CoCo La Ti Da-La-Land

Okay, first, let’s talk about the name. The (phrase? new word?) Coco La Ti Da (sing it with me now) fills my brain with exactly the same kind of girly-whirly cuteness that adorns this new Capitol Hill “dessert lounge.” How could a place with a name like Coco La Ti Da not be adorable?

Adorable it is. When I visited early last Friday night, just a day or two after it opened, CLTD was buzzing with (surprise!) dinner business. The menu offers a great list of small bites plates, from a salad with a pomegranate-tangerine vinaigrette (simply labeled “toss”) to more substantial plates, like pasta and the short rib special they had on Friday.

Chef Sue McCown and her team have decked the place out in brown-and-Tiffany-Blue dotted ribbon and billowy, trendy fabrics in such a way that from the moment you enter (through the unusually beautiful, heavy door), you can’t help but feel like you have one foot in la la land. So THIS is where the $100 throw pillows from Ballard boutiques go! We hit the lounge in the back, where the ceiling and walls are decorated with a starburst of ethereal, sheer drapes in blues and whites that made me feel like I was either in a fortune teller’s tent or in the college dorm room of someone’s dreams. (I couldn’t help but notice that I recognized some of the curtains from my last trip to IKEA.)

Since we’d already had sushi (I’m never above Second Dinner), we decided to split Sue’s Savory Lollipops, which came three to a plate looking exactly like their description: three little orbs of food, from which protruded real lollipop sticks that made for easy eating. After debating whether to move from sweet to savory or the other way, we started with the (sweet) maple-glazed apple (great apple that had perhaps been grilled, deep sticky glaze, but needed a bite of really sharp cheddar for balance), then moved to the goat cheese-stuffed fig with microgreens (delectable goat cheese and fresh, firm fig, but too many greens made it taste sort of like we’d bet set out to graze on a too-dry pasture; a bit of some balsamicky drizzle might have helped), then to the bleu-stuffed, pancetta-wrapped date (spot-on mix of earthy umami and brighter sweet flavors; as always, hard to go wrong with the pig). Delish.

Then we split four “baby cakes on a stick,” which are essentially (cute) petit four cakes that come with a Popsicle stick shoved into the center. Perfect for splitsies, and even more perfect (I’d imagine) for a romantic date, especially if you eat them (like we did) sitting on a nice leather couch in low lighting.

Although the food that floated past smelled delicious, and the pastries were obviously really fresh, creatively named, and just plain fun to eat, I’ll go back to CLTD for the drinks. My Lemon Meringue Pie martini actually came with a little meringue floating in it; the light, airy texture of the foam on top (was it really egg white?) made the drink a pleasure ride in itself.

Find out more at http://www.cocolatida.com.

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