Essentials

| Updated: June 22, 2022
 
 

FAVE FIVE
It’s time to rediscover all Seattle has to offer

By Heather Lowenthal

1. Get dressed it’s springtime in Seattle, where sunshine is a state of mind. So put on a bold, pastel printed Marimekko bucket hat from Pirkko of Finland, purveyors of modern iconic design. It’s a boutique filled with color, hidden in plain sight on First Avenue since 2010, just up from the Pike Place Market. If a hat is too optimistic for your Seattle sensibilities, then sport a graphic rain poncho you’ll use year-round. www.pirkko.com

2. Eat art Visit the renowned Sushi Kashiba. Arrive early and expect to sit at the bar unless you made a reservation four weeks ago. Don’t hesitate. Order the Chef Counter Omakase Experience. In a time of uncertainty, sushi chef Shiro Kashiba delivers beautiful sushi and sashimi of the highest quality with relentless consistency. The experience will ruin you by turning other sushi into, well, dead fish. The meticulous service feels like it comes from a time when everyone wore hats and you needed a nickel to make a phone call. www.sushikashiba.com

3. Release Channel your inner Beyoncé or swing like Michael Bublé at Seattle’s Rock Box karaoke rooms and bar. This venue is a pandemic survivor featuring 12 private rooms ventilated every six minutes with UV air scrubbers with sanitized surfaces. Cocktails and appetizers can be delivered discreetly to your booth and just like that, life will feel like the best of before times. www.rockboxseattle.com   

4. Experiment At the Seattle Art Museum, you can preview the work of more than 60 Northwest artists and rent one or more pieces for three months. If you discover you want to wake up every morning to a glossy “The Bert and Ernie” by Troy Gua or an abstract “Pink Tea Party” gouache and graphite on paper by Cara Jaye, buy it. If not, you’re free to go your separate ways and continue your search for true love. www.seattleartmuseum.org/visit/shops

5. Expand Attend Seattle Arts & Lectures events to hear notable fiction and nonfiction authors, poets and journalists speak about their work and the complexity of our times. In 2022, Seattle Arts & Lectures featured Cathy Park Hong, “Minor Feelings — An Asian American Reckoning,” and Bernadine Evaristo, author of 2019  Booker Prize-winning “Girl, Woman, Other.” They are just two writers in a series of 10 conversations with rising contemporary authors. To attend the next event, go to lectures.org/events/ and secure your ticket for a single night or an entire series.

Wendy Red Star; Spring from Four Seasons series: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer, 2006

HOW THE WEST WAS SPUN
Whatcom Museum Exhibit seeks to correct enduring myths

By: Rob Smith

Much of what you know about the Old West is a myth. A new exhibit at the Whatcom Museum seeks to provide a broader and more historically accurate perspective.

The nationally touring exhibition, “Many Wests: Artists Shape an American Idea,” examines the perspectives of 48 modern and contemporary artists who offer a more inclusive view of the West beyond historical narratives and pop culture.

The museum says the exhibition “examines previous misconceptions and questions racist clichés.” It is presented in both English and Spanish and is organized around three main themes: “Caretakers,” an examination of how artists can redefine what it means to care for communities; “Boundary Breakers,” featuring artists who correct culturally inaccurate myths; and “Memory Makers,” an exploration of how artists act as transmitters of cultural memory as they focus on neglected histories of the West.

“Many Wests” highlights artists who identify as Black, Indigenous, Asian American, Latinx and LBGTQ+.

The exhibition runs through Aug. 21 at the Whatcom Museum’s Lightcatcher Building in Bellingham.

Image By: Brooke Fitts

SEATTLE'S SURPRISING HOT SPOT FOR FOODIES
Eat where the techies do

By: Rob Smith

Seattle’s tech scene has become globally significant. Seattle’s culinary experience in the epicenter of that tech community? Not so much. Until now.

Experience Hawaiian-meets-Korean cuisine at acclaimed restaurant Marination, Middle Eastern mezze at Mamnoon Street, hand-rolled sourdough bagels at Rubinstein and a perfectly balanced beverage from Rachel’s Ginger Beer at Eat Seattle’s “Street Food Tour of South Lake Union.” The scrumptious culinary walking tour features six quintessential Seattle offerings that showcase the vibrant street food scene at the heart of the city’s tech center.

Eat Seattle is the brainchild of Paris Le Cordon Bleu graduate Liz Philpot, who launched the company in 2015 to highlight vendors at historic Pike Place Market. Since then, Eat Seattle has served more than 35,000 locals and tourists. Tours are led by longtime chef tour guide Eric Olinsky, a veteran of venerable Seattle institutions including Purple Café & Wine Bar, The Pink Door and Sabine.

“As we all know, the pandemic hit the food industry hard. All of our team has worked in commercial kitchens, so this struggle felt close to home,” Philpot says, adding that the new tour supports more local vendors. “The SLU neighborhood has some of our favorite restaurants in close proximity.”

Book a tour and check them out yourself at Eatseattletours.com.


Image By:  KEVIN SCOTT

SEATTLE HAS BECOME ONE SWANKY CITY
People are buying and selling high-end homes at rapid pace

By: Rob Smith

From million-dollar mansions to top floor penthouses, Seattle-area residents are busy trading places.

According to Coldwell Banker’s annual report on the luxury residential real estate market, the city boasted a 14.5% increase in luxury home sales last year, among the highest of 120 markets analyzed around the world. Coldwell Banker defines a luxury sale as one priced in the top 10% of a market.

The median price of a luxury home in the Seattle region was just shy of $1.8 million in 2021, a 6% hike from the previous year. A desire for safety during the pandemic was a significant driver.

“I have never had so many calls in my career about people that wanted a second home,” says Jen Cameron, vice president of Coldwell Banker Bain’s global luxury division in Kirkland. “It wasn’t about finding a luxury home in Bellevue, Kirkland or Medina. It was, ‘Hey, I want a house in the San Juans or on the water.’ They wanted a safe escape where they could go during the pandemic and feel like they were on vacation.”

You’d be forgiven if you thought the entire Seattle area was becoming a playground for the rich. The average asking price of all homes skyrocketed 14% between January and February of this year alone to a staggering $890,000, according to brokerage firm Flyhomes.



IT'S TRUE: 'BLACK FOLKS DO CAMP'
Sonia Wooten-Gill Launched a Facebook site to help dispel a long-held falsehood

Sonia Wooten-Gill was surprised when she learned that Oprah Winfrey had said that Black people dislike camping and don’t enjoy outdoor activities. So, she created a Facebook page to set the record straight.

Wooten-Gill, a Seattle resident and former Boeing employee, launched “Black Folks Do Camp” to invite other Black RV’ers to share their camping experiences and pictures. The page includes information on campgrounds, cooking recipes, motor home repairs and personal camping experiences.

The private group, which is open to anyone, now counts 3,300 members.

“RV’ing is truly a lifestyle,” says Wooten-Gill, who along with her husband, Charles — a retired deputy chief for the Seattle Fire Department — owns a 45-foot Tiffin Allegro RV. They also belong to the National African American RV’ers Association, a group that hosts annual national camp rallies.

“The RV lifestyle encourages you to do more things outdoors such as hiking, bike riding and meeting like-minded RV’ers,” she adds. “As a passenger, I enjoy riding and seeing God’s beauty of mountains, terrains and the beautiful scenery.”

The pandemic sparked interest in the outdoors. In its annual North American Camping Report, Kampground of America found that 54% of new campers last year came from nonwhite groups.

Racial equity in the outdoors has become a hot topic. Kent-based REI Co-op, for instance, recently launched a campaign to build a more inclusive outdoor community, citing a report from the Outdoor Industry Association that said 72% of people who participated in an outdoor activity in 2020 were white.

Wooten-Gill urges novices, regardless of race, to rent an RV to get a taste of the motor home lifestyle.

“Take it out for a joyride to see if this is something that you’d like to commit to,” she says. –Linda Lowry


TURNING HATE INTO HEALING
Seattle Food Entrepreneur launches company to support the #veryasian movement

Angela Shen turned anti-Asian hate into healing. In doing so, she bolstered an entire community.

Shen, the founder of Savor Seattle Food Tours, created DOMO Collective – an online marketplace for foodie jewelry designed by makers in the Asian American Pacific Islander community – shortly after learning that her friend, former KING 5 anchor Michelle Li, had received a racist voicemail from a viewer. The viewer told Li, now an anchor at a TV station in St. Louis, to “keep her Korean to herself” and of being “very Asian” after she mentioned on-air that she enjoyed eating traditional Korean dumpling soup as a New Year’s tradition.

Li then started the #VeryAsian movement to call attention to racism, discrimination and violence directed toward Asians. It went viral. Shen timed the launch of DOMO the same day Li appeared on “The Ellen DeGeneres Show” to discuss the incident.

Shen came up with the idea because “food is a universal language that everyone speaks and you don’t have to be Asian to want to support inclusivity and to show your support,” she says. “I just felt so compelled and called to action on a very deep level.”

Shen is no stranger to activism. In response to George Floyd’s murder at the hands of Minneapolis police in 2020, Savor Seattle created a “solidarity” box featuring items from Black-owned businesses. When the pandemic halted Savor Seattle’s food tours, Shen began delivering food boxes curated with items from the city’s small businesses. She donated portions of those proceeds to social justice causes, resulting in more than $100,000 for various nonprofit organizations including the Pike Place Market Foundation and Black Lives Matter.

One of DOMO’s signature pieces is a double dumpling necklace representing people and cultures coming together made by Seattle’s Ann Chikahisa of Chikahisa Studios. Other offerings include earrings, enamel pins and key chains. All proceeds from the first 200 orders and 10% of every subsequent order will be donated to The Very Asian Foundation, an organization Li founded that is committed to amplifying diverse American Asian Pacific Islander voices through education, storytelling and community. —Rob Smith



WAGS TO RICHES

You won’t get rich if you choose this profession, but at least you’ll be playing with the big dogs.

Dog walkers in Seattle are among the highest-paid in the nation, earning an average annual salary of $32,366. That’s only $15.70 per hour, but it’s the sixth-highest dog-walking wage in the United States, according to 365petinsurance.com. Only five cities in California — San Francisco, Fremont, Fresno, San Jose and Oakland — pay more.

The average dog walker’s income tops $30,000 in only eight states, starting with Massachusetts. At $30,103, Washington, like Seattle, ranks sixth.

Seattle has a well-deserved reputation as a paradise for pet owners. Recent census data show that Seattleites own a total of 153,000 dogs. For perspective, the city has only about 107,000 children.

Just another example of Seattle having more bite than bark. –Rob Smith

INTENTIONAL INCLUSION
Ruchika Tulshyan urges companies to do the hard work necessary to create meaningful change

By: Rob Smith

Ruchika Tulshyan moved to Seattle because her husband got a job at Amazon. Nine years later, he’s still there.

Tulshyan’s introduction to the city wasn’t quite as smooth. A former journalist, Tulshyan landed a job in the marketing department at a tech company. She describes it as a “tough” experience.

“The technology industry, especially nine or 10 years ago, was a tough time for women. Very toxic,” says Tulshyan, who notes that she was the only woman of color in the company. “So, I left and wrote a book about gender equity.”

That book, “The Diversity Advantage: Fixing Gender Inequality in the Workplace,” launched Tulshyan on an entirely different path. MIT Press just published her second book, “Inclusion on Purpose: An Intersectional Approach to Creating a Culture of Belonging at Work.” It focuses on the hard work that must go into creating a truly inclusive and equitable workforce.

In between those books, Tulshyan has built an impressive résumé. She serves as a contributing writer for “The New York Times” and “Harvard Business Review,” has been recovnized in “Forbes,” is a distinguished professional-in-residence at Seattle University and was cochair of the Seattle Women’s Commission for three years. She also founded Candour, a global inclusion strategy firm that advises companies on all aspects of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Tulshyan says she “essentially” self-published her first book, which she describes as a small guidebook. She says “Inclusion on Purpose” is much more thorough. She adds that research shows that the first time most Americans meaningfully interact with a person of another race is in the workplace. She strongly believes that those experiences will create needed change in Seattle and across the country.

“It has to be done in schools, our neighborhoods and all of that,” she says. “And I think there’s a unique opportunity right now, especially in Seattle. The workplace has certainly led when we think about civil rights and protections and things like that. It doesn’t go as far as it should by any measure, but at least that’s where we started seeing the changes happening.”