Blue Heart Art's passionate staffers hand-select every locally created treasure that they stock, which includes photo-enhancing picture frames ($5.99–$15) and fruit-themed towels, ideal for making soaps salivate and subsequently lather themselves ($6.99–$7.99). Like early morning office hours and turtle races, viewing the shop's art and home furnishings may be enhanced by the consumption of coffee. Blue Heart Art's on-site coffee lounge brews fair-trade, Seattle-roasted beans, and head barista Jordan crafts creative potables such as the smooth and sweet raspberry truffle latte ($3.95 for 16 oz.). The café's warm, lounge-like décor—replete with a couch and club chairs—encourages patrons to relax and hug throw pillows.
Serving direct-trade beans from Seattle's Kuma Coffee microroasters, Starling fuels bustling bodies with the energy needed to tackle mornings and beyond. Traditional brewed coffee ($1.25–$2.00) awakens senses with a no-frills wallop, and the rich whip of a café mocha melds milk, espresso, and actual whips ($2.85–$3.60). Add yummy flavor shots ($0.50 each) such as toasted marshmallow, caramel, and blueberry to brews, or summon the spritely mouth-tickle of an italian soda ($2.65–$3.75). Starling Coffee also boasts an array of teas ($1.50–$2.25) and smoothies ($3.75–$4.30) that coat throat canals with viscous fruit serums. When inner rumbles beckon, pair drinks with breakfast sandwiches ($1.95–$3.95), grilled turkey sandwiches ($4), or bagels ($2.95) smothered in ham, cheese, and East Coast regrets.
At locations dotted all over the Pacific Northwest, Black Rock Coffee Bar’s baristas dazzle patrons' taste buds with their simple and elaborate coffee creations. Served in ink-black cups emblazoned with their understated lowercase logo and red stars, their hot drinks range from brewed coffee to chai-tea lattes to flavored mochas. The baristas infuse the mochas with extras—including white chocolate and caramel to create the caramel blondie and hazelnut to concoct the blackout mocha, which, unfortunately, will not make you black out for the entire workday. On the chilly side of the menu, their blended drinks include shake-like delights made sweeter with Oreos, mint chips, and chai, as well as smoothies and icy coffee granitas.
Local artwork adorns the walls within Java Zombie, a Kirkland café with an ambience as cozy and comforting as a pantsuit sewn from deconstructed teddy bears. Baristas here brew Vivace espresso, steam milk for lattes, and top rich hot chocolate with dollops of whipped cream.
In the morning, patrons can sink teeth into breakfast sandwiches and burritos. Later in the day, the focus turns to gourmet sandwiches made with Boar's Head meats and artisanal breads from The Essential Baking Company. The menu also includes vegetarian and vegan options and gluten-free pastries from Stone Layne. Free WiFi signals drift through the air, and bands play live music during special events.
Each crowd-pleasing trio comes on a reusable platter that is handy for later serving B-list house guests. The Wandering Café asks that customers call 48 hours ahead. Home delivery costs extra (call for more information, as pricing varies by area), but The Wandering Café's highway-convenient location makes pick-up easy.