Lounging at All City Coffee

All City Coffee has at least two locations in the Seattle area. Their flagship store is the one located in George town and the second store is located in downtown Seattle, in the Pioneer Square area. I had ‘been to’ the George town location a couple of years ago but I don’t really remember much about it. And even after I had been to visited the Pioneer Square location on more than a few times, it took me a while to actually make the connection… more so after I was looking at my collection of coffee shop signs is when I remembered having taken a picture of this sign a while back.

Being more familiar with the Pioneer Square location, I find the interior decor to be rather interesting in that in addition to the seating at the main level, there is a small fight of stairs that leads to am retro lounge type area which though unwalled gives users a some level of privacy, while at the same time will does not feel isolating from the rest of the room. Its a nice place to hang out if you wanted to be in the place but yet away and secluded from the rest of the place.

I had always assumed that All City Coffee were basically a coffee roasting company. I don’t know why… but I did. So I was rather surprised to find that not only do they not roast thier own coffee, but they actually get their coffee from Caffé Vita. Not that Caffé Vita is bad, not by any means. In fact All City Coffee actually do a pretty decent job with their coffee. I think the problem for me is, as I have said before, there are way too many coffee shops in Seattle the serve Caffé Vita coffee beans and so after a while, there isn’t really anything that will differentiate one coffee shop serving Caffe Vita from another coffee shop that also serves Caffé Vita. That’s just my own little take…

I guess the bottom line is, even though they do make decent coffee, there are at least five coffee shops or coffeehouses within short walking distance where I can try espresso made from beans other than Caffé Vita. These coffeehouses include Trabant, Café Umbria, Zeitgeist, Frontier Coffee and the Elliot Bay Bookstore Cafe. An so the problem is that I don’t find myself going to All City Coffee often.

But that being said, it actually is a nice space to lounge and enjoy an espresso… and if you have a chance, do go check it out and let me know what you think

illy Meets Vios

Illy Meets Vios, originally uploaded by andai.

Ok, before I start, I must get this out…. Vios Cafe and Marketplace serves really great Greek food and they have awesome deserts that would certainly go really well with an excellent espresso. This place is probably my second or third most favorite Greek restaurant/café/whatever.

What I also like about Vios Cafe is that it has a small marketplace very similar to that of Volunteer Park Café and Marketplace where you can by various Greek foodstuffs and ingredients you can take home to prepare your own meal.

What I also find interesting about my dining experiences with Vios though is that all these years (well there not that many but enough anyway) that I have been going there with family and friends for dinner, it was only the last couple of times I was there, maybe three or four months back that I actually did start ordering lattes… I don’t normally order lattes will dinner because I find them already filling, but I had to order at Vios because I was interested in seeing just to see how they stacked up to the coffeehouses in the area.

Vios has two locations, one in the Capital Hill area and the other in the Ravenna neighborhood. The one in Capital hill is a proper stand along cafe while the one in Ravenna is connected to Third Place Books, making it a fun place to visit as you can get your coffee and hang out in the bookstore if you are not interested in sitting in the dining area.

But I think the most interesting thing about Vios is the fact thatthey, i.e. both locations, serve illy coffee. Now just in case you don’t know illy, they are an Italian coffee roaster. Bein that Viso is a Greek restaurant, and a really great one at that, I would have thought that they would be serving the finest in Greek (or Greeek style) coffees… but they don’t.

Regardless, I think their coffee is actually decent. I have ordered it on quite a few occasions when having lunch or dinner there. And I have been relatively happy with the coffee that I got. It was nice and strong, good foam and well made. And being that this is Cafe Vita and Stumptown territory, it is nice to have outlets that serve something different. Illy is one of those coffees that I don’t get to try often, and this is simply because there are not too many places in the Seattle area, that I know of, that do serve that particular brand of coffee.

The main problem I have though is that Vios, at least the one on Capital hill, are not open in the morning, which is the time that I usually have my initial coffee cravings. As I have mentioned before, I tend not to like drinking lattes and such with dinner so whenever I go to Viso for dinner, lattes are usually the last thing on my mind. The other issue is Fuel. The original Fuel Coffee location is just a couple of blocks away from the Vios location and when I happen to be in the area looking for coffee, I find myself going to Fuel pretty much more often than I would go to Vios…. and so it pretty hard for me to go to Vios strictly for the coffee.

But I would certainly encourage you to give the place a try… and maybe ask for Greek style coffee and see what they say 🙂

The Last Weekend

Hard to believe but this ia my last weekend here. After about five years living I’m this house, we are moving out. We no longer own a house, nor are we renting our own place. We will be staying with a friend untill we officially move. Weird…

Local Color, Art, Coffee and More…

Local Color, originally uploaded by andai.

Local Color is another of a myriad of coffee shops located in Pike Place Market. Though I have been there a couple of times, I don’t go there much, if at all, simply because this place is just not my style.

This has nothing to do with the coffee being bad or anything like that. Rather it just the atmosphere and the décor of Local Color is not something that I feel. The other part of it is the fact that a lot of the people who hang out there seem to be the touristy kind and clearly being that Local Color is located in Pike Place Market, one would expect that a large number of the clientele would be tourists and visitors in bad shorts, ugly sandals and Hawaiian shirts. Places with these sorts of customers do not really appeal to me as a place that I personally want to hang out and chill.

Now that being said, I think the biggest reason I don’t go there much is because Local Color serves Caffé Vita coffee beans. Now I know that for some, Caffé Vita is local favorite. But for me I think I have been to one too many coffee shops here in Seattle that serves Caffé Vita and they all seem to serve the same blend i.e. the Del Sol blend and quite frankly I am tired of it. Now if they served something like Caffé D’Arté or Café Umbria or even Fonté or Bartdof & Bronson coffees, I wouldn’t hang out there, but I would certainly go there to get my latte to go. But being that they are a Caffé Vita shop, I am not really compelled to go there at all.

To be fair I have to say that the owner of the place is a really nice and friendly lady and from my own casual observation she seems be doing somewhat decent business. I would certainly say that if you do like Caffé Vita, or even of you don’t really care too much about the coffee roaster but you simply want some decent espresso drinks, that I would say by all means do go checkout the place. Certainly, there are plenty of folks who go there often to get their espresso drinks and a touch of local color.

Caffé Fioré, the Organic Coffeehouse

Caffé Fioré Excellence, originally uploaded by andai.

Ahh yes.. Caffé Fioré! This is actually one of my other favorite coffeehouses which in reality I don’t get to visit much. And the reason for this being that they have three main locations, one in Ballard, one in Sunset Hill and the third on Queen Ann, none of which is close to the places I tend to frequent during my coffee craving periods. Now if they had a location in the Capital Hill area which would have been much more awesome.

It also happens that whenever I tend to find myself in the Ballard or Queen Ann neighborhoods (I have no idea where Sunset Hill is), I am not necessarily in the mood for coffee, having satisfied my cravings earlier in the day. As much as I love coffee and I do drink a lot of it, I still have to be in the right mindset to get another cup especially when its in the afternoon or evening.

What makes it even trickier now though is that Top Pot, another of my favorite coffee shops, or more accurately a donuts shop that sells great coffee, recently opened up their third retail space just a block away from the Caffé Fioré location on Queen Ann… So I sit there perplexed… thinking.. arrghh… what do I choose? Do I go for great donuts and coffee at Top Pot? Do I go for great coffee at Caffé Fioré? Someone tell me what I should do!!!

One thing though about Caffé Fioré that I really like is the interior decor. I really love the orange and muted brown colors that seem to give the place great ambient lighting and a relaxing atmosphere. The place on Queen Ann, which is the one that I tend to visit, always has some students studying quietly in there with their cups of coffee, text books, calculators and WI-FI.

I do think their coffee is good. Its been a while since I was there so I can’t really describe it much but I can tell you that if the coffee was bad, I would certainly have remembered and made a mental note, not to visit there again. Unfortunately, other than the fact that they supposedly serve organic coffee, I can’t really tell you much about their coffees, where they get it from, whose their roaster and all that, but when I go back there next, I will be updating this post will all the details.

Irwin’s Bakery and Coffee House

Irwin’s Bakery and Coffee House, originally uploaded by andai.

A couple of years back, I used to pass by this coffee house in the Wallingford area every Sunday morning. However I had only been inside once or twice and quite frankly I didn’t really remember much about the coffee. So a couple of months ago, I decided to drop in once again and this time pay attention.

Well once Saturday afternoon, while I was out and about, I dropped in pretty late. This was just around 5:00 PM and they were to be closing soon. The barista who served me was a nice enough chap. Probably a high school senior I guessed based on his looks and the fact that as they were closing, a young couple, about to go on their prom date, stopped by to visit and show off their outfits.

Maybe I should have paid attention but I don’t remember much of what he told me about their coffee. I do know though that they serve Caffé, and he was trying to tell me all these good things about Caffé. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that I was pretty much familiar with Caffé but I did appreciate that he was customer centric and proud of their product.

The coffee was not too bad though it was nothing really memorable. They, as I rightly guessed, served the Caffé Del Sol blend which is pretty much the same blend that just about all of the coffee shops and coffeehouses in Seattle that serve Caffé Vita coffee will serve. If you like Caffé Vita, or you happen to live close by, I suppose Irwin’s is a decent place to hang out…

Oh… and I should have asked but I didn’t so I don’t know who Irwin is. But guessing from the name and also the design style of the coffee shop signboard, Irwin might be some Irish lady

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