Dear Readers…you know how I am about my breakfasts. I like a bit of protein. OK, I like a lot of protein. Breakfast just isn’t breakfast without protein. So. When it came to trying out the Best Cinnamon Roll in Seattle, my heart was just not really getting with the program. On top of that, I just don’t care for Cinnamon Rolls either. I like all the constituents, but somehow, put them all together & Cinnamon Rolls just don’t do it for me. So, I had to inveigle a Cinnamon Roll LOVER to accompany me. Of course, the mere mention of the words “Cinnamon Roll” are enough to send one particular friend, Mic, into a complete tailspin, so I didn’t have to work very hard at the inveigling bit. Actually, it was zero work. Ding! That was easy. The only possible hitch in my plan was that the Best Cinnamon Roll in Seattle actually resides in Maltby, in the middle of absolutely nowhere. Mic is absolutely hopeless at driving anywhere new without getting lost. So I figured that if we tried to put those two absolutes together it might all go a bit sideways. As it turns out, Mic found The Maltby Cafe without too much trouble. I was already siting at our table, chomping at the bit. Not for Cinnamon Rolls, you understand, but for just about everything else on the unbelievably huge menu.
Let’s talk Raisin Toast for a minute. Several years back (about 22 to be precise) I lived in Perth, Australia, where I worked as Head Pastry Chef at Maison Perry, a fabulous French-style patisserie. Unfortunately, the owner of Maison Perry was a total a** & I abandoned my post after a year, got on a Greyhound bus& took 2 months to circumnavigate that strange yet stunning island. During my Great Bus Ride around Australia I became very partial to raisin toast & it seems to me that my breakfast almost every single day of that 2 month tour consisted of hot chocolate and raisin toast. YUM. What does this have to do with The Maltby Cafe? Well, nothing, except for the fact that as soon as I saw homemade raisin toast listed on the menu I was immediately transported back to the outside deck of a cafe in Adelaide where I recall having the most delicious raisin toast while sitting in the early morning sunshine looking out over the Torrens River. Sigh.
Meanwhile, back at the Maltby Cafe…Mic arrived shortly after my pot of peppermint tea & we pored over the menu together. Impossible to choose so I ended up going with the server’s no-hesitation-when-asked favorite – The California Scramble. What is it about avocado that makes everything it gets added to become “Californian”? Seriously. I’d like to know. What’s the California / avocado connection? The scramble was, well, a large plate of warm food. It was nothing to write home about, and yet, here I am writing about it.
Mic had Roughneck Potatoes & Eggs & declared them to be awesome. Of course, by the time we had polished off our breakfast plates we were completely full…and we still had to devour a Cinnamon Roll, the very reason for our visit. We ordered it. They are not lying when they say it’s huge. It’s HUGE. A mound of dough as big as a human head. A big human head.
I ceremoniously cut it into 6 so that we could at least taste the thing, although we knew that most all of it was destined for Lynnwood in a box. Covered in white fondant icing (we both prefer cream cheese on our cinnamon rolls we later decided) this thing was sticky & soft, but I gotta say, it was also pretty dry. There were a few walnuts floating around, maybe a raisin or two & a fair amount of cinnamon woven through it’s walls. It was good. But it certainly didn’t make my toes curl or my mouth swoon. It was just a huge cinnamon roll to me.
The Maltby Cafe has won awards up the ying-yang for both it’s Cinnamon Rolls & it’s breakfasts in general. I mean, seriously. Awards & write-ups everywhere including the Food Network magazine. They’ve even won the award for THE Best Breakfast in Seattle at least once. The walls are plastered in rave reviews for their wares. People love this place.
The Cafe is cavernous, which is a good thing since hordes of people travel to eat breakfast there. The servers are round & homely. They also all look to be related. The building that the Cafe is housed in is adorable. In fact, the whole of Maltby is adorable & must account for some of the utter charm of coming all the way out here to eat. Just up the street there is a most glorious antique store. Don’t miss a wander round it when you go. And get there early if you don’t want to wait for your breakfast or your cinnamon roll…like I said, people love this place. Although just because people love something, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s good.
Would I go back? With out-of-towners, yes. With foreigners, yes. The charm & funky factor would make it a fun experience for non-locals. To get a warm, comfy, friendly, down-home, charming breakfast, yes. For a gourmet breakfast, no. For a cinnamon roll, no. But then, like I said, I really don’t care much for Cinnamon Rolls. Any cinnamon rolls. Raisin toast? Now there’s a different story.