There was a time when Leavenworth's dining options could be summed up in two words: Beer and brats.
Spring forward to today, and you have some new fine dining options. Two different places with one thing in common, they both bring the outdoors -- in.
Husband and wife team Colin Patterson and Amber Tande make culinary magic at Mana -- before that, they ran Sutra in Wallingford -- a now-shuttered vegetarian restaurant often listed among Seattle's best.
But they left the city -- for a place where they felt they could be their best.
"We just wanted to have proximity to nature and community, so we picked Leavenworth," explained Colin.
Now they forage as a family -- and what they find occasionally makes it onto the menu.
Mana does one seating a night, dinner includes are eight courses -- and the bounty of this place is on every plate. Colin explained he likes to keep it wild, yet refined, and constantly asks himself this question: "How can we bring the wildness and still have a really lovely, elegant meal?"
Amber specializes in drinks crafted from flowers and herbs.
"We have an eight-course non-alcoholic pairing that is a lot lighter on the belly," Amber said.
When we visited, an asparagus mushroom cake, stinging nettle souffle with smoked mushrooms, and salmon sizzled on its plate with hot oil were among Mana's offerings.
Chris Petry, the owner of Oh Yeah Farms said, "It's the best display of what we do as farmers on a plate."
Just a few blocks away, Watershed is another restaurant bringing the outdoors in. This deck is a major draw --even for Chef/Co-Owner Dan Fiske.
“Honestly the view out there is incredible, we walk out every day you look up at the Enchantments," said Fiske.
The menu is constantly changing. Offering things like locally raised pork chops with Yakima apple slaw, chicken breast with bread pudding, and wild salmon on a bed of forbidden rice. To make matters better - the servings are humongous.
“We have a lot of outdoor people working up an appetite, so we're here to let them unwind and fill up," said Fiske.
Watershed's decor also brings the outside inside. Decorations include locally made skis and snowboards that hang on the walls. And tables that are topped with pinecones and river rocks in the bar.
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