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Originally published Friday, February 22, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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A sweet, colorful stop on First Hill

I admit I'm no Betty Crocker. When I say I'll bake something, it's more like a threat. Luckily for me, there is Stephanie Crocker, who opened...

Special to The Seattle Times

Pastries and moreSugar Bakery + Cafe

1014 Madison St., Seattle; 206-749-4105, www.sugarbakerycafe.com

Hours: 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays, closed Sundays.

Drinks: No alcohol.

Credit cards: Major ones accepted.

Accessibility: No obstacles.

I admit I'm no Betty Crocker. When I say I'll bake something, it's more like a threat. Luckily for me, there is Stephanie Crocker, who opened Sugar Bakery + Cafe along with her husband, John, this past December.

Groovy little black-framed drawings of cupcakes adorn pink-striped walls, making this First Hill space feel as sweet as the collection of sugar bowls behind the cash register. Doctors in their scrubs, bed-headed late-risers and well-groomed professionals stop in on their way to work for a Caffé Vita and brioche.

I stop in too often. It's a cruel twist of fate that the most direct path to my local YMCA leads right by the bakery.

Sometimes I just don't make it to my workout. Diversions include key lime pie and red velvet cake — available whole or in small "bites" (mini-slices). The chocolate truffle cake is rich and gorgeous.

Savory options are limited at present. So far, we've seen quiche and a breakfast strata.

Cupcakes, shortbread and both sweet and savory scones showcase the talented baker behind it all, who switched from a career as a Web designer to bake full time. Crocker and her husband had an uphill battle for a time — overcoming obstacles like his cancer diagnosis, numerous delays from the city before opening for business and a temperamental secondhand oven.

So Stephanie, we thank you, for making it this far — and the people I used to bake for thank you, too.

Quiche Slice: A mixture of spinach, mushroom, Swiss cheese and, of course, eggs top a buttery, melt-in-your-mouth crust.

Blue Cheese and Spinach Brioche: Pull apart the swirl of light brioche and find spinach leaves within, and a subtle blue-cheese flavor throughout. I like this one for breakfast, when I can drag myself away from the cinnamon brioche.

Cinnamon Brioche: Peel off that fancy paper to find a slightly chewy, slightly crispy caramelized cinnamon roll like no other. Good, soft brioche sends this old standby to new heights.

Key Lime Bite: Tart key lime flavor, with a hint of sweetness, balances out the topping of rich whipped cream all on a buttery crust. Luckily, it leaned toward the lime-fragrant tart side, which I prefer.

Coconut Sno-Ball: This round coconutty treat hit just the right note of sweetness and texture — not too light, not too dense. Great shredded coconut. I should have bought a whole bag.

Blue Cheese and Spinach Brioche$3.00

Cinnamon Brioche $3.00

Key Lime Bite $1.50

Coconut Sno-Ball $1.50

2 Machiattos $4.80

Tax$1.63

Total $19.93

Leigh Haddix: haddixleigh@yahoo.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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