Sunday, June 20, 2010

volunteer park cafe & marketplace

Goodness knows no boundaries at this lovely cafe and marketplace, quaintly nestled in the Capitol Hill neighborhood of Seattle.  The increasingly popular spot is frequented by nearby residents and far flung devotees, alike.

Owner and chef, Ericka Burke's genius is in her consummate knowledge encompassing every facet of a successful dining establishment. Seasonal menus feature inspired comfort food with a conscience. Simple fare is never contrived, often local, organic and always delicious.  Ms. Burke has mastered the art of deliberate imperfection.  The informal atmosphere is warm and convivial; heavy on charm, light on pretense.  Like a well worn book you read again and again.  Familiarity is the innate charm here. 
Resident baking maven, Heather Earnhardt, turns out irresistible scones, cookies, muffins and cakes with a deft hand. She daily transforms butter, sugar and flour into otherworldly rustic baked goods- always gorgeous but never too pretty to eat.  Don’t miss the figgy maple scones, all flaky buttery goodness studded with dried fig gems and smothered in a maple glaze.  The Charlie Brown cookies are another favorite- rich chewy chocolate cookies with a generous smattering of peanut butter chips throughout.

For breakfast, try the bacon and egg panini with two poached  eggs, crispy bacon, melted gruyere and thick slices of tomato on brioche bread.  For lunch, the pulled pork sandwich boasts a generous helping of slow-roasted, barbecued pork topped with tangy purple cabbage slaw and sandwiched between a toasted sesame bun.  Come dinner, don't miss the beef brisket, a handsome portion of salty, caramelized meat so tender that it falls apart when you as much as look at it.  The brisket is served over creamy polenta with a side of braised greens.  Pizzas and salads are sure bets.  Vegetarian options abound. 
IMG_1004 Thoughtfully selected wines are affordable and ever-changing, often venturing off the beaten path and are also available to purchase and take home.  In flawless succession, skilled baristas pull perfect shots of Stumptown espresso bathed in steamed milk and topped with rich, creamy foam. 

Ms. Burke treats her staff with care and it shows.  With their impressive tenure, her knowledgeable, amiable waitstaff lend to the familial vibe of the place.  From the wide array of comforting eats and thoughtful selection of  homemade gift items, to the edible gardens and happy-go-lucky chickens out back, the cafe and marketplace offers an in-city respite for the urban-weary diner.
IMG_0722  Share a corner table with a date, bring your grandmother for a weekday lunch, gather a handful of friends for a birthday dinner or enjoy a sleepy Sunday brunch with your spouse and offspring.  However you chose to assemble, be sure to bring your appetite. 

View their website for menus, hours and information on special events and wine dinners. 

Volunteer Park Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

  1. I just read about their permit woes. I certainly hope they can get it all worked out. It would be a shame to lose such a wonderful little place!