June 2012

From this Issue

For the dad who has everything—except a recording contract—personalize a silver guitar pick. Bainbridge Island artist Carrissa Barbee imprints custom messages, kids’ names and/or birthdates onto standard-size sterling silver picks for a gift that says “You rock, Dad!”—even if all he ever rocks these days is a cradle.

Conquer the Father’s Day gift quandary with the coolest diaper bag in town: SoDo-based Metamorphic Gear gives new life to old sails and tarps by sewing them into sweet man-totes. Lake City dad Lindsay Lawrence makes the bags with 75 percent upcycled materials; they’re big enough to hold a 15-inch laptop (or about 15 clean diapers and binkies!).

When a visitor tells Ron Kohler that it smells good where he works, he nods graciously. “I hope you pay particular attention to that smell,” he says. “I’m very proud of it.” The aroma—generic fresh air—is nothing special, except that Ron is a manager at King County’s Brightwater wastewater treatment plant.

Come late spring, the yearning begins for the days when the sunlight lingers past 9 p.m., the air gets (a little) warmer and my family finally emerges from hibernation inside our cozy 1,400-square-foot home. These are the days when our back door is constantly open, our kids are running in and out, and we gain 1,000 square feet of living space from the patio, deck and backyard.

Come early summer, the menu at Madison Valley’s airy Café Flora really starts to come alive: Asparagus, rhubarb, peas, carrots and tender baby lettuces make their way to plates as soon as they’ve popped their heads up in the garden.

I know I wasn’t the only one in town who felt a little wistful upon hearing the news that Mark and Marjorie Chang Fuller were converting their West Seattle restaurant into a more casual, Hawaiian-themed eatery called Ma‘ono Fried Chicken & Whisky. Opened in May 2008, Spring Hill had tried to plant an ambitious “New American” bistro outside the central city.

David Sanford has the best intentions. At his communal dining space in Ballard, where one seating is offered each night (reservations and a credit card deposit required), the former caterer and personal chef hopes to build a community gathering place around food.

If you grew up, as I did, in suburban America, you likely ate at a place similar to the Chinese restaurant of my youth, the Golden Wok. Chunks of pork were fried in a stiff batter and served in a pool of ruby gloss; chicken was fried and then topped with a mellow sauce and slivered almonds.

After a year spent living in Thailand, married chefs Wiley Frank and Poncharee Kounpungchart (aka “PK”) missed the flavors of the street food there. So in 2010, they began a regular Monday pop-up restaurant, then called Shophouse, in the old Licorous space.

Washington’s wine industry is maturing into adolescence—a far cry from its infancy in the early ’70s. Back then, there were only about a half-dozen wineries operating in the state, and only a few hundred acres of grapes planted. Few wineries and vineyards had survived Prohibition, and the ones that did grew grapes primarily for sweet, fortified wines.

With lighting on the dim side, the Innkeeper could at first be confused with the type of lounge that caters to those who sip serious cocktails while contemplating life’s mysteries. But the bustling happy hour (3–6 p.m. and 10 p.m.–midnight daily), and the friendly staff soon reveal a different personality: rollicking neighborhood joint.

The Pacific Northwest is often misunderstood by outsiders—written off as a rainy hinterland populated by fleece-flaunting Earth Firsters, or parodied as a land of hipsters and dot-com millionaires jacked up on espresso.

Our hearts go pitty-pat when we behold the tricked-out Wilderness Recliner chair ($60; available at by GCI Outdoor. Its profile is low enough to be welcome at outdoor plays and concerts, it reclines for intermission snoozing and has enough pocket space to keep sunscreen, bottle opener and playbill easily at hand.

1. It’s yet another opportunity to recycle! (Remember that tube of sunscreen you didn’t finish last summer?)

2. Late sunsets mean you can work on your backyard chicken coop until 10 p.m.

3. Lake Washington has a very low incidence of shark attacks.

4. You can now wear your Tevas without socks. (Wait! Hideous winter toes revealed. Put socks back on!)

Appetizers: Dinah’s cheese from Kurtwood Farms ($9/half; $18/whole), served with Columbia City Bakery’s walnut toasts ($4.25) • Mt. Townsend’s Seastack cheese ($12), served with Sardinian flatbread with truffle salt from Macrina ($6.25)

When it comes to endless summer nights, Seattle has the bragging rights sewn up: Around here, sunlight lingers into end of day (we’ll have 16 hours of daylight on June 21!), making for long, languid evenings that seem to stretch on forever.

One mild day in spring, on the roof of Ballard’s Bastille Restaurant, a sweet, summery smell pulsed through the air. Was it emanating from the rooftop beehives, or from the beekeeper busily checking on the bees? Corky Luster, owner of urban apiary business Ballard Bee Company, wasn’t wearing cologne.

Crudités with truffle salt...sweet corn soup with shrimp and jalapeño cornbread...bacon and kale farro with scrambled eggs...white chocolate raspberry cheesecake....It’s hardly what you’d expect to be served while on a sea kayaking trip.

Hardly a day goes by that genetically modified foods don’t make the news in some form: legal battles over labeling requirements, rumbles in the blogosphere about potential new products, theories about the harm these products might do to people or other species, or a new scientific perspective that becomes ammo in the battle over these foods’ very right to exist.

When I was an editor at Washington magazine back in the ’80s, I kept a Mason jar of moonshine on my desk, something to share with special visitors. A friend had picked it up somewhere up near Darrington, our state’s little bit o’ Appalachia.

What it is: Uni, or sea urchin, is a small creature with a spiny shell. It is the orange roe within the urchin that is edible and considered a delicacy, especially in Japanese cuisine. Uni has a delicate, sweet sea flavor and a meltingly soft texture. It must be served impeccably fresh—uni past its prime takes on an unpleasant flavor that’s not easy to forget.

Second-generation farmer Steve Schuh, along with his wife, Susan, has been selling U-pick strawberries for more than 30 years. Now, the Mount Vernon couple has expanded their operation with the help of their daughter, Jennifer, to include a host of summer berries.

Dot’s bacon is dry-rubbed and smoked in house, then laid on sourdough slices from Macrina Bakery with heirloom tomatoes (when in season), mixed baby head lettuce and fresh house-made aioli. $7. Fremont, 4262 Fremont Ave. N; 206.687.7446;

A Tia Kramer paper necklace is best described as the love child of an arts-and-crafts fair and a cosmopolitan sculpture: The Northlake-based installation artist uses recycled sterling silver to complement her handmade Philippine plant paper pendants, often layered with wire in intricate patterns for a decidedly contemporary cap to your ensemble.

For two seattle designers, a brush with reality TV was surreal: design god John Varvatos draping fabric and Jessica Simpson poring over fashion sketches.

Cars may have lost some street cred among bikers, environmentalists and anyone tired of pouring her paycheck into the gas tank, but a new museum in Tacoma is here to remind us of the glory days, when we could rev up and roll down the road free of guilt.

Most of us recycle religiously in the hopes of preserving our planet for future generations, but what if your sustainability efforts came with more immediate gratification? A proposed product by local tech-design company Artefact ( helps you visualize the effects of eco-friendliness.

If you’ve ever wished you could re-create a marvelous dish you experienced at a local restaurant, you’re in luck.

Rocky Votolato
Television of Saints

As the world turns its attention toward the Olympic Games in London next month, Seattleites will be cheering on locally based athletes. But at press time, a few of these determined fighters had a few more hurdles to clear—here’s hoping they make it all the way to the big time.

Organized by the Pacific Science Center and timed to coincide with the Seattle Center’s Next 50 celebration, the first-annual Seattle Science Festival features a galaxy of family-friendly festivities.

The news that principal dancer Lucien Postlewaite was leaving Pacific Northwest Ballet at the end of this season had many fans asking, “Wherefore art thou, Romeo?” The dancer, who joined PNB as a teenager and performed with the company for nine years, quickly became known for his absolutely riveting portrayal of a certain Mr.

This February, a young killer whale washed up on the chilly shores of southwest Washington’s Long Beach Peninsula.