Cafe Besalu - Ballard
Credit: Seattle Mag / Haley Young
Artisan pastries. One of the things they don’t tell you when you move to drizzly Seattle is just how deeply connected you’ll become to your neighborhood bakery. And suddenly, there’s a really good one in nearly every neighborhood. With windows fogged up from conversation and rain jackets hung to dry on the backs of chairs, hot ovens put to heavy use, the endless high whine of milk foaming in small metal pitchers, and buttery, flaky, utterly perfect pastry—it’s how Seattle survives the long sunless stretches that devour the months between Indian summer and…July 5. Since he opened Cafe Besalu in 2000, James Miller has been setting the bar high for pastry in Seattle. In his petite bakery, you’ll see him standing just steps away from the front counter, folding pastry dough, hand-rolling croissants, filling quiche shells with eggs the texture of velvet, creating biscuits studded with fiery crystallized ginger. Miller’s pastries are absolutely, unquestionably outstanding—legendary, even. There’s a reason we’re all willing to stand in line (and jockey for table space) after all these years. And it’s not because we’re suckers.
File under: Excellent pastry, warmth, Sunday-morning ritual
See also: Honoré, Volunteer Park Café, Columbia City Bakery, Le Rêve, Bakery Nouveau, soon-to-open Crumble & Flake