Cold rain pours outside but it’s warm inside. It smells good in here. Specials written in chalk on a blackboard, tattered hard cover books line a wall, funky local art, sounds sizzling comes from the kitchen, laughter and conversation all around. This is how Seattle used to be…causal, comfortable and blue collar. There aren’t that many places like that anymore. Most of the Seattle I knew is gone but the 14 Carrot Cafe is still here and they’ve been here since ’77. I’ve been eating here almost as long, it’s always been good, they know what they’re doing.
I sit down at a nice old wood table with an old fashioned smiling plastic Halloween pumpkin by the salt & pepper shakers. I look around I see families, friends, workmates having Bloody Marys, a birthday party, people on dates. I sit alone facing the window with a view of rainy Eastlake Avenue. The hospitable waiter shuffles over with black coffee in a diner mug. Caffe’ Vita coffee. That’s how you do it. The comfort of coffee on a cold rainy day in Seattle. I cup my hands around the coffee mug for warmth. This is my kind of place. They give you your food then they leave you alone and the staff is casual. There’s no outfits here. Just people. There’s an espresso stand outside. I can hear and see steam rising from it. Brown thick espresso shots pour out. A line of people, probably regulars from the neighborhood, wait patiently for their drink.
They serve breakfast all day, but a must is the coffee cake-you gotta have the coffee cake! That’s why I’m here. Warm with powdered sugar and whipped butter piled so high it playfully falls off the side as you dig your fork in. It’s sweet and tastes homemade, comfort food. Just the right amount of texture. It’s a pleasure just sitting here eating this. It’s almost a shame to finish the last bite but it tastes so good with the last sip of coffee.
People hug on the wet sidewalk as each go their separate ways. I’m walking out happy and full and warm. I’m already thinking about my next visit.
“Raspberry Beret” plays on the speakers as I leave. Old school Prince. Not the new Prince but the Prince that we all know and love & had on cassette. 14 Carrot is truly one of a kind; a bridge to the past and the present and the future.
And I’ll back. For more coffee cake & coffee! After all, I’m a Seattleite. I gotta keep this going.
Here’s to you,
14 Carrot Cafe
2305 Eastlake Ave E, Seattle, WA 98102