Double-tall community goodwill
Special to The Seattle Times
The old-timers in the area call this neighborhood West Seattle; newcomers know it as White Center's business district. But no matter — they all find their way to this urban community coffeehouse just the same for Ricardo Guarnero's pastries, paninis, breakfast burritos and brisk pulls of Caffé D'Arte espresso. And for good shoulder-rubbing with the neighbors who come to enjoy them.
In its five-month life, this snug sun-spot just north of the Roxbury-Delridge junction has gathered a local following — mostly, in truth, for its local following. This neighborhood needed and loves its gathering place, down to its espresso punch cards and "Give us your e-mail!" guestbook. Check its Web site for a proud list of its community-building efforts, from cultural festivals to conversational cafe afternoons. Bring your laptop and you can even check its Web site from there: Café Rozella has free and unlimited Wi-Fi access.
9434 Delridge Way S.W., Seattle; 206-763-5805, www.caferozella.com
Hours: 7 a.m.-7 p.m. daily.
No alcohol / credit cards: MC, V / smoking outside only /no obstacles to access.
None of which is to dismiss Rozella's food, which is very limited but fine. Guarnero offers two varieties each of breakfast burrito and panini — served hot and slow and fresh, with a side of fruit and as much of the day's paper as you can gather from surrounding tables. He gets his ample spread of pastries from a nearby bakery, except for the rich oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookies he bakes himself, and even carries some Mexican confections, like huge hunks of candied yam.
You carry your nibbles into the charming brick-floored adjoining room, scattered with tables and decorated with rotating art, or outside to the sidewalk, at patio tables which, as they do in all the best coffeehouses, mysteriously transform an ordinary stretch of street into an engaged community.
Feta-mushroom breakfast burrito: A savory blend of egg with feta cheese, kalamata olives, mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes, tucked within a nicely crunchy flour tortilla. Served very hot.
Chicken-bacon panini with Swiss: Interesting bread — a sort of flattened bun — surrounds a pleasant mélange of moist, marinated chicken, Swiss cheese, bacon and an herby garlic sauce. Satisfying but not noteworthy. Wish I had ordered the grilled portobello with sun-drieds, tapenade and romesco sauce instead.
Mocha (tall): A fine pull of Caffé D'Arte, sweetened. (Lovers of such things will appreciate the many flavors of sweetened espresso drinks here, from Caramelo to Milky Way.)
Oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie: A diminutive little wonder chock-full of oatmeal, nuts and chocolate chips — absolutely perfect if you overlook the fact that it was burned black on the bottom. Just like mama used to make!
Itemized bill, meal for two
Feta-mushroom breakfast burrito $2.49
Chicken-bacon panini with Swiss $4.90
Mocha (tall) $2.75
Oatmeal-chocolate-chip cookie $.50
Kathryn Robinson: email@example.com
Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company