Archive for the ‘Capitol Hill’ Category

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!

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Sweet Iron Waffles

January 7, 2017

Seattle has so many options for a sweet breakfast, and now Capitol Hill has one more in Sweet Iron Waffles (which already had a downtown location). By my count, that makes over ten spots in Capitol Hill alone that specialize in breakfast pastries, donuts, or waffles (some of my favorites being Mighty O, Queen Bee, Crumble & Flake, Wandering Goose, and Bakery Nouveau). Sweet Iron does liege waffles and it does them well, with both savory and sweet options and a light and airy setting with espresso and free wifi.

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I went straight for the brie, basil, and bacon option, which turned out to be nice balance of savory and sweet (the waffle itself has a crispy caramelized sugar coating). I also chose a few iced waffles to snack on later. The verdict? Get the fresh, hot off the press waffles – my savory waffle was amazing. The pre-made sweet waffles lose their freshness quickly and next time I’ll stick to the freshly-dipped-in-chocolate sweet options, or do another savory snack.

Amandine

May 2, 2016

I probably didn’t need another French bakery in walking distance, but after tasting the macarons at Amandine Bakeshop in Chophouse Row (Cap Hill) I decided it didn’t hurt to have options. And Amandine is an excellent option. Macarons are definitely the reason to come here, although the pastries are also good (I enjoyed my fresh, perfectly crackly danish). Let me say, first of all, that I don’t especially LIKE macarons because I don’t especially LIKE almond flavored desserts.  But I got a black currant macaron to be nice, along with my Danish and madeline.

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All were enjoyable, but the macaron was MUCH more enjoyable than what I was expecting. There was no taste of almond paste, and the texture was not air, and the flavor was not sugar. There was more of a cookie element than I was expecting. And I love cookies. So naturally I had to return to the counter and get a few more to-go:

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On the left is lime mimosa, on the right is grapefruit sage (most of their flavors are equally creative). Both were phenomenal and again, intensely flavored and not too delicately textured. If you need more reason to go to Amandine, they serve Empire Espresso and have free wifi… and they’re near an ice cream shop. What more does one need?

SLAB Sandwiches and Pie

April 14, 2016

The hours at SLAB make it difficult for a working girl such as myself to visit (they’re only open 10-3 weekdays) but I finally managed it and found it well-worth the effort. First of all, the sandwiches are creative, fresh, and carefully crafted. I quickly fell in love with he 12-hour brisket. The desserts were similarly gourmet, with the house special being the slab pies (thick, rectangular pie). I started with the salted chocolate chip cookie, which had a generous amount of chocolate and a proper salt-to-cookie ratio.

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The slab pie of the day was a creamy concoction involving bacon, and while it was unique, it was not as good as the cookie:

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However, their “s’mores” slab pie (offered daily) looked worth trying, as did the fruit slabs. Schedule permitting, I’ll be back!

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!

 

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.

 

Sugar Plum

November 2, 2015

In “my” little stretch of Capitol Hill – 15th Ave E – there are now multiple places to buy (non-chain) freshly baked goods (Bakery Nouveau, Wandering Goose, and Ada’s are my favorites) including recently-opened Sugar Plum. Sugar Plum, part of the Plum restaurant collection, specializes in vegan desserts along with some gluten-free options. The interior is super cute but is strictly a take-away establishment:

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The baking is done offsite but you can tell a lot of care goes into their work. The girl at the counter was friendly and patient as I took my time choosing – I was hoping they made their own ice cream but when I learned it was just Coconut Bliss I opted for an Oreo brownie and a pumpkin mini-pie. The brownie was okay but the pumpkin pie was a winner:

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It had a nutty (albeit non-buttery) streusel topping and the filling was rich and flavorful without the baby food puree texture so many store-bought pies seem to have. The crust was fine for being of the non-butter variety, and I loved the cute addition of the chocolate leaf and little paper squirrel!

 

Little Oddfellows

October 18, 2015

What used to be the Elliot Bay Bookstore is now Little Oddfellows (“Big” Oddfellows is next door) and it combines my two favorite things – books and desserts. There is a huge array of both – Elliot Bay is my favorite Seattle bookstore and Little Oddfellows is well on the way to becoming one of my favorite places for dessert (or avocado toast, if you’re into that). The pastries are creative (pop tarts!) and quality – it’s like your favorite French bakery but a little more quirky and with a more limited selection. And free wifi, books, bookish people… le sigh.

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For breakfast I had the pop tart, lunch was the Oddfellows cookie, and for dinner I had the chocolate Nutella cake – a good day. Pictured above is the pop tart – nothing light the chewy, processed version I used to get from the grocery store as a (college) kid – although those are also good in their own way. This was light and flakey, like a pie crust made from croissant dough and filled with delicious (probably artisanal) fruit spread.

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The cookie also on point, and it reminded me of the “compost” cookie at Momofuku in NYC – a little of everything. It was large, fresh and nicely textured. The cake was a real hazelnutty treat with moist chocolate cake, ganache topping, and toasted hazelnuts on top. The ganache/hazelnut action at the top of the cake made for the best bites. I will be back sooner rather than later for more books and baked goods!

Queen Bee Cafe

October 10, 2015

The Queen Bee Cafe is one of Seattle’s hidden gems – friendly, good for working or catching up with a friend, and bursting with baked goods and crumpet concoctions. They’re located right where Cap Hill, the CD, and Madison Valley all start to merge, and they just opened a second location in Queen Anne. The crumpets are the real deal – they make their own, and create all kinds of savory and sweet options, ranging from “The Roast Beast” to “Banana Cream Pie.” I ordered the seasonal special – Pumpkin Spice with a merengue topping and dug right in.

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The merengue was light, the pumpkin spice mousse-like, but the highlight was the crumpet itself. Fresh, dense but not hard, and very sweet – a perfect vehicle for sugary toppings. Sweet enough to be dessert, but I counted it as breakfast so I could justify getting a few cookies for the road…

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That’s a peanut butter cookie on the left, chocolate chip on the right, and both got the nod of approval. And just to round out the experience (and come full circle back to breakfast), I took a home a blueberry muffin to eat the next day – and it was still delicious. As if all that wasn’t sweet enough, Queen Bee donates all profits to a rotating local charity.