Cafe Vita Fremont

April 18, 2010

Fremont strikes a distinct picture in my mind of artisy and unique and I have come to expect this of many of the business in the area. Cafe Vita was nothing like what I expected. Walking in the cafe was like any run of the mill coffee shop. Nothing unique about it; art was hanging on the wall (this was actually a pretty decent artist. No vacation photos here) and blah decor otherwise. The tables were smooched close together which I wasn’t a big fan of especially since I could read the book of the person next to me with out trying.
The Baristas were pleasant. They seemed friendly enough, but I questioned their knowledge of what they were selling when R got me a slice of pie and they guessed the filling was either cherry or apple. Other than that they seemed to be doing a lot of random things or just standing around even when there was a line. However, as I pointed out before they were quit friendly so it is hard to hate them.

Having Cafe Vita coffee before (served at Belle Epicurain) I was stoked to actually try it at one of their coffee shops. After trying a mocha I was severely disappointed. It was very watery with a hint of chocolaty flavor and cold. If there is one thing to set me over the edge it is a cold drink that should be hot. A few minutes into it I realized that all of the mocha (and I mean all of it) had settled on the bottom. So a few quick stirs and I had and everything was mixed the way it should be. It was still watery.
One of the better parts of the visit was a round, small pie called a cutie pie. It is made by a local company and was delicious. The crust is a little thicker than I like, but the filling of apples with cinnamon was amazing. Add to that a dollop of whip cream and it is a wonderful treat for anyone.
Overall Cafe Vita was a big miss for me. Any place that come with such hype is going to be held to higher expectations, but they didn’t even meet the ones I have for a random cafe I step into.

Caffe Vita on Urbanspoon


Brew Of The Week- Komodo Dragon

April 14, 2010

Starbuck’s Komodo Dragon blend is a nice departure from their usual line up. It is made up of a blend of Indonesian beans.
The smell of the beans have a herbal smell with a hint of pepper that lingers at the end. Once brewed there is an earthy flavor that builds with each sip of the coffee. First impressions was that is is mild, but the flavor rolls and becomes much bolder. There is a spiciness to the flavor which gives it a nice twist.
I’ve tried this blend in both my French press and the perciulartor and find that although it is great in both I much perfer my coffee maker. The flavors of the coffee seem to get muddled in the French press making it way to strong regardless of how long I let it sit.


Cafe Allegro

April 10, 2010

In an alley just off of the UW campus sits a hidden gem: Cafe Allegro. There is a sign out on the sidewalk directing people down an alley to where the cafe is located.
The outside of the cafe is just amazing. Vines cover the top of the building just above the windows and sweep down to the Cafe Allegro sign. The sign it self is beautiful in its simplicity. A woody, homemade look with no glitz or glamour. That in itself is the best way to describe Cafe Allegro;it has a very down to Earth feel with a wonderful, creative vibe. Along the exterior of the building is a bench where patrons sit drinking their coffee.

Inside is invigorating. Most cafes have the same typical art. TruthfullyI’m getting tired of seeing peoples “artistic” photos of their vacation or “tragic” photos that leave me feeling as if I was trying to be manipulated. If you have seem one you have seen them all, but what was on exhibit here was different. Unique, colorful, and full of life.
One of the first things that I noticed was the pastry case. This is the type of selection that I long for at any cafe. It was full of donuts, turnovers, muffins, almond croissants, and cookies as far as the eye could see. Way to many things to choose from, but that’s how I like it best. The menu offered a refreshing array of drinks. Besides the usual coffee offerings there was apple cider, fresh lemonade, orange juice, pink grapefruit juice, Italian soda, and Thamas Kemper Soda (root beer, cream, blackberry, and orange cream).
After placing my order I sat down and noticed that there were cards with various

bird identification covering the register. The wall behind the register was covered in foreign currency. A simple idea, but I loved it and it fit well with the rest of the cafe. The table itself had a piece of woven fabric under a glass top with a sign that encouraged patrons to please share the tables.
R brought over our order and I dove into a delicious looking raspberry donut. Oh my, was it amazing: moist, full of flavor, but most importantly it had the right amount of raspberry so that the flavor didn’t over power. I could really go off my diet and not really care if I had more of these in my life.

The carmel latte I had was good. The shot of carmel was too sweet, but the latte was hot. Getting a hot latte is a rare commodity lately so I’m more than willing to look past the flavor of the carmel if I’m served something warmer than an ice cube.
As I sipped my latte I watched the Baristas in action. They were nice, friendly, and seemed to know many of the patrons that came in. In between my Barista watching I drifted in and out of conversations at other tables. Some were discussing the influences of Jazz, the literary contributions of certain authors, and another was going on the most fantastic flow of conscious about Shakespeare right up to current events. However the most interesting was from a man reminiscing

about being in New York when John Lennon was shot. Not the usual coffee shop talk that I’m use to hearing. It was refreshing.
The bathroom is some thing that needs to be discussed for many reasons. First, it’s tiny. Meaning it’s thin. Really it is as wide as a person. Second, it is a bit grimy. Not that it looks like it hasn’t been cleaned in a while, but it isn’t my idea of a wonderful place to be. Finally it is a sight to see. The brick walls are covered in very artistic graffiti. It was so interesting that I forgot where I was.
Cafe Allegro is an amazing place that anyone in Seattle needs to try. No excuses. Go. Experience. Enjoy. Thank me later.

Cafe Allegro Expresso Bar on Urbanspoon


Brew of The Week–Villa Rica

April 6, 2010

Villa Rica is a Peruvian Blend sold at Costco alongside of their Seattle Mountain Coffee, so it is roasted in house. Always looking for a new roast I couldn’t resist picking it up after reading on the front label that it would be offered for a limited time. What is suppose to make this bean special is that it is grown in the Chanchmayo region of Peru. The farm these beans are from is 4,400 feet above sea level and is higher then other coffee farms in Peru.
Although the description on the side of the bag suggests that this blend has a sweet, light taste I couldn’t agree less. I made several cups in both my coffee maker and with a french press and got a strong bitter taste that left my mouth feeling a bit dry. Another thing that dissapointed me was the aroma of the beans (though the bag I must add) does match up with what the label says. It does have a wonder smell of berries and floral notes, but what in the bad is different. Once the bag was opened I was hit with a harsh, nasty, bitter smell. Once I let it air for a few seconds there was more of a burnt floral smell. Not what I wanted.
Villa Rica was a great disappointment.



April 5, 2010

If there is one thing that bothers me more than bad service it is a cold drink that should be hot or at least warm. With that said the Ebar at Nordstrom in Alderwood mall is very generic. Walking in is looks and feels very much like a Starbucks or a Coffee Bean. The drink menu is pretty much tick for tack the same as the chain cafes. The one big difference is the food menu. A menu outside included items such as cilantro lime shrimp, herb roasted chicken pizza, roasted chicken and herb goat cheese sandwich, sauteed chicken and angel hair pasta, and salmon with gazpacho salsa. My mouth is watering just reading that. Unfortunately my time was short and eating wasn’t an option.

When I approached the counter a barista looked at me several times and went on with what she was doing without acknowledging me. Another walked out of the back and went about her business before even coming to take my order. Not a good impression.

I ordered a mocha and waited. When it came out I was was less than impressed. Not only was it cold, but it had an overly rich mocha flavor to it. It tasted sort of like chocolate milk that some one put way to much chocolate syrup in and let sit to room temperature. Not what I expected.

Although the mall parking was full that day the ample seating area outside of Nordstom that serves as the dining room was nearly empty so finding a seat is not an issue here.

One thing that I really liked about Ebar was their mission statement. Not only is their food organic and they serve fait trade coffee, but they serve local food. Also their hot paper cups are biodegradable and their carry out packaging are made from 100% recycled paperboard.

Nordstrom Espresso Bar on Urbanspoon


Fremont Coffeehouse

March 29, 2010

A few houses line the street on a Main Road in Fremont. Amongst busy shops and restaurants they may seem out of place, but upon closer look they house funky boutiques, restaurants, and the Fremont Coffeehouse. Walking inside it is easy to see that this place celebrates its uniqueness.

The rooms of the house have been turned into various areas for seating. This is the perfect set up if you are looking to study, need a cozy place to chat, or have rambunctious children since everyone can find their own nook. Or if the mood takes you sit out on the front porch or set up shop on the larger back porch. Tables ranged in size from cozy two seaters to larger ones for studying with table lamps to boot.

One thing I noticed was that the walls seemed to be in a state of disrepair. There were areas where it appeared that small holes had been repaired and contrasted the orange painting on the walls. In the room R and I choose to sit there was an exposed hole (decent size one at that) on the wall hiding behind a chair. Hmmm….

The coffee was good. I got a Cafe Carmel, which I recommend. It had just the right amount of carmel init so that the taste wasn’t overpowering or overly sweet. However it was cold. R watched them make it and told me later that it didn’t look like they steamed it long enough. They didn’t.

Since we are now on a healthier eating kick R and I decided to split a pastry and got a blueberry coffee cake. It was perfect: crumbly and yet soft. It was a good route to go.

One issue that we ran into was connecting to the internet. R got the info to log online, which you can get at the register. You get 4 hours with purchase. However logging in became much more hassle than it was worth. R, a computer programmer, declared the connection horrible and ended up using an open connection from a business across the street.

Before leaving we picked up a bag of their coffee which I’m eager try and review.

Overall the layout was amazing and worth a trip just to check out. The Coffee was good but could have been better.

Fremont Coffee Company on Urbanspoon


Brew of the Week– Trabant Guatemalan Roast

March 24, 2010

After visiting Trabant Coffee & Chi R and I decided that we couldn’t leave without picking up a bag of their coffee to take home. Since R had the Ethiopian at the cafe we went the route of the Guatemalan Roast.

The roast was amazing, but my I regret not having a better way of brewing it. There are so many subtle hints to this blend that a lot was lost for me after making it in my regular coffee pot. The French Press was the better route to go, but after having it made in Trabant with a clover I knew what I was missing. However that doesn’t mean is was bad by any standard.  It was amazing.

Just having the bag around and smelling the beans was a pleasure. The beans have a fruity smell to them and once brewed there is a notes of peach that are picked up with hint of mocha. A wonderful mix in coffee.

This is a great dessert coffee as well. My suggestion is to get a slice of chocolate cake to eat while savoring the drink. Coffee naturally enhances the flavor of chocolate, but the marriage between these two was amazing. They worked together very well and to me the chocolate only made the coffee more pleasurable to drink bring out the hints of mocha in the blend.

The other thing that I noticed is that this is a coffee that doesn’t do well cold. It needs to be savored while piping hot or a lot of the flavor is lost.  Even luke warm and it isn’t as enjoyable.