Archive for the ‘Fremont’ Category

Sea Wolf Bakers

October 9, 2016

If you’re more concerned with substance over style, or just want to grab some of the best bread in Seattle to up your dinner party game, check out bare bones Sea Wolf Bakers in Fremont. They do one thing, and do it really well – bread and pastries. They have a warehouse/wholesale type space with a couple tables and minimal service, but the folks there are friendly and hardworking and most importantly, excellent bakers of bread.

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I bought a baguette and a loaf of sourdough rye, as well as a couple pastries. The baguette was of the traditional French variety – meaning it cuts up the roof of your mouth and has a high crust to dough ratio. The rye was dark, very like Russian black bread, with a wonderful fermenty-tasting bite to it. As for the pastries, one was a chocolate croissant and the other a huckleberry danish. 

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Both were outstanding (especially since they were still warm), with crispy, flaky outsides and buttery but light innards. There is definitely a level of perfection and hand-made care that sets Sea Wolf apart from lesser, grocery-store ready spots (ahem, Essentials) and makes their bread worth seeking out whenever possible. I know I will.

Fudge Yourself

May 14, 2016

At the Fremont Sunday Market a couple weekends ago, I stumbled across a stand of homemade confections (mostly fudge) that even I’d never heard of. Fudge Yourself Confections had an array of fun fudge flavors as well as various brittles and the lady running the stand made them herself in a home kitchen. She has no online presence that I could find (if you can’t Google it, does it exist?) but the free samples said everything Yelp could not.

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I was very much impressed by everything I sampled, and ended up getting the peanut brittle and the cookies and cream fudge.  Both tasted how old-fashioned candy should: no false flavors, plenty of sugar but not blandly sweet, and freshly made with care.

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This lady is worth seeking out on Sundays, and adults and kids alike will love the fudge flavors. One bite will take you right back to summer vacation…

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…

 

Standard Bakery

January 25, 2016

The Standard Bakery, AKA Pocket Bakery, used to operate a pop-up in the Central District. Sadly, I didn’t make it there before they left to focus on their bread business and pop-ups at the Fremont and U-District Farmer’s Markets. Luckily for me, I got to sample their baked goods a few weekends ago at the U-District Market.

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They have a nice selection of pastries, ranging from plain croissants to seasonal sweets. I went with the twice-baked blackberry croissant and the chocolate chip cookie. The croissant was the standout of the two (the cookie being too salty for my taste):

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The true magic of the pastry was found in the interior, which had layers of buttery flakiness and blackberry preserves. The ends of the croissant were a bit dry and crunchy (maybe from the twice baking?) but overall it was a satisfactory snack.

ETG

July 20, 2015

I feel like I know almost every bakery in Seattle, so when I stumble accidentally across an amazing spot like ETG I’m always (happily) caught off-guard. This delightful, thimble-size bakery/coffeehouse in Fremont has been there since 1982, although the bakery component is more recent. As one might expect from a coffeeshop that’s survived 30+ years in Seattle, the espresso is excellent. But the baked goods were also surprisingly high-quality – I could tell just by looking.

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But just to be certain, I got the chocolate banana bread and the cinnamon bun, both recommended (with good reason) by the barista. Banana bread was good, but the cinnamon bun was what really blew me away. Yeasty, fresh, just the proper amount of sweetness and icing, this was truly a delight. If you’re in Fremont (and sooner or later you must be, since it’s the center of the universe), check out ETG.

More Markets

July 22, 2013

Had time to explore a couple more markets this weekend, starting with the Fremont Sunday Market. This was only my second time at this market in spite of six years of living in Seattle, and I thought there was going to be more in the way of produce (like a typical farmers market). Of course, nothing in Fremont is typical and the market consists mainly of random antiques plus quite a few food trucks. You can guess which area I was more interested in.

I started with Clover, which is basically just a lady who makes really awesome pastries and sells them at markets (no retail shop). I chose the vanilla shortbread and the lemon tart and had no regrets:

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For such a small operation, I have to say I was pretty impressed. Nothing was dry, nor was it goopy – in other words, perfect texture. She also had a matcha/red bean tart which I sampled and would recommend. It just goes to show, it’s not the size of the kitchen that matters, but the amount of butter you use.

Speaking of butter, the next booth I tried was called All About Cookies. Again, the lady running the booth made all the cookies – and there were a lot. For a gal like me, her tupperware bins of every different kind of cookie signified that if Fremont isn’t actually the center of the universe, it’s pretty close to heaven.

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I got the chocolate oatmeal (above) and the peanut butter chocolate chip.  This lady obviously does know all about cookies, at least, it tasted like she did.  Again, very nice texture (not too crunchy but they held together nicely), very fresh, and with plenty of butter. I want to try every flavor!

Last stop, something a little lighter. In my quest for produce, I ended up back at the Capitol Hill market because it’s close to home.  There, I discovered the Six Strawberries Ice Pops stand, which makes gourmet popsicles with flavors like  “strawberry rhubarb pie” and PB&J. I went with the Rainier Cherry flavor:

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Perfect for a sunny day! The cherry flavor was a bit subtle, but the pop wasn’t watery or overly sweet. I’ll be trying more flavors in the near future. All in all, a successful day in the dessert world (yes, I got my produce too).

Wine, Tea, Chocolate

March 3, 2013

I like two of the three things that make up this cafe’s name (I’m not a big wine drinker, it makes me sleepy and headachy) so I thought there was a good chance I’d fall for Wine, Tea, and Chocolate in Fremont. I came mainly for the chocolate, so I started out with a sample of their sipping chocolate. The guy working the counter warned me that it wasn’t for everyone because of its spicy, citrusy flavor, and kindly offered me a sample before buying. I was grateful for the warning and the trial-size – the flavor was not up my alley. I went with a grilled cheese and pear sandwich and chocolate pudding pie instead, and settle into a table (there was plenty of space, they were not at all crowded on a Saturday).

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I like the fact that there was plenty of space and light, with expansive windows and luxurious curtains. But somehow I found the overall setting a bit cold and unfriendly. Maybe because everything was so new – no old cozy couches or well-worn tables in the style of so many coffee shops I generally haunt. But my stomach felt right at home with the grilled cheese, and I ended up asking for the pie to go. This proved to be a bit of a chore for my server, who kindly put it into a coffee cup!

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With a decadent chocolate pudding base, hazelnuts, a shortbread cookie, and cream, this was a big cup of goodness. I was most impressed with the pudding itself, which had none of the watery gelatinous taste of grocery store pudding cups. Instead, the pudding was rich – I could only eat half in one sitting – and intensely flavored. To me, this place is less of a wine bar and more of a coffee/lunch/dessert place, but I will happily taste my way through the menu as they work on their identity.

 

PIE

February 5, 2012

The name says it all at this Fremont cafe – PIE offers a variety of sweet and savory pies accommodating everyone from the traditionalist (try the apple pie a la mode) to the gluten-free (I thought the crust tasted like gravel but my gluten-free friend said it was good).

Besides its colorful storefront and cheerful interior, what I like about this place is that the menu is constantly changing. I had a more traditional breakfast pie (eggs, cheese, and bacon) but if I had been a different day it could have been huevos rancheros or mac and cheese with peas (they also have dinner pies with tasty-sounding meats).

After thoroughly enjoying my breakfast pie, I moved on to dessert. Wanting to try multiple pies, I took advantage of their bite-sized offerings and snapped up a tiny apple pie to go. Not having the same restraint when it comes to peanut butter, I opted for a full size:

To be honest, I wasn’t in love with the crust, which was dry and tasted like a cracker. This was strange, because I loved the breakfast pie crust and the mini apple pie crust – maybe because I heated those up and allowed the moisture to soak into the crust.  The peanut butter filling, however, was perfectly delightful. And, although I’m generally not an apple pie person, I could have eaten a dozen of those mini apple pies… it was superb.

 

The Flying Apron

August 29, 2011

If there’s gonna be a gluten-free, vegan, organic bakery, Fremont seems a good place to put it. The Flying Apron therefore fits right into the neighborhood, providing Seattle-ites with one of their only decent gluten-free, vegan bakery options. Now, if you’re like me (loving all things butter and flour), a place like The Flying Apron may not be first on your list (as it wasn’t for me). But, since the gluten-free craze seems to be expanding, it helps to know about good options in case you have to feed folks who are vegan or gluten-intolerant, as I did a few weeks ago.

Amazingly, I was able to nab a parking spot right in front of the store (they also have a location in Redmond). The space itself is sunny (at least on this particular summer day), spacious, and welcoming. They show local art on the walls and participate in the Fremont Art Walk. The owners seem dedicated to providing quality baked goods to people with dietary restrictions, and I was astounded at the variety:

The cookies, doughnuts, cakes, etc seemed to go on and on, and each item was labeled with a full list of ingredients. I asked one of the workers to help me choose a few items, and together we came up with three: the peanut butter chocolate chunk cookie, a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter frosting, and a lemon poppyseed muffin.

I thought the cookie was easily the best of the three. Peanut butter is my second-favorite fat (after butter), and I didn’t notice the absence of regular flour. The texture was crunchy and crumbly, and worked for me.  The other two items didn’t please me quite as much. The muffin tasted rubbery and chewy, and the cupcake lacked the proper texture (although the icing was fine). I think it’s just very difficult to make cake and muffin batter without using “real” flour. My friend, who is gluten-intolerant, told me these were some of the best desserts she had ever had since going gluten-free, and I believe her. If you have dietary restrictions, The Flying Apron is a great option for dessert. Otherwise, I suggest sticking to wheat, butter, and eggs.

 

Simply Desserts

July 17, 2011

My family was in town last weekend, and I decided to give them a little tour of Fremont. At one point, looking around, I noticed my sister had disappeared. We tracked her down at Simply Desserts; it had sucked her in like a black hole for dessert-lovers.

I’ve never had anything mediocre at Simply Desserts, their cakes always rank in the category of superb-fantastic-amazing-etc, and so I figured it was time to blog about them. Their small space is located right in the heart of Fremont, and you can buy by the slice or order a whole cake.

My sister was already digging into her chocolate hazelnut slice of cake when we found her, and since she’s always disinclined to share, I ended up with my own piece of blueberry lemon cake. Both were delicious, but I liked mine better (I just have a thing for lemon cakes).

It could have used a few more blueberries and a tad less frosting, but the cake itself was lovely: moist, mellow lemon-vanilla flavor, airy texture. It made me want make my next batch of blueberry pancakes into a layer cake… or just pay a return visit in the near future.