Wann Yen

June 17, 2017

A lot of Americans wouldn’t expect to see the words “Thai” and “dessert” in the same sentence, but it would be a shame to reduce Thai cooking to Phad Thai and Thai iced tea (when I spent a summer in Thailand I never even saw these things offered). Wann Yen, in the U-District, will change your perceptions of what Thai food can look and taste like – they do a few more traditional Thai dishes, but their main focus is on their sweet beverages and attractive desserts (although, to be fair, these are mostly Taiwanese and Hong Kong “inventions” with some Thai twists). There’s a full range of dessert-like drinks and shave-ice concoctions – I chose the “caramel glass jelly” drink.

Sweet and textured (the squares of “glass jelly” were like the tapioca balls in bubble tea, this would have been enough of a dessert on it’s own. But to round out the meal, I decided to try their bubble waffle:

And yes, that’s a scoop of Thai iced coffee ice cream on top, cuz why not? Wann Yen is a fun spot to try new sweet Asian food fads (I still need to come back and try the shave ice). It’s a perfect place to see what food looks like when cultures mix (and make waffles!).

Festivals and Farmers Markets

June 3, 2017

Spring may have come late to Seattle, but this year’s food truck festival and farmers markets are right on time. If you’ve never checked out Fremont’s glorious Food Truck Rodeo, put it on your bucket list – it’s one of Seattle best foodie events. After thoroughly scoping out all the offerings available, I had lunch at It’s Bao Time and dessert at Street Donuts. Not only are the donuts fresh out of the fryer, they have all sorts of clever topping combinations.

I wanted the Dulce de Leche but they were out, so we went with Nutella and powdered sugar.

These were seriously addictive – some of the best minis I’ve ever had. This is a truck worth seeking out if you can track it down.

Several weekends later I lucked out again at the Madrona Farmers Market with a new stand – Sweet Season Bakery. They are actually based in Arlington but should be at the Madrona market all summer and I can safely say you will love anything you buy. I can say it safely because I bought everything.

Okay, maybe not everything, but you can see homemade “oreos,” fudge, peanut butter sandwich cookies, pretzel cookies, and shortbread cookies. They freeze really well so I was able to stop myself from eating everything in one sitting and instead allow myself one or five treats a day. Get thee to the Madrona market next Friday afternoon!

Deborah’s Pies

May 12, 2017

It’s farmer’s market season once again, and why not start with Ballard (my personal favorite, along with the U-District market)? There were all my old favorites – Soda Jerk, Pete’s Toffee, Sweet Caroline… and a new vendor (well, new to me) called Deborah’s Pies.

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Deborah was there, in the flesh, selling a variety of both sweet and savory pies. I appreciated the range of flavors, not to mention the different size options. I went with two small pies – strawberry rhubarb, and marionberry.

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The pies came with specific reheating instructions, which I followed to the letter and served with ice cream. The verdict? Marionberry was the winner (the rhubarb pie was a little runny). We did feel the crusts could have been flakier, but overall, not a bad slice of pie!

Frankie & Jo’s

May 2, 2017

Seattle is one of the few places in America you can be successful while describing your ice cream parlor as “A plant-based ice cream shop,” which is Frankie & Jo’s self-descriptor. It’s also one of the few places you can get away with charging $12 for a pint. Yet both times I’ve visited there’s been a substantial line (even in this cold, rainy Seattle so-called spring).

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With unique flavors like chocolate-tahini, gingered golden milk, and salty caramel ash, it’s easy to be intrigued – and the friendly folks that work there will happily let you sample away.  I liked the chocolate tahini, with the sesame paste providing both texture and flavor, but to get the full experience I got the “Date Shake” with “Moon Goo” topping.

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The Date Shake flavor was made with coconut milk, dates, and maple syrup and, though not as creamy as dairy ice cream, satisfied my sweet tooth well enough. Moon Goo is their version of caramel sauce, and I had to admit that a little went a long way in terms of flavor and and sweetness.  I’m still partial to Bluebird when it comes to Capitol Hill ice cream, but I wouldn’t say no to another mini-scoop plus Moon Goo!

Little Lago

April 21, 2017

It seems like just recently I blogged about the last little cafe to occupy this random spot in Portage Bay (RIP Canal Market). The grocery store/coffee shop/pizzeria/bakery that took over the location is called Little Lago, the sister to Cafe Lago of nearby Montlake. There isn’t a ton of seating, but you can grab a spot at the bar and watch them work the wood-fired pizza oven. I got there just as the bakery items were being put out for display…

Just one look and I knew the chocolate chip cookies were top-notch. Carla, the Nonna, knows what she’s doing! Cookies were soft but not squishy with plentiful chocolate chips and a thick, doughy texture. These are my favorite types of chocolate chip cookies – I think it means they are made with a little more flour, and the correct temperature of butter. I also got a slice of the pistachio cake cake pictured. It had a lovely lime glaze and a buttery, nutty texture. And it stayed fresh as I snacked on it over the course of several days. Highly recommend this adorable and delish spot.

Anchorhead Coffee

March 29, 2017

If you’re a Seattle coffee fiend, you may already know about Anchored Coffee‘s new cafe downtown. But you may not know about the Quaffle – and no, that’s not a reference to Harry Potter’s favorite sport.  The Quaffle is a waffle made from croissant dough, so basically it’s just as magical as Quiddich.

Fluffy and light it’s not, but if you’re after crispy, thick, and buttery pressed pastry, you’ve come to the right place. The cafe is a satisfying place to get work done or catch up with a friend, with retro decor and comfy and spacious surroundings.

And the coffee isn’t bad either!

 

Hood Famous Bakeshop

February 26, 2017

When you’re too much of a foodie to eat at the Cheesecake Factory but you still want that creamy, tangy goodness (and you’re willing to deal with parking in Ballard), check out Hood’s Famous Bakeshop. Instead of Snickers and Pumpkin flavors, you’ll fall in love with more interesting Filipino flavors like ube and guava. The shop itself is little more than a hole-in-the-wall, so choose your cakes (mini size and up) and go. I went all mini for a family dinner:

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The red top left is the white chocolate guava, the orange next to it is mango, the purple is the ube (purple yam), the green is coconut pandan (a green leaf used in southeast Asia for flavor), and the brown is Vietnamese coffee. The big hits were the coffee and the mango, but I preferred the ube which is what Hood is famous for. It doesn’t taste like yam – the flavor is pretty close to vanilla – but the ube gives the cake a lovely texture (the color ain’t bad either). If you’re throwing a summer dinner party for out-of-town guests (or, for that matter, a winter dinner party for Seattleites) these will be big hit. The ube cake is also sold at local grocery stores so there’s really no excuse for going to the Cheesecake Factory (unless, like me, you really like that Oreo Cheesecake!).

Mr West

February 19, 2017

So many waffle cafes, so little time. I’ve enjoyed Sweet Iron, Arosa, Metier, and many more – and now I can cross Mr. West off my list.  It’s a sweet spot to work (solid wifi), sip coffee, and devour some excellent waffles. I had to choose between several sweet and savory options – there’s a whole waffle bar with toppings to put on your buttermilk or buckwheat waffle. But I went with The King, topped with drizzled almond butter, bananas, bacon, pecans, and maple syrup.

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The buckwheat waffle stood up nicely to the load of toppings and the almond butter was a nice twist on the classic peanut butter. Elvis would have approved. To wash it down, I got the Coffee Egg Cream – a combination of coffee, milk, chocolate syrup, and seltzer.

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Certainly not the same as the NYC classic, but enjoyable nonetheless (and so few places outside NYC even offer an egg cream). This place is a winner, and an easy walk from the downtown light rail station.

Toast

February 10, 2017

Cute coffee shops are one of the reasons I love living in Seattle. Toast, with free wifi, spacious work space, and excellent espresso, takes things a step further with freshly made waffles and gourmet toast. I was more excited for the waffles.  They have all sorts of fancy toppings, and you can mix and match as desired. I got half of a s’mores waffle:

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Perfectly crisp waffle, a little toasted marshmallow in each square, fudge drizzled over the whole thing, and graham cracker crumbs to make it perfect. It was the perfect dessert for breakfast, but I didn’t stop there. I got another half with cream cheese, jam, and whipped cream – they call it The Tart.

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I actually liked this one even better. The cream cheese gave it a nice tang and the jam was like a complex syrup. I’d like to come back and try the toast – or the BLT waffle. Worth the fight for parking in Ballard!

Pike Place Bakery

February 5, 2017

This old-school bakery has staying power – it’s been at The Market since the 80s and draws in the tourists thanks to a solid location close to the fish-throwing action.  They get mixed reviews on Yelp, and the sign could probably use an update, but I can’t deny the attraction of their “Texas Donuts” – literally a donut the size of a small child.

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I doubted my ability to eat a Texas Donut, so I asked the saleslady for her recommendations (okay, I WAS confident in my ability, which is why I didn’t get one). I was told to try the buttermilk bar, a sort of donut/pastry with a sweet buttermilk-flavored filling:

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It turned out to be quite tasty. A little too sweet, but it was fresh, buttermilky, and decadent. I ate half and dunked the other half in my coffee the next day – both experiences were highly enjoyable. I also got the Chinese Almond Cookie at the saleslady’s recommendation:

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Now, I don’t love almond flavor so I wasn’t sure I’d like these. And truthfully, they were a little “almondy” for my taste, but I recognized that the buttery texture was on point, the chocolate filling was a nice counterpoint to the sugary almond cookie, and that the cookies were fresh and made with care. Overall, I was pleasantly surprised  – this bakery is not the tourist trap I was expecting.