In a temporary tribute to Friends, Seattle now has a Central Perk coffee house on Capitol Hill

Thanks to a CHS reader for the pictures!

With big brands joining the carnival of all things weird and wonderful about Broadway and Capitol Hill, there are moments when it is gets harder and harder to believe your eyes. For example, this morning along E Thomas just off Broadway, you will now find the Central Perk coffee house and the famous orange couch that was a central setting for the ultimate saccharine sitcom of the 90s — Friends.

In a promotion for the 25th anniversary of the show’s first episode in what would become a decade-long run of pre-streaming cultural dominance, a work crew spent Monday night transforming The Lounge by AT&T and its Ada’s Discovery Cafe into “a full-size replica of the famous Friends’ coffee shop” that will reportedly be in place for “months.”

“Designed to capture the excitement and nostalgia of the show’s milestone anniversary celebration, visitors will be immediately immersed in a world they had only ever seen through their screens,” AT&T promises. Continue reading

Japanese rice balls and natural wine at Sankaku and Marseille a match made in Melrose Market

Brandin Myett and Rie Otsuka at Melrose Market (Image: Margo Vansynghel)

Strings of red paper lanterns, some emblazoned with golden Chinese characters, hang from the ceiling. In the distance, a harmonica tune floats through the late-lunch atmosphere at Melrose Market, the indoor food and design mart also home to Sitka and Spruce and Glasswing. On the white marble countertop of Marseille, a wine bar and eatery named after the French port city, three carefully crafted onigiri Japanese rice balls sit under a bell glass.

Sure, we’ve heard of fusion before, but what is going on here?

“A coincidence,” says Brandin Myett, owner of Marseille. “A Lunar New Year office party planned for February 5th got rescheduled because of the snow. We decided to leave the lanterns up in the meantime.”

Myett opened his new natural wine bar and eatery last spring. The name, he says, is just a reference to something beautiful but rough-around-the-edges, like Marseille. “The French connection is not that important.” Continue reading

Tired of baking French pastries on the Hill, Mariela Camacho brings pan dulce to the people

“It’s also about food justice,” Mariela Camacho says. “I want to give this to a community that doesn’t have a lot of food that is healthy and accessible to them.” (Image: Margo Vansynghel for CHS)

The sky is invariably dark, the atmosphere eerily quiet when Mariela Camacho gets to the commissary kitchen at 3 AM. No buzzing of mixers yet. No butter sizzling in pans, radio in the background, or cooks chopping onions, or bakers kneading dough. Usually, it’s just her and her diablitos (smoked paprika croissants), conchas (sweet bread rolls with crunchy toppings) and roles de canela (cinnamon rolls). One by one, Camacho loads them onto trays that go on top of the warm oven for proofing, the final rise before the final bake.

While the pastries rise, Camacho mixes the dough for sweet buns and bread, assembles pink cakes and alfajores, and chops up queso oaxaca for empanadas.

“And that’s just a regular day,” Camacho says. It’s 11 AM, and she’s worn out after a Sunday morning of baking. Her cheeks rosy from the work and oven heat, she’s loading up big boxes with bread, sweet buns and pastries to be whisked off to her wholesalers across the city: La Marzocco Cafe, Elm Coffee Roasters, Resistencia, Little Neon Taco, Addo, Bait Shop and Damn The Weather. Her wholesaler’s list has been growing quickly since she started her on-demand and pop-up bakery Comadre Panadería last spring.

Her pastry pop-ups, at Little Neon Taco, Dorothea Coffee or Broadcast Coffee, are increasingly popular as well. During her next pop-up, planned for Sunday, January 27th at Broadcast Coffee’s Jackson roasting house, Camacho will be selling cardamom orange conchas and a raspberry/beet niño envueltos.

Comadre Panaderia Pop-up

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Rocker’s New Mexican comfort food popping up at Pike/Pine’s Pettirosso

Let’s see if we can keep this straight. Dave Hernandez is a rock and roll guitarist of some renown. See also: The Shins, The Intelligence. He has Albuquerque roots. He now calls Seattle home. And he makes sopapillas, New Mexican comfort food stuffed with “Green chile shredded chicken verde,” “slow roasted pork marinated in NM red chile,” or the “the more traditional beans/cheese/chile” veggie option. You missed his first Barelas Sopapillas pop-up a few weeks back in Ballard, of all places. You don’t have to miss his second.

Monday, 11th and Pike’s Cafe Pettirosso will host a night with Hernandez’s New Mexico-flavored creations and Miki Sodos’s specialty margaritas.

“Dave Hernandez, known most famously for his involvement in the band The Shins and for his part in the thriving Albuquerque independent rock scene, is now churning out sopapillas you wouldn’t believe,” Cafe Pettirosso’s announcement reads. “The New Mexican staple will be stuffed with carne adovada as well as a stuffed vegetarian option with New Mexican green chiles. The stuffed sopapillas will be served with homemade beans and rice.”

Sisters Miki and Yuki Sodos reopened Cafe Pettirosso in 2012 after longtime owner Robin Wright closed the original in 2011. It will celebrate its five-year anniversary in its new incarnation in 2017.

Capitol Hill food+drink | A Hill homecoming for Manu’s Bodegita

With the amount of talent at work across the kitchens of Capitol Hill food and drink, we’re bound to have more and more homecomings featuring recent neighborhood graduates.

“I always thought it would be nice to get back on Capitol Hill with all those fans who appreciated the flavors of that little pop-up way back when in front of Montana,” Manu Alfau tells CHS.

Now, three years and a lot of Manu’s Bodega success later, Alfau is ready to return to Capitol Hill with Manu’s Bodegita. Continue reading