A double-shot hot spot for your inner Vespa cool cat
Special to The Seattle Times
1904 Ninth Ave., Seattle; 206-388-2803
Web site: www.motorecoffee.com
Hours: 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturdays.
No alcohol / credit cards: MC, V / no smoking / no obstacles to access.
All the new denizens of the burgeoning sector of east downtown are loving Motore, a new drop-in Wi-Fi port/coffeehouse at Ninth and Stewart. Slick as the Vespa to which its decor pays sleek chrome homage, Motore looks streamlined and European down to its big-window urban outlooks and scooter seats for backrests.
Four Macs accommodate those who arrive without their laptops; those who do bring them are accommodated still further by free Wi-Fi Internet access. For young city prowlers, it just doesn't get much better than this.
And then it does! The coffee is the peerless Caffé Vita, served two shots in every drink; the tea, an array of fragrant Luxe loose-leaf varieties. The pastries and cookies are from Essential Baking Co. There are even Fiori chocolates, a sizable selection, for savoring with your cappuccino.
All of which would seem to bode well for the food, which turns out to be, alas, the weakest link in this nonchain.
The limited menu isn't the problem. Specializing is almost always a good thing, as Motore does by offering just two $5 breakfast paninis (egg, ham and cheese; egg, basil, red onion, provolone and red pepper) and three $6.95 lunch paninis (chicken and basil; prosciutto and artichoke hearts; tzatziki chicken), premade by Capitol Hill's Café Europa.
No, the problem is these ooey-gooey paninis aren't vivid enough, nor differentiated enough one from the other. They're perfectly edible, make no mistake. But do they constitute the main event at this sleek, caffeinated scooter-stop?
Not even close.
Panini Marguerite: Entirely edible, yet missing distinction. It featured bits of chicken breast, speckled with too little basil, along with tomato, mozzarella and a nondescript garlic spread.
Tzatziki chicken panini: Better by a margin than the Marguerite, owing to pieces of red onion, but no thanks to lackluster tzatziki. Pillowy focaccia makes Motore's panini too airy.
Tall latte: Yeah baby! Caffé Vita's mellow roast + Motore's skilled baristas = one terrific cuppa latte, complete with pretty chiaroscuro etched in the foam.
Chocolate-chip cookie: These appear in the pastry case alongside the snickerdoodles and scones looking pretty darned ordinary ... then tasting like buttery, chocolaty heaven. If I'm ever on death row, I'd like this Essential Bakery cookie to be part of my last meal, please.
Itemized bill, meal for two
Panini Marguerite $6.95
Tzatziki chicken panini $6.95
Tall latte $2.50
Chocolate-chip cookie $1.65
Kathryn Robinson: email@example.com
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