A pot of tea and a gluten-free muffin at the Red Twig Bakery & Cafe in Edmonds make for a perfect November afternoon. (Jennifer Bardsley)

A pot of tea and a gluten-free muffin at the Red Twig Bakery & Cafe in Edmonds make for a perfect November afternoon. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Edmonds bakery and cafe a cozy neighborhood gathering place

The Red Twig Bakery & Cafe makes this columnist’s (unofficial) list of Snohomish County hall-of-famers.

Snohomish County boasts several local bakeries that are synonymous with the towns they enrich.

No trip to the mountains would be complete without a visit to Sultan Bakery. If you want mind-blowing cinnamon rolls, Maltby Cafe is the place to be. Well, I think it’s time to add another name to this illustrious list of hall-of-famers: Red Twig Cafe and Bakery in Edmonds.

If you’re looking for the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon in November, here’s what you do. Dress in warm layers, drive to downtown Edmonds and walk to Brackett’s Landing. A windy stroll along the beach will clear your head. Hike up Main Street, poke around the shops, and turn right onto Fifth Avenue. Pay a visit to Edmonds Bookshop, one of the best independent bookstores in Washington. Then walk on over to 117 Fifth Ave. S. and warm up at Red Twig.

Stepping into Red Twig is like a warm hug. It’s the definition of the Danish word “hygge,” that cozy, comfortable feeling of well-being and contentment. Usually the cafe is packed with friends chatting, businesspeople conducting meetings and sometimes a board game group. There’s a lively hum of activity. I’m the mom squirreled away in the corner with my computer and gluten-free pastry.

Yup, they have gluten-free pastries, which more than anything, explains my devotion. In addition to a complete menu and counter stacked with baked goods, Red Twig also serves gluten-free macaroons, granola bars, muffins and occasionally — if you’re really lucky — gluten-free pie. It’s not a dedicated gluten-free place like Nuflours Bakery in Seattle, but I’m gluten-intolerant and have never had a bad reaction after eating at Red Twig.

I’ve lived in Edmonds for 12 years, but only became a Red Twig regular after I came down with pneumonia last fall. A contributing factor to my illness was that I used to wait out my daughter’s dance lessons by sitting in my freezing-cold car. After the pneumonia, I decided to be better about self-care. My health was worth a $1.85 cup of coffee in a warm location.

That’s when I fell in love with Red Twig. I also used the bakery and cafe as a meeting spot when I interviewed half a dozen high school seniors last winter for my college’s alumni admissions program. It’s a friendly place to be.

Part of this welcoming energy comes from the owners of Red Twig, LaFon and Gregg Jantz. They also are the co-founders of The Center: A Place of HOPE, which provides mental-health services. Dr. Gregg Jantz brought the Helping Boys Thrive Summit to Edmonds in 2014, which made a big impact on me as a parent.

Good people, great food and a warm environment make Red Twig a prime gathering place. I think their coffee tastes so good because it’s brewed with love.

Jennifer Bardsley publishes books under her own name and the pseudonym Louise Cypress. Find her online on Instagram @the_ya_gal, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as The YA Gal.

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