December 2010

Best of 2010

Plus: The best of the decade!

From this Issue

In the heart of Tangletown, Bandolero (2253 N 56th St.; 206.633.5828; specializes in tequila. Opened in August by former Pour House co-owner Jay Farias, the bar keeps the margaritas flowing for thirsty amigos.

Anne Nisbet and Marcia Sisley-Berger were destined to bake together. Having walked the same dining room floor at Ray’s Boathouse, albeit at different times (Nisbet was  director of catering from 1991 to 1998, Sisley-Berger a pastry chef from 2003 to 2009), the two met through a mutual friend who knew they had at least one thing in common: a passion for baking sweet treats.

’Tis the season for freshly baked breads—their scents making us salivate for a hunk of doughy goodness. Try these favorite locally made sweet and savory treats, guaranteed to enhance your holidays

For years, Tom Douglas’ restaurant empire has managed to walk a delicate line, pleasing locals while welcoming tourists. As Seattle’s premier restaurateur, he has given us a half-dozen places—Serious Pie, Palace Kitchen, Dahlia Lounge, Dahlia Bakery, Lola, Etta’s—where we can find reliably tasty and sometimes downright superb food.

There are some chefs whose cooking just hits the spot for me. Renee Erickson is one such chef; her Frenchified dishes at Boat Street Cafe have a rustic unfussiness that comes off as tasting so effortless. I’ve enjoyed many a candlelit dinner, and too many brunches to count, in the chic hideaway on Lower Queen Anne.

Inside a cinder-block building tucked between a tattoo parlor and the Azteca Mexican restaurant on Ballard’s Market Street, a candy maker wraps shiny squares of freshly cut salted caramels. Down the hall, vegan caterers put the final touches on raw to-go lunches. Manning the stove, a street-food vendor preps ingredients for his taco truck.

Mioposto Caffé e Pizzeria (Mount Baker, 3601 S McClellan St.; 206.760.3400; is a regular stop for me since I live in the neighborhood. At night, the place fills up with parents treating their kids to the chewy, wood-fired Neapolitan pizza.

Ryan Molenkamp’s work is instantly captivating, but not always immediately clear. His large-scale oil and graphite paintings beckon viewers to look closer. Is that a desert? Or a city? Are those buildings or boxcars? Is this a place that’s cracking open, or healing itself? In the case of his new series, The Flood, it’s essentially both.

Meet Your Maker
Artist:: Dayna Hanson
choreographer, filmmaker, musician, performance artist
Show: Gloria’s Cause, a contemporary dance-driven rock musical about
the American Revolution and modern inequality see it: 12/2–12/5. 8 p.m.
$20. On the Boards, 100 W Roy St.; 206.217.9888;

Pioneer Square experienced a jump in its dragon population this past fall. At the same time, the International District saw a sudden increase in dinging noises.

It’s funny to look back at all the Y2K hand-wringing that was done when the calendar flipped from 1999 to 2000. Who knew we’d close out the decade worrying less about whether our computers would work than whether we could ever afford to retire? Or that we’d be surfing the Web on our cell phones and communicating through tweets and status updates? 

One man close to me seemed nearly paralyzed with fear. The man to my left had turned a grayish color, almost matching his hair. He sported a sheen of sweat across his forehead. And me? My stomach was clenching.

Seattle writer Sam Howe Verhovek has a fascinating new book out called Jet Age: The Comet, the 707, and the Race to Shrink the World. It tells the story of how the Boeing Company conquered commercial jet aviation.

’Tis the season of giving, and after exhausting your creativity on gift ideas for those nearest and dearest, trying to find simple, cute gifts for coworkers, your child’s teachers, party hosts and others in your life can make even the most intrepid shopper head down the dreaded fruitcake path.

At the Inform Interiors store in the Denny Triangle, there are nose prints on the window. But not in front of the cowhide recliner, or the angular Bellini chairs. The lustful smudges are reserved for the spot where passers-by can ogle an ovoid ice princess of a bathtub called the Agape Spoon XL.

WHY WE LOVE HER STYLE: Shiramizu, the owner of Momo boutique in the International District, has a very short style icon: her 7-year-old niece. So she often looks to girlhood’s flowy skirts and comfortable fabrics to pull together her easygoing style. “My style is a mix of Tinkerbell and Morticia from The Addams Family,” the I.D. maven says.

 Picture this: you’ve just learned that your newborn has internal organs that seem to indicate maleness and external organs that seem to indicate femaleness. It’s not as uncommon as it sounds, but it is an issue fraught with complexity and social trauma.  If it’s one your family is facing, you have a world-class resource in your own backyard.

Get a Whiff
1. Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in Smell-O-Vision

This waterfront neighborhood is most often associated with summer strolls, but don’t let the colder months keep you away. December brings the magical Pathway of Lights, a luminaria-lit holiday walk around the lake (12/11; 4:30–7:30 p.m.). And with a recent influx of new restaurants and shops, you may want to plan your next daycation on Green Lake’s welcoming shores.

Travel: Sketch Books

While pundits ponder the future of the novel, Seattle author Neal Stephenson has lodged it securely in the past.

When How to Cook a Wolf opened on Queen Anne in 2008, locals couldn’t stop remarking on the restaurant’s obscure name (it’s the title of a book by the legendary food writer M.F.K. Fisher). But in the past year, multiple restaurants have opened under names that make it hard to tell whether you’re going out to eat or to forge iron at the village smithy.

Where: Portland, Oregon, for the 2010 Holiday Ale Festival (12/1–12/5; $20-$25; in Pioneer Courthouse Square. Why: To clink beer mugs in a microbrew mecca, where 45 breweries from the Northwest and beyond—including Widmer Bros.

NAME: A.J. Rathbun
OCCUPATION: Author, poet and mixologist
FAVORITE LIQUOR: “I’m an equal opportunity drinker.”
ON RAW EGGs IN COCKTAILS: “They add a really good mouthfeel. Just use fresh, organic eggs, shake like the dickens and you’ll be fine.”

Are you always first in line to try the latest thrill ride? Then get yourself to Whistler this winter for an attraction so cool it’s frozen.

If hockey is in your blood, it doesn’t matter how old you are: The need must be satisfied. Roddy Scheer has been skating for 30 years, and nothing gets between him and his Monday-night games with a bunch of guys who represent a true cross section of Seattle.

Even in a bad economy, celebrating the best of Seattle is actually pretty easy. The hard part is whittling down the best of the best—from the hottest new indie rock band to the coolest new flower shop—so that it all fits into a finite number of pages. This year, we also wanted to give a shout out to the best of the decade.

From long-held traditions to a taste of the unusual, Seattle offers a big red bag full of festive shows

Theater and Dance


Plucking fallen pine needles out of the carpet is cause for Grinch-style grumbling, so we’ve asked Santa for nontraditional, creative wreaths that don’t shed like pets. Try these crafty DIY garlands (made from recycled fabric, plush paper and art supplies) that celebrate the season in chic, clean style.