Edy Kizaki

Ballard Old Town Gelato

May 29, 2013 in Ballard, Coffeehouses

Gelateria01 Gelateria05 Gelateria06 A couple of hours to fill on a quiet evening right after Memorial Day.  It’s a serious holiday with a lot of remembrance and giving thanks for those who have gone before, sacrificed, left us so much.  Now in the aftermath of that day of contemplation and an almost dreamy looking back quality, what could be better than to head to Old Ballard.  Ballard Ave seems nothing so much as a street cloaked in 100 years of brick and old wood history.  The shops and restaurants are in premium space, so only the best prevail, and perhaps like New York, San Francisco, or some premier European cities, Ballard is most enjoyable because it is so very much itself.  Granted it may be smaller than some of its illustrious cousins mentioned above, but there is so much per square foot that you will never see it all in one day and you will never tire of it.  Most people that live nearby possessively treasure the Ballard Sunday Market and the surrounding Gelateria05old brick and wood buildings with their gold leaf signed windows and the leafy reflections that seem to cast shadows of the past onto our day.  Mornings the streets are quiet but many arrive in search of the bountiful brunch spreads that the local eateries are renowned for.  Afternoon brings shoppers and fresh diners.  And toward evening, the dinner hour begins with popular happy hours that tempt.  And after dinner the drinking, live music, and socializing brings a lively, swirling crowd.

In among all these lovely choices for treats, we knew exactly where we were headed.  My son wanted to go to D’Ambrosio Gelato which he’d been gazing at from the sidewalk last Sunday while at the Farmer’s Market.  “Mom, there’s a new gelato shop, we should try it!” I didn’t have the heart to tell him it wasn’t new, it has in fact been there several years, because at 11 he’s just starting to notice so much and why not let him be a discoverer in his own right.  We parked about seven blocks away but no worries, every foot of the stroll was worthwhile as there is so much to see and experience.  When we got there, the friendly young man behind the counter offered us tastes before we committed ourselves to a flavor or two.  I tried Caramello al Sale (salted caramel) at my son’s recommendation, and found it rich and creamy and rewarding, and then tried the Variegato Amarena (kirsch cherry) and loved it.  I settled on a cup (small, to be as noble as possible) of cherry and lemonatta, a wonderful duo.  Daniel chose the salted caramel and an orange cream.  The server made an art piece of the mix of the two flavors.  We got a fresh cannoli to take home to Dad, with a choice of filling of either traditional cream or (D’Ambrosia’s theme) pistachio cream, filled while we watched.

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You are invited to taste before you make your flavor choices.Sitting in the window, slowing enjoying the creamy treat while watching the blue light in the street and the people passing, we were in no hurry to go anywhere else at all.  As each couple or group came in and ordered, laughing and joking with the young man serving, the remarkable simple pleasure of the moment seemed to permiate the whole cafe and we stayed quite a while just watching the light change and hearing the murmur of voices as people spent some very quiet and somehow dreamy moments together.  I’d like to keep that moment alive in my soul as the week goes forward, but it is great to know that living here in Ballard, it is quite easy to find our way back anytime we have the impulse to visit and taste the wide variety we have yet to enjoy! (For some insight on the Ballard real estate market this month and to look at some Ballard homes for sale, please go to my Ballard Real Estate Now blog.)

Edy Kizaki

Irwin’s Neighborhood Bakery and Cafe in Tangletown

June 4, 2011 in Coffeehouses, Green Lake

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Driving through Green Lake’s Tangletown neighborhood, I spotted a new Irwin’s Neighborhood Bakery and Cafe.  Wow!  I had to stop and check it out, learning that it had just opened May 14.  There are two established locations already in Seattle, in Wallingford and Eastlake, and the scones are legendary.  At the Wallingford bakery they have artist exhibits changing monthly, and hopefully that will emerge here too, as time goes on.

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I just have to mention that they use Cafe Vita coffee, which is my new Seattle roasted favorite (see Cafe Vita Phinney Ridge blog).  Other wildly good goodies available depending when you visit are the blueberry muffins, ginger molasses cookies, mini chocolate chip cupcakes, and breakfast and lunch choices abound, for example the “eggle” a bagle with egg, or spicy chicken chilli or quiche.

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It’s quiet, warm, welcoming, friendly, all in all, highly recommended!  Check out the Menu.

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Edy Kizaki

Green Lake Chocolati Cafe is Superior!

February 10, 2011 in Coffeehouses, Green Lake

Chocolati1Welcome to one of Seattle’s local chocolate factory cafes!  Chocolati Cafe is in 4 locations, this one at Green Lake, and also in Wallingford, Greenwood, Downtown (at Seattle Public Library), and a Factory Outlet which is on Aurora also near Green Lake (at 77th).  If you are out enjoying a stroll around Green Lake, this would be the place to finish up your outing (unless you need cake at Cake Envy instead, or perhaps tempura or even sushi at Mio Sushi just a block west, or even a bowl of award-winning chowder at Duke’s at the west end of the street).  If something hot rich and sweet is what you crave, you’re in for a superior experience at Chocolate Cafe.

It’s not just about taking care of your chocolate habit, or getting a superior valentine gift for that special Chocolati4someone.  Yes, the chocolates are unique recipes and all handcrafted.  But more, the cafes are set up especially to provide the most warm rich comfortable and – ineffably charming – chocolate experience, along with the usual array of Italian coffee reinterpreted in the highest possible chocolate-heaven formats.  Just for example, the Dark Vedar Rasperry Hot Chocolate is just about perfect, if you like warm dark rich sweet and powerfully flavorful beverages.

Chocolati2Chocolati has been a Seattle fixture from just about as soon as it opened in 2000.  An example of why are their hand-dipped chocolate covered fortune cookies.  Can you imagine anything more fun than a package of four (depending on guest count) to finish off a birthday celebration in a Chinese Restaurant?  Or practically anywhere for that matter.  Other richly crafted and unique chocolate products include Hot Chocolati in four flavors…Aztec, Bittersweet, Cayenne (my favorite) and House Blend.  Hot Chocolate Nirvana, they call it, and they have my vote.  A lovingly packaged tin of one of these can hardly miss as a gift for a Satellite or elsewhere to show them what they are missing.  But don’t hesitate to splurge for your own household, this is the real deal.

Beyond hot chocolate, cookies, or hand crafted truffles with a seasonal flair (like the Cayenne Truffle or the Cherry Burgandy Truffle for Valentine’s Day), what would you say to Chocolate Wine Sauce?  There is Dark Chocolate Cabernet, Espresso Merlot, and Raspberry Burgundy.  For those Martha Stewart-like souls who insist on crafting their own delicate holiday chocolate hearts, what could be better to drizzle over?  Or imagine one mixed into Chocolate Mousse, or even drizzled over rich vanilla ice cream with some creme fraiche for an accent.  Decadent?  Yes.  Worthwhile?  Decidedly.  Enjoy!  And don’t feel bad, you deserve something good after walking around Green Lake in the brisk January weather.  Oh, you were running, sorry, that’s what I meant.

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