Archive for February, 2016

Cederberg Tea House

February 28, 2016

In a city of coffee shops, cocktail bars, and micro breweries, it’s easy to forget about the world’s most popular beverage (yup, that would be tea). Cederberg Tea House is a pleasant reminder, and it’s focus on South African teas and pastries makes it that much more worldly. This versatile Queen Anne cafe is great for working, solid for socializing, and perfect for dessert-blogging. Their specialty (or specialtea if you rather) is Rooibos, which they serve up in the form of artistic and tasty lattes (you can also get it plain or choose among their other teas, or just go with an espresso).  Pastries are made in-house, and range from savory sausage rolls to the ultra rich Malva Pudding.

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Suffice it to say, butter is used generously in their pastries. The Malva Pudding (on the left) was almost too rich for me, but could be shared nicely. The shortbread cookie and South African fudge (front, center) were my favorites, with the shortbread pairing nicely with tea. The cookie was fresh and properly crumbly and the fudge was caramel-flavored without being gooey. Lastly, I had the Hertzog (back center) – a pastry filled with apricot jam and topped with coconut and meringue. The Rooibos Latte served as a nice counter to the rich and sweet snacks, and the spiced foam topping added texture and a flavor boost to the tea. Now I just need to come back try the Bunny Chow (google it)!

Vif Cafe and Wine Bar

February 20, 2016

When I moved to Seattle from Virginia, one of the things I missed most was my local coffee shop, which was also a wine bar, wifi hotspot, bakery, lunch counter – in short, everything you’d need from morning to early evening. In Vif in Fremont I finally found a similar spot – good for working but also for catching up with a friend, delicious espresso if you want a buzz, nice wines by the class if you want a different kind of buzz, and both sweet and savory menu items. My old spot had antique pianos and couches, Vif has minimalist lines and a terrarium.

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I started out with a pastry that seemed to be a cross between a hot cross bun and a cinnamon roll, with a soft, bread-like interior and currants sprinkled throughout. They warmed it up for me and although I meant to save half for my friend, I quickly inhaled the entire roll. Delicate, not too sweet, and very fresh, it made the perfect breakfast.

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Next up was the peanut butter cookie, which I chose after careful consideration because I’m terribly picky about cookies. A peanut butter cookie should be short and crumbly but not overly crunchy, and it should be somewhat soft but never chewy. The peanut flavor should be pronounced. This one was on-point:

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My friend thought it should have been a touch saltier but I liked it just as it was. I also took home some of the pecan toffee candy they make and found it to be extremely addictive (the person at the counter warned me it was her version of crack). I’m glad I found Vif – now if they only had comfy couches and an antique piano…

 

Miri’s Poffers

February 14, 2016

I’d never heard of Poffertjes until Miri’s appeared suddenly at the Cap Hill Farmer’s Market, but I was instantly sold on the concept: a plate of freshly griddled (and generously buttered) pancakes topped with something sweet or savory.  I could smell the stand from down the block and, feeling hangry, I knew resistance was futile.

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There were a few choices for toppings – traditional simple powdered sugar, a somewhat healthy option (I saw something green and moved on), and a seasonal sweet option: boiled quince. I’d never had quince so I decided to give that one a try.

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Steaming hot and topped with creme fraiche, the trio of textures and flavors blended seamlessly in my mouth. The quince, freshly boiled and chopped at the stand, had a pear-like texture and sweet, nutty taste, balancing the richness of the pancakes (which were made more interesting by the addition of buckwheat in the batter. Poffers, it turns out, are a lovely bressert (yes, that’s a combo of breakfast and dessert). Dig in.

General Porpoise Doughnuts

February 6, 2016

Doughnuts are the best. Not only are you deep-frying a little cake that comes in lots of flavors, you’re also eating it for breakfast. Capitol Hill (and Seattle in general) is suddenly blessed with a wealth of doughnut options beyond Top Pot (not that there’s anything wrong with Top Pot!). Now one can choose from Mighty-O, Rodeo Donuts (inside Cupcake Royale), and the newest contender, General Porpoise. I visited it on a recent rainy day (there was a long string of those, but this particular day was extra rainy) and the place was bright (note the pink espresso machine), busy, and dry.

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I was able to share four doughnuts – three that my friend got (Plum, Lemon Curd, and Peaches and Cream) and one that I chose – the basic vanilla custard.

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All the doughnuts at General Porpoise are filled, which I usually don’t prefer. But I was pleasantly surprised at the light dough and yeasty flavor, which balanced the dense, sweet filling. The plum filling was easily my favorite, and I ended up buying a jar of the plum jelly (they make all the fillings in-house). Also highly recommended was the standard vanilla custard:

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There is everything to love about the creamy, fresh filling, and even a Boston-Cream distainer like myself has to acknowledge the greatness of General Porpoise.