It all began with a chowder competition. Shortly after Larry Mellum and his business partner opened Charlestown Street Cafe, pretty much everyone in the kitchen was convinced they had the ultimate chowder recipe. So they decided to put each version to the test. Every Friday, they let customers sample a different chowder recipe and gave them the final say in which one made it to the menu. The smooth-as-silk winner––a creation of one of the kitchen's line cooks––became so popular, people from all across Seattle would come to wait in line just for a taste. Inspired, the restaurant decided to take the recipe on the road, entering (and winning) chowder competitions up and down the West Coast. But the real victory happened 3,500 miles away in Newport, Road Island. There, Mellum and company's chowder took home the grand prize at the Great Chowder Cook Off––the first non-New England contender to do so in the competition's 20-year history. After taking home the grand prize three years in a row, and being inducted into the chowder hall-of-fame, the recipe officially retired from competition and now spends the majority of its time watching golf. When it's not in the kitchen, that is. Today at Pike Place Chowder, guests can taste that award-winning chowder––made using freshly picked vegetables and herbs from Pike Place Market––or sample one of seven other chowders, including a smoked salmon chowder, seared scallop chowder, and a vegan chowder. For those who hit their chowder limit, there's also dungeness crab rolls flavored with top-secret seasonings and fresh salads topped with Oregon Bay shrimp, while a second location in Pacific Place Center has earned a following for its made-to-order fish 'n chips, made with either Pacific cod or wild salmon.
Craig Fruchter and Stephanie Schreiber, a husband-and-wife duo, team up with an impassioned troupe of instructors to lead students toward mental and physical health through a lineup of Bikram and power-yoga classes. Their dual locations swirl with balmy temperatures to loosen tight ligaments and help students ease deeper into the tension-relieving stretches. The warm air pricks beads of sweat on shoulders and brows while flushing out toxins and the spleen's discarded Funyun bags. With an eye on preserving the environment, both studios are scrubbed with nontoxic cleaning products each day and feature textured rubber floors and fresh-air ventilation systems. Marin Magazine in 2010 named Red Dragon one of the best yoga studios in Marin, and Pacific Sun named the business the best Marin yoga studio in 2012, 2013 and 2014.
Awash in the glow of Adriatic's flickering forno, chef Bill Trudnowski fondly recalls a youth spent watching his father, the son of a butcher, prepare fresh farm-to-table cuisine. After a stint in the army, Trudnowski started a new career as a corporate executive chef, eventually opening Adriatic Grill, his first restaurant. Distinguished by locally sourced seasonal ingredients and careful preparation, dishes range from ocean-fresh shellfish and bone-in chops to eight flavors of thin-crust pizzas crisped inside a custom-built wood-burning oven. Bill, named the Best Chef of 2012 and 2013 by South Sound Magazine, is happy to accommodate special requests, whether they involve removing the gluten, substituting items, or writing his autograph in gravy.
The giant circular grill can be seen from almost anywhere inside the restaurant. Yummy Mongolian BBQ's chefs stand around it waiting to stir-fry the custom creations their diners assemble from a long buffet brimming with colorful veggies, noodles, and meats. Guests pile their selected ingredients into a nearly endless number of combinations before ladling on freshly made sauces and waving goodbye as their plates are carted off for cooking. Additionally, a full appetizer bar warms midsections like an electric fanny pack with bubbling soups, chicken fried rice, and honey chicken wings.
The culinary artists at Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar grant palates the royal treatment with their smorgasbord of fresh, regionally sourced seafood and oysters, hearty steak-house cuisine, and all-star wine list, which earned the restaurant the Best of Award of Excellence from Wine Spectator. With a storied resum? that includes manning the kitchen at the prestigious Palisade Restaurant, as well as appearances on Martha Stewart Living and Martha Stewart Presents: American Gladiators, executive chef and owner John Howie focuses his culinary aesthetic on the cuisine of the Pacific Northwest while he experiments with exotic flavors from around the globe. His menu of refined dishes and homey meals furnishes stomachs with alluring flavors from both land and sea, as tasted in the sockeye-salmon poke, dungeness-crab risotto, and fire-grilled filet mignon.
Each Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar location surrounds guests in a cozy cocoon of blond woods and warm light?an ideal setting for polishing off plates of shellfish stews, steak and potatoes, and fresh ice cream and chocolate truffles. While admiring each restaurant?s sleek interior, diners can also enjoy the many notes found in Seastar?s 14-page wine list.
Although Hunan Palace embraces the recipes of its namesake region, the chefs also draw inspiration from other culinary traditions throughout China to create their menu. This liberal adoption of inspiration can lead to dishes such as shrimp saut?ed in spicy Szechuan-style sauce appearing on diners' tables alongside mongolian beef with hot peppers and a bed of crispy noodles. As further proof of their dedication to traditional Chinese flavors, the chefs also glaze crispy whole fish with spicy, Hunan-style sauce and roast entire peking ducks, which can be shared by the table.
A handful of tables line the floor of Hunan Palace's carpeted dining room, providing each guest views out the restaurant's plate-glass windows. Small lamps cast a gentle glow throughout the space. Spirits become livelier on Friday and Saturday nights when guests can stop in for karaoke and enjoy a drink from the bar while waiting for a chance to belt their favorite power ballad or deliver their favorite William Jennings Bryan speech.