Archive for February, 2017

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!).

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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.