Queen Anne Cafe Can Do Better
Caffe Appassionato (Queen Anne)
1417 Queen Anne Ave N, 270-8760
Mon–Fri 6 am–7 pm; Sat 7 am–7 pm; Sun 7 am–6 pm.
In my continuing campaign to improve the state of pastries in Seattle, I have been visiting coffee shops around town and identifying ones where the pastries just don't live up to the rest of the place.
At Caffe Appassionato on Queen Anne Hill, everything exudes that sweet neighborhood vibe that you'd expect from a good coffee house. The store is part of a small franchise operation, but it is stamped with the warm touch of its Iranian-born owners, husband and wife Ali Lotfi and Farzaneh Forouzan. The coffee is good—you can even get a "Persian espresso," a sweet, cold concoction with spices and bananas—and their backstory can't be beat: Lotfi was a women's basketball coach in pre-revolutionary Iran. They've even got free wi-fi. It's too bad, then, about the pastry case, where depressed Danishes, sad scones, and mopey muffins sit two or three to a plate. I suspected the Kent-based pastry factory, Mostly Muffins.
My hunch is confirmed by co-owner Forouzan, who kindly agrees to talk with me their disappointing pastries. We sit down near a wall full of snapshots from her recent visit to Iran.
Mostly Muffins wasn't a conscious choice. When Lotfi and Forouzan purchased the shop in 1999, they simply kept the same pastry purveyor that supplied the previous owners. Lotfi doesn't seem terribly fond of them, but says that Mostly Muffins does provide a broad range of offerings.
As we are talking, a woman with close-cropped blond hair comes by, unprompted. "This place is the best," she effuses, "the music, the people... they have tabbouleh." She doesn't mention the pastries.
I try to convince Forouzan that there are other better options for wholesale pastries in town—not just Macrina and Essential, but Le Fournil, Little Rae's, Hiroki, and Sugar. "Our customers are very important to us, we like to make them happy," Forouzan allows. "If we find a better company, why not? We'll go with them." That's an open invitation to you craft bakeries out there to court a new client. Bring Lotfi and Forouzan samples of your pastries, offer them a good deal, and help stamp out inferior pastries.