At 6:30 each morning, the doors to Rain City Cafe and Coffee open to unleash the smell of freshly percolated espresso and coffee. The baristas pack the deli-counter cases with breakfast sandwiches from Mike’s East Coast Sanwiches, pastries from Corina’s Bakery, and bagels from Bagel Boyz.
While they import all of their morning eats, they craft their own afternoon meals. The resident sandwich artist, Sean, makes a selection of sammies, grilled paninis, giant wraps, and salads.
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.
The restaurant's cuisine unites European cuisine with local flair, successfully recreating the award-winning fare of Pangaea. Evening supper bells resound above a menu stocked with refreshing small plates, pastas, and entrees. Quickly quell rumblings with starting rounds of wild-rice crab cakes with shallots, red bell pepper, and a remoulade for dipping ($15) or taco salad with wild halibut cheeks on a bed of mixed greens with tangy cilantro dressing ($14). For larger hankerings, the kitchen turns out hot plates of bourbon-glazed, pan-seared wild-salmon filet with a drizzling of bourbon-lime-soy-garlic sauce ($22). Lunch is also served from 11 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., and desserts like German chocolate cake ($6) are served all day.
Since coming under new ownership in early 2011, Vinum Coffee & Wine Lounge has injected its menu of sandwiches, burgers, and pub fare with shots sparkling wines, smooth espresso drinks, and craft beers. In the kitchen, chefs shuffle together hot and cold sandwiches, keeping things simple with french bread pizza or tomato and brie or recreating Old World flavors with the monte cristo or chicken carbonara from ingredients that include chicken, roasted tomatoes, and a plethora of cheeses. Burgers and hot dogs—having evolved from the same common ancestors as sandwiches—also populate the menu, arriving topped with chili, avocado, grilled mushrooms, and bacon.
To wash down bites, Vinum's bartenders pour craft brews that fall on all points of the taste spectrum, from the light wheat notes of the Haywire Hefeweizen to the moody malts of the Storm King stout. The full bar serves up a wide selection of liquors, a well as wines, such as Massimo Argentina malbec and Maryhill Washington riesling that tint balloon glasses with red and gold hues. Bubbly beverages include sparkling mimosas to soothe nerves after a long week of ogling car washes.
Paddy Coyne's shares its name with a sister pub on the west coast of Ireland, but patrons don't need to compare menus to be assured of the bar's Irish bona fides: the menu boasts corned beef with cabbage, fish 'n' chips, and traditional soda bread. Along with the classic eats, patrons can enjoy freshly pulled pints and engage their brains in trivia nights, where participants can win prizes.