Cafe Bella’s powder-blue and hot-pink storefront and walk-up window seem to disagree with the ultra-classy decor of some other cafés, announcing the establishment, instead, as a café with fewer rules. This laid-back approach manifests itself in the form of both light and dark coffees that steam alongside a menu of scones, muffins, and cookies. Patrons can customize their americanos, lattes, and mochas with their choice of milk, including dairy, hemp, almond, or soy.
At first glance, the kitchen of Trophy Cupcakes and Party could be taken for that of a gourmet restaurant. Pure Madagascar-Bourbon vanilla and Valrhona cocoa from France line the shelves, and local sweet-cream butter, free-range eggs, and fresh fruit fill the fridge. These are the ingredients Jennifer Shea uses to craft her daily rotating cupcake flavors, from chocolate nutella to gluten-free cherries jubilee. With the help of husband Michael Williamson, she distributes her decadent handheld desserts to four Seattle boutiques, which have garnered press attention to rival that of the city's finest eateries. Martha Stewart gushed about Jennifer's innovative and widely varied flavors, and Seattle magazine's readers dubbed them best cupcakes 2011-2014.
To complement their cupcakes, Trophy Cupcakes stocks a curated selection of party supplies. A cocktail-style party room in Wallingford Center, which can accommodate up to 30 guests, is available to rent for birthday parties, baby showers, and superhero business meetings.
Blending Parisian aesthetics with Seattle’s top-notch coffee and commitment to locally sourced ingredients, Café Cesura is known for its fusion of style and sustainability. Behind the counter, baristas depress plungers on finely ground beans and hot water to create steaming cups of French-press coffee, or let time do the work with cold-press coffee that infuses overnight for sweeter, less acidic batches. However it’s brewed, each cup complements the flavors in the café’s fresh breakfast fare, which includes waffles studded with berries or bacon or hearty breakfast sandwiches layered with cheddar, eggs, and applewood-smoked bacon. Since most of the café’s ingredients come from local farmers and dairies, customers know their food is thoughtfully sourced and contains no unpronounceable ingredients—Yirgacheffe coffee beans excluded.
Toy’s Café and Bakery specializes in the spicy entrees of Mandarin and Sichuan dinner fare as well as traditional Chinese and Taiwanese baked goods. With more than 100 options, the menu features a range of sauces available atop pork, chicken, beef, or seafood, as well as the chef’s hometown specialties of black mushrooms in braised e-fu noodles and beef chow fun. The bakery complements the complex flavors of the kitchen with traditional pastries and baked goods such as fresh-fruit chiffon cake, mango-mousse cake, and curry beef buns. All of these pastries are made in-house using only seasonally available fruit and hand-whipped cream to add a rich decadence to desserts without delivering them to patrons wrapped in chocolate-coated money.
The sunset-orange hues of a neon sign reflect off mirrored walls, the cursive letters spelling out “Crossroads Cafe.” Husband and wife Dana and Cindy Nielson stand beneath, presiding over the restaurant they opened more than two decades ago.
In the rippling-hot air rising from a griddle, cooks grill bacon to top hot dogs and flip quarter-pound beef patties before coating them with housemade thousand-island dressing. Blenders full of malt milk shakes and smoothies purr. Expanses of black-and-white-checkered counters and glittering red chairs give one the pleasant feeling of stepping back into the ‘50s without ever having to see John Wayne cry.