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 Dead 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.
As you and your dining date nestle close in Crêpe Cafe's cozy confines, you'll get to watch the crêpes get spun right in front of you. Though crêpes are traditionally a dessert, it's recommended that you start with the menu of dinner crêpes first. Whet your appetite with a bubbly-cheesed French onion soup before wrapping your reptilian tongue around entrees such as Heaven's Crêpe (Black Forest ham and swiss topped with homemade béchamel sauce and fresh asparagus, $12.95 for a regular) or the Island Girl (shrimp with fresh mango, spinach, roma tomatoes, avocado, and Swiss topped with a Caribbean lime and mushroom sauce, $15.95). Vegetarians won't have to huffily pick things out of their crêpe and then feed them to roaming restaurant dogs if they order the Westchester (avocado, swiss, caramelized onions, roma tomatoes, and spinach with sun-dried tomato coulis, $12.95 for a regular) or the house specialty, Mushroom Medley (assorted mushrooms sautéed in a white wine and garlic cream sauce wrapped in a buckwheat crêpe with gruyere cheese, $12.95).
A pair of restaurateurs opened Pair Food & Wine so they could pair local and organic food with local and imported wine. The meat and dairy on the seasonal menu comes from Washington farms, and the produce might even come straight from Pair's back garden, harvested by the tiny farmers who live behind the sidewalk planters. While the wine list is lengthy, the bar-food menu is short, containing just a snack-size handful of dishes. "But each one," wrote the Seattle Times in 2009, "falls in line with Pair's penchant for making simple dishes elegant."
Once upon a time, not so very long ago, husband-and-wife team Joan and Jo owned a restaurant in their native Barcelona where they served "exotic" fare like smoked turkey and sushi for homesick expats or locals looking for international flavors. But since moving to Seattle, the restaurant owners have pulled a complete 180, preparing traditional tapas, paella, and other Catalan specialties to curb their own homesickness. Close your eyes while devouring spanish meatballs topped with a spicy sauce, lamb kebabs, and fuet––a catalan sausage served cold––and you might just feel as though you're dining at a street-side café in the shadow of the Sagrada Família. Speaking of those sausages, all of Gaudi's cured meats are made in-house, including the one used in the paella de monte. That paella––which also includes rabbit and chicken––earned high praise from Seattle Weekly who called it a "perfect marriage of style and substance." Diners can finish with desserts, such as a Catalan-style cake topped with apricots, cream, and raspberry sauce, or imbibe sweet cocktails, like a café madagascar, made with vanilla and cinnamon liquors. And, of course, there's a full menu of Spanish red wines, available by the bottle.
Fun Fact: The restaurant is owned and operated by film actor Yuji Okumoto, who you might recognize from his role as the villain Chozen in The Karate Kid, Part II.
Plate lunch: a classic Hawaiian offering, it usually includes an entree, steamed rice, and macaroni salad.
Spam musubi: a block of sushi rice topped with Spam and wrapped with a strip of nori, designed to be a quick handheld snack.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Jump start your right brain with a class at Moonpaper Tent (8503 Roosevelt Way NE).
After: Trick yourself into feeling like you’re on Waikiki Beach with a refreshing cranio-sacral therapy session with Coleen Small, LMP (8401 5th Ave NE, Suite 102).
Chef Laurent Gabrel, of Voilà! in Madison Valley, crafts Chloé Bistrot's classic French menu to imitate the eateries found along Parisian cobblestone streets. Begin a culinary getaway with an appetizer of escargots dressed in garlic-butter sauce atop baguette crostini ($12), before donning taste-bud hiking boots for a trek to succulent entrées. Twine fork tines into a pan-seared beef medallion with green-peppercorn sauce and classic fries ($23), or indulge in mussels in a tomato, garlic, and fresh-thyme broth, an elegant mollusk alternative to Fabergé clams ($14). An amply stocked wine list joins bites and sips in mouthwatering matrimony with an array of French vintages ($7–$12). Guests may reach a chic dinner's finish line with a serving of rich chocolate mousse ($7), ice-cream-filled profiteroles ($9), or a celebratory fist pump.