June 2014

43 Hidden Gems

An Insider's Guide to our City's Best-Kept Secrets

From this Issue

Seattle’s charms can be a little showy—the snow-capped mountains, the glimmering bodies of water, the bounty of locally grown food and hand-crafted goods, not to mention our rivers of high-caliber coffee. So it’s nice to know that the city holds secret wonders as well.

!--paging_filter--pHere’s the thing about Liam’s (2685 NE 46th St.; 206.527.6089; a href="" target="_blank" It will most likely exceed your expectations, because, let’s face it, great dining isn’t usually associated with University Village. Kurt Dammeier, the guy behind Beecher’s, Bennett’s, Pasta Co.

!--paging_filter--pSeattle game designer James Ernest, of tabletop game company Cheapass Games (a href="" target="_blank", made a splash this spring with a hugely successful Kickstarter campaign for his totally new card game called Pairs.

!--paging_filter--pSeattle is known for its rabidly loyal fans—we love our Seahawks, Sounders, Storm and even the troubled Mariners—but there’s one local team that has yet to gain a vocal following: the Seahammers. The lack of team scarves, 12th men and bobbleheads is likely due to the fact that the Seahammers are hard to see.

Brimmer Heeltap refers first to a brimming glass and second, to the last dreg you can never seem to retrieve from the bottom.

A shout from the foredeck shatters the foggy stillness: “Dallies on the bow!” I look to the captain, Greg Shea. We are in the wheelhouse of the tall ship Maple Leaf, during a four-day cruise around British Columbia’s Gulf Islands. He switches the motoring boat over to autopilot, and we clamber up front for a better view.

!--paging_filter--pAre you ready for a reishi-tini? The healthy mocktail—made from reishi mushroom and lemon balm extracts, lemon juice and limeade with a lime twist—is one of several made to order at the new offshoot of Tierney Salter’s popular natural health store, The Herbalist.

!--paging_filter--pOne of the many cool things about the Seattle Symphony’s groundbreaking Sonic Evolution program, according to maestro Ludovic Morlot, is that it brings people to Benaroya Hall who’ve never been there before.

!--paging_filter--pWhere do you turn when the marketplace doesn’t sell products that fit your particular skin and hair care needs? The kitchen, of course. At least that’s where Ballard-based JC Brazil went after developing necrotizing fasciitis in her 20s. “No conventional body products helped, and the expensive, all-natural stuff didn’t help enough,” says the video game industry veteran.

You know it. You do it. It’s safe, predictable, even comforting, like that pair of broken-in jeans that give in all the right places (thank goodness). A routine is one of the most powerfully subconscious habits that dominate our lives. Which is why it’s so thrilling to veer off the path and break the pattern with a vacation.

!--paging_filter--pMeet Lu (a href="" target="_blank", the debut clothing line by Zulily creative director Jenny Fort (“Lu” is her middle name).

Strolling around Blanchard and Seventh in Seattle’s Denny Triangle, I’m taking in the last days of a forgettable block. It’s an easy spot to ignore as one passes by. Nondescript mid-rises commiserate with a Budget Rent A Car, a strip club and a fenced-off dirt lot.

!--paging_filter--pThis month's issue (on newsstands now!) is devoted to some of our city's best-kept secrets: bars, restaurants, gardens and beyond. Now it's your turn to let us in on any hidden Seattle gems that we editors might not be privy to.

!--paging_filter--pYou’re heading home from work and remembering your lunch at the new Pioneer Square eatery meets perfectly arranged retail shop, The London Plane: that amazing, crusty house-made sourdough bread you enjoyed with a trio of bright and flavorful dips (the squash tahini was out of this world).

!--paging_filter--pCall it a cult sandwich shop on one of the oddest streets in Seattle.

!--paging_filter--pThe Northwest climate is heaven for ferns, where their fronded glory unfurls in countless dappled rockeries and shady groves. And as the saying goes, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.

More of a coffee bar than a coffee shop, Slate Coffee Roasters offers an elegant education in your daily elixir. Chelsey Walker-Watson (who worked for Peet’s Coffee & Tea for 9 years) opened the spare, rustic space a year ago in Frelard with her brother Keenan Walker and mom Lisanne Walker, inspired by the notion that coffee should be fun and bring people together.

!--paging_filter--pIs Seattle’s hottest music venue SeaTac Airport? Certainly that’s where local musicians can get the widest exposure. Thanks to the Experience the City of Music initiative, since 2013 travelers have been listening to welcome announcements from the likes of Macklemore, Brandi Carlile, Quincy Jones and Ann Wilson, and hearing local music on the SeaTac speakers.

!--paging_filter--pstrongWHERE:/strong The John Wayne Pioneer Trail. strongWHY:/strong To bike the more than 100-mile section of the trail running from the trailheads at Cedar Falls (near North Bend) and Army East (part of the U.S. Army’s Yakima Training Center, near Vantage, on the Columbia River).

!--paging_filter--pCozied into a spot on the bottom floor of the Ten20 apartment building, Bar Code (Bellevue, 1020 108th Ave. NE, Suite 100; 425.455.4278; a href="" target="_blank" is just a few blocks from downtown Bellevue, Bellevue Square and Interstate 405.

!--paging_filter--pOur local craft breweries do a great job of creating interesting, bold beers that meet the expectations of the Seattle area’s increasingly sophisticated and adventurous palate, but sometimes beer drinkers crave varied and radical flavors that the brewing process alone does not create.

!--paging_filter--pTamesha Means was 18 weeks pregnant in 2010 when her water broke. The Michigan woman visited a nearby Catholic hospital twice, and was sent home, each time in severe pain, according to a lawsuit filed by the ACLU in December of last year.

Ben and Gretchen Knudsen (shown above with their daughter Elke) opened their inviting home store Digs in Ballard (2002 NW Market St; 206.457.5709) last March, after five years of operating in Bellingham, and quickly made it a go-to source for fans of modern design with a Northwest sensibility.

With a herd of taxidermy jutting from restaurant walls and roosting on store shelves, we channeled our wild sides and went in search of home décor of the faunal variety. But with a twist.

!--paging_filter--pAutumn Martin has long been enamored with the process, smell and flavor of smoked foods. “My dad smoked salmon and steelhead every year when I was growing up,” says the fourth-generation Pacific Northwesterner. brbrSo it was only natural that the owner of Hot Cakes Molten Chocolate Cakery in Ballard ended up smoking chocolate.

!--paging_filter--pBest known for her powerful pipes (which she’s employed playing a wicked stepsister in the musical Cinderella, singing the national anthem before Seahawks games and in many other roles), Sarah Rudinoff also possesses major acting chops and an electrifying stage presence (Torso at Theater Off Jackson; The Clay Duke at On the Boards).

!--paging_filter--pShe’s channeled a sleepy princess, a star-crossed lover and a human cursed to live as a swan—all while strapped into toe shoes. And now Kaori Nakamura is taking on an entirely new role.

!--paging_filter--pThis pretty glass of liquid health food made with red beets, apples, lemon and ginger is a culinary godsend—whether you tied one on the night before or simply want a serious wake-up call. The GINGER BEET AT JUICEBOX ($7.50) on Capitol Hill will cure whatever ails you.

!--paging_filter--pThe first time Seattle saw a house sell for more than $1 million was 30 years ago (in Shoreline’s Highlands neighborhood). We’ve come a long way. This February, a mansion in Bellevue hit the market with a $32.8 million price tag (it’s still available!).

!--paging_filter--pIt takes a certain personality to talk about sex and puberty with kids and their parents; someone who combines trustworthiness with the ability to remain unflappable in the face of inevitable giggles and awkward moments.

!--paging_filter--pBorn on the isle of Minorca off the coast of Spain, avarca-style sandals—with the distinctive rubber tire tread soles, greased leather uppers and heel straps, and a suede lining—are a popular choice of footwear in the Mediterranean as much for their simple construction as for their durable style.