Seattle is a great place to live in the fall. I was contemplating that fact last week, looking down a tree-lined 25th Street, from the corner of its intersection with East Union in the Central District. While we might miss out on some of the fall colors places in the Appalachian Mountains can boast, we have plenty else I would never want to trade. We have a phenomenal backdrop of snow-capped mountains, lakes and ocean, and this persistent green through which old neighborhoods, dense with old trees, bask in a shade of green-and-gold sunlight I'm not sure you could find anywhere else.
Mezzanine seating at Cortona Cafe.
If this were a video, instead of a blog, now would be the time to [pause scene] and insert a giant arrow pointing to the cup of coffee in my hand as I stand on the street corner, to show you that this opening is not completely apropos of nothing. I almost never visit the Central District. But in the roundabout way that life seems to go, a server at Mama's Mexican Kitchen just happened to invite me to her art show at Cortona Cafe, which, ultimately, was why I came to be standing on the corner outside Cortona: with coffee, admiring Seattle on a lovely fall day.Cortona Cafe is a relatively young cafe, passionate about facilitating community development, and bringing people together. Accordingly, their pastries offer a bit of something for everyone, from your average coffee shop fare, to packaged gluten-free products from Sunny Valley Wheat Free, to vegan offerings from I Can't Believe It's Vegan.
On the coffee front, Cortona is interesting because it uses coffee from Herkimer, but carries a close affiliation with Tougo (a Stumptown proponent). At least in my limited experience, this combination of "ideal" flavor profiles provides a different lens for Herkimer's espresso, resulting in a slightly less aggressive (though still distinctly Herkimer) beverage. Various people disagree with my assessment of how much bite there is to Herkimer's espresso, but regardless, I enjoyed the mellowed Cortona Americano version. As well as the genuine friendliness of the barista who prepared it.
The one thing I wish I'd known in advance of my visit is that the cafe also offers an impressive waffle menu. Had I known this, I would have planned a breakfast visit rather than a post-lunch visit. Honestly, I can't really think of a better way to start a day than with coffee AND waffles.
Return visit required.