Archive for the ‘Central District’ Category

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?

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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!

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.

Cheeky Cafe

May 24, 2015

Waiting in line for brunch is the thing most likely to make me hangry so I was pleased at the number of open tables at the Cheeky Cafe in the Central District Sunday at noon. This friendly little cafe has a pretty interesting menu – you can get a Hawaiian breakfast of loco moco or spam and eggs, or do the more traditional American breakfasts. I got a “Cheeky Cake” which is basically a giant pancake with the filling of your choice – I went with sliced bananas:

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Yes, yes, yes! Perfect start to my day, and I loved that I could just get a single one to avoid the total food coma that would have come with a full order. Their other pancake fillers were intriguing, especially the green tea… I’ll have to come back and try them all. Nothing beats dessert for breakfast.

Golden Wheat Bakery

October 7, 2013

After a month-long (or more?) hiatus, I’m launching myself back into the world of sweets. I eased myself into my return with a trip to a cute neighborhoody spot in the Central District called Golden Wheat Bakery.  It stands out on an otherwise unassuming corner because of its fire engine red paint and display of knitted items you might want to buy while shopping for baked goods:

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I wasn’t in the market for scarves, but the cookies and pastries sure looked good, as did the breads. The girl at the counter was super friendly, even when things started getting busy. She helped identify everything and shared some cookie samples, and I eventually settled on a Pecan Sandy Shortbread cookie and a chocolate croissant.

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Let’s start with the Pecan Sandy, which was truly excellent. No shortage of butter, with a couple larger chunks of pecan and a grainy sugar coating.  Melt-in-your-mouth legit goodness with that one. The croissant was a let-down after that – it was too doughy and not at all flakey. Still, overall it was a good experience and I’d come back to munch on Sandies and get some work or reading done (though I wouldn’t mind if they turned down the Katy Perry Miley Cyrus radio station…).

 

Cortona Cafe

April 28, 2013

I really wanted to like Cortona Cafe. Cozy, unpretentious, with strong a neighborhood (Madrona) feel, it had an atmosphere that felt like a small town hippie coffee shop. Free wifi, an all-waffle menu, and a super-nice lady running the counter didn’t hurt.  Parking was no problem and I loved the little outdoor eating area:

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I ordered an Americano and the Belgian waffle with mixed fruit, maple syrup, and whipped cream. And waited… and waited… and waited. I had my Americano to sip on, but it was watery.  My waffle finally arrived, and looked gorgeous:

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I was really excited to dig in – everything looked fresh and carefully crafted. And it was. The problem was the waffle itself – it was overdone and came out dry. Waffles are hard to get right – they can’t be mushy, but they also shouldn’t be hard and crunchy. I ate most of it, but really had to use my arm muscles to cut bites. The waffles get great reviews on Yelp, however, so maybe I just happened to be there on an off day.

Ba Bar

October 22, 2012

There’s so much to like about Ba Bar. It’s a hip restaurant in a location you can actually find parking (central district, right by Seattle U). They’re open all the time – get coffee and a pastry in the morning, bring the family for lunch, grab some friends for happy hour… etc). The food and drinks are high quality (and happy hour is all-day Sunday and Monday). Most importantly… dessert! They have their own bakery, which you can see in action as you sip on pho or a Moscow Mule. Or, get some reading or work done during the day and make use of the free wi-fi as you contemplate a cup of coffee.

Ba Bar has a variety of pastries at the front counter, but their pride and joy would be the macaroons. Not being a huge macaroon person, I decided to go with a tea-cake kind of thing, with a purple macaroon just to see what the fuss was about.

The berry cake was was buttery sweet goodness, with a coarse crumb texture – highly enjoyable – but it’s true that the real joy is in the macaroon. Which is really saying something, coming from someone who doesn’t even like them. Not dry AT ALL, with real flavor (as opposed to just sugar). Very fresh. May change your life.

 

Mediterranean Mix

September 16, 2012

The restaurant space at 23rd and Union is seemingly cursed after the violence at the Cheesesteak place and the closure of the bakery that took it’s place. Now, I’m hoping that Mediterranean Mix (with another location in Pioneer Square) will find success because everything seemed really good – the food and the desserts. I ordered the falafel, and while waiting for them to make it I noticed there was a whole section of the counter displaying desserts – both of the traditional Greek variety (I’ve heard good things about their baklava) and traditional American. I passed up some really yummy-looking cupcakes in favor of the chocolate layer cake – it just had the look of a perfect chocolate cake.

And by golly, I was right. This was one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever eaten, and such a surprise coming from a hole-in-the-wall place.  I was told the owner’s wife makes it along with the other desserts. Dense, moist layers with a rich ganache frosting make this one of my favorite Seattle slice of cake, right up there with Simply Desserts and Kingfish Cafe. But I also wanted to sample a more Mediterranean dessert, so I picked out an almond dessert:

It’s not a baguette!  I believe it was made with almond flour (and a lot of butter), and my friend really liked it. I was kind of indifferent, especially as I was attacking the chocolate cake with such gusto. I hope this place sticks around because I will be back for more cake.

 

Beehive Bakery

October 10, 2011

I never did get a chance to eat at the Philly Cheese Steak shop at 23rd and Union before tragedy struck a few years ago, when several employees were killed in a shooting on the premises.  I always regretted not sampling their sandwiches, so when a bakery moved into the location I decided to check it out. The Beehive Bakery is certified Kosher (and not open on Saturdays), with quiches, baked goods, coffee, and space to enjoy it all.

I ordered a salmon quiche, which I’ve never had before. It turned out to be amazing, so I ended up saving my cinnamon roll for the next day (it was still delicious):

So good, especially the frosting. Usually I don’t like too much frosting on my sticky buns, but this was an exception. The frosting had that perfect tang and texture, and I could have eaten it plain.  I’m wondering if the owner uses the same frosting on her beehive cakes, which I was fortunate enough to sample:

She makes these on special order, and I’m just waiting for an occasion. It’s hard to describe the goodlyness of this concoction. The frosting seeps into the cake, so that the syrup and the batter become one. The rest of the frosting hardens into a shell around the top of the cake. I highly recommend.