February 2012

The Big 50

Marking the 50th anniversary of that seminal event in our city's history, Seattle magazine--about to turn 50 itself!--offers extensive coverage in the way only we can: written by the Space Needle's writer in residence, our own Knute Berger.

From this Issue

Fifty years ago, Seattle threw a party for the world. The World’s Fair—called The Century 21 Exposition—was a celebration of Space Age innovation at a time of hope and futuristic yearnings. Our city, once regarded by many as a muddy Wild West outpost, was thrust into the world’s spotlight, suddenly becoming sophisticated and cutting edge.

A wrenching chapter in our region’s history was written 70 years ago this month: the internment of thousands of Japanese Americans. In 1942, in the wake of the Pearl Harbor attack, amidst war hysteria, racism and fears of sabotage, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, forcing the evacuation of 120,000 people of Japanese ancestry (two-thirds of them U.S.

In 2006, when we produced an anniversary issue celebrating this magazine’s 40-year evolution from Pacific Search, to Pacific Northwest, to Seattle Home and Garden to the Seattle mag you’re reading today, we invited local notables to write about the key events and people responsible for shaping our city over the last 40 years.

In a town that’s plenty pork happy already (try to remember the last time you didn’t see pork belly on a menu), Boat Street Café’s double-cut Carlton Farms pork chop is outstanding.

In recent years, the simple comfort foods that star in our sepia-toned childhood memories have had an even greater pull on us. Ice cream shops, burger joints and doughnut dynasties have multiplied, doling out creamy, salty, sweet and (this is key!) affordable indulgences.

Sometimes a restaurant feels just right in its space. LloydMartin, chef Sam Crannell’s masculine den on Queen Anne Avenue (the former location of Bricco wine bar) is such a place.

With room for a dozen at the bar, with polished walnut and reclaimed-wood banquettes, it’s an ideal place to duck into for a glass of wine and a plate or two.

Depending on whom you ask, finding great Chinese food in Seattle is either tricky or downright impossible, because it doesn’t exist. Local Chinese-food aficionados have been known to respond to the question “Where should I go to dim sum?” with a sassy “Vancouver, B.C.”

On a somewhat sparse stretch of 35th Avenue in West Seattle, sisters Senait Beyene and Muzit Evans have opened a casual fried-fish eatery that the neighborhood is warmly embracing. And it ought to: The panko in the cod’s coating fries up to an audible crunch ($8.99/three pieces, with fries) and makes for a mighty satisfying lunch.

When writing about aged cocktails, I feel I should start with, “It all starts a long time ago, in a faraway place,” as if my grandfather were telling me a story.

What’s the purpose of the split down the middle of Henrybuilt’s Wood Bench 3? “It helps the seat to hug your bottom,” says Lisa Day, Seattle-based Henrybuilt’s director of marketing. The split divides the bench into two long slabs of wood, which angle down slightly toward the center, making it more comfortable than a standard bench.

Just as this issue hits the stands, a young concert violinist who went to high school in Renton and now lives in Seattle’s International District is making his solo debut at Carnegie Hall.

If the cold, wet weather and shorter days are putting a damper on your outdoor workout, head inside and try something new. Here are a few cool ways to feel the burn—without catching a chill.

Climb the walls

The Gin’s the Thing

Sitting on a stool at the long wooden bar—and I strongly suggest it—is a singular experience. While sipping, you can gaze through a glass wall into the backroom distillery and see the 200-year-old Scottish still that Sun Liquor’s Hedge Trimmer gin is made in.

“The choreography is tricky,” says Michael McCafferty, and his position at Seattle Art Museum is indeed a dance of sorts. As director of exhibition design, he works with SAM curators to figure out which artworks and artifacts go where for every show.

What it is: Fenugreek is a plant widely cultivated in Asia (predominantly in India) and Europe. Both its leaves and seeds are used in cooking, commonly in curries.

When Dorcas Young moved from rural Botswana to Whidbey Island in 1996, one of her greatest challenges was finding the foods she had eaten as a child growing up on her family’s 500-acre produce and livestock farm.

Café Presse

Presse’s croque monsieur is baked in a convection oven, guaranteeing that the sandwich is browned on all sides. A pallone white bread from Grand Central Bakery encloses Madrange ham, Comté cheese and mustard. $6. Capitol Hill, 1117 12th Ave.; 206.709.7674;

The title song from Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1943 musical Oklahoma! conjures up images of cowboy hats, chaps and ruffled prairie skirts sweeping down the plain. That’s because, over time and countless community theater productions, the classic musical comedy has warped into a caricature of itself, with broad characters and hokey sets.

So you say you brew your own beer. Big whoop. Do you brew your own kombucha?

Embraced by Seattleites for its purported health properties (eliminating toxins, increasing energy), the fermented tea beverage known as kombucha has long been sold prebottled in local stores.

WHERE: Long Beach, Washington.

WHY: For the Asian New Year Celebration at the World Kite Museum (303 Sid Snyder Drive; 360.642.4020;

This year’s event centers on the vibrant culture of Bali, with colorful handmade kites and other exhibits from the Indonesian island.

Christopher Boffoli won’t stop playing with his food, and we couldn’t be happier about it. The West Seattle-based photographer and writer has gained acclaim for his “Disparity” photo series, which comically pairs teeny human figurines with real-life foods in extreme close-up.

Seattle keyboardist, composer and experimental jazz fixture Wayne Horvitz has never shied away from mixing things up—and now he’s bringing a fresh idea to the local music scene.

Our city’s growing hip-hop scene gained more national attention last summer, when Sub Pop Records picked up local duo THEESatisfaction (Catherine Harris-White and Stasia Irons). The playful twosome has been wowing Seattle crowds with self-released EPs and infectious live shows since 2008, and at press time were about to release their first full-length album.

Carnivorous locavores, rejoice! Seattle has a new source for premium, local beef, pork, lamb, goat, poultry and game, courtesy of William von Schneidau, formerly of Bill the Butcher Organic Meats.

Couture designer and recent Bay Area transplant Marta Kappl has enjoyed her share of success in the fashion world, tallying up clients such as Keanu Reeves and Carlos Santana over her more than 20-year independent career.

We might cry over spilled milk, but we shed happy tears of joy over spilled paint, thanks to Moth and Crow’s new Marsupial Fold-Over Shopper handbag. Crafted by Capitol Hillster Dawn Smithson, the supple bag has welt pockets (à la its mammalian namesake) and, thanks to detachable straps, can be sported in four different ways, including as a chic fold-over clutch.

Cruising along Interstate 90, many travelers never bother to search beyond North Bend’s massive outlet mall and fast-food corridor.

They pour into Seattle by the hundreds of thousands: cruise ship passengers from all over the world, clamoring to board floating cities for slo-mo luxury tours of Puget Sound and points beyond.

1. Champagne glasses (with Space Needle stems) used on opening night of the fair

2. A ticket book, with individual tickets for fair exhibits

In 1962, stylish guests dined and drank at The Eye of the Needle (now called SkyCity), while slowly revolving 500 feet above Seattle. While the days of a $6.75 three-course dinner are long gone, you don’t need a time machine to sample the drinks from the Needle’s menu. Seattle magazine’s cocktail expert A.J.

1,000,000: number of dollars the City of Fife offered Seattle to move the Space Needle to its downtown

600,000: number of dollars the City of Seattle paid for the monorail in 1965

In the winter of 1962, my Cub Scout den had taken a field trip to the top of the Smith Tower, then one of the tallest buildings west of the Mississippi. We went to the observation deck, where we had an unobstructed view across downtown to a strange spire that was rising near Queen Anne Hill.

June 1–October 16, 1909: Seattle’s first world’s fair, the Alaska-Yukon-Pacific Exposition, takes place (see photo above).

1954: City Council member Al Rochester proposes the idea that Seattle host a world’s fair to mark the 50th anniversary of the A-Y-P.


The as-yet-unnamed Knute Berger history of the Space Needle
by Knute Berger
To be released in spring of 2012
Seattle magazine’s own editor-at-large is also the writer in residence at the Space Needle. He penned this history of the Needle in his office on the Observation Deck.

The Space Needle Is Well Rooted (see above photo)

Since its construction, we’ve been decorating the Space Needle to commemorate special occasions.

A crustacean ascended the Space Needle in October, 1985 as a publicity stunt for Fish and Seafood Month.

Paul Gauguin is known the world over for the vibrant paintings he produced while living on Tahiti and the Marquesas Islands. But the “primitive” objects that inspired him, which he sometimes referenced visually, are often glossed over in discussions of his work. Not so with Gauguin & Polynesia: An Elusive Paradise, the new show at the Seattle Art Museum.

For kids who say “no!” to wearing too-stiff denim jeans, local parents Erin and Nick Cloke offer an alternative: cute, kicky denim styles made from eco-friendly and ultrasoft bamboo.

Too often, music that has the power to soothe a savage toddler meltdown is tooth-achingly sweet; downright intolerable for adults. Not so with the new release by Portland-based musician Laura Veirs.

One of the heavy hitters in Seattle’s booming “kindie rock” scene is branching out into books. West Seattle’s Caspar Babypants (aka Chris Ballew of the Presidents of the United States of America) has teamed up with his wife, artist Kate Endle, to release two kids’ books, complete with sweet sing-along songs.

The Seattle world’s fair of 1962 is fixed in civic memory: the Space Needle, the Science Center, the Monorail. But just as interesting as the fair that was is the fair that wasn’t. The Century 21 Exposition had many possible incarnations that remained on the drawing board. So consider this column the opposite of Elvis Presley’s Century 21 film.

Still trying to come up with a New Year’s resolution? How about kickstarting that book idea you’ve been mulling over? Local authors Kerry Colburn and Jennifer Worick have a new Business of Books workshop: 30 Days to a Winning Book Proposal. Learn how to research, refine, pitch and pen a proposal—and get that book out of your head and onto the page. Wednesdays, 2/1–2/22. 7 p.m.

Health nuts who dread getting a box of chocolates for Valentine’s Day can breathe a sigh of sweet relief. New Seattle company Vibrant Chocolate enriches its truffles and treats with vitamins and nutrients—such as calcium, vitamin D and omega-3s—which means gobbling them up is (mostly) guilt free. Warning: Monthly subscriptions are available.