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.
Founded in the Netherlands in 1999, Oil & Vinegar offers customers the chance to experience exciting new tastes. At the Spokane location, recently brought under new management and now veteran-owned, visitors choose from more than 40 “on tap” vinegar and olive-oil flavors that glow from within their suspended glass containers. The staff makes transporting purchases convenient by selling bottles onsite or filling bottles brought from home.
Condiments come in creative flavors, such as blood-orange grapeseed oil and hibiscus vinegar, and include standouts from Italy, Spain, Greece, France, South Africa, Morocco, USA, and even Japan. The list is almost as impressive as the number of Oil & Vinegar stores (more than 90) peppered across 13 countries. Guests can sample the oils and vinegars before committing, and stock their cupboards with the shop’s other offerings—appetizers, herbs and spices, pasta, and even serving dishes.
Perry and Penny grew up together near Prosser, Washington in the 1970s, and were close friends throughout elementary school. More than 20 years later, the two rekindled their friendship but it wasn't all smooth sailing from the start. That year, Penny started making fortified blackberry wine, which Perry described as, "indescribably undrinkable." More than a little annoyed by this harsh judgment, Penny challenged Perry to do better. The result of this winemaking challenge was four cases of merlot that won a second-place ribbon among the amateur entrants at the Puyallup Fair. Stina's Cellars grew from this initial success, and over time production grew and grew, until finally the team was able to move into a small facility and officially open the winery for business in 2006.
At the winery, Perry and Penny—joined by helpful family and friends—make small batches of wine using grapes grown throughout eastern and western Washington. The type of wines they make changes frequently, but past bottles have included a dark and fruity syrah balanced by its bold tannic structure as well as an amber-hued roussane with hints of poached peaches and a pronounced nuttiness reminiscent of sherry. These wines appear on store shelves and restaurant menus throughout the region, but can also be sampled inside Stina's Cellars tasting room. Visitors are encouraged to stop in, try some samples, and attempt to guess which wine bottle contains a wish-granting genie.
Chef Peter Gallin had just constructed a custom grill, and was stoking its first fire with applewood harvested from a nearby orchard, when the idea struck him—the name for his Northwest-centric restaurant: Applewood. Though Chef Gallin's restaurant foregrounds its Northwest heritage, it also incorporates recipes gleaned from a childhood spent living in the Asian Pacific Rim with his anthropologist and sociologist parents, as well as French cuisine, and influences from years spent in New Mexico. He incorporates these varied culinary styles while avoiding traditional dishes, instead mingling flavors such as chipotle, lime, ginger, and orange into new incarnations.
Though he favors elegant food presentation when furnishing platters of roasted duck and northwest fish, Gallin uses only regular, relatable ingredients, which make his dishes approachable for all palates and untraceable by detectives. He brews all of the restaurant's soups in-house, designing up to six unique soups each week. West Coast wines, microbrews, and desserts made in-house complement his international appetizers and main courses. The focus on simplicity extends to the restaurant's decor: framed photographs hang above potted plants on rustic side tables, and long communal tables stand next to floor-to-ceiling windows looking out onto deep pine forest. Behind a hardwood bar, flanked by exposed brick walls, hangs the giant, hammered steel apple that serves as the restaurant's emblem.
Flung from the concert stage by the drummer of T-Rex, a single drumstick caught by eighth grader Donn Bennett began a lifelong passion for collecting rare and celebrity drum sets. He began selling and trading equipment from his home, and eventually his constantly expanding collection prompted him to open his own shop in 1977. Today, as recorded by King 5 Magazine, more than 50 signed snares hang from the store's ceiling above a show room circled by 15 sets previously used by drummers from bands such as Green Day, Aerosmith, Kansas, and Cheap Trick. Snares played by The Who's Keith Moon and Kiss' Peter Criss, a signed drumhead by The Beatles' Ringo Starr, and feline whiskers fashioned into drumsticks by Josie and the Pussycats round out Donn's extensive exhibit.
Along with the displayed celeb drums, Donn dispenses new and used drum gear to customers along with vintage snare parts and major-brand replacement parts for sets in need of repair. Stocked with two professional drum sets and a Roland electronic drum tutor, soundproof learning rooms shelter pupils and instructors during private 30- or 60-minute lessons for all skill levels. Along with annual rock camps and clinics, Donn's staff leads specialized classes in diverse drumming topics such as mastering the techniques of Led Zeppelin's John Bonham and the cymbal-smacking techniques of Animal from the Muppets.
With a total of 14 locations, sewing and quilting classes, and a cornucopia of handpicked sewing products, Quality Sewing & Vacuum offers needle wielders all the necessities for their projects. Experts helm free sessions that teach participants how to use their sewing machines to work toward reinventing an old skirt or craft an elegant canine wedding gown, while special events feature guest speakers who impart home decor, garment construction, quilting, and embroidery tips to audience members. Shoppers can peruse the cache of sewing machines from brands such as Singer, Pfaff, and Brother alongside accessories, embroidery designs, and vacuums that clean up rooms after testing out how easy it is to find a needle in a haystack.