The well-traveled pastry chef at Royale Cafe & Bakery's daily, scratch-made selection of pastries fits neatly beneath a small glass counter. The presentation, though, incorporates culinary techniques learned from across the globe via seven years of training and travel. The chef rises early each morning to bake everything from savory souffl? to mini chocolate cheesecake tarts and nutella-filled croissants. These treats come alongside homemade soups, hot paninis, and gourmet salads. Baristas also prepare artful espresso drinks to accompany them, such as mochas and lattes topped with foamy images of flowers, leaves, and hot milk in coffee.
Each morning starting at 6:30 a.m. on weekdays and 7 a.m. on weekends, City Espresso's baristas begin brewing batches of premium coffee and concocting specialty drinks. They also serve up breakfast items, giving patrons fuel to power through the day.
Although it can't grant the power of flight or x-ray vision, açaí is still considered something of a super food. The fruit comes directly from the Brazilian rainforest and delivers loads of antioxidants, healthy omegas, and fiber to anyone who consumes it or sticks it into their ears. At Kitanda, açaí is just one of the many organic ingredients featured in a menu of healthy eats. The family-owned shop specializes in a wide range Brazilian snacks and drinks, including gluten-free breads and gourmet coffee brewed from 100-percent Brazilian beans.
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.
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.
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.