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.
Formed from about 17,000 islands that stretch from the coast of Thailand to the border of Papua New Guinea, the nation of Indonesia encompasses many climates and cultures. Recognizing that diversity, Indo Cafe's chefs strive to serve up an authentic sampling of the country's eclectic cuisine. The smartly curated menu ranges from daging tuturuga?a curry beef stew from Manado, on the northern island of Sulawesi?to bakmi goreng jawa?a Javanese-style egg-noodle stir-fry. If you're stopping by for the first time or have had your memory wiped since the last time, Seattle Weekly's 2012 Voracious Dining Guide recommends the ayam goreng fried chicken, a pan-Indonesian specialty which Seattle Weekly calls "extra-crispy on the outside, juicy on the inside, and best topped with fiery chili paste and paired with cooling, slightly sweet coconut rice." Indonesian produce stars in the desserts; the chefs fill whole coconuts with their savory-sweet pudding and make their own avocado- and durian-flavored ice creams.
Framed Indonesian art accents Indo Cafe's main dining space as well as three private rooms that can each host a party of up to 30 people or two giants on a romantic dinner date. Strengthening the restaurant's international ties, its owners are also active supporters of the Children's Foundation of Southeast Asia, which rallies local business owners to help build children's homes and schools in Southeast Asia.
The city of Seattle is speckled by pho joints, each one serving its own rendition of the beloved belly-warming noodle soup. However, Le's Phở Tái remains a cut above the competition with its commitment to using locally grown ingredients and creating flavorful broth. Chefs begin the process of preparing the beef stock more than 20 hours before the soup hits the table, setting beef bones and spices to boil in order to procure what reporters from Journal Magazine praised as "exceptional flavor". Once the broth is ready, the chefs add thin vermicelli noodles along with cuts of tender beef, fresh seafood, and crisp veggies. They serve the soup in massive bowls alongside plates of bean sprouts and jalapeno slices.
When chefs aren't cooking pho, their attention is absorbed in the preparation of other Vietnamese specialties—chewy spring rolls, tangy teriyaki dishes, and bahn mi sandwiches with barbecue meats and french bread. Servers carry these dishes out into the warm, casual dining room, along with glasses of sweet iced-milk coffee and refreshing coconut juice. The accommodating staffers encourage guests to call ahead to place food orders for faster service, particularly if they have to speed back home to make sure their cats don't start scratching the Bruce Willis statue they’ve been sculpting out of peanut butter.
Java Jane's plethora of gourmet beverages runs the drinkable gamut, from icy smoothies to steaming signature mochas. Begin a caffeinated patriot's ride down the gullet with a Roosevelt cheesecake mocha, with white chocolate and cheesecake and raspberry syrup constituting a unified liquid dessert ($2.80–$4.05), or celebrate simplicity with a Victorious vanilla latte ($2.80–$3.30). A Cuppa Joe ($1.50–$2) can get early-morning synapses to play nice, and one of four fruit smoothies ($3.65–$6.25), such as the strawberry banana yogurt or mango, keeps summer suns from overheating the head. Italian sodas ($1.55–$3.10) and iced Americanos ($1.55–$2.05) round out the on-ice lineup.
Blue Saucer is loyally committed to serving only the finest Stumptown coffee, brewed to order in small French-pressed batches (starting at $1.60). Every week a different bean from the boutique coffee maker is featured for your sipping satisfaction, along with specialty drinks such as a house-mixed hot chocolate (starting at $2) and organic teas (starting at $1.60) for your steeping enjoyment.
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.