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Somewhere in Kitchen Confidential, Anthony Bourdain warns us never to eat brunch in a restaurant, because that’s when they use up all the old leftovers. (As my father-in-law dryly observed about salad bars, “It saves them a trip to the dump.”) But if you’re not eating meat or fish, and if the service is not buffet-style, brunch is less of a worry. As a matter of fact, I adore brunch! And vegetarian mecca Café Flora in Seattle, WA does one of the best I’ve had in a long time.

My mother ordered rooibos tea, but I could not resist a mimosa, which combines two heavenly elixirs, orange juice and sparkling wine! Then the beignets arrived. They were too substantial (without the hollow middle that a great beignet has), but still tasted divine.


The plate is drizzled with berry coulis and crème anglaise.

We sat in the garden room, which added greatly to the charm of the meal. It’s full of potted plants and has huge windows and a fountain.

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Beautiful yet simple presentation of the food is one of Café Flora’s strengths. Just look at the Breakfast Platter, composed of scrambled tofu, fried potatoes and garlicky greens, with a delightful fruit garnish.


The blood orange sections on that white plate really pop! And who doesn’t love fresh pineapple?

I was never very enthusiastic before about scrambled tofu, but after tasting this, I vowed to try to reproduce it at home. Here’s another Breakfast Platter with cheesy grits instead of the potatoes, and eggs in place of the tofu.


The grits are creamy and savory. The garlicky greens were chard and kale, tender but still a brilliant emerald color.

Given that this was brunch not breakfast, the Long Suffering husband was able to enjoy a craft beer with his meal. He chose the vegetable quesadilla, which had a layer of egg in addition to the tortilla. As a side he got the smoky collard greens, which were more thoroughly cooked than the garlicky greens, and had a flavor of chipotle.


Topped with a spicy salsa and accompanied by mixed salad greens and a creamy dressing.

This was my idea of a perfect meal. On Friday: my scrambled tofu recipe!