Danielle Hulton, Co-owner

Ada's Technical Books and Cafe—named after Ada Lovelace, who is considered the very first computer programmer—is a purveyor of science, science fiction, and an eclectic array of nonfiction books in the former home of Horizon Books on Capitol Hill's 15th Avenue. The space is bright and airy, with many of its original architectural features—it was once a house—reassembled attractively into bookshelves. The cafe's glass tabletops showcase rocks, butterflies, and rows of compasses that wiggle when a cell phone slides over them (the compasses, not the rocks and butterflies). Co-owner Danielle Hulton is an electrical engineer who says that her experience in "learning how to learn" in the ever-changing field of engineering has greatly helped her in getting Ada's off the ground.

Ada's hosts a series of readings and events—Danielle is especially excited for an event about e-bikes coming up on January 25. Cafe manager Crystal Blaylock Gee designed the cafe's small-plates menu: mac and cheese, potpies, a winter Caprese sandwich, warm lentil salad, etc. I tried the risotto cake with asparagus and arugula ($9.25). The risotto was golden brown with a creamy interior, complemented by light, tangy vegetables. I wish only that there had been about five of them. The cafe carries Kuma coffee—the Borboya Ethiopia espresso with its dainty mineral water accompaniment was the perfect thing to sip while perusing books about lock picking and post-quantum cryptography. recommended