If there is such a thing as a typical Seattle café, this is it: casual and comfortably disheveled, nutritionally enlightened, and perfumed inside and out by the aroma of terrific coffee. Its ownership has changed a few times since it opened in 1978, but its character (and menu) remains familiar and eater-friendly. One new feature, for those who are in desperate need of a quick caffeine fix when there are no seats available inside (a likely situation on weekend mornings) is barista John Hornall’s coffee cart on the sidewalk outside. Seattle’s coffee cognoscenti know the latte from this particular cart as the city’s best.
Although lunch is served every day, and it includes some excellent salads and soups as well as vegetarian plates and no-beef hamburgers (and meat-eaters' items, too), most fans of the 14 Carrot Café consider it a breakfast place. Omelets are big and beautiful, served with good hash browns and a choice of toast, English muffin, or streusel-topped coffee cake. The coffee cake itself is something to behold: a moist crumble-topped block, served with a sphere of butter as big as a ping pong ball. Other notable breadstuffs include blueberry muffins and cinnamon rolls. The latter, described as "large and gooey" by our waiter, is a vast doughy spiral with clods of raisins and veins of dark sugar gunk packed into its warm furrows. It, too, comes blobbed with a ball of melting butter.
If eggs aren't your dish, how about hotcakes, sourdough or regular, with sliced bananas, apple slivers, or blueberries, with bacon on the side or cooked into the 'cakes? You can order hot oats with soy milk, dates and cashews, homemade granola, sourdough French toast, or a grand version of French toast known as Tahini toast, gilded with a thin layer of sesame butter.