I had some one-on-one time with Brady on Saturday so we meandered into the new Aura Bakery & Coffee Bar on Central. This family owned and operated European bakery has cases of beautiful handmade sandwiches and treats. I spotted tortes, pumpkin cheesecakes, croissants, madeleines, profiteroles, eclairs, macarons, and cakes. I was trying to be good by just ordering a hot chocolate for Brady and a latte for myself. But then they went and gave us a free almond croissant to try. It was lightly dusted with powdered sugar and I thought for a moment that maybe heaven had just jumped into my mouth. Luckily Brady thought so too and he hoovered the rest of it for me. He also said, "Mom, I have never had hot chocolate like this before. It is SOoooo good."
It's no wonder. Owner Carlos Falcon (photo) and his two sisters, Claudia and Fiorella, both pastry chefs that trained in France, bring their passion and expertise to the heart of downtown Kirkland. Everything is baked the same day and they even import their flour and sugar from France. The goal is to "give everyone a nice experience," says Carlos (photo). Hence the name "Aura," which is the feeling you get from another person. "We want our customers to not just be customers, they are our guests, and will also be our friends." Carlos is also a barista and personally guarantees every cup of coffee that he creates. They serve Intelligentsia Coffee which is from Chicago (Aura is the 2nd place in Seattle to serve it). Everything at Aura is focused on using fine ingredients and having high quality products. Think small and excellent (ie-don't ask for a Venti Caramel Macchiato here..) The eclair uses real vanilla bean cream and there is an entire case dedicated to their macaron selection (16 kinds!). The lunch menu has croissant sandwiches ($12), Crepes ($7), and salads ($7) that look fabulous. There are great food photos on their Facebook page.
Even though this location is no longer the Christmas store, it still feels a bit like Christmas. When we were there Carlos was giving each of his customers a little bag of goodies to bring home and try (I now weigh 247 lbs). There are plenty of tables and the space feels vibrant and open so you can see the bakery in the back. When I asked Brady for his review he said, "it's very fancy!", but I think it's feels very Euro and friendly. Make a point to go in to Aura Bakery and say hello. Their hours are Mon- Sat 7a-7p and Sun 8a-6p. 425-576-9555. ~j