Welcome back to Alternative Dining, a monthly column by Jen Chiu that explores the unconventional dining and drinking scene in Seattle, whether that be pop-up, food truck, gastro-brewpub or underground dinner party. Got a suggestion? Leave it in the comments or send it to the tipline.
[Photos: S. Pratt]
Named after the world's first computer programmer Ada Lovelace (cuz chicks rule!), Ada's Technical Books is much more than a book store for the science-obsessed.
Owners Danielle and David Hulton debuted their new store on November 2. They moved from their first spot on Broadway to a renovated 1922 house a few blocks away in the 15th corridor of Capitol Hill. The store is part bookstore, part café, part gift shop; it's the perfect destination for anyone who craves a curated selection of books, cool home architecture, great food, and/or a cozy place to hang out.
Suspended doors and doorways with geometric-sun roof ceiling cut-outs and chocolate wood floors give this place a hint of Victorian Alice in Wonderland. There's a lot to explore at Ada's, so block out a chunk of time to carefully peruse books that span topics from general engineering books to biographies to science fiction. There's even a nook for unique kids' books ("The Boy Who Loved Math" and "Goodnight iPad").
The café is a new addition to Ada's repertoire and it is worth a visit alone. Everything (with the exception of the occasional croissant they import from Essential Baking Co.) is made in-house. Pastries such as pizza scones, mini gingerbread loaves, and chocolate chip rosemary cookies are made daily. Savory dishes, like the weekend scramble special (Beecher's with caramelized onions, chives, and a biscuit), warm lentil salad, and soup of the day (borscht) help you keep your wits as you dig into brainy books. Crystal, the café manager says, "The food is so good, people don't even notice it's all vegetarian. I'm a fan of meat, but don't even think about it when I eat all of the great food here."
Equally as difficult a decision on what to order is where to sit. Each glass-top table has an alluring scientific collectibles theme, such as an array of butterflies and locks.
Tired of words? Check out the 3-D printed bracelets, cool prints, puzzle sets, bags, and lighting kits to make your bike glow. All of the items are carefully curated, just like the books. If you can't get your holiday shopping done here, your friends and family just aren't cool enough.