Hotel lounges are among my favorite places to read the paper, watch people and talk to strangers. Some are more welcoming to non-guests than others, or have more of a neighborhood-meeting place feel to them. Such is the case with the cafe and tearoom of the Panama Hotel in the International District. Excellent coffee, a long list of tea choices, good Panini and a choice of sweets make a visit extra attractive. Croissants can be had at any coffee shop, but if you're lucky you may find there's a croissant fourré left on the platter. They're called almond croissants here, but I swear, the first time I bit through flaky pastry in sweet almond paste, my upper lip dusted with powdered sugar, I had visions of early mornings in Paris and Strasbourg.
Previously published by hotelbycity 1/13/2007