Belle Pastry Nothing to Wink At

In the world of coffee, there are places you go where you can get coffee, and then there are places where you go to get coffee. These not the same thing, although resources such as "Urbanspoon" frequently equate them, and the general Yelp population frequently rates coffee shops based on pastry quality. Curiously, this almost never goes the other way: rating pastry shops on coffee quality. As a gluten-free coffee drinker, I find the imbalance (not to mention, the confusion of categories) mildly offensive, as it sometimes lures me into excellently-rated "coffee shops" that are actually bakeries, and where I can only deduce nobody in the online rating cohort ever tried the espresso.

In this city, "hey, let's get coffee" is your best bet for sidling around any real or imagined "Seattle Freeze"... friends and strangers alike, we all love our caffeine. But here's the thing: sometimes, people get coffee at coffee shops. Sometimes, they get coffee at pastry shops. Either way, if you can't eat pastries, coffee is all you've got.

This week, I "got coffee" downtown at Belle Pastry, on the corner of Spring and Western where the latest addition to the Belle Pastry family replaced the old Chez Dominique about two months ago. As should have tipped me off from the name, Belle Pastry is one of those places where you can get coffee, but it definitely does not fall into the category of place that you should go for coffee.

Unable to speak to the quality of the pastries, I will simply remark that I can't imagine why anyone would want to eat something that was winking at them. It's creepy. (Creepier than gingerbread men.) The coffee was potable, but honestly of no higher caliber than what you would find at... well... Denny's.

Coffee and creepy cookies aside: the great crime of Belle Pastry, in my opinion, is that it does not offer wi-fi. Why, I ask, in a world where even Starbucks offers free wireless, would you not have wi-fi? It seems like a poor business decision to me.

Belle Pastry offers a menu of little individual treats and tarts as well as a variety of cookies and cakes (winking and non-winking alike). I hear the croissant sandwiches are good, so stop in and check it out... but get your coffee elsewhere, and don't go under the impression that you might be able to get your Facebooking out of the way while there.

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