Cupcake Royale, 34th Avenue
A cupcake bakery, Vérité coffeehouse, and gathering place wrapped up in one, Cupcake Royale in the Madrona neighborhood opened in 2003 as Seattle's first cupcake shop. The chocolate, vanilla, and specialty cakes (red velvet and carrot, for instance) are baked daily with many locally sourced ingredients; then, they're topped with buttercream frosting by the store's multi-talented baristas, nicknamed "frosterias." Order a latte to go with a Triple Threat (chocolate cake, chocolate icing, and chocolate sprinkles), a salted caramel (sampled by President Obama), or a tangy Lemon Drop. Take a seat inside at one of the blue tables or head across the street to the Madrona Playground.
Congratulations to Mei Lin, winner of Top Chef Season 12.