After visiting the EMP in Seattle (a great time), I met up with my little brother from my college fraternity and we took the Monorail towards Pike Place Market. We have the Metromover “monorail” here in Miami, but the Monorail in Seattle is quite larger (and has seats). The views are from a similar vantage point though. It was a pretty quick ride to the Westlake Center mall with some above ground views of Seattle streets.
From the mall we walked down to Pike Place Market. I was on a very specific mission. My search for gluten-free options in Seattle (my first step when visiting any city) brought up Coffee & Specialty Bakery. I read reviews about gluten-free fried chicken, BBQ, sandwiches, and of course a lot of baked goods. Needless to say I couldn’t have stayed away if I tried!
We knew it was on the backside of Pike Place, so we went through and tried to make our way in that direction. Since it was the Winter Break for schools, it was pretty busy. My little brother said it was the busiest he’s seen it outside of the summer. It was a little slow-going to get through with all the people. It definitely has a touristy aspect to it, but I always enjoy my time there. If you’re going someplace specific at Pike Place I’d either find the shortest route beforehand or expect to take your time and take everything in.
We got down to Western Avenue, but still had to search a little bit for it. Luckily we eventually found it right under the Pine Street stairs. It’s a small shop and not a lot of space to sit. I’m not sure if this is always the case, but there was a sign for “Cash Only.” Also unfortunately their computer system was down, so they couldn’t take orders. Kind of a major disappointment. My little brother and I decided to go grab lunch and come back to see if it was fixed.
After lunch we went back and the system was up and running. Unfortunately some of the things I saw before had sold out. I would recommended making a visit early in the morning to get the best selection. I can’t remember what I saw our first stop that was out (think it was some type of cookie). There were a number of baked goods and some pizza. I asked about the other options and found that the BBQ is done on Saturdays and shrimp po boys are done on Wednesdays. The pizza was Tuesday’s specialty.
I went for two brownie bites and two shortcakes- one honey and one rum cake. I’ll be honest I was at first a little disappointed because I’m not much of a brownie or cake fan (relative to cookies or cupcakes). I also wouldn’t usually go for honey or rum cake flavor when going for sweets. However I quickly became a little ashamed at my initial impressions. I started with the brownie bites. Like I said I’m not a big brownie person, but these were delicious. Some of the best I’ve had! It was slightly crunchy on the outside, but was mostly soft or gooey in the middle. I ate the two brownie bites like that! These made me a (good) brownie fan!
After our stop my little brother and I were headed down to Portland (me home and him on his way to the Rose Bowl). I had the honey cake first on our drive down. It wasn’t too sweet and I really liked that. The honey flavor wasn’t too strong, but also more than subtle. The texture was similar to a muffin on the inside. Crumbly, but not too dry. I really really liked it. I usually like savory over sweet, but I could see craving one of these (as it wasn’t too sweet). I think from the taste and texture that Coffee & Specialty Bakery has really mastered gluten-free baking. The rum cake had a similar texture. I had to pick off the rum glaze/frosting just because the rum taste was a little too strong for me (brought me back to some memories in college), but the actual cake itself the rum was subtle enough to enjoy.
Anytime I am back in Seattle I’ll make a stop off at Coffee & Specialty Bakery. Hopefully it’ll be a Saturday so I can try some of the BBQ. I’ll definitely be going early in the morning to hopefully have more of a selection of their baked goods. A trip to Seattle I think requires a Pike Place visit (at least if it’s your first time in Seattle). And gluten-frees will enjoy a stop at Coffee & Specialty Bakery!
Coffee & Specialty Bakery- 1500 Western Ave, Seattle, WA (under the Pine Street steps in Pike Place Market)