After successfully overseeing popular restaurants in the DC area, Jacques Nawar moved west, settling down in Seattle to open up a pizza shop––but not just any pizza shop. Everything at Pizzeria Credo bursts at the seams with a rustic Italian sensibilities. Warm, brassy light cascades upon diners as they bite into crisp, bubbly slices of pizza fresh from the Stefano Ferrar. This Neapolitan-made, wood-fired oven is outfitted with a plate of authenticity and protected by magic words known only to professional pizzaioli. The pizza menu is composed of colorful combinations of toppings, such as the tricolor margherita with creamy mozzarella and San Marzano tomatoes or the zesty puttanesca with anchovy, capers, and hot pepper. But there is more to the restaurant's modus operandi than just pies. Guests break toasted bread over bowls of white-wine-steamed mussels and clams, or whet their appetites with salads made from local organic greens and roasted beets.
Gone are the protestations that a slice of cake is too big "or too wedgey." Instead of making a different cake to suit everyone's tastes, get a dozen different flavors for fickle friends. Voted Seattle's best cupcake by Seattle Magazine and Seattle Weekly, and featured in The Seattle Times, Cupcake Royale bakes each flavor daily from natural and local ingredients, including hormone-free dairy products and locally raised fruit. Finish off a long lunch break with a Royale with cheese, a pillow of dark chocolate cake topped with cream-cheese buttercream and chocolate shavings, or chomp a vanilla coconut bunny, adorably fluffy with hand-frosted buttercream. Experts in things that taste good recommend chocolate peppermint party, while fans of sea spray reach no farther than the salted caramel with fleur de sel.
Set in a brick carriage house in the heart of West Seattle’s Junction neighborhood, Hotwire Online Coffeehouse dishes up more than just a great cappuccino and quick morning muffins. Custom coffee creations rotate with the seasons, and customers can enjoy fifteen minutes of free work time at the small shop’s bank of computers with every beverage purchase. New this year, patrons can also belly up to the in-house “Helios Bar” for a free 15-minute hit of light therapy, an antidote that pairs well with caffeine for combating Seattle’s lengthy rainy season. Busy commuters can also text in coffee orders for maximal time efficiency, but why rush away? In summer, Hotwire’s compact outdoor patio is a great place to pause with pooches or strollers over a steaming cup of joe before tackling the rest of the day.
After more than 25 years in corporate America, Charell moved to the small business world by opening Firefly Cafe & Creperie. Her cozy, artwork-adorned cafe fills daily with the inviting aromas of sweet and savory crepes, into which she piles everything from apple-smoked bacon to dulce de leche. She even whips up gluten-free and vegan versions including breakfast crepes with tofu scrambles and dessert crepes with sliced almonds and cashew cream. Along with beverages from her espresso bar, Charell complements mains with organic smoothies and juices chockfull of healthy fixings such as mango and kale.
William Leaman isn't a professional soccer player, but that didn’t stop him from becoming a World Cup champion. The baker served as the captain of Team USA for the 2005 Coupe du Monde de Boulangerie—also known as the World Cup of Baking. Before the final buzzer sounded on the oven timer, he had guided his team to victory, crafting more than 300 baguettes, pastries, and specialty loaves in just eight hours. The atmosphere is a bit less hurried inside the kitchen at Bakery Nouveau, but Leaman doesn’t sacrifice quality just because there isn’t a trophy on the line. Using traditional French techniques, he and his team of bakers craft flaky, twice-baked almond croissants and sugary brioche. They also bake Parisian baguettes throughout the day, but their most popular item may be the Oat & Date loaf, for which they rely on a recipe originally formulated for the World Cup. Another perennial favorite is the Phoenix cake, whose alternating layers of mousse, pecan dacquoise, and chocolate sponge cake won top honors at the 2005 National Pastry Championship.
Plucking a wealth of ingredients from local vendors, the culinary team at Highstrike Grill puts together pub and comfort food classics almost entirely from scratch. Cilantro-lime, sweet-potato fries accompany hand-cut Angus ribeyes with creamy, bleu-cheese chive butter. Finally breaking the lunch-dinner stranglehold on the American classic, Highstrike Grill unapologetically serves the breakfast burger?a half-pound of Angus beef topped with sliced ham, an over-hard egg, and hollandaise mayo.
Along with breakfast-inspired mains, the cooks take to the grill to whip up breakfast every weekend with creative entrees like Belgian waffles with bacon cooked into the center. Steamy cups of Torrefazione Italia Coffee can complement those a.m. feasts, while bartenders can pair dinners with local and domestic beer and wine.