The Big Breakfast Adventure | Cafe Flora

(In case you missed how the Big Breakfast Adventure got started, you can read it  here:  How it all began)

I started to fall for Cafe Flora pretty much the moment I stepped inside.  I sat by the window in the atrium.  OK, so really, the entire atrium is one big window & with a huge skylight in the middle of the ceiling plus a waterfall in the middle of the floor you could easily imagine that you were in some garden cafe somewhere warm & sunny.  Even on a sub-zero Saturday in Seattle.  Cafe Flora is quite delightful.

While I was waiting for my breakfast buddy to arrive, 2 glasses of water appeared on the table.  Without any ice in them.  Excuse me?  When did the no ice thing ever happen in America without a specific request not to put any in?

And then, when I touched the glass: W A R M.  That’s it.  I’m in love.  I think I want to move to Madison Park.

Being freeze-your-butt-off cold outside meant that I had to at least have the dreaded Hot Chocolate Conversation with  our server, even if I ended up with no Hot Chocolate to drink.  Well.  Wouldn’t you know it.  She said it was good.  Great, in fact.  Hand-made to order.  With real chocolate.  And no sugar.  And…wait for it…she asked, “We make it with whole milk, is that OK?”.  Oh Cafe Flora, should I ever get married I’d like to do it right here in your atrium.  I felt like I should raise my hands to heaven.  Hot chocolate made with fat milk & real chocolate.  Hallelujah!  And, as you can see, it was served in a casserole dish.  It was $2.  I had two casserole dishes full.

CK, my veggie expert from a previous Veggie Breakfast Adventure rolled up & immediately had a similarly heavenly experience with our server when ordering a coffee.  She was offered, I swear, at least 7 different types of milk, none of which ever originated from a cow.

The menu (I mean the physical paper thing) was a revelation.  Listing 13 local farms & dairies, the words ‘organic’, ‘vegan’, ‘gluten-free’ & ‘soy-free’ appearing more times than I care to count & some of the most unusual sounding breakfast dishes I’d heard of.  Plus this, on the front:

Our Goals:

Our guests will rave about our International, seasonal vegetarian cuisine.

Out guests will feel welcome and exceptionally well served.

Our employees will be exemplary, feel well treated and want to stay.

Our community, near and far, will benefit from our presence.

The image you see above is my breakfast.  The award for the Best Veggie Breakfast in Seattle went to Cafe Flora for their Hoppin’ John Fritters & clearly that’s not what I ate.  I have failed you.  I am bereft.  For almost an entire year I have faithfully, dutifully eaten what I was supposed to, where I was supposed to, in order to eat my way through the 55 Best Breakfasts in Seattle.  I have not wavered.  I have not cheated.  Not once.  Except when Taste no longer served their Chicken & Waffles.  Even then I had the closet thing to it.  But today, I failed you. I wanted to do the right thing.  I wanted to eat the Hoppin’ John Fritters.  But see, there was this little symbol next to it on the menu in the shape of a pepper, which translated to “not for the spice intolerant”.  I am {very} spice intolerant.  So I asked if I could have a non-spicy version.  No.  Could I have  less-spicy version?  No.  Is there no way to modify it so that I can at least get it into my mouth without calling the fire department?  No.  The spices, you see, are integral.

So there, lovely readers, was my dilemma.  I could order it , eat a forkful, run screaming from the building & write a really short review that said, “It was so hot my mouth caught fire.  The End”.  Or, I could choose the next most veggie thing on the menu that I could actually put in my mouth & write about that instead.  I went for the latter.  I hope that you don’t mind too much.

 I ordered up the Breakfast Quesadilla:   flour tortilla with roasted yam, poblano peppers, corn and pepper jack cheese wrapped with egg topped with Snappy Sauce and tomatillo salsa.  Served with lime creme fraiche and wild greens in cilantro vinaigrette.

 It was like a cheese and veggie quesadilla inside a thin omelet.  It was an interesting experience to eat the crispy tortilla hiding under the soft omelet.  It exploded with flavors every time I took a bite. The greens were fresh & certainly wild.  I do like my men greens to be a bit wild.

CK (aka Ms. Veggie) was almost hyper-ventilating while reading the menu since she could eat every last item on it, but it was when she got to the Basic Breakfast that I thought I was going to have to call the EMTs.  And all because of some soy sausage.  It came with potatoes or cheesy grits.  She wanted both.  She got both.

We’d decided before we ordered anything that we would likely need to share some beignets after the breakfast plates were done.  The beignets come in 3s or 5s, neither of which is divisible by 2 so I asked if we could head for some middle ground and get 4, otherwise they might just end up with a fist-fight right there in the middle of their atrium.

Our server quickly saw the wisdom in our request & very kindly brought us 4.

They looked absolutely nothing like I expected.  My previous beignet exploits have all been rather odd, & these square little pillows were surely the oddest of them all.  So I figured it was about time for me to find out what America thinks a beignet is.  Ah!  Now I begin to understand why I am confused & somewhat disappointed in the beignet department.  Hello, Wikipedia.  Cafe Flora’s Beignets are the Traditional New Orleans deep fried yeast pastries…aka…deep fried cake donuts.  Here’s a peek inside:

I always find cake donuts rather dense & heavy & these were no exception, although it has to be said they were the tastiest & lightest I’ve had.  The Cinnamon Creme Anglaise was light & silky, intensely cinnamon-y & perfectly made.  I could have supped on a whole cup of it.  That plus the Raspberry Coulis definitely helped the beignets go down.

I am going back.  I really want to eat the Brie & Roasted Pear Sandwich.  I really want to eat the Cara Cara Orange Ricotta Pancakes.  I really want to eat the Cranberry Blood Orange French Toast.  And the Winter Root Vegetable Hash.  And darn it, most everything else they serve up.

Cafe Flora’s Menu, I want to marry you but I think maybe we should date first.

Cafe Flora on Urbanspoon

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