake Union, sending wafts of aromatic Mexican spices out into the cool lake breeze. Inside, chefs fold local produce, meats, and seafood into authentic tacos, enchiladas, and specialties, pulling from classic recipes handed down by their family members. Out in the dining rooms, guests linger over last bites of tres leches sponge cake and sips of fruity margaritas, admiring scenic views of the lake as a fireplace crackles, hisses, and whispers upcoming winning lottery numbers from the upstairs patio. Come nightfall, the restaurant comes alive with colorful lights and festive energy, as guests flock to the bar to watch sports games on plasma TVs or enjoy DJ dance parties. Throughout the week, the restaurant plays host to special events, from live standup comedy shows to karaoke nights to karaoke comedy nights.
The tender cuts of lamb, beef, and chicken that rotate on vertical spits inside Mr. Gyros Seattle’s kitchen caught the eye—and the nose—of one Seattle Times writer, who called them “visual and olfactory evidence that this isn’t your corner-store Mediterranean sandwich shop.” Cuts from those juicy cones of meat become kabobs, schawarma, and a gyro that was voted the best by Seattle Magazine. Vegetarians aren't left out either though––that same Times reviewer dubbed the shop's falafel "crisp on the outside, tender on the inside and very aromatic, nothing like the flavorless hockey pucks that are the stuff of buffet horror stories." If the ringing endorsements aren't enough to tempt you into the shop, no worries. Mr. Gyros’ food truck may just swing by your office, bringing the succulent meats and sandwiches to you instead.
Habesha's chef throws succulent cuts of lamb, chicken, and beef into simmering skillets bathed in the traditional, spicy wot sauces, all served family style to be dipped into with handheld bites of spongy injera flatbread. The communal dining style encourages patrons to forge bonds with fellow diners without having to weave napkins into friendship bracelets. Each ripped portion of injera soaks in sauces while securing bites of seafood, split red lentils, and traditional lamb. Ethiopia's distinct culinary flavor centers on wot, a pepper-based stew infused with Ethiopia's signature spices, berbere and mitmita, that enlivens vegetable or meat entrees with a potent kick of rich, complex flavor. Beams of light muted by patterned hanging lamps add an aura of quiet camaraderie to feasts, with happy conversations bouncing off of the exposed-brick walls.
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