Portland | Cheese Bar. At this shop, there are chairs, a wine-and-beer list, and a chance to taste the cheeses sprinkled into, say, a freshly baked
strata inspired by a hard cheddar. Care for a Belgian Framboise beer with that cow’s-milk cheese whose rind was washed in
butter? Yes, please. Our pick: Housemade pimento cheese spread, with jalapeños and sharp American cheddar. 6031 S.E. Belmont St.; 503/222-6014.
Seattle | The Calf & Kid (pictured). To fill her shop in Capitol Hill’s Melrose Market, Sheri LaVigne sniffs out great Washington-made cheese, like Yarmuth Farms’ Dylan, a floral, ash-rinded raw goat’s-milk. And the only way to improve on gooey mac ’n’ cheese is to make it with something she chooses. Our pick: Black Sheep Creamery’s Queso de Oveja, a sharp Spanish-style cheese that’s nutty and sweet, with a grassy finish. 1531 Melrose Ave.; 206/467-5447.