Archive for the ‘Baked Goods’ Category

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.

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.

Sweet and Savory

January 17, 2017

The only way to get through Seattle’s winter is to get out. I made myself do just that last Saturday – it was sunny, so I decided to visit the U-District Farmer’s Market where I found the delightful new stand Sweet and Savory Catering by Cynthia Brock. Huddled in the freezing temperatures, she was selling her homemade cookies and pastries along with more savory fare like her “winter jam” – a sort of chutney with nuts, quince, and spices that is amazing on sandwiches or paired with Stilton cheese. I chose an assortment of treats, including an apple-fig galette, lemon bar, and apricot bar:

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The lemon and apricot bars were spot-on with a lovely shortbread crust and flavorful topping. The galette was a bit heavily spiced for my taste, although the crust was solid. This woman knows her way around a stick of butter.  Just as amazing were her Christmas cookies:

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I didn’t share. I ate them all myself and didn’t feel bad about it at all – they were that good. Plenty of butter, sweet but not overly so, and tasting so incredibly fresh. This catering company is worth checking out while Cynthia is still at the U-District market!

Marketing in Magnolia

September 18, 2016

I’ve lived in Seattle for a decade and somehow I’ve never been to Magnolia – not even Discovery Park. I decided to rectify this situation while also checking a couple bakeries off my list, including Cereal Box Bakery. Cereal Box doesn’t have a storefront, but operates a delivery service (baked goods and fresh baked bread delivered to your doorstep!) and has a booth at the Magnolia Farmers Market. That’s where I found them, and selected a peach muffin top and a jam-filled scone.

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Both were notable in their lower-than-usual sugar levels, which I actually appreciated. It was more like breakfast and less like dessert, which was fine… because my next stop was Petit Pierre Bakery. No shortage of sugar here!

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I started with a homemade pop tart, which was nothing like the grocery store variety. Flakey, with a lovely jam filling and homemade icing – you don’t need to be a kid to appreciate these. For later, I got a raspberry chocolate brownie type thing, which was less impressive but still enjoyable:

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It was a little on the dry side. I would stick to the pastries and more traditional French desserts – their lemon tarts and macarons looked pretty good. The cafe itself was cute and popular, with excellent espresso and friendly service.

Choukette

July 9, 2016

I don’t spend a ton of time in Pike Place Market or downtown Seattle, but for various reasons I’ve found myself there several times in the last few weeks. I’ve been surprised to discover the many hidden gems to be found below the market, on Western, including the newly opened Choukette – a bakery specializing solely in eclairs. Apparently, however, it’s not secret enough, because the shop was almost sold out by noon thanks to some unexpected publicity from Seattle Met and an eclair-loving populace.

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There were, luckily, a few eclairs remaining and I was able to try the lemon curd and the salted caramel flavors.

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To be sure, these works of art are meant to be appreciated by aficionados – while they are neither large nor cheap, neither are they bland, stale, or overly sweet. The pastry dough was light and pillowy and was the perfect accompaniment to the cream. The best part, however, were the toppings. The lemon curd was bright and tart, and the salted caramel was the right notes of sweet-salty. Hopefully this little shop can keep up with demand so that I can come back and try other flavors!

Meet the Moon

May 21, 2016

After a few rainy weekends, it was time for some carbs and coziness at Leschi’s trendy-but-classic Meet the Moon.  The wide-plank floors and farmhouse feel complement the generously-sized cinnamon rolls and friendly service. Customers can get coffee and pastries to go at the counter or settle in at the bar or tables. Whichever you choose, do it early – cinnamon rolls were gone by the time I left (which was around noon).

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I had dessert for breakfast and lunch – that is, I got French toast as well as a cinnamon roll. The Challah French toast was thick and caramelized on the top and bottom, with a berry compote on top. Fancy and addictive, if a little less custardy than I usually prefer.

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The cinnamon roll was not only enormous, it was gooey, fresh, and simple with plenty of frosting. I wouldn’t have minded a heavier hand with the cinnamon but overall I think this place is a winner… and I still need to try the cocktails!

 

Two Tartes

April 22, 2016

This Georgetown lunch cafe and bakery is only open on weekdays, which meant I had to have pretty much one of everything during my one visit. This included a VERY LARGE cinnamon bun, which I meant to only have a portion of.

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Easier said than done – once I started munching, I couldn’t stop. The soft, doughy insides were caramely, gooey, and buttery. I did eat the whole thing and didn’t regret it – not for an instant. But it did keep me from going too crazy with the other goods for sale. I only ate a small part of the blackberry scone and mojo cookie (oatmeal, coconut, and chocolate chip).

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That doesn’t mean they weren’t amazing – especially the mojo cookie, with it’s oaty flavor and chewy texture.  Two Tartes has to be one of the top breakfast bakeries in Seattle – I just wish they were open on the weekends…

Metier

March 6, 2016

Where do you go when you need to repair your bike, take in a gym class, get some wifi-dependent work done, and oh, down a few coffees/waffles/beers while you’re at it? There’s a cafe for that! Metier in Cap Hill specializes in bicycle gear & repairs, while also offering a fitness/wellness center. The cafe is, fortunately, not particularly focused on (physical) wellness, although I probably could have used a fitness class or a bike ride after consuming a waffle and an apple hand pie. The space is set up nicely for socializing or working, and in addition to espresso drinks they also have several beers on tap.

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I’ve been on a bit of a waffle and maple syrup kick lately, so I started with a plain waffle with butter and extra syrup (I was relieved that they use the real stuff, not some flavored corn syrup like so many places in Seattle). The guy behind the counter was also nice enough to give me a sample of the sourdough waffle with little pearls of sugar inside – the sugar produces pockets of steam making the waffle moist, and the sourdough acts as a natural leavener, so no bitter baking soda taste! (My family does something similar with sourdough pancakes.)

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As for the hand pie, more filling would have been nice – it was an apple-cheese mixture, which sounded amazing but ended up being a bit underwhelming because there just wasn’t enough of it – but the crust was nice. Regardless, Metier is a useful and delicious Cap Hill cafe – have a bite or get a workout in!

 

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…