In the kitchen of Fainting Goat Gelato, batches of dense, velvety goodness are churning slowly. Organic milk from Fresh Breeze Farms absorbs organic sugar, thickening as it gets colder, before Yalcin folds in the flavor. He infuses one vat of his low-fat treat with local berries and another vat with Turkish hazelnuts. Maybe later he'll make use of some pistachios from Sicily. He uses local ingredients whenever he can but recognizes that sometimes nuts grow better across the Atlantic, and more than anything he wants to make his gelato sing with rich, full, true flavors.
By using such prime ingredients, the gelato that Yalcin and his wife make in Fainting Goat Gelato takes guests on a journey as expansive as their own. The husband and wife moved to Seattle from Turkey in 1997 and subsequently focused on raising their daughters, but after their youngest started applying to college, they wanted to begin a new adventure. Today they keep their shop stocked with 18 flavors at all times, creating an ever-rotating menu that at any time might include fig-vanilla, honey-lavender, or Nutella gelato. Cups of Turkish coffee, espresso, and tea help round out the experience and thaw tongues chilled from licking a scoop of strawberry or lips frozen from kissing a snowman.
"Hip" and "kid-friendly" aren't often adjectives that go together, but Rebecca changed all that when she founded Twirl Caf?. A mother herself, Rebecca envisioned Twirl as a place where kids and adults could come to have fun in their own ways. For children, there?s a custom-built jungle tree house, which oversees a play area replete with a train table, a reading area, and a play kitchen. For adults, the caf? stocks coffee, espresso, and craft beers, and provides access to free Wi-Fi so guests can catch up on the news or send out urgent chain emails.
Another all-aged pleaser is the caf??s menu, which includes items made with locally sourced ingredients. Dishes include breakfast sandwiches on Macrina Country biscuits with nitrate-free bacon, eggs, and Tillamook cheddar or sweet grilled melts with cinnamon, raisins, and cream cheese. And, each week the caf? also serves a rotating menu of dinner specials, which can include anything from barbecue chicken sliders to butternut squash lasagna. Friday nights are the real draw though, when Twirl Caf? invites kids to don their PJs and adults to wear their comfiest usher costume for the weekly "pizza and a movie" night.
Named for the Hungarian word for chocolate in what one UPC Times writer calls “a nod to the Slavic history of the neighborhood,” kakao serves café drinks with a local bent and craft chocolate bars from chocolate makers such as Dandelion, Dick Taylor, and Lillie Belle. Baristas draw rich espresso from locally roasted Herkimer coffee beans and steep loose-leaf teas from Miro Tea. They also serve mochas and Ghirardelli and Valrhona hot chocolates—in flavors such as salted caramel or cardamom—from machines that swirl the drinks throughout the day, keeping them ready to pour. Conveniently, kakao complements its warm beverages with pastries from Le Panier and Macrina Bakery.
High ceilings with exposed beams hint at kakao’s warehouse past, but the space's soft track lighting and carefully selected furniture preclude the temptation to drop off a shipment of 10,000 fur coats for storage. Free WiFi also keeps patrons connected to the buzz of the Internet throughout visits.
For more than five years, Red Mango's frozen yogurt has been garnering national attention, unlike that musician strumming away next to the foosball table in his basement. Among its accolades, the shop earned a spot atop Zagat's 2011 lists for Best Smoothie and Frozen Yogurt Chain and for Best Healthy Options Among Quick Refreshment Chains.
Red Mango lives up to its award-winning reputation by dishing up all-natural and gluten-free yogurts—all of which are either low-fat or nonfat. Each selection promotes healthy digestive and immune systems with natural probiotics. Friendly staff members are always on hand to whip Ghirardelli dark chocolate, POM pomegranate juice, and seasonal pumpkin spice frozen yogurts into Stevia-sweetened smoothies or parfaits layered with organic granola and fruit. For customers looking to create their own cocktails, a toppings bar brims with crunchy cereal, cheesecake bits, and nuts, allowing creative customization.
Since opening in 2002, Cloudy City Coffee has become a neighborhood staple, going so far as to crown itself the “town hall of Maple Leaf.” Read on to learn more about this popular gathering place.
Though it's just a small acreage farm located in Woodinville, Sprouting Farm supplies certified organic produce for seasonal menu items at all eight Homegrown locations. Homegrown started Sprouting Farm in 2014, adding it to a roster of purveyors that already includes local suppliers of cheese, meat, and even fresh breads baked with pacific northwest grains.
Customers reap the benefits of these relationships when they bite into Homegrown's sandwiches, such as the Chicken Pesto, made with local chicken breast and roasted garlic aioli or the Stumptown coffee-rubbed pork loin sandwich with organic apple butter and pickled red onions. Indeed, the food here is better for humans, but the stores themselves are also better for the environment. They utilize reclaimed and recycled building materials and hyper-efficient lighting, making each structure a front-runner for "Citizen of the Year" in their respective neighborhoods.