Kitanda: Brazilian Beverages
Located just around the corner from the Microsoft main campus in Redmond, Kitanda Brazilian Espresso and Bakery serves up Brazilian beverages and pastries, including what may arguably be the best cup of coffee in town.
Don't expect anything but Brazilian cuisine from the store, but you'll find plenty of that supplied. Several cases are filled with both sweet and savory Brazilian pastries such as coxinha (a pastry cone filled with mixed chicken and spices), esfiha (a beef-filled pastry), pão de queijo (cheese bread), beijinho (fudge and cocnut candy), and small but flavorful peanut fingers. The Brazilian mocha, a drink which is served both hot and cold, is a favorite among visitors.
Such Brazilian drinks are abundant here too. Beyond the excellent Brazilian coffee, which is grown in Brazil but roasted by local company Caffe d'Arte, there's a variety of juices such as cashew, coconut, cupuacu, guava, orange, passion fruit, and peach, as well as avocado and strawberry frappes. Brazilian teas and Guayaki also appear on the menu, including anise and toasted mate among the more conventional chamomile and green teas. The baristas are ready to explain the differences between Brazilian drinks and their more common counterparts, such as the condensed milk used in the mocha.
Despite its appealing food and drink, poorly-lit Kitanda feels oddly empty at times, such as the mornings, but by noon it's full of people, many of them Brazilians yearning for a touch of home, while others are Microsoft employees who've come in search of a quick, inexpensive lunch. The atmosphere is thoroughly Brazilian: two large TVs show Brazilian television (usually soccer) throughout the day and the merchandise includes Brazilian soccer shirts, videos, and other tastes of home. Kitanda also sells some Brazilian groceries such as passionfruit puree, that may be hard to find elsewhere and frozen pastries, for those who prefer their food at home.
The store provides free high-speed wireless Internet, making it a pleasant spot for hanging out that, but a lack of electrical outlets may hamper those with laptops if they plan on staying past their battery limit at one of the small tables or couches. Despite its best efforts though, the place simply doesn't not feel comfortable for the lingerer, and it's hard to say exactly why it's unappealing, given its many stellar qualities. This is the company's second store – the first is located in Kirkland, where it's been since 2005.
HelloSeattle Tip: Kitanda serves a daily lunch special with two or three options -- try the bacon-wrapped chicken breast kabob.
Posted on December 7, 2011 by Cat Rambo