News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood

 

#Mugshot Monday #13 -Chaco Canyon Café — Where Slow ? Bad

November 18th, 2014 by master

WELCOME TO #MUGSHOTMONDAY *: A CAFFEINE INSPIRED JOURNEY TO UNCOVER THE UNIVERSITY DISTRICT’S CAFÉS

If You have never had the chance to visit Chaco Canyon and you have an interest in Raw, Vegan or Organic food, then b-line it straight to Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe. What you will find is an introduction to the Slow Movement, delicious food and a warm atmosphere that will satisfy any craving.

For a lot of Seattleites, the idea of a quick cup of coffee or a quick bite to eat is something that we habitually gravitate towards. At Chaco Canyon, they go to a lot of trouble of slowing things down. For this establishment, fast ? good and slow ? Bad.

Check out their Hot Beverage Offerings..Not your Average Cup of Joe Indeed! Click image to enlarge.

Although, Chaco Canyon is more of an eatery than just a café, it’s still a perfectly acceptable place to get some work done. I ordered a bowl of dahl and a latte (check out their menu) and found myself a small table by one of the many windows. I felt perfectly comfortable getting my computer out and getting some writing done. I wouldn’t say that about most eatery café’s. Usually, restaurants don’t want you lingering too long. This place is different. With its southwestern decor, warmly painted colors and flavorful food smells, this is the kind of place that you want to settle into; and they seem to want you to settle in and enjoy as well.

In addition to a whole wall dedicated to community events (it’s right in front, not hidden down the end of a hallway next to a bathroom), Chaco Canyon is extremely involved in programs to help make its establishment accessible to everyone — even people who can’t afford it. Including programs to pay-it-forward that will buy someone else a coffee to encouraging folks to donate to their community bowl program, this place not only fills your belly with goodness, but also others in need.

Got allergies to everything? They have a lot of ways to work around your food issues and are open to helping you find a menu option to fit your diet. They also have some lovely retail items such as sprouting kits, cookbooks, chili mixes, local jewelry and more.

Got Allergies? Fear not. Chaco wants you to feel safe!

The bottom line here is, if you have been avoiding Chaco Canyon because you are afraid it’ll be gross hippy food in a passive-aggressive atmosphere, I assure you there is none of that pseudo-peace-y vibe here. It’s just a bunch of people who really care about the food they are serving you and want it to be just right. One of their mottos is “the best things in life are free, the next best things are organic.” Sounds like a place that cares to me!

The only thing I recommend is, if you find yourself in a hurry this is not the place for you. Not because the service will be slow (mine was incredibly fast), but because at Chaco Canyon it’s about enjoyment, savoring, taking the time to be present. If you are craving a little time to be here now, you will love the vibe here. If waiting in line to order will make your skin crawl because you are trying to catch a bus and you’re already late for work– I would maybe skip it and come back when you have had time to breath.

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#Mugshot Monday #13 -Chaco Canyon Café — Where Slow ≠ Bad

November 18th, 2014 by master

WELCOME TO #MUGSHOTMONDAY *: A CAFFEINE INSPIRED JOURNEY TO UNCOVER THE UNIVERSITY DISTRICT’S CAFÉS

If You have never had the chance to visit Chaco Canyon and you have an interest in Raw, Vegan or Organic food, then b-line it straight to Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe. What you will find is an introduction to the Slow Movement, delicious food and a warm atmosphere that will satisfy any craving.

For a lot of Seattleites, the idea of a quick cup of coffee or a quick bite to eat is something that we habitually gravitate towards. At Chaco Canyon, they go to a lot of trouble of slowing things down. For this establishment, fast ≠ good and slow ≠ Bad.

Check out their Hot Beverage Offerings..Not your Average Cup of Joe Indeed! Click image to enlarge.

Although, Chaco Canyon is more of an eatery than just a café, it’s still a perfectly acceptable place to get some work done. I ordered a bowl of dahl and a latte (check out their menu) and found myself a small table by one of the many windows. I felt perfectly comfortable getting my computer out and getting some writing done. I wouldn’t say that about most eatery café’s. Usually, restaurants don’t want you lingering too long. This place is different. With its southwestern decor, warmly painted colors and flavorful food smells, this is the kind of place that you want to settle into; and they seem to want you to settle in and enjoy as well.

In addition to a whole wall dedicated to community events (it’s right in front, not hidden down the end of a hallway next to a bathroom), Chaco Canyon is extremely involved in programs to help make its establishment accessible to everyone — even people who can’t afford it. Including programs to pay-it-forward that will buy someone else a coffee to encouraging folks to donate to their community bowl program, this place not only fills your belly with goodness, but also others in need.

Got allergies to everything? They have a lot of ways to work around your food issues and are open to helping you find a menu option to fit your diet. They also have some lovely retail items such as sprouting kits, cookbooks, chili mixes, local jewelry and more.

Got Allergies? Fear not. Chaco wants you to feel safe!

The bottom line here is, if you have been avoiding Chaco Canyon because you are afraid it’ll be gross hippy food in a passive-aggressive atmosphere, I assure you there is none of that pseudo-peace-y vibe here. It’s just a bunch of people who really care about the food they are serving you and want it to be just right. One of their mottos is “the best things in life are free, the next best things are organic.” Sounds like a place that cares to me!

The only thing I recommend is, if you find yourself in a hurry this is not the place for you. Not because the service will be slow (mine was incredibly fast), but because at Chaco Canyon it’s about enjoyment, savoring, taking the time to be present. If you are craving a little time to be here now, you will love the vibe here. If waiting in line to order will make your skin crawl because you are trying to catch a bus and you’re already late for work– I would maybe skip it and come back when you have had time to breath.

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#Mugshot Monday #12 -Trabant Coffee & Chai: Satellite of (coffee) Love

November 13th, 2014 by master

WELCOME TO #MUGSHOTMONDAY *: A CAFFEINE INSPIRED JOURNEY TO UNCOVER THE UNIVERSITY DISTRICT’S CAFÉS

*Apologies for the Tartiness…Let’s just pretend this week’s been like one long Monday!

From the German word meaning satellite or traveling companion, Trabant was an East German car that had somewhat of a bad reputation as poorly performing with an outdated and inefficient engine. It was a symbol of the East Germany as many East German Trabant owners abandoned their cars upon migrating to the west after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I am not sure what Trabant  has to do with coffee or chai. Perhaps Trabant Coffee & Chai gravitated to VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke‘s Trabant for its name because it was inspired by Russia’s Sputnik; sputnik is the Russian word for satellite or companion. If you look around the cafe, you will notice a space-traveling theme.

Or maybe the owners went a little deeper into the meaning as dark, hot beverages can really serve as companions through the dismally cold winter months of the pacific northwest. I can also see that, as a patron of local cafes, I could be seen as a satellite of sorts since I seem to orbit reliably around my coffee habit.

Regardless of its namesake, Trabant is a cafe just off the ‘Ave’ on 45th right in the middle between the Neptune Theater and American Apparel.

I showed up on a Monday afternoon and ordered a split-shot americano. I was going to order a Chai and a shot but I chickened-out on trying a new chai that I hadn’t tried before. They Serve Maya Tea‘s Chai which is a concentrate (not my favorite way to make chai). Readers of this column know that my bias is towards my favorite local chai company. Maya is a tea company out of Arizona and according to one of the Trabant baristas, their chai is really good. I will have to be brave and try it next time.

The barista pulled my americano (they serve Kuma Coffee here) and then re-pulled it when he decided the shot was off – I like a barista who knows what he’s doing! Ultimately, my cup was perfectly poured and hit the spot, albeit being half decaf.

Trabant has that subtle anti-artsy artsy vibe. A place for the intellectual bookish crowd, students, after movie chats and pre-show meet-ups at the Neptune  Theater.

They serve the usual coffee house assortment of snacks and they have bagels and cream cheese, soups and some other more hearty meal like options.

There is plenty of seating including a balcony for a more intimate atmosphere. The place has full front windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of 45th street, yet it doesn’t feel hectic inside.

I liked it here. I had always felt a little too intimidated to come in here because it’s on a busy street, but like I mentioned before, once I got through the doors the atmosphere was calm and had a good vibe. Next time you are in the u-district for a movie at the Grand Illusion or the Varsity or after a book signing at the U-bookstore or just need a quite place to read the comic book you just bought at the Comic Stop next door, this is a nice little spot.

I had fun chatting with my two baristas, Elias and Ben about what Trabant meant.

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#Mugshot Monday #12 -Trabant Coffee & Chai: Satellite of (coffee) Love

November 13th, 2014 by master

WELCOME TO #MUGSHOTMONDAY *: A CAFFEINE INSPIRED JOURNEY TO UNCOVER THE UNIVERSITY DISTRICT’S CAFÉS

*Apologies for the Tartiness…Let’s just pretend this week’s been like one long Monday!

From the German word meaning satellite or traveling companion, Trabant was an East German car that had somewhat of a bad reputation as poorly performing with an outdated and inefficient engine. It was a symbol of the East Germany as many East German Trabant owners abandoned their cars upon migrating to the west after the fall of the Berlin Wall.

I am not sure what Trabant  has to do with coffee or chai. Perhaps Trabant Coffee & Chai gravitated to VEB Sachsenring Automobilwerke‘s Trabant for its name because it was inspired by Russia’s Sputnik; sputnik is the Russian word for satellite or companion. If you look around the cafe, you will notice a space-traveling theme.

Or maybe the owners went a little deeper into the meaning as dark, hot beverages can really serve as companions through the dismally cold winter months of the pacific northwest. I can also see that, as a patron of local cafes, I could be seen as a satellite of sorts since I seem to orbit reliably around my coffee habit.

Regardless of its namesake, Trabant is a cafe just off the ‘Ave’ on 45th right in the middle between the Neptune Theater and American Apparel.

I showed up on a Monday afternoon and ordered a split-shot americano. I was going to order a Chai and a shot but I chickened-out on trying a new chai that I hadn’t tried before. They Serve Maya Tea‘s Chai which is a concentrate (not my favorite way to make chai). Readers of this column know that my bias is towards my favorite local chai company. Maya is a tea company out of Arizona and according to one of the Trabant baristas, their chai is really good. I will have to be brave and try it next time.

The barista pulled my americano (they serve Kuma Coffee here) and then re-pulled it when he decided the shot was off – I like a barista who knows what he’s doing! Ultimately, my cup was perfectly poured and hit the spot, albeit being half decaf.

Trabant has that subtle anti-artsy artsy vibe. A place for the intellectual bookish crowd, students, after movie chats and pre-show meet-ups at the Neptune  Theater.

They serve the usual coffee house assortment of snacks and they have bagels and cream cheese, soups and some other more hearty meal like options.

There is plenty of seating including a balcony for a more intimate atmosphere. The place has full front windows overlooking the hustle and bustle of 45th street, yet it doesn’t feel hectic inside.

I liked it here. I had always felt a little too intimidated to come in here because it’s on a busy street, but like I mentioned before, once I got through the doors the atmosphere was calm and had a good vibe. Next time you are in the u-district for a movie at the Grand Illusion or the Varsity or after a book signing at the U-bookstore or just need a quite place to read the comic book you just bought at the Comic Stop next door, this is a nice little spot.

I had fun chatting with my two baristas, Elias and Ben about what Trabant meant.

→ No CommentsTags: , , ,

#Mugshot Monday #9 – The Spirit of the Buffalo Thunders at Cafe Solstice

October 21st, 2014 by master

Welcome to #MugShotMonday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

The first thing I decide when I’m standing in the ordering line at Cafe Solstice is; if the zombie apocalypse happens I could b-line it here and be happy for a while.

Originally an old school espresso stand started in 1993 on Broadway in Capitol Hill,  Cafe Solstice re-imagined itself in 2002 and has now become one of the U-district’s coolest cafes. As of June of this year, they have even re-united with their roots by opening a second location on Capitol Hill.

I spoke with Sarah Schafer, general manager and long-time employee at Cafe Solstice who filled me in on the significance of the Buffalo in their logo.

It is told that the spirit animal of Cafe Solstice is the buffalo. Being the largest land mammal in North America, it represents the strength of a tribe. The folks at Solstice really feel that what makes this cafe a special place is their commitment to the community.

“WE ARE ADDICTED TO GOOD MUSIC, GOOD COFFEE AND GOOD TIMES” -General Manager, Sarah Schafer

Walking into the cafe, you are immediately greeted with a shelf of books to read. The counter area is a big open space to accommodate lines so you don’t feel to crunched while waiting to order. There are bottles of San Pellagrino, old school coke and ginger brews chilled and ready to grab. In the cases are a great selection of decently priced sandwiches ($5-$8), gourmet mac-n-cheese ($5.75), granola and greek yogurt options and a whole host of delicious looking sweets.

They serve Lighthouse Coffee, rotating beers on tap (always offering an Elysian brew) and have live music. This place is a go-to place for breakfast, lunch or an evening snack.

Schafer said that they try to support the artists and musicians who are regular clientele and often feature their art on the walls or book them to perform. Artists and musicians can bring in demos and artist submissions in person or through their Facebook page to be a featured artist.

Although conveniently situated close to UW, the patrons are a refreshing mix of students, professors, locals, artsy types and all sorts of people reading, drawing writing, chatting and computer-ing. People should note that Cafe Solstice likes their music, so this is not for the quite-study-corner types. There is plenty of seating, but it is a plus if you are open to sharing your four top if you are by yourself–no one likes a table-hog!

As always, remember to tip your barista and enjoy the good vibes.

Cafe Solstice U-district is Located at:
4116 University Way NE
Seattle, Washington 98105
(206) 675-0850

Cafe Solstice Capitol Hill is Located at:
925 E. Thomas St.
Seattle, Washington 98102

Their Hours Are:

Mon – Thu: 6:30am – 11:00pm
Fri: 6:30am – 9:00pm
Sat: 7:00am – 9:00pm
Sun: 7:00am – 11:00pm

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#Mugshot Monday #7 – SureShot Espresso’s Got Grit

September 22nd, 2014 by master

Welcome to #MugShotMonday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

As I opened the door and walked into Sureshot Espresso, I was greeted with the nostalgic scent of cafe’s from my past. A combination of coffee bean dust, old furniture and grit. I could tell that this place was used to well worn boots and quirky ideas. Personally, that makes me like a place.

Kind of like the Star Wars Cantina but without aliens and alcohol,” says Scott L. from a review on Yelp. I have to agree. This place seems to me to be a meeting place for a motley crew of patrons.

There were two grungy but sweet looking guys on the couch having a conversation about Hemp Fest and another guy quietly surfing the internet on one of the computers they have there for public use. (you get 15 minutes complimentary with a minimum purchase of $2) They even have printers for folks to use at 20 cents a sheet.

Another fun thing to know is they have a room of pinball machines! Not only that, they have Mrs. Pac-man and my personal all time favorite, Galaga!

Grit-Noun
1.Small, loose particles of stone or sand. 2.Courage and resolve; strength of character
In addition to a menu of tasty pastries and lunch items, they also serve white coffee. I chatted up the barista about what exactly white coffee is. He explained to me that it has a different taste and more caffeine than traditional dark roast coffee. The beans are flash roasted, meaning that they are very lightly roasted. Sureshot was the first cafe to offer it in Seattle and has been serving it now close to a decade. They have a loyal following because of it.

Sureshot is frequented by students and neighbors alike and they have a modest amount of seating for hanging out. Located conveniently near the corner of 45th and University Ave, they are open daily for 7am to 12am.

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#Mugshot Monday #7 – SureShot Espresso's Got Grit

September 22nd, 2014 by master

Welcome to #MugShotMonday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

As I opened the door and walked into Sureshot Espresso, I was greeted with the nostalgic scent of cafe’s from my past. A combination of coffee bean dust, old furniture and grit. I could tell that this place was used to well worn boots and quirky ideas. Personally, that makes me like a place.

Kind of like the Star Wars Cantina but without aliens and alcohol,” says Scott L. from a review on Yelp. I have to agree. This place seems to me to be a meeting place for a motley crew of patrons.

There were two grungy but sweet looking guys on the couch having a conversation about Hemp Fest and another guy quietly surfing the internet on one of the computers they have there for public use. (you get 15 minutes complimentary with a minimum purchase of $2) They even have printers for folks to use at 20 cents a sheet.

Another fun thing to know is they have a room of pinball machines! Not only that, they have Mrs. Pac-man and my personal all time favorite, Galaga!

Grit-Noun
1.Small, loose particles of stone or sand. 2.Courage and resolve; strength of character
In addition to a menu of tasty pastries and lunch items, they also serve white coffee. I chatted up the barista about what exactly white coffee is. He explained to me that it has a different taste and more caffeine than traditional dark roast coffee. The beans are flash roasted, meaning that they are very lightly roasted. Sureshot was the first cafe to offer it in Seattle and has been serving it now close to a decade. They have a loyal following because of it.

Sureshot is frequented by students and neighbors alike and they have a modest amount of seating for hanging out. Located conveniently near the corner of 45th and University Ave, they are open daily for 7am to 12am.

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Mugshot Monday #6 – Tea Republik: Where Tea Holds Supreme Power Over the Bean

September 8th, 2014 by master

Welcome to #MugShot Monday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

I rolled down the Ave. on my bike past dense pockets of cannabis air, past Starbucks, past the Vape Store and found myself in front of Tea Republik.

Still on my coffee cleanse, I was thankful that my next MugShot Monday adventure would not be filled with the aroma of espresso while having to sip on a less-than-exciting cup of generic tea.

Tea Republic welcomed me with a nicely designed interior, warm lighting and a very friendly and helpful –would he still be considered a barista?– let’s just call him Tea-Guy!

I happened upon Tea Republik on a quiet morning, however, Manager Daniel a.k.a. the Tea-Guy said that once classes start up they get considerably more business. Although not strict about people ‘camping‘ with their laptops and school books, he occasionally has to remind patrons to help pay the rent!

While they have generous evening hours of operation, this republik is not for morning people:

Monday – Thursday 11am-11pm
Friday – 10am-12am
Saturday – 11am-12am
Sunday – 11am – 10pm

I ordered a London Fog, but after sitting down and looking at the tea menu I had buyers remorse and realized I should have ordered their Lavender Cream Earl Grey ($4.49 for a large pot, $3.99 for a small). Regardless, the tea arrived to my table and was delightful to sip. I had asked if he could sweeten it with honey instead of sugar of which he did without a blink of an eye.

In addition to House Specialties, Loose Leaf, Traditional, Caffeinated or Decaf, and an assortment of Flavored Teas, they also serve pre-made sandwiches and have bakery items if you have a hankering for something sweet.

I loved sipping and refilling my little tea cup. There is something so satisfying about pouring tea. I am sure I am tapping into the ancient art of the the Tea Ceremony. It’s a sweet reminder to slow down and breathe.

With its clean and inviting space (I even checked out the immaculate bathroom) the Tea Republic is the perfect atmosphere for students and people who need to get out of their home office. Daniel would like to add that this Republic is not a library, so make sure you purchase well and often if you plan to be there for a while — and I might add, tip your Tea Guy!

Tea Republik

4527 University Way NE

Seattle, Washington

(206) 497-7631

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MugShot Monday #3-Ringing the Cowbell for Sound Coffee & Morsel

August 18th, 2014 by master

Welcome to MugShot Monday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafe’s

Have you Been Meaning to Stop in at Sound Coffee and Morsel Cafe? Did you Hear a Cowbell Ring Out and Wonder Why? Does the Idea of Bacon Jam do Anything For You? Doesn’t A Biscuit Sound Perfect Right About Now?

Entrance to Biscuit Heaven

I had been hearing about Morsel for a while now and was curious about what it had to offer. So, as I biked  down University Avenue in search of the next coffee spot, I was excited that it was going to be my next stop!

It was a hot morning and quickly moving its way to an 80 degree day. I wasn’t sure if hot coffee and a biscuit was going to hit the spot, but in the name of MugShot Monday, I dared to partake. I stepped into Morsel and was immediately greeted by 2014 U.S. Latte Art 3rd place winner Kyle Dols who had a contagiously spirited smile and immediately got me up to speed on all things biscuit.

Based on what Dols said was the most popular menu item, I ordered a “Spanish Fly” ($6.75) with the Rosemary/basil biscuit-of-the-day, and my usual double tall Americano ($2.75).

As I was waiting for my Biscuit to arrive Dols prepared me a sample of their housemade soda. He created a blackberry, rosemary and vanilla just for me! It paired perfectly with my biscuit and was a nice refresher as it was really getting sweaty at my booth! My biscuit arrived looking glorious, albeit a little tall for my eating geometry, but once I figured out how to consume it I was in a biscuit heaven that I didn’t even know existed. Consisting of proscuitto, fried egg, manchego, arugula, and mama lil’s pepper aioli, this beauty (pictured below) ended up hitting the spot in a big way!

Morsel has a lively environment, good music, great staff and just a few house rules!

  • Enjoy the comfortable first-come-first-serve seating, but please order first before sitting down
  • Free wi-fi, but don’t be that lame person taking up a four top to yourself — share your table if you’re gunna be on your computer!
  • Bus your own dishes!
  • Don’t forget to ask about the Bacon Jam!
  • And hit the Cowbell on your way out!
  • Serving Veltons Coffee from Everett Wa. This Americano was perfectly poured, smooth and sweet!

    The Spanish Fly and sample of housemade soda

    On their website, Owner Kekow Chin-Hidano says that “Our customers are awesome, they like our food and they like us…and we like them. I really couldn’t ask for better customers.”

    I found this to be a truly delightful cafe to spend some time. I look forward to visiting in the colder months when some comfort food will really be just the thing! And for those of you on the West side, Morsel now has a Ballard location called the Morsel and Bean that I hear has a drive-thru!

    Cowbell is for Awesome!

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MugShot Monday #3-Ringing the Cowbell for Sound Coffee & Morsel

August 18th, 2014 by master

Welcome to MugShot Monday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafe’s

Have you Been Meaning to Stop in at Sound Coffee and Morsel Cafe? Did you Hear a Cowbell Ring Out and Wonder Why? Does the Idea of Bacon Jam do Anything For You? Doesn’t A Biscuit Sound Perfect Right About Now?

Entrance to Biscuit Heaven

I had been hearing about Morsel for a while now and was curious about what it had to offer. So, as I biked  down University Avenue in search of the next coffee spot, I was excited that it was going to be my next stop!

It was a hot morning and quickly moving its way to an 80 degree day. I wasn’t sure if hot coffee and a biscuit was going to hit the spot, but in the name of MugShot Monday, I dared to partake. I stepped into Morsel and was immediately greeted by 2014 U.S. Latte Art 3rd place winner Kyle Dols who had a contagiously spirited smile and immediately got me up to speed on all things biscuit.

Based on what Dols said was the most popular menu item, I ordered a “Spanish Fly” ($6.75) with the Rosemary/basil biscuit-of-the-day, and my usual double tall Americano ($2.75).

As I was waiting for my Biscuit to arrive Dols prepared me a sample of their housemade soda. He created a blackberry, rosemary and vanilla just for me! It paired perfectly with my biscuit and was a nice refresher as it was really getting sweaty at my booth! My biscuit arrived looking glorious, albeit a little tall for my eating geometry, but once I figured out how to consume it I was in a biscuit heaven that I didn’t even know existed. Consisting of proscuitto, fried egg, manchego, arugula, and mama lil’s pepper aioli, this beauty (pictured below) ended up hitting the spot in a big way!

Morsel has a lively environment, good music, great staff and just a few house rules!

  • Enjoy the comfortable first-come-first-serve seating, but please order first before sitting down
  • Free wi-fi, but don’t be that lame person taking up a four top to yourself — share your table if you’re gunna be on your computer!
  • Bus your own dishes!
  • Don’t forget to ask about the Bacon Jam!
  • And hit the Cowbell on your way out!
  • Serving Veltons Coffee from Everett Wa. This Americano was perfectly poured, smooth and sweet!

    The Spanish Fly and sample of housemade soda

    On their website, Owner Kekow Chin-Hidano says that “Our customers are awesome, they like our food and they like us…and we like them. I really couldn’t ask for better customers.”

    I found this to be a truly delightful cafe to spend some time. I look forward to visiting in the colder months when some comfort food will really be just the thing! And for those of you on the West side, Morsel now has a Ballard location called the Morsel and Bean that I hear has a drive-thru!

    Cowbell is for Awesome!

→ No CommentsTags: , , , , , , , , , ,