What started as a simple salad-making ritual during lunchtime at her corporate office sprouted into a business for Molly, owner of Molly's Salads. Her dedication to fresh vegetables and fruits culled from local farmers inspires her customers to eat healthier and live more sustainably. With Molly's Fridge—her business within a business—customers are also able to augment their diets with all-natural fare delivered directly to their office or hovercraft, which is often a feature of dream within a dream.
While you can find café staples such as mochas and Americanos at Sit Sip Study Cafe, the menu is a bit more eclectic than that. Baristas blend up a full menu of Asian-inspired drinks, from Taiwanese milk tea to creamy iced Vietnamese coffee to mango lassi. Nearby, cooks make waffles topped with blueberries, chocolate syrup, and even Jack Daniels barbecue chicken. They also offer mix-and-match paninis, letting you pick meat, cheese, veggies, and sauce based on the latest polls from your taste buds.
A sidewalk patio with shaded seating flanks Cafe Bengodi's corner façade, appealing to passersby with promises of authentic Italian cuisine and al fresco dining. Chefs deliver on this promise by doling out antipasti rich with cheeses and salamis, then cooking mounds of homemade pastas and fresh Neapolitan pizzas. Espresso, beer, and wine accent the meal and allow patrons to propose toasts as a subtle way to drop a hint that they need a new toaster.
Meet the Chef: David Varley came to locally focused cooking quite organically—when he was a child, his mother grew vegetables for their family and local restaurants, and he contributed to the family table by hunting and fishing.
While You Wait: Keep an eye on the Last Bottle board—modeled after arrival–departure boards posted in European train stations, it displays wines that are just about out of stock and their considerably discounted prices. Groups have been known to order from it just for the fun of watching the letter tiles clack as their chosen bottle is removed from the board.
Mortadella: a large Italian sausage made from minced pork interspersed with cubes of fat, pistachios, and black pepper.
Sunchokes: also known as Jerusalem artichokes despite being a member of the sunflower family, these crunchy tubers taste similar to water chestnuts.
While You’re in the Neighborhood
Before: Get slowly and deliberately caffeinated with a coffee tasting at Seattle Coffee Works (107 Pike Street).
After: Stop for a scoop of gelato or sorbetto at Gelatiamo (1400 Third Avenue), open until 10 p.m. weekend nights.
For Espresso Vivace Coffee, roasting a perfect batch of espresso beans is about timing and concentration. They slowly nurture their beans to develop a sweet caramel flavor. Then, when that flavor has developed to its fullest, they bring the roasters to a screeching halt to keep the beans from sweating oils, which can create a burnt taste and cause the beans to be mistaken for rib tips. They also ensure each bag is fresh by roasting only two blends, blends that Chef Emeril Lagasse dubbed, "the best coffee I ever had in the United States."
Boardroom Cafe is the kind of place where you could spend a few minutes, a few hours, or the entire day. It's a popular breakfast spot, and lots of people show up in the morning to order a breakfast burrito or a latte to go. But the plaid pillows and sleek leather couch can be so enticing that, before you know it, it's lunchtime. That's not exactly a problem when the lunch menu includes B.L.T. sandwiches and steamy bowls of chicken tortilla soup.