Volunteer Park Cafe

Written by on April 7, 2010 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(alwaysfreshgoodness.com) – Capital Hill
How I heard of this place: Not quite certain how, but I have known about the VPC for years and was so pleased to try it with good company on more than one occasion.
Type of cuisine: Per their site: The cafe uses fresh, locally sourced ingredients to create food that is delicious home-style goodness. House made pastries, savory and sweet, and a selection of fresh salads, soups, and sandwiches provide daytime provisions ordered at the counter. As the light dims and the candles are lit, table service begins and guests cozy in under vintage chandeliers to experience the rustic ever-changing menu of seasonal offerings…the dinner menu focuses on braised meats, fresh fish, artisan pizzas, home spun dishes, and seasonal salads.
Ambiance: Comfortable, casual and cozy, just like a bay window nook in your own kitchen. The space is small when considering the number of people that frequent the establishment for brunch, lunch and dinner, so come early, expect a wait and also expect to have your taste buds experience some off-the-charts flavors of goodness! Throw pillows line the benches at the windows of the cafe, while wooden chairs and tables grace the rest of the place. A vanity is strategically utilized as a place to fill your glass of water, find to-go amenities for your beverage orders and napkins, and a drawer full of eating utensils. Help yourself before, after and throughout your meal. You must order your meal at the counter and your name will be called out when your dish has been plated and is ready for pick up at the opposite end of the counter. A basket full of rustic, artisan bread graces the end of the counter for those who order soups, salads and other delicacies off the chalkboard menu. The brunch/lunch is definitely child-friendly, but I haven’t yet been for dinner, so that is to be determined. But the space seems conducive to spending an hour reading and enjoying a cup of coffee and a pastry or enjoying a lunch with a couple of friends, our beau or your children.
What I ordered: The last time I was at VPC I was steered toward the roasted mushroom panini with seasonal roasted mushrooms, caramelized onions, arugula, Tellegio, and herb aoili on rye bread. This time I decided to try the herb roasted chicken and arugula panini with chicken breast, oven-dried tomato, fresh mozarella, Fontina, basil aoili and arugula served on country bread. My dining companions this time both opted for the warm hazelnut crusted Chevre salad with sliced pear served over organic field greens tossed in a pomegranate vinaigrette. One also ordered – off the breakfast menu – the brie and apple panini (served on a baguette or croissant) with lavendar honey to add bulk to the salad meal. Having once upon a time tried the large, easily shared chocolate chip and toffee cookie we knew, going in, that it would once again be on our dessert list! This time, I also ordered the Charlie Brown (double chocolate cookie – chocolate batter and chocolate – with peanut butter chips). Both were, as is everything at the VPC, amazing!
What I loved: I always go to the VPC on an empty stomach, knowing full well that the meal will be plentiful (if you order the paninis; salads are less filling) and that I cannot leave without having had at least one dessert cookie! I also truly enjoy the friendliness of the staff, their grace in the midst of each meal rush and their quickness at getting your made-to-order salads, freshly tossed and paninis, freshly assembled and grilled to your table! The presentation of pastries is awesome as it parallels the line-up toward the “order here” hanging. Nearly everything about this place is something I love. Though, to be completely honest, the pillows and seating cushions could be replaced to add comfort (unless it’s done specifically to get the customers out and the waiting masses in).
Why I loved it: I love the food – am never disappointed with the salads, sandwiches and sweet goodies and the company is great! It is also nice to come in and people watch, to not feel rushed, despite the lines going out the door and to be in a comfortable “home” environment.
Cost: mid to high for a panini ($8-$8.50), salad ($8-$9.50) and cookie ($2 each), but worth the cost!

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