Repeatable: Maybe. Visits: 1
When the sodden gray of a Seattle winter starts dampening my spirits, I look for comfort in food and eat out. Lunch is the best meal to get the most pleasure for your money, especially if you enjoy dining alone with a good book or newspaper in hand. It is rare to find a space one could actually linger in, for hours at a time. So when I found Alexa’s Garden Cafe, improbably hidden in the far back recesses of Swanson’s Nursery, I blinked, thinking it was an hallucination.
Hidden by lush tropical foliage and several ponds of enormous koi, Alexa’s feels so faraway from Seattle that it might as well be a wavering mirage in the desert. I found it quite by accident, while on a quest to buy houseplants. Trailed by my three young children, I went in search of a ficus and found, instead, food.
“French toast!” shouted my daughter with delight. “Vegan banana bread!” exclaimed my food-allergic son. My youngest just wanted scrambled egg, like always. We had just tried to eat some fried slop from a fast-food restaurant I’m too embarrassed to name. I had gotten rid of the barely bitten evidence in the garbage can outside the store and was hoping we could buy a plant and rush back home for something real. Instead, we ate first, then got our tree.
The French toast was lovely. The thick, chewy slices of bacon perfectly cooked. The egg, gently scrambled. The blueberry muffin was obviously home-made, as was the vegan banana bread. My children ate every bite while I drank black licorice tea and studied the tempting menu, with its list of breakfast items on one side, lunchtime options on the other. I chose to get a Mom’s Plate ($6.50), just a simple egg over easy, with whole wheat toast and a bowl of immaculately fresh melon and grapes. The food was simple, clean, and pleasant–nothing to gush over, but far better than the breakfast places on Queen Anne.
If you have small children, or like the rest of Seattle, suffer from chronic Vitamin D deficiency, Alexa’s Garden is worth whiling away a few hours in, especially for a weekend brunch, when every other place in the city is mobbed. Prices are all well below $10, and the children’s menu is filled with smart, nutritious options. If Alexa’s offered an Internet connection, the place would probably be filled with writers, sunning themselves while nursing a latte next to their laptops.