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 red velvet. With the help of husband Michael Williamson, she distributes her decadent handheld desserts to three 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 picked six Trophy creations for its 2008 list of the city's 95 best desserts.
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.
Gone are the protestations that a slice of cake is too big "or too wedgey." Instead of making a different cake to suit everyone's tastes, get a dozen different flavors for fickle friends. Voted Seattle's best cupcake by Seattle Magazine and Seattle Weekly, and featured in The Seattle Times, Cupcake Royale bakes each flavor daily from natural and local ingredients, including hormone-free dairy products and locally raised fruit. Finish off a long lunch break with a Royale with cheese, a pillow of dark chocolate cake topped with cream-cheese buttercream and chocolate shavings, or chomp a vanilla coconut bunny, adorably fluffy with hand-frosted buttercream. Experts in things that taste good recommend chocolate peppermint party, while fans of sea spray reach no farther than the salted caramel with fleur de sel.
It bills itself as an espresso bar that’s “the cure for your weekday,” but Café Weekend offers much more than tasty lattes. To pair with cups of Caffe Vita espresso and organic coffee, the staff serves light lunches on weekdays and pastries on Saturdays. A selection of nostalgic penny candy and chocolate bars add a sugar rush to your caffeine fix.
The co-owners of Café Weekend also run a multidisciplinary studio, and as such the café doubles as an atelier (French for “workshop”). At the Hiawatha Lofts that sit above the café, artists, poets, and performers hone their crafts in dozens of studios. Back on street level, the café’s in-house craft room often hosts hands-on workshops, and a bookshelf inspires the creative spirit with selected books, alternative comics, and free copies of The Stranger and Vice.
Along with curating the workshop space, Café Weekend hosts a variety of neighborhood events, from block parties to flea markets to community food drives. It also ships in treats from local purveyors. The seasonal selection of wagashi, a traditional Japanese sweet, comes from Seattle confectionary Tokara—a shop that makes intricate Kyoto-style wagashi.
Though billed as a bakery, Borracchini’s has expanded its offerings to include much more than just colorfully frosted cakes and cookies throughout its 91-year history. At the full deli counter, glass cases brim with mortadella, prosciutto, and provolone, which the staff assembles into sandwiches and pizzas. Shoppers can create their own Italian feasts at home after perusing a small grocery selection of olive oils, wine, pastas, and sauces. Boracchini’s bread menu also bears a Mediterranean accent, exhibited in loaves such as the rosemary parmesan toscano. But none of this distracts the bakers from making their own sweets from scratch. Each morning at dawn, they craft nearly 20 kinds of donuts and breakfast pastries, as well as pies that range from tangy lemon meringue to savory mincemeat.
Healeo is Seattle’s austere and vaguely futuristic healthy-foodstuff outpost, providing natural supplements and organic extracts to Washingtonians sick of subsisting on fast food and NASA-developed freeze-dried horsemeat. Their extensive, eclectic selection of eco-friendly, organic edibles includes precisely packaged superfoods ($6.99-$17.99)—such as goji berries and mesquite powder—and a colorful clan of loose teas ($8.25-$27.00). Enlist the services of a knowledgeable team member while you decide how to best vitaminize your body for the grueling trials of your next uphill sled race with an array of juices, smoothies, and local coffee.
Loving Hut’s name suits its peaceful mission: to create healthy dishes that benefit the body and show respect for the environment. Using vegan ingredients such as soy-based proteins and fresh vegetables, the chefs at each location create a unique menu of gourmet cuisine that serves as an accessible introduction to a plant-based diet; several of the restaurant's offerings can be made gluten-free as well. Vegan sandwiches and Asian-influenced noodle dishes and appetizers are paired with drinks such as smoothies and teas, each of them more refreshing than getting sprayed in the face with a seltzer bottle.