I'm always on the hunt for coffeehouses where I can get a wicked-good cup of Joe and pair it with something more satisfying than day-old scones and rock-hard biscotti. This week's discovery: The tucked-away Sparks Coffee House near Hampden and Monaco.
Sparks' comprehensive selection of coffee—American to Arabic—is augmented by the terrific house-made pastries. The Polish honey cake (pictured) is a dense, slightly sweet cake lightened with several thin layers of cream. Served cool, the cake—which is traditionally enjoyed on Christmas or Easter in Poland—tastes of honey, but not in an overpowering way. Another excellent choice for a mid-afternoon snack: the 1,000 leaves cake, an obvious labor of love in which seemingly endless, ultrathin layers of flaky dough and pastry cream are topped with caramel drizzles.
Bonus: Sparks makes custom cakes for special occasions and offers heartier fare such as breakfast wraps and Russian empanadas known as chebureki.
6660 E. Hampden Ave., 303-753-3640