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writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

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taos, new mexico
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writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

visiting only a couple of days. wanna drink amazing coffee in great ambiance and peruse books. A+ for exposed bricks, chandeliers, red velvet couches or amaze-balls pastry.

just sayin.

Seattle, Washington
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1. Re: writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

In the past, I would have directed you to Bauhaus, but they closed permanently.

However, I think that you would probably dig Victrola Coffee on East Pike (or better yet, 15th... although this is more of a trek from downtown). If you are venturing further out to some of the different neighborhoods, then check out Milstead Coffee in Fremont or Stumptown on 12th. Tougo Coffee on 18th and Union is also a great neighborhood shop.

Seattle, Washington
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2. Re: writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

Funky book shop (no coffee) Left Bank Books at 1st Ave & Pike St http://leftbankbooks.com/

Elliott Bay Book Company on 10th Ave Capitol Hill (cafe inside) http://elliottbaybook.com/

I can't say that I've ever found a coffee shop with velvet furniture, chandeliers (or red flocked wall paper?). Any coffee house worth it's salt will sell fresh pastries, etc. There are so many good independent coffee shops here. You can't go wrong with Victrola, Caffe Ladro, Bauhaus (open mornings, temporarily located in the Baltic Room), Zeitgeist or Grand Central Bakery in Pioneer Square.

For a non-corporate Starbucks location visit the one on 15th Ave E http://goo.gl/wcKuZ1 It was originally an 'experiment' when it re-opened after a remodel a few years back. You wouldn't necessarily know you were sitting inside a coffee shop run by a gargantuan multinational corporation. ;o)

Seattle, Wa
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3. Re: writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

Bauhaus is also open now in Ballard, with books, but not the exact decor the OP wants. And while coffee shops will have pastries, they are not going to be the best in town. We have some amazing patisseries/bakeries, but they are separate from the best coffee shops. If you end up on Capitol Hill for coffee, which you probably will, do not miss Crumble and Flake and Bakery Nouveau.

" exposed bricks, chandeliers, red velvet couches "

Umm is that the coffee house in Friends?

Seattle, Washington
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4. Re: writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

There aren't many top bookstores paired with top coffee shops and no combinations of top bookstore/top coffee/ top patisserie. However I can give you some information for each category.

I think you might value this trip list on Seattle coffee. The scene here is always in flux but this is relatively recent.

tripadvisor.com/GoListDetail-i35498-Seattle_…

Most of the coffee shops have various sweets. They typically baked goods from Macrina or Top Pot or

Mighty O etc. These are fine but not spectacular options.

In terms of top pastry here is a list of some of the best places.

Cafe Besalu (Ballard). James Miller was James Beard nominated in the past for Best Pastry and has made the elite semifinalist stage in 2008, 2009 and 2010 but has never made the final cut. They are rated 4.5 stars on Yelp based on 479 reviews with 91.8% 4-5* reviews to only 2.5% 1* or 2*. Zagat rated the food 27/30 (extraordinary to perfection). Their Urbanspoon approval rating is 93%. Miller is a traditionalist who apprenticed in Europe and specializes in Vienoisserie. His cafe name (Besalu) is a reference to a small medieval mountain town in Catalunya in Spain. We have begun to travel fairly regularly in Europe and have eaten at top restaurants and patisseries around Europe and in the US (including most on this list) and think that Miller's croissants and some of this other pastries (like his tarts and gallettes) are virtually unparalleled. Part of what gives Besalu the advantage is that Miller is there all day (7a-3p) baking in small batches (you'll see him, his workstation and the ovens right behind the counter) so that the pastries you get are optimally hot and fresh. In terms of coffee I have been to just about every one of the best reviewed coffee places in the city and find the baristas at Besalu as well trained as any in the city. They have excellent equipment and use 7 Roasters coffee from Ballard, which I find very appealing. Bottom line is that for 11 years I have eaten at Besalu at least once every every week they have been open and I have been in town. Some weeks we eat there two or more times. I have probably eaten at Besalu somewhere between 500 and 1000 times.

Bakery Nouveau (West Seattle and Capitol Hill). William Leaman was part of the US team that won the Coupe du Monde de la Boulangerie in 2005. The West Seattle bakery is like a shrine to that win with the trophy and other memorabilia, which is pretty neat. Even before they opened their Capitol Hill location Leaman had a much bigger operation than Besalu. I was reading an article (modern-baking.com from October 2008) that stated that he had 35 employees of which 15 were production putting out 150 products (bread, pastry, chocholate, confectionary, sandwiches, cakes, cookies, pizza) with around 120 available at any time and serving 250-500 customers per day. Both branches are currently rated 4.5 stars on Yelp (based on 733 reviews for W.Seattle and based on 123 reviews for Capitol Hill). For Capitol hill 89.4% of reviews are 4-5* and only 4% are 1-2*. For W.Seattle 91.4% are 4-5* and 3.4% 1-2*. Zagat rated the bakery 29 (extraordinary to perfection). Urbanspoon ratings are 100% (Capitol Hill) and 93% (W.Seattle)

Crumble and Flake (Capitol Hill) This reasonably new and small bakery has been a hot ticket. Neil Robertson worked at top local restaurants like Canlis and Mistral Kitchen before opening his own place. I haven't been because I was reluctant to drive across town from my neighborhood (Ballard) to stand in line at a place that was selling out of pastries within, sometimes, a few hours. Given their small production they still sell out of items but my impression is that this is not a big issue for them or customers anymore. They have 4.5* on Yelp based on 135 reviews. 114 (85%) of reviews have been 4* or 5* to 7.4% (1-2*). However it looks like the negative reviews were disproportionately the first reviews and were focused on the lines and selling out of items. It looks like they are reviewed in Zagat under shopping rather than with restaurants and get a score of 23/30 for quality (very good to excellent). Their Urbanspoon approval rating is 96%.

La Reve (Upper Queen Anne). A very charming cafe with an amazing front patio on attractive upper Queen Anne. I have been driving over from Ballard taking occasional breaks from Besalu. Very very solid pastries with their bacon/onion croissant being perhaps my favorite savory pastry in town. I wrote an excellent TA review of the bakery. Their Zagat rating of 28 has surpassed Besalu's and is just behind Bakery Nouveau. Inexplicably their Yelp reviews average just 4.* About of their 154 reviews 80% are 4-5* and 9.7% are 1-2.*

Honore (Ballard). Another small neighborhood bakery with a devoted following. The croissants and other pastries are generally excellent. They are rated 4.5* on Yelp based on 274 reviews. They have 88.3% 4-5* reviews to 3.3% 1-2* reviews. They do a few things that Besalu does not like the Kouign Aman, canelles and macarons. Their Urbanspoon approval rating is 94%.

Fuji Bakery (International District/Interbay/Bellvue) - This was big news when they opened with head baker Taka Hirai who worked for Joel Robuchon's Michelin *** restaurant in Tokyo. It was named one of Seattle Magazine's Best New Restaurants of 2011. They closed all locations after Hirai left last July but their new main baking facility has opened in Interbay so their shops are up and running again. The pastries are excellent. We had a variety of savory (like a curry bun) and sweet. One specialty is pastry with asian influences. They also sampled their so called "milk stick" which is a tiny baguette filled with a kind of cream/condensed milk. They get 3.5-4* on Yelp at the various locations with Urbanspoon ratings between 84% and 100%. Hard to make sense out of the varying reviews.

Le Panier (Pike Place Market). I don't think Le Panier is in the same class quite as Besalu or Bakery Nouveau but they are very solid and the Yelp reviews are great (4.5* based on nearly 1000 reviews with 4-5* reviews making up about were about 86.5% of their total and 4.3% 1-2* reviews). Zagat now rates them 27/30. For most visitors they are also among the most convenient as they are located right in the heart of Pike Place Market.

Belle Epicurian (downtown). They actually have another location in Madison Park but the downtown location is approximately at 4th and Seneca so it is convenient. It was getting solid reviews (4* Yelp; 23 Zagat; 91% Urbanspoon).

Macrina (belltown). Macrina used to be the place in town for baked goods and they have a bigger business supplying grocery stores, coffee shops etc. with bread and pastry. They have several locations. The primary one is in Belltown (between the core section of downtown and Seattle Center). They get 4* on Yelp with about 80% 4-5* reviews and about 8% 1-2* reviews. Their Urbanspoon approval rating is 95% and 25 Zagat.

Fresh Flours (Ballard). This bakery used to have its production kitchen up on Phinney Ridge but moved it to historic Ballard Avenue. They started as a Japanese style bakery but they do a range of pastries and I enjoy a lot of what they make -- which ranges from macarons to Japanese fusion pastries and a range of other things like scones, muffins, quiche, croissants, danish and my favorite -- the bostock. They have been getting ratings averaging 4* on Yelp and a Google Review score of 25.

If you are interested in the danish bakeries I would also recommend Nielsen's (4.5* Yelp, 98% Urbanspoon) on lower Queen Anne and Larsen's in Ballard (4.5* Yelp and 89% Urbanspoon).

Bookstores:

…cbslocal.com/2011/…

…cbslocal.com/top-lists/…

The best bet for coffee in a great bookstore would be at Elliott Bay Book Co. in Capitol Hill. EB is Seattle's greatest indie bookstore. It used to be in Pioneer Square but lost its lease (I think). In any event it relocated to Capitol Hill and is a great fit with the neighborhood. It is a very large bookstore (not like Powell's or the Strand) but very substantial. The cafe is Elliott Bay Cafe which is not as well loved as the bookstore but there are really not enough reviews for that to be a valid indicator of anything. They serve Fonte coffee. Fonte is one of Seattle's many excellent local roasters.

Another on Capitol Hill is Richard Hugo House's Cafe Hugo. RHH is a literary center not a bookstore but I thought you might find it of interest.

https://hugohouse.org/

https://hugohouse.org/content/cafe-hugo

As mentioned Bauhaus on Capitol Hill was recently forced to relocate temporarily while their historic building is incorporated into a larger building complex but I understand they will be back. In the meantime they have opened a location in Ballard in a spot that was previously a used book store and they are sharing space with a used book store Twice Sold Tales. That particular intersection (20th and Market St.) is Ballard's last used bookstore bastion. Across 20th in the WH Murphy Bldg are John Michael Lang used books & Anderson's books and prints plus Art Book Press.

Left Bank Books in Pike Place Market is a great place but is a collective run anarchist shop with a focus on "anti-authoritarian, anarchist, independent, radical and small-press titles." There is no coffee shop but there are several good coffee shops in and around the market including Fonte, Local Color, Seattle Coffee Co., and Cafe Ladro.

Third Place Books in Ravenna is a little far afield from downtown (as is Ballard) and is also a pretty great bookstore. They have Vios Greek Cafe and the Third Place Pub.

There are many other used bookstores around town. I am out of time for the moment but I can give you some more ideas.

-K

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5. Re: writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

Klsalas, once again you have done a solid service to readers of Tripadvisor with a wonderfully detailed post. I can add my 2 cents based on personal experience. You are right; Le Panier is just not in the same league as the others mentioned. Their baked goods are good, but not great in any sense of the word. Their pastries have a little too much air pumped into them, and they just don't get the proper Maillard reaction. You can find pastries at this level in most large American cities, and they are not anything special. Macrina is not what it should be, either. Yes, I know that they are practically a Seattle icon, but they do not achieve the right balance between whole and refined grains, and their sugar/sweetness levels don't quite work. They try too hard, and their pastries are more ideological than pleasurable.

Left Bank Books is funny in a time capsule, fossil kind of way, but it is not what the OP is looking for (as you have basically pointed out). It reminds me of Comrade Bob Avakian's Albanian Communist bookstore back in Cambridge, Massachusetts during the heyday of Enver Hoxha.

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6. Re: writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

Not sure if the OP has been here yet but just came across this 10 Spots of Literary Worth map from Curbed Seattle ...

…curbed.com/archives/…more

Tucson, Arizona
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7. Re: writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

Just stumbled on this thread and am saving it for all the excellent information. The #4 post by klsalas will be especially useful for me during my 6-month stays in Seattle.

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8. Re: writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

I can think of cofee houses with velvet sofas and I can think of ones with books, but I can't think of one that has both these things?! suze

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9. Re: writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

I enjoy Local Color at the Pike Place Market. Funky art on the walls, good things to eat and couches in the back.

http://www.localcolorseattle.com

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10. Re: writer/artist seeks coffee house/book shop for TRUE LOVE

both locations of Top Pot Donuts have pretty cool space.