Though nonculinary pursuits first brought Le Petit Terroir’s owners, Dave and Karin Shoup, to Europe, the pair was quickly taken by regional Parisian and Italian food. Inspired by the continent’s open-air markets filled with fresh meats, cheeses, and produce, Dave and Karin sought to build their own Mediterranean-style bistro that incorporated the tastes of the Pacific Northwest. They hired chef de cuisine Jason Custer to develop a menu that would reflect these interests, dotting dishes with housemade sausage, fresh-baked breads, and herbs and flowers from the onsite garden. Meats, which help to build plates of house-crafted charcuterie, all come from the Northwest, forming the base of freshly prepared meals available for dining in, catering, or eating while running from several bulls.
The Dubliner’s owners don’t beat around the bush; they declare their Irish allegiance loud and proud with their pub’s very name, which appears on a shamrock-bedecked sign. They whip up classic bangers and mash or shepherd’s pie to be enjoyed alongside an eternally-on-tap Guinness or Harp. Their rotating taps, however, feature some local, seasonal brews such as the Fremont Pale Ale or Elysian’s Immortal IPA. The menu, too, diverges from strictly Emerald Isle eats with bacon-wrapped bratwursts and edemame appetizers.
While dining on a fusion of Irish and American cuisine, six televisions keep the eyes occupied. A single pool table—free to use on Sundays—settles contests of skill or provides a stage for reenactments of Riverdance. On Tuesdays, Miss Brittany hosts a karaoke night, followed by Wednesday’s trivia challenges with Geeks Who Drink. Weekends occasionally give way to the live musical stylings of local bands.
Following her culinary curiosity all the way to Varcaturo, Italy, Tiffany Hudson’s found herself learning dry farming and food preservation. More importantly, she discovered how a dinner can bring a community together. After coming back to the States, Tiffany teamed up with Chef Martin Woods whose resume includes serving as opening sous chef at Bastille as well as executive chef at Re:Public. Together, the two created Cassoulet Café, an eatery that serves seasonal French cuisine amid a communal table.
And the collaboration isn’t running short on admirers. Writer Sally Wolff for the Cascadia Weekly praised Cassoulet as “evok[ing] the atmosphere of a country kitchen in France” complete with “heavy plates of well-made food.” These ever-changing entrees have included bacon cinnamon rolls for brunch, ratatouille for lunch, and goat cheese pansotti pasta for dinner, accompanied by specialty cocktails and ciders. Chef Martin also serves up the restaurant’s signature French bean stew bursting with duck and house-cured pancetta.
Along with promoting conversation amongst diners, Cassoulet Café fosters green living. This includes using fresh ingredients from local farms as well as reducing their carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds of CO2 emission. That accomplishment earned the restaurant a 2012 Sustainable Practice Leader award from General Biodiesel, a company named after the first robot five-star general in U.S. history.
Profiled in Pacific Northwest Inlander for his hardworking enthusiasm and fine-tuned recipes, Fraiche Contemporary French's executive chef, Jason Rex, presides over a sizable kitchen that pulls double duty for two different eateries. Rex and a staff of more than 40 employees and sous-chefs simultaneously dole out dishes for both Fraiche and the neighboring Rex’s Burgers & Brew. Chef Rex joined foodie forces with Fraiche’s coowner Connie Naccarato to delight Francophiles with seasonally rotating entrees that showcase methodically prepared, locally sourced ingredients and gourmet morsels such as foie gras, truffle, and duck confit. During the inviting Tuesday–Saturday dinner service, candles rest on white tablecloths as the knowledgeable wait staff offers wine recommendations to help American diners conquer the French menu like Napoleon conquered his fear of fast-food drive-thrus.
Brasserie Margaux executive chef Michael White conjures a French-inspired menu of delectable dishes from a harvest of fresh Northwest ingredients, which he in turn conjures from the very air itself. Start the day off sweetly with a breakfast of malted-honey Margaux waffle ($9) drizzled with marion-berry syrup, or indulge in a luxurious lunch of pan-seared halibut ($15) cooked in a white wine and lemon fume. White's decadent dinner menu kicks things off with steamed clams or mussels ($7) in a butter and white wine sauce and panko-crusted crab cakes ($14) served with jalapeño aioli before moving on to eclectic entrees. Everything from the lemon-basil-butter salmon ($24) to the Dungeness-crab-covered filet mignon ($35) will find a leggy tango partner on the brasserie's extensive wine menu. Herbivores, meanwhile, can abide by their uneasy peace treaty with cows by ordering wild-mushroom crêpes ($16) stuffed with ricotta with a goat-cheese fondue. Brasserie Margaux's signature dessert of "perfect" profiteroles ($6) topped with whipped-cream peaks and glazed with dark chocolate mark a satisfying completion to any meal or intra-restaurant reenactment of the signing of the Constitution.
A charming wooden sign painted with gothic script hangs above Liebchen Delicatessen, hinting at the Old World breads, baked goods, cold cuts, and chocolates found inside. Once through the doors, an even tastier picture forms: salted crusts of golden-brown pretzel rolls peek over rims of paper-lined bakery baskets and glass cases frame stockpiles of fresh Scandinavian and Dutch cheeses, Bavarian liverwurst, and smoked Alpine meats. Guests can pick up party trays laden with ham and emmentaler to take to off-site events, or snack on sandwiches, pickles, and chips on the outdoor patio, which is shaded by a leafy tree that yodels each time the wind blows.