Before the year-end announcement of my Top 10 food experiences of the year, I finished a surge of write-ups with a report on places perhaps best known as drinking establishments (of the alcohol variety), but also serving food. So it seems fitting to start the new year with a drinking establishment of the coffee variety.
Fonté is the fairly new coffee shop (their first flagship retail store) in The Four Seasons, which also happens to home to the 2009 Dish-Off winner. Each time I visit this micro coffee roaster, I feel like I get a coffee education. Fonté serves premium, fresh, roast-to-order coffees made from meticulously sourced beans, based on the varietal character unique to specific regions around the world, which are then combined to create one-of-a-kind blends. You can sample Fonté’s “Cup of the Day,” or even try flights to compare coffee based on origin, brewing style or body, acidity and aroma.
Gastrolust headquarters was a recent victim of a roof leak, forcing me to flee and live life downtown at different intervals. I found Fonté to be the right place at the right time for a few meals. And why not? Chef Jason Wilson (who happens to be the 2008 Dish-Off champion) developed the menu, so that’s a sure sign that the food here is more than an afterthought. In fact, his family’s farm provides the eggs in my favorite breakfast (which is served all day!) dish: bacon and Vashon Island eggs on ciabatta with farmstead cheese and caramelized onions.
The sandwiches, available anytime, are also a nice option. (I especially recommend the black garlic chicken salad.) And while there are many small nibbles available at happy hour pricing, I quite like the pappardelle with lamb ragu, mint and pecorino as part of the makings of a hearty evening meal. Note that the menu offerings are subject to change, according to season.
Lest you think Fonté is only a coffee shop, there’s also a good wine and beer list available – and it’s color-coded to make perfect pairings with the food.
The interior is smart and comfortable (I love the swivel chairs), and while a window seat means watching a wide variety of people waiting for the bus, stepping outside affords the opportunity to check out the latest quips on the Lusty Lady marquees.