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Destination Inspiration: Powell’s City of Books & World Cup Roasters

World Cup Roasters at Powell's

The one thing better than a cafe bustling with writers and book-lovers is such a cafe located inside the biggest bookstore you can imagine. Think that place only exists in your dreams? Think again–it’s World Cup Roasters located inside Powell’s City of Books in Portland.

Food and Beverages

First things first when you arrive at the cafe ready to write: Fuel up! Order a coffee or tea–any beverage that suits the mood. While you’re at it, don’t forget the food. You might as well come hungry and give one of the individual savory pies from Pacific Pie Company a try. Selections vary from bacon, egg, and cheese to chard, Gruyère, and egg.

Pacific Pie Company Pastry

Location and Atmosphere

Not far from our first-ever Destination Inspiration profile–Pearl Bakery–Powell’s City of Books is located in the Pearl District, amidst all sorts of stores from Anthropologie to kitchen supplies. With Powell’s labrynth of bookshelves, one could happily and willingly get lost for hours. Few things stimulate the brain of a book lover/writer quite like the smell of books, the feeling of the pages shuffling beneath your finger tips and the endless ideas and possibilities contained inside. Walking into Powell’s will surely have your head spinning and your mind bursting with creativity.

Powell's Bookshelves

Writeability and Purchased Presence

One look as you step inside and you’ll see that Powell’s is a sort of black hole for book lovers, and the cafe is no exception. With shelves of romance novels and paranormal young adult fiction on one side, large windows on two sides, and an entrance to the main part of the bookstore on the other, the cafe is obviously a haven for the many people who sit drinking coffee, reading books, and writing on their laptops in the spacious eating area. The question is whether you can grab the open spot before someone else claims it for the next few hours. Obviously, if you’re planning on sticking around at your seat for hours, please live up to the Nooks & Cranberries Code of Conduct and be courteous and place more orders; if it’s particularly busy, consider giving up your seat and taking a break to browse books for a while before returning.

Powell's Pillar

Price: $$

It’s a coffee shop, and prices reflect that. From coffees for a few dollars to individual savory pies from Pacific Pie Company for about $5, you can fuel up on caffeine and food and still have a budget for the books you’ll inevitably want to take home.


You’re in luck: Powell’s has a parking garage!

Powell's Banner

Writer’s Tip

Try a new challenge in this unique bookstore. Explore the section of a genre you are unfamiliar with. For example, if you gravitate toward fiction, check out the travel section. Pick out a book and read a few paragraphs or whatever it takes to get an idea of the voice. With that new tone in mind, try rewriting something of your own, gearing it toward that new genre. You might be surprised at the new spin this gives your work!

Find it:

World Cup Roasters Cafe / Powell’s City of Books

1005 W Burnside
Portland, OR 97209

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A Productive March

Is the month really almost over? Wow! It seems that March has come and gone as quickly as January and February. Loss of time seems to be a common theme with writers which is why we like to stop and reflect every month to see where the time went. Here’s a sampling of what we’ve been up to this past month.

We explored of some of the writing nooks of our northwest neighbors with Sterling Coffee Roasters in Portland, and enjoyed some Nordic inspiration at Scandinavian Specialties.

Scandinavian Specialties Smorrebrod

We shared more about our writing retreat to Chelan and dabbled in a game of “what if” at the Barrel Feast at Tunnel Hill Winery. We also discussed what some writers have been doing to possibly upset the world of publishing in our Friday Forum.

Chelan Horizon

In the Writer’s Kitchen, we looked back at some of our favorites and shared a great Post-Flight Dinner idea to satisfy the family after an exhausting journey.

Saffron Risotto

All in all, a very busy and successful March! We hope your month has been just as productive. Cheers and happy writing!


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Destination Inspiration: Chocolati Café, Greenwood

Chocolati Croissant

With tasty food and plenty of nooks to tuck away into with a book or laptop, Chocolati is like a home away from home for writers. Take your pick of a large table and chairs by a window or overstuffed chairs by a little fireplace, with plenty of space and an outlet around just about every corner, it’s easy to nestle in and get to work. You may find several hours have passed before you know it!

Food and Beverages

While most people probably come for the chocolate, it would be a shame to stop there. From filled croissants to a delectable zucchini tart, the savory items should not be overlooked. That said, do feel free to order a cayenne hot cocoa or any of a number of artisan truffles. They are, after all, among the items that make this café worthy of its moniker.

Location and Atmosphere

Set on a corner just south of the major intersection of 95th and Greenwood, this café in the heart of North Seattle’s Greenwood neighborhood is easy to get to, and it’s in a neighborhood that’s extremely walkable. Chocolati has an atmosphere of a study group taking place in a friend’s apartment. It’s not uncommon to find small groups meeting for business or students gathering to study, in addition to the lone writer or friends chatting over their warm mugs.

Chocolati Zucchini Tart

Writeability and Purchased Presence

This place seems made for writers. Having undergone an expansion in the past few years, Chocolati is like a really big apartment with an open floorplan that’s somewhat segmented. The main room is where you’ll order and perhaps grab a window seat if you’re only sticking around for a few minutes. But keep walking through and you’ll find more seating than you ever would have expected just walking by the storefront.

Price: $$

In addition to the usual $3 latte, you can also find a variety of wines for $7 a glass. On the sweet side, truffles run from $1.45 and up and savory treats starting at $6.


Between a major neighborhood road and a residential area, you’re bound to find street parking within a block or so.

Writer’s Tip

Bring your laptop and a charger and plenty of tip money–you’re going to want to stay here a while. Before coming, make a list of projects to work on, in order of priority, and start writing!

Find it:

Greenwood Chocolati Café
8319 Greenwood Avenue North
Seattle, WA 98103

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Destination Inspiration: Blue Bottle Coffee, Hayes Valley

Blue Bottle Coffee and Pastries

We’re excited to kick off the year with a special Destination Inspiration series focused on San Francisco. We ended up in the Bay Area together on a whim over New Year’s weekend, and couldn’t resist checking out some of the best pastries, coffee, and beer the area has to offer. On our first outing into San Francisco (we were staying with Sarah’s parents in Castro Valley), we headed straight to Blue Bottle Coffee in Hayes Valley. Though headquartered in nearby Oakland, Blue Bottle has a number of locations in San Francisco and New York.

Slow Coffee Zombies Sign

Blue Bottle Line

Food and Beverages

Blue Bottle Coffee has built its empire upon, well, coffee, and though we live in Seattle–a city known for its coffee–the cappucinos at Blue Bottle are probably the best we’ve ever had. Surprisingly, the pastries are–at the risk of handing down too many declarations that sound like hyperbole–undoubtedly the best  we’ve ever had at a coffeeshop.

The olive oil shortbread had all the elements of a classic shortbread–rich, buttery flavor with a crisp but tender texture–along with the savory touches of Eatwell Farms rosemary and Stonehouse olive oil. The stout coffee cake carried the deep flavors of beer through its tender and moist crumb that was accented with oats and currants. A pecan-caraway streusel finished it off with pleasingly complementary textures and flavors.

Had we visited again, we would have also tried the sesame absinthe cigars made with St. George absinthe and Stonehouse olive oil, and the snickerdoodles with Spanish saffron and Tahitian vanilla, among other pastries. It’s a good thing they recently released a book that, while primarily about coffee, contains an impressive selection of recipes, including all the treats we just mentioned. The Blue Bottle Craft of Coffee: Growing, Roasting, and Drinking, with Recipes is available at the store and online.

Blue Bottle Pastries in Hand

Location and Atmosphere

The Blue Bottle location in Hayes Valley is like a little hole in the wall that everyone knows about. The kiosk itself is a re-purposed garage with a finely manicured curbside and is tucked in the folds of an otherwise typical ally. It has just enough room for a lovely pastry case, the necessary espresso machines, a counter and the line that seems constantly formed in front of it.

Blue Bottle Alley

Writeability and Purchased Presence

As a walk-up coffee bar in an old garage in a former alley, there’s no place to sit at this Blue Bottle location, but to be honest you don’t really need one; less than a block away you’ll find Patricia’s Green, a little urban park on Octavia Street that’s just right for creative inspiration. On a side note, there’s amazing inspiration to be found in the history of Patricia’s Green and the amazing woman it stands for as a memorial. You can check it out at

Price: $$

Be sure to bring cash or check. The pricing is very reasonable with coffee starting around $3 and generously sized pastries beginning at $1.50.

Blue Bottle Counter

Blue Bottle Pastries


Parking is always a little challenging in San Francisco and the streets near Blue Bottle are no exception. There are a few streets nearby that have free 2 hour parking, but bring money for the parking meters just in case you can’t snag a spot there.

Writer’s Tip

Bundle up on a sunny winter day and get a coffee and some pastries at the kiosk, then head over to Patricia’s Green. Settle in on a bench to enjoy your treats and let yourself daydream and brainstorm as you watch the world pass by. Jot down observations, thoughts, ideas, and reflections as they come to you, and try to bring a little of this creative and happy state back to your writing space back home.

Find It

Blue Bottle Kiosk, Hayes Valley location
315 Linden Street
San Francisco

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A 2012 Retrospective

Wow, it’s already 2013. The first day of the new year is always an exciting time, and we’re looking forward to what’s ahead. But before we get ahead of ourselves, we’d like to take a moment to look back on a wonderful 2012.

2012 was the year of Nooks & Cranberries, to us. We had gone on hiatus for a while, but when we returned last summer, there was no looking back! We’ve been posting daily for months, giving you writing prompts and inspiration, glimpses into the writing life, and, of course, some fantastic Destination Inspiration. The latter is the backbone of Nooks & Cranberries, so we want to take you along on a look back to some of our favorite recent destinations.
For a Seattle writing space, we love Belle Epicurean. Tip: Order a brioche and take a seat at one of the marble-topped window seats.

Belle Epicurean Brioche

We also got out of town quite a bit, giving you some Destination Inspiration from some other great Northwest places, including Walla Walla’s Brasserie Four

Brasserie Four Macarons

Monteillet Fromagerie in Dayton, Washington, …

Monteillet Cheese

…and Whoopemup Hollow Cafe in Waitsburg.

Whoopemup Hollow Gazpacho

We also had a great trip to Bend, Oregon, with our husbands and sons, where the focus switched from wine to beer (as seen from our sampler, below, at 10 Barrel). There’s nothing like getting out of our natural preferences to expand our palates–and our inspiration!

10 Barrel Sampler


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Destination Inspiration: Colville Street Patisserie

Colville Coffee

When it comes to doing some serious writing, sometimes a coffee shop is the best place. They’re usually friendly to writers who want to linger for hours, and it’s the norm to see people with a latte and a laptop. What makes a coffee shop go from good to great in our opinion, however, is the quality of the pastries. For that, Walla Walla’s Colville Street Patisserie is perfect. It is, after all, not just a place for coffee, but a true pastry shop.

Colville Interior


We can thank a local winemaker and his wife for telling us about this great place. They raved about the kouign amann (pronounced queen ah-mahn), the salty-sweet, flaky-sticky Breton cake that’s reminiscent of a croissant with its flaky layers, but much more decadent. Other treats worth trying include the apricot danish and the potato, pea, and curry turnover. Any of these would go well with an espresso or cappuccino. Also check out the range of gelato flavors while you’re there, as well as the case of fine desserts perfect for a special event.

Location and Atmosphere

Situated in Downtown Walla Walla, just a block off of Main Street, Colville Street Patisserie is easy to get to, yet boasts a slightly slower pace than a location on the main drag would give it. Though the stream of customers is steady, it’s perfectly acceptable to hunker down at a table with your laptop for a morning writing session.

Colville Pastry

Writeability and Purchased Presence

Colville Street Patisserie offers exactly what you’d expect from a coffee shop, but with the benefit of excellent pastries. There’s ample seating, and the steady energy of people streaming in and out is perfect for writers looking for a little people-watching and character inspiration. As we mentioned above, it’s a great place to linger. As always, however, be mindful of the Nooks & Cranberries code of conduct: Be considerate to crowds struggling to find a place to sit, and support the local business and order an additional beverage or pastry if you’re going to linger a while (we call this “Purchased Presence”).


Come in with a $10 bill and you’ll likely have plenty of money for a coffee, pastry, and a tip. In that regard, the pricing is typical for coffee shops, only you get a remarkable pastry, and not just a dry, bland, and lusterless one found at many other venues.


Street parking is easy to come by, or if you’re already downtown it’s within walking distance from virtually anywhere.

Writer’s Tip

Get to know the people working here, and strike up a conversation with the writer sitting next to you. Writing is often a solitary pursuit, and social hubs like this are great ways to get some social interaction. You never know when you’ll meet a new friend or come up with a great new storyline or article!

Find It

40 South Colville Street
Walla Walla, WA 99362


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Home Writing Nooks: Hemingway’s House

Here at Nooks & Cranberries, we’re all about finding inspiration in the world around us, whether we’re at one of Seattle’s many wonderful cafes, bakeries, or bars, an inviting hotel lobby, or even out in the great outdoors. One of the secrets to writing is being able to find inspiration wherever you are. And that includes at home.

Last week we took at look at the home office of Emily, the blogger behind Cupcakes and Cashmere. Her focus on white and pale hues, with pops of color and contrast from fresh flowers and a chalkboard, surround her in beauty, style, and simplicity.

Today’s featured Home Writing Nook is Ernest Hemingway’s Key West writing studio.

Notice the typewriter, trophy mounts, and book collection, not to mention the spacious interior. It’s considerably more masculine than our previous featured Home Writing Nook, but just as inspiring and personal.

Separated from the main house, Hemingway’s writing studio occupied the second floor of a former carriage house. A cat walk ran from the house’s veranda to the studio, allowing Hemingway to get out of bed in the mornings and walk directly to the studio, according to the Hemingway Home & Museum’s website.

Hemingway spent more than ten years at this house in Old Town Key West, and wrote For Whom the Bell Tolls, To Have and Have Not, Death in the Afternoon, Green Hills of Africa, and many short stories here (source).

Surrounded by lush landscaping, balmy heat, and the blazing sun, wouldn’t this be a pleasant oasis, just the place to inspire a writer?