Paradiso Di Stelle delivers a small breath of Italy through Italian cuisine, coffee, and gelato. An outdoor patio invites relaxation and people watching while sipping on freshly-brewed Illy coffee, or a sampling of gelato made on-site. Menu options include paninis and pastas, such as gnocchi or ravioli filled with smoked salmon, squash, or sundried tomatoes.
JagaSilk imports specialty maccha green teas and pours piping-hot cups of loose-leafed hospitality at its bar and academy. Five grades of maccha teas are harvested from the tips of the green-tea tree, enhancing sweetness and myriad health benefits, such as increased energy and the ability to hear temperature change. The bar's offerings are sourced directly from organic Japanese tea gardens or made locally and served in pottery handcrafted by local nymphs. Sip on an organic maccha latte ($4.75) or order a pair of organic maccha cappuccinos ($6.50). Taste buds rejuvenate after leaving a tea sauna to take a refreshing dip in handcrafted maccha ice cream ($7).
Liberty Cafe's barista brigade decants an assortment of fresh-drip coffees, hand-tamped organic Espressos, and myriad specialty javas. Brewed throughout the day, numerous house blends of coffee ($2.01 each), such as the Canterbury Roasted, awaken taste buds with caffeinated jolts via the alarm clocks etched into their mocha beans. As espresso and hot milk combine beneath a cappuccino's steamed-milk foam ($3.90), the decafe drink ($2.10) supplies tongues with flavourful uncaffeinated sips. Customers can lounge in the brown booths, seats, or leather chairs in the spacious cafe or eschew childhood lessons on sharing to claim the outdoor eating area for themselves. Assorted fresh-baked muffins and scones accompany a menu of lunch items and salads (not included in this offer) and the cafe's free WiFi and stocked shelves of books and games permit patrons to set up camp without having to develop creative solutions to keep bears away.
Though her Langford location opened its doors in June 2011, don't mistake Becky Dobbs for some bubble-tea newbie. She's been honing her brewing skills since 1999, when she opened her first shop in Chinatown. There she learned to concoct the unique beverage, a Taiwanese specialty that can be served either hot or cold, and which takes it name from the boiled tapioca bubbles or sweet coconut jellies that merrily bob at the bottom of each cup.
Her fruity tea flavours range from tangy passionfruit and kumquat to creamy lychee and matcha to create custom teas for even the finickiest of palates. Becky also presses fresh basil pesto, dill-dijon cream cheese, and sun-dried tomato between slices of bread to grill up savoury paninis or aromatic diamonds. For guests who prefer coffee over tea, Becky brews locally roasted Discovery Coffee to create mochas, lattes, and macchiatos at the espresso bar.
Fresh Cup Roastery Cafe owner Jim Townley professes the gospel of single-origin coffees whose flavours can "stand on their own." He imports organic beans from farmer-run co-ops in countries as far-flung as Indonesia, Peru, and Ethiopia. The beans release bold, nuanced flavours as they roast in the café's proprietary Roastaire. Fresh Cup also conducts tours of its roasting facilities to prove that the environmentally friendly roaster doesn't resort to dark, medium, or light magic. A team of engineers designed the roaster to conserve heat energy with a closed-loop system while precise controls produce consistent quality, eliminating the worry of burnt beans or hyper-caffeination.
Baristas stir the hearts of coffee lovers with artisanal touches such as house-mulled cider and the house-made caramel sauce that sweetens macchiatos. Wholesome ingredients such as organic flour and local free-range eggs make their way into soups, quiches, and panini sandwiches.
Founder Jeff Ericson insists his staff only pours fairly traded Specialty Grade Arabica coffee beans. By roasting only USDA Certified organic beans, all grown in the shade to farmers' personal standards, the coffee guru and his company can promise a consistently less acidic cup of coffee. Roasts range between light to dark and espresso, and include varietals from Sumatra, Honduras, Peru, and Brazil. For anyone uninterested in lattes, mochas, or any drink crafted at the full espresso bar, the shop serves retro sodas, Frozen X-Plosion smoothies, soft-serve ice cream, and deli sandwiches prepared with Del Fox Custom Meats. Fresh bread and produce from Breadfarm and Klesick Family Farm, as well as gourmet chocolate truffles from Pirate's Chocolate, are also available. Guests can sip their drink of choice as their eyes peer out from the coffee shop windows, which showcase the landscape between Puget Sound and Livingston Bay's mountain views, beaches, and small dogs, probably.
Following her culinary curiosity all the way to Varcaturo, Italy, Tiffany Hudson’s found herself learning dry farming and food preservation. More importantly, she discovered how a dinner can bring a community together. After coming back to the States, Tiffany teamed up with Chef Martin Woods whose resume includes serving as opening sous chef at Bastille as well as executive chef at Re:Public. Together, the two created Cassoulet Café, an eatery that serves seasonal French cuisine amid a communal table.
And the collaboration isn’t running short on admirers. Writer Sally Wolff for the Cascadia Weekly praised Cassoulet as “evok[ing] the atmosphere of a country kitchen in France” complete with “heavy plates of well-made food.” These ever-changing entrees have included bacon cinnamon rolls for brunch, ratatouille for lunch, and goat cheese pansotti pasta for dinner, accompanied by specialty cocktails and ciders. Chef Martin also serves up the restaurant’s signature French bean stew bursting with duck and house-cured pancetta.
Along with promoting conversation amongst diners, Cassoulet Café fosters green living. This includes using fresh ingredients from local farms as well as reducing their carbon footprint by 1,200 pounds of CO2 emission. That accomplishment earned the restaurant a 2012 Sustainable Practice Leader award from General Biodiesel, a company named after the first robot five-star general in U.S. history.