Fresh Flours

Given that Seattle, Bellevue, and Everett have the second-largest concentration of coffee shops in the country, startup cafes are smart to surprise customers with something new and different. Keiji Koh and Estuko Minematsu do just that at Fresh Flours. The concept? Fusing a variety of standard pastry recipes with Japanese culinary traditions. Soft, fluffy kabocha muffins ($2 apiece) accent the flavor of Japanese pumpkin with pumpkin seeds and white chocolate. Azuki brioche ($2.50) is a marriage of the traditional butter-soft crust with a filling of subtly sweet sugar-boiled Japanese red beans. The satsuma-imo (Japanese sweet potato) tart ($3) is dense and buttery in flavor, a petite treat that requires no chaser. And don't leave without a prepackaged assortment of matcha (powdered green tea), black sesame, and chocolate-almond shortbread cookies ($4.50), which blend delightfully unusual flavors with familiar shortbread. Drinks range from standard (Flours' coffee beans come from Victrola) to creative. The caramel chai ($2.85 short, $3.25 tall, $3.65 grande) tastes like regular chai, but the green-tea latte ($2.95 short, $3.35 tall, $3.75 grande) is like a delicious—albeit warm—milkshake. As for the decor: IKEA sleek meets shabby chic, with high windows and low furniture opening up the room. The vibe is refreshingly springy, even on a wintry day. 6015 Phinney Ave. N., 206-297-3300, www.freshfloursseattle.com. PHINNEY RIDGE

 
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