What is your favorite cafe?

  • <b>DINING OUT | </b>By Mina Williams Herald writer
  • Tuesday, April 24, 2012 7:33pm

Around the globe great cafes are noted for the coffee they serve. From France’s café au laits to Spain’s café solo, the great coffee drinks are served in a cafe.

In the United States a cafe takes on a decidedly different flair, leaving the coffee centric menus to the coffeehouses. The informal cafe restaurants here offer great coffee shop classics plus hot meals and made-to-order sandwiches.

On the East Coast cafes come in the shape of diners, prefabricated structures shaped like railroad coach cars. They offer the same wide range of food, casual atmosphere, late night dining and counter seating as cafes. They also bring the same neighborhood flavors and comfy atmosphere.

Whether cafe or diner, it’s the place where teens met after school, served as the backdrop for dates and provided, much like today’s fast food chain restaurants, a uniform place to eat and meet.

From the tables, booths and bars of American cafes, diners have come to expect the value and broad menu offerings from morning to night.

One of the most iconic menu items for cafes is the blue plate special. This low-priced daily dinner special consists of a “meat plus three” vegetables served up on a single plate. A main course with all the fixins and substitutions are not allowed. In the 1920s such a feast was 25-cents.

This vanishing tradition is finding its way onto the selections at new comfort-food style establishments.

Road food experts and authors Jane and Michael Stern term the new blue plate special as any inexpensive full meal, any daily selection.

They cite Snohomish’s own Maltby Café with its oatmeal, double-thick French toast, pasta plates, homemade soup and piled-high hot Reuben sandwich just a step behind the cafe’s famous cinnamon roll as the stand-out stellar items bringing value with good flavor.

Even the Food Network extols the virtues of cafes through its own Guy Fieri’s “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives” television show. The cafes Fieri visits are the classic “greasy spoon” spots — including Pam’s Kitchen in Seattle’s U-District with its Trinidad flair and Voulas Offshore Café with its avocado, mushroom and bacon with Swiss cheese omelet served with hash browns and toast special served just under the I-5 bridge on Northlake Way.

No matter the spot, a cafe is the perfect place to share a meal and conversation.

Where is the best diner? What favorites do they serve that keep you coming back?

Wendy’s Café on California just off Lombard. Best breakfast anywhere!

Joy, Everett

Solid Rock Coffee Company!

Kara Tinkham Jordan

Mukilteo Speedway Cafe has the best coffee and omelettes!

Scott, Mukilteo

My daughter and I frequent Mukilteo Speedway Cafe as often as we can.

Becky, Mukilteo

I love Patty’s Egg Nest! You get huge portions and fresh coffee.

Katie, Mukilteo

Our readers like

Wendy’s Country Café

1915 California St., Everett


Mukilteo Speedway Cafe

11707 Mukilteo Speedway, Mukilteo


Patty’s EggNest

Various Snohomish County and Seattle locations

8204 Mukilteo Speedway, Mukilteo


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