December 2015

The Takeout Holiday Feast

The best take-and-serve menus from appetizers to dessert

From this Issue

Seattle’s boom continued, but so did the associated growing pains.

With menswear’s retail growth outpacing women’s, we keep hearing it for the boys. From black-tie trimmings to casual Sunday, we’ve rounded up the top looks for any mister to master this holiday season.

Painter Cable Griffith’s landscapes bring an electronic pulse to pastoral scenes, fusing the order of human-built infrastructure with the chaos of the natural world.

You’ve put all that thought into the celebration spread for your holiday meal—don’t lose steam before getting to the beloved, holy staples of bread and butter. As with everything else, ’tis the season to consider some new options.

Dinner Rolls

If there’s ever a time for home cooks to show off their culinary chops, it’s the holidays.

Best for: Boxed and ready dinner party sweets

Seattle is teeming with gourmands and grocers ready to offer up a full meal deal. So why not take them up on it? Here’s where you can bring home an entire holiday feast, from the appetizer all the way to dessert. Sweet.

The Gourmet Grocer

The food focus come December is heavily weighted toward big turkeys and honey-roasted hams, rich side dishes and decadent desserts. But the beloved brunch can be just as good a means for celebration, with the advantage of a relaxed vibe. To keep you in chill mode, here are local resources for front-loading the menu with no-fuss options.

Let’s face it: We’re not all bakers. But banning Betty Crocker from our lives doesn’t mean we can’t take post-dinner celebrations seriously. Here’s where to start if you want to make a great dessert without actually making dessert.

Best Pies to Go

Yes, yes, it’s a busy time of year. So you might talk yourself out of having friends in for a holiday gathering, because there’s too much to do.

Our go-to farmers’ market stops have the best fall and winter produce for classic (or not so classic) side dishes—all made with vegetables grown nearby. Take advantage of what’s local without breaking the bank (or spending weeks in the kitchen) by following the loose recipes below.

If there’s one way to catch your guests’ attention, it’s with a stunning main course—which means starting with the best star player you can find. (Hint: Order ahead.) Below, Seattle chefs share their holiday habits, and which purveyors they trust.

Andrew Hoge honed his eye for style as the communications and assistant business manager for Seattle couturier Luly Yang before joining the events team at The Fairmont Olympic Hotel this past summer. Given the task of designing dream weddings for the city’s elite, Hoge says his take on event design is an extension of his personal presentation. “For me, everything is in the details,” he says.

It's a typical Seattle scene: Sunday brunch in the communal room of a downtown condo, decorated with a mid-century modern-patterned carpet and filled with recent South Asian transplants. But this is brunch with a purpose. And the dozen and a half attendees—bathed in soft gray light and munching on Top Pot doughnuts and blackened chickpeas—are here for a kind of Philanthropy 101 session.

For some of us, going to work is a fairly mundane affair. But for the winners of Crosscut’s 2015 Courage Awards, it’s a mission and—although they might not call it this—an act of true bravery.

From the perfect hostess gift to children’s playthings, we’ve rounded up our favorite holiday finds from local stores—presents sure to surprise everyone on your list.

In a little more than a year, chef Edouardo Jordan has gone from rising star to local culinary celeb. He first wowed us with his rustic open-fire cooking at Matt Dillon’s Bar Sajor, where he was chef de cuisine. Now, Jordan, 35, has opened his own restaurant, Salare, in Ravenna, where he lives with his wife and son.

Our annual year-in-review story this month is always packed with editors' picks for the best our city has to offer. But you also had a say: Back in July, you voted for your favorites--everything from casinos to CrossFit studios--in our Best of 2015 Readers' Choice Poll.

At 22, cookie entrepreneur Krista Nelson already understands the subtle nuances of dinner-party politics. She realizes, for instance, that full-time working parents given the task of bringing a homemade dessert to a dinner might need a little help. 

Rabbi Rachel Nussbaum came to this city wanting to “thaw the freeze,” she says. In Seattle, she found, meeting people and building Jewish culture and community can be a challenge. That’s why Nussbaum, shortly after arriving here in 2004 with her husband, Noam Pianko, cofounded The Kavana Cooperative, a nondenominational Jewish community.

This season, amid the frenzy of downtown Seattle, where shoppers descend and office workers close out the fiscal year, there is an exhibit that disrupts our notions about artists and museums while affirming our faith in generosity and inclusion.

The Seattle area has the eighth-largest homeless veteran population in the country, according to the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). With the help of the community, the veteran-led nonprofit One Less Mountain’s Seattle Stand Down project is working to change that.

Who would’ve thought that the old parlor game 20 Questions would help researchers link two brains together? University of Washington researchers at the Institute for Learning & Brain Sciences used the game to help them learn how to read minds.

When you walk into Jude’s Old Town in Rainier Beach, you’ll wish this bar were in your neighborhood. Unless you live in Rainier Beach—then you just feel lucky. Jude’s is a perfect place to have nearby: comfortable,family friendly and fun, without pretensions—the kind of spot where you want to become a regular.

Amid the hustle and bustle of the South Lake Union tech industry, students and staff at Cornish College of the Arts are asking how they can ensure their field has a future. Much of modern art involves collaborating with technology and other artists. “At Cornish we believe in the flexibility and adaptability of art,” says Moira Payne, Provost and Vice President for academic affairs.

Walking into Funko’s colorful, 200,000-square-foot warehouse in Everett is like discovering the best-kept secret toy factory in the world. Piled up to the ceiling sit the company’s signature hot seller: the stylized, irresistibly cute Pop! figures, with their oversize bobbleheads and big eyes.

In the kitchen of her Ballard home, Renee Erickson lifts pillowy, freshly fried doughnuts from a pot of boiling oil.

For most wine lovers, the EF Score for sparkling wine is off the charts. (Never heard of an EF Score? That’s probably because I just invented it. Patent pending.) EF stands for enjoyment multiplied by frequency, and it’s a handy construct for figuring out whether you’re buying the right wines. Ask yourself: How much did you enjoy the last few sparkling wines you drank?

Many classic Seattle restaurants have been around for a while: Canlis is celebrating its 65th year, El Gaucho is an elder statesman of the Seattle scene, and SkyCity at the Space Needle casts its long historic shadow over the city. And then there are the restaurants that have stood their ground for two decades or more, but with far less fanfare.

The city is changing, affordability is worse than ever, and longtime communities are “hollowing out,” as Seattle City Council member Kshama Sawant has described a Central District that is no longer an African-American enclave. And then there’s Ballard, where you can’t buy “fresh” lutefisk anymore.

Seaweed, long revered in Japanese culture, is available as close as Puget Sound. But can we simply stroll down to Golden Gardens and harvest some fresh kelp for eating? “Yes,” says Taichi Kitamura, owner and chef at Sushi Kappo Tamura in Eastlake. “All seaweed is edible; it is just a matter of tasting good or bad.” 

Growing up, my favorite after-school snack was a piece of toasted white bread smeared with avocado. Today, chefs across the nation have elevated this comfort food to be among the trendiest of appetizers. My favorite version is at The Fat Hen in Ballard. There, chef and co-owner Massimo Gallo covers a thick slice of levain peasant loaf with smashed chunks of an entire avocado.

When the Seattle Police Department (SPD) and Mayor Ed Murray’s office rolled out the 9 1/2 Block Strategy to clean up crime in a chunk of downtown last April, the city cheered.

One of the first things that comes to mind when we think holiday celebrations is popping open some bubbly.

No nation has elevated sweet pie to the level of lore that America has—and never is our pie obsession as strong as during the holidays. Whether you’re emulating Aunt Angie’s apple or perfecting your own pumpkin, chances are, pie holds real value to you and yours. Which is why, if you’re setting out to make your own, it’s wise to call in the experts.

Bellevue-based Pebblebee made a name for itself last year with the Honey ($24.99 at, a small Bluetooth “key finder” device designed to help users keep track of oft-misplaced household items.

Where: Grouse Mountain, a snowy peak just 15 minutes from downtown Vancouver, British Columbia

What: The annual Peak of Christmas event (11/28–1/4/2016,, when this mountaintop resort becomes a winter wonderland, perfect for families and romantic getaways.