Espresso con panna, dolce fine and cioccolate martini
at Beyond the Bridge Cafe in Sumner.
I won a cool drink in a raffle Friday night at a private concert in a Sumner coffeehouse. I'd paid $5 to hear singer-songwriters perform their music live at Beyond the Bridge Cafe. Raffle prizes were BBC's coffee drinks.
My lucky ticket got me an espresso con panna: a shot of rich espresso poured over a stubby cloud of hand-whipped cream, topped with shaved chocolate and chocolate-coated espresso beans. I ate it up with a spoon, unsweetened.
Because it was nothing like Starbuck's version, I went back for more.
Monday's espresso con panna ($3.25) was made with store-bought whipped cream. Not as good as Friday night's hand-whipped cloud of lusciousness but still creamy and smooth.
BBC does other cocktail-style espresso drinks, billed as "a dining in experience." (There's a drive-thru window, but you can't get these drinks to go.)
Espresso-and-cream dolce fine ($2) was short and cool on the rocks, sweetened by a glimmering rim of sugar in an arty shot glass.
Cioccolate martini -- espresso, Hershey's syrup and half-and-half, shaken over ice and served strained, with latte art on top ($3) -- satisfied like the caffeinated goblet of frosty chocolate milk it was.
Like the espresso in the drinks, the inspiration and recipes come from Seattle micro-roaster Cafe D'arte
While there's loads of parking, two-year-old BBC is small. Its tidy ambiance -- abstract painted wood tables, sturdy chairs, a tiny stage, a piano -- is conducive to sitting and sipping. (On Friday night, BBC was packed; the ventilation system performed wonderfully.)
BBC serves bagel sandwiches (variations on ham and turkey, $4.99), assorted pastries, tea and ice cream.
On the last Friday of each month, BBC hosts live music. Concerts are private events, but all you've got to do to get on the guest list is call. Performers include local singer-songwriters and indie bands that typify Puget Sound's poppy post-grunge sound. The Cloves, who hail from Sumner, have played live at BBC.
In addition to being sandwiched between two Sumner icons -- the Old Cannery and the old metal bridge that crosses the Puyallup River -- BBC is the only coffeehouse I know of that offers tetherball as an activity. There's a tetherball pole out front. BBC proprietor Ben Rubke said he's planning a customer-appreciation tetherball tournament in July.
(BBC's got Wi-Fi, too, for those who prefer virtual recreation.)
Beyond the Bridge Cafe: 13624 Valley Ave. E, Sumner; 253-863-0556. Hours: 6 a.m.-6 p.m. Mondays-Fridays; 7 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturdays; 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Sundays.