*Author’s note: If you are on a diet, and do not have iron-clad determination, stop reading.*
There are many hard-hitting, thought-provoking, whistle-blowing, tough as nails journalistic pieces out there…this is not one of those pieces.
This is about all things joyous. All things wondrous. All things splendid. All things, sweet.
Our delicious tour of sugary goodness begins with one of my favorite treats; pie. At an establishment aptly named Pie, in the heart of the Fremont neighborhood. Pie specializes in personal-size, all hand-made confections using only fresh and natural ingredients, including a delicious hand-made flakey crust.
“We make our pies in small batches all day long, so what you see on the menu in the morning may be different than what you see by evening time,” said Jess Whitsitt, co-owner of Pie. The changing Pie menu does not only include sweets, however; it also includes “savory” pies – think of pot pie, but WAY better.
“We have many interesting savory pie creations: Pork Pot Sticker Pot Pie, Spaghetti with Meatballs Pie and Swedish Meatball with roasted potatoes and Lingonberry Sauce Pie, to name a few,” said Whitsitt, “but English Meat and BBQ Pulled Pork are our most popular.”
However since we are talking about all things sweet, you can find that at Pie too – patron’s favorite creations include Coconut Cream, Berry Awesome and my favorite, Peanut Butter and Jelly Pie. Even better, Pie has a late night window from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. “We get a lot of families the first hour and then we get the fun people who have been out at the bars in Fremont after that, or just folks from the neighborhood who have a late night craving,” said Whitsitt.
If you prefer cake to pie, cupcakes in fact, then you can pop over to one of Cupcake Royale’s many Seattle locations for a Dance Party Holly Hobbie, Royale with Cheese or President Obama’s favorite, the Salted Caramel.
Cupcake flavors range from lavender to bacon, and their interesting arrangements has earned them national attention, appearing on Cupcake Wars on the Food Network last month.
“We were asked each year they ran Cupcake Wars and finally we made the show. I think we came across the most culinarily professional, and perhaps the least crafty-craft. Which is cool, because we’re all about the taste and doing cool things with interesting ingredients,” said Jody Hall, Founder of Cupcake Royale.
Whatever ingredients Cupcake Royale chooses (including for their unique “Cupcake of the Month” – be sure to make it in before the end of September to try the Huckleberry Cupcake), ingredients are always kept local. “Cupcake Royale thinks local is always the best way to go. By investing in our friends and neighbors, we’re making an investment in our community,” said Hall.
It’s Cupcake Royale’s investment in community and creativity in sweet perfection and that allows them to thrive in an ever-growing cupcake market. Said Hall, “We know that there are other delicious cupcakes out there. We’ve tried many of them. In the nearly eight years since we first opened, we were the first cupcake bakery to open outside of NYC, many cupcake bakeries have opened. But what has always set Cupcake Royale apart is our focus on nostalgic style and taste, real and local and organic ingredients when possible, our community settings (mall-free since 2003!), and our philanthropy. We donate over 40,000 cupcake annually to help small local businesses raise funds, and just recently, we created a special ‘The Gay’ cupcake and were able to donate $10,000 to the It Gets Better Project.”
The final stop on this Tour de Sweet is in a part of town you might not expect sugary goodness: Rat City (also known as the White Center neighborhood in West Seattle) at Full Tilt Ice Cream. You want hand-made artisan ice cream in pleasantly unexpected concoctions? They got it. You want classic arcade games like Wack-a-Gator and Skee-Ball? They got it. You want to hear some live music? They got it. Heck, you want a BEER to go with your ice cream? They got that too!
With locations also in Columbia City and the U-District, Full Tilt strives to not only indulge your sweet tooth, but provide events to bring neighbors together. “We have everything from political potlucks, bike repair classes, to punk rock shows. I think they are very important to our communities where there is very little in the way of safe, all ages places,” said Justin Cline, owner of Full Tilt, “We are also launching a record label, and a co-op kitchen in the south end.”
But even with all their events, Full Tilt still finds time to create an ever-changing variety of ice cream flavors. “Salted Caramel is most popular by far. Next is Ube,” said Cline. “We do a peanut butter banana and chocolate covered bacon flavor that we have dubbed The Memphis King. We also did a flavor recently with Chapulines, which are dry roasted grasshoppers from Oaxaca.”
I might be skipping the grasshoppers, but on my last visit I enjoyed a sorbet that tasted exactly like a grape popsicle, while my friends had Maui Coffee Porter Beer floats. How good is their ice cream? To quote a post from the Full Tilt Facebook page, “Our White Center store closed at 7 tonight. We sold out of ice cream. Thanks for the amazing day.”
I could keep going on about all the deliciousness Seattle has to offer (I didn’t even get to touch on the donut bliss of Mighty-O or Top Pot, or the magic of Theo’s Chocolate Factory, or…), but I can feel myself slipping into a sucrose coma. So I beckon all readers to don your stretchy pants and join the legions of out-of-towners, out-of-country-ers, and especially locals, who always have these three sweet champions on their “to-eat” list.