Volunteer Park Cafe

Written by on May 22, 2010 in I Eat Seattle, I Eat...Out with 0 Comments

(alwaysfreshgoodness.com) – Capital Hill (Volunteer Park)
How I heard of this place: Probably one of Seattle’s most frequented and bustling neighborhood cafes, it’s one that you will see regularly on I Eat Seattle.
Type of cuisine: 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. (To quote their own website.)
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: Six of us enjoyed the beautiful sun in outdoor seating as we savored the flavors of the following VPC delicacies: the brie and apple panini with delicately sliced apples, inside the sandwich, creamy, melted brie and lavender honey on a flaky croissant. One dining companion ordered the BBQ pulled pork sandwich with red cabbage slaw, perfectly coated with flavorful BBQ sauce and tender, juicy pulled pork on a burger bun, lightly decorated with sesame seeds. Two ordered the mushroom panini, full of seasonal mushrooms and melted cheese, with a special aoili. One savored the chicken panini with Italian flavors of arugula, pesto, sun-dried tomatoes and aoili. The sixth in our party ordered the waffle – which everyone enjoyed! – topped with an apple, pear and raisin compote, whipped cream and fresh maple syrup on the side. Upon completion of our delicious and completely satisfying lunch, four cookies magically appeared on our tables – as a generous gift from one of our dining companions (THANK YOU!). The peanut butter with a very light hint of peanut butter flavor in a soft cookie touched with small peanut chunks, the classic chocolate chip cookie, the cherry-toffee oatmeal cookie, with surprising bursts of dried sour cherry amidst the sweet toffee and hearty oatmeal, and the Charlie Brown – a chocolate cookie with an abundance (no shortage here) of peanut butter chips.
What I loved: Seriously, what is not to love at the VPC? Today, I greatly enjoyed the sweet and savory flavors of the apple-brie panini. It was my first taste of the waffle and the pulled pork sandwich. The waffle was sweet, with a spice of cinnamon and other heartier, fall flavors. The pulled pork was also a winner – which surprised me, as I am not usually one to choose pork. It was so perfectly prepared and marinated in order to have less of a meat flavor and more of the sweet tang of BBQ sauce, without being completely drenched with sauce.
Why I loved it: The staff, the service and the food are always good, never bad, and completely worth the trip across town.
Cost: Average for an ample portion and satisfying lunch treat ($5-$9 for paninis).

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