So, I was late. Just not as absurdly late as last week. It was a spectacularly beautiful day in the Emerald City. Clear & blue out in the Cascade foothills, misty in the middle & then a beautiful pink-hued sky as I reached Mercer Island. The Mountain was well & truly out and it was a stunning sight as I zoomed across the I-90 floating bridge towards Capitol Hill. The sun hadn’t reached into the hidden corners of 12th Avenue when I arrived outside Café Presse a tad before 7 am, so I decided breakfast first, photographs second.
Who knew that such a culinary gem would be hidden inside a most unassuming beige rectangular slab of concrete? A tall, narrow room, bar down one side, row of tiny square olive-green colored tables down the other, punctuated with the cheapest (but funnest) bright orange plastic salt & pepper pots. Loud, eclectic music, a huge array of newspaper & magazine titles & a huge TV screen showcasing some sports game or other. The menu came on a small sheet of glaring yellow paper – but then I already knew what I was here for: the best baked eggs in town.
Simple. Magnificent. Astonishingly hot & bubbling on its arrival. And the bread…oh my. And real butter. I was in heaven sopping up all the runny bits of egg & cheese with chunks of French bread slathered in butter. Yum!
All washed down with a couple of cups of steaming hot peppermint tea. But wait…I had room for a little something more…& so, well, I just couldn’t help myself. I mean, they have Pain au Chocolat. How could I not? As I sat there contemplating life, sipping on my tea, the sun peeked over the top of the buildings opposite & tiptoed into the café through the front window. Minutes later Bryan delivered my Pain au Chocolat. I was expecting a small, flaky croissant dough roll with a stick of chocolate baked into the middle. What I got was a hot baguette cut in half lengthwise, with a thick, rich, dark chocolate spread oozing out of the sides. Wow. Ladies, don’t wear make-up when you devour a Pain au Chocolat at Café Presse – you’re gonna end up with chocolate all over your face. And what better way to start a beautiful Spring Saturday!
This was one of those days when I said “wow” a lot. As I drove south on 12th Avenue away from Café Presse the view over the city & the Olympic Mountains was utterly wow. And the view of Mount Rainier as I joined the freeway was almost heart-stoppingly wow. It was one of those I-can’t-believe-how-blessed-I-am-to-be-living-here days. I swear that Seattle on a clear day is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Even getting lost is a pleasure on days like today. Although I do wonder why I get lost in Seattle with such an amazing regularity. It’s funny: I can drive from Seattle to Taos, NM without a map but I can’t get to and from Capitol Hill without turning around at least once. I think this morning I was so busy soaking up all the incredible beauty that I just wasn’t paying attention. Well that’s my excuse & I’m sticking to it.
I’ll be going back to Café Presse for more baked eggs. It couldn’t have been more different than my experience at Anita’s Crepes, but it was just as delightful. In fact, I’ll be going back to Café Presse for more than Baked Eggs. Look at their main menu & you’ll see what I mean. Enjoy!