Licensed cheese artisan Julie Steil and her husband Rob once crafted cheeses as a part-time hobby, until encouragement from those who had tasted the results prompted them to turn the delectable pastime into a full-time passion. Today, the Steils manage their own herd of goats and cows who lead pampered lives on the couple's 20-acre farm, where a diet of alfalfa, blackberry thickets, and chocolate syrup yield better-tasting milk. The Steils create different cheeses in small batches, ranging from a semihard cheese bathed in raspberry port to a raw milk tomme bathed in Naughty Nellie ale from Pike Brewery. Landing River Valley Cheese on Sunset magazine's list of the Top 100 Cultural Trends Shaping the West, Julie and Rob also share their love of fromage fashioning at hands-on cheese-making classes, where attendees can learn to create their own wheels of fresh and aged cheeses, instead of relying on the questionable quality of the cheeses peddled by door-to-door sales cows.
Diners sink into tufted dining chairs, preparing for a sumptuous meal as the restaurant's rich, Old World–inspired decor gives them their first hint of the eatery’s dedication to tradition. In the kitchen, gifted chefs summon fresh Italian ingredients that inspire a classic dinner menu, stacking plates with lasagna, stuffed ravioli, and simmering veal marsala. Brunello also boasts a sommelier who can deftly hand-select wines from across Italy to pair with dinner or to pour into a bathtub thus replicating the wine-filled canals of Venice.
At Frankie's Pizza, Italian–style gourmet pies begin with house-made dough prepared daily, topped with fresh cheese and a colorful array of veggies and meats. Cooks sprinkle on cilantro and pile on unique ingredients including pepperoncini and mild italian link sausage, accented with sauces in flavors such as zesty pesto ranch. Frankie's Pizza caters to patrons' individual dietary needs with gluten-free crusts, and provides optional sunbeams for customers who photosynthesize.
Coho Cafe's two locations help their diners fight the weather—whatever that might be. In the winter, large rock fireplaces send heat bouncing off curved architecture and metal art while stomachs warm with Southwestern spices. In the summer, cool Pacific breezes fan guests on the outdoor patios while they sip cocktails and sink into cod tacos. But no matter what the temperature outside, there's an undeniable flair to the restaurant's Northwestern seafood. It's something viewers of KING 5's Evening Magazine have noticed too—they've lauded Coho for having the best New American cuisine in western Washington four times since 2008.
The cornerstone of these accolades is the kitchens' culinary restlessness. The executive chefs of both locations revamp the Fresh Sheets menu of weekly specials every two weeks to make use of seasonal ingredients and flavors. What results are bold plates such as pit-roasted salmon cooked over apple wood, and stir-fried coconut green curry with prawns and ginger-jasmine rice. Each bite pairs with a Northwestern wine as well—a fitting drink for any season.
Kim and Jim Oswalt opened Gemini Fish Market to bring the finest fresh, frozen, and live fish and seafood to the tables of their neighbors. At a young age Jim was working in multiple segments of the seafood industry, ranging from commercial smoking to large-scale processing. His lifetime passion for seafood has afforded Gemini Fish Market certain connections, allowing them to procure fresh modern delicacies such as North Atlantic sea scallops, Maine lobster, and premium Hawaiian exotics such as hand-line caught swordfish. They have also enlisted the help of chef Dave Gipson to create specialties such as crab cakes, salmon burgers, and fresh dips and spreads.
Kim and Jim also focus on superior quality, sustainable fisheries, and best-catch methods, which they believe lead to healthier oceans and healthier customers. The passionate pair fills their website with free seafood facts and cooking and preparation tips, as well as recipes such as sea scallops over wilted spinach and Chef Dave’s fish tacos.
Fischer Meats has been selecting, stocking, smoking, and slicing fresh meats for more than 100 years. Since 1910, the shop's staff has aided customers in filling their freezers, tables, and underground bunkers with quality beef, poultry, and seafood, paired with marinades, rubs, and recipes. The shop makes preparing meaty meals easy by putting together meat packages as well as curing and smoking cuts. Handmade jerky comes in both spicy and sweet varieties.