March 2016

Hot Neighborhoods in Seattle

From this Issue

Over the past decade, Seattle’s idea of the new home has shifted.

When Karen Lawson and Sebastian Wright were looking for a place to call home two years ago, the boxy four-plex a half-mile south of Ballard High School wasn’t even on their radar.

Roger valdez lives on the top floor of a multistory tower, with extensive views of the Olympics and the Seattle skyline, and located just blocks away from practically everything the city has to offer. One of the few things that sets this Capitol Hill resident’s space apart from the high-end condos surrounding it? It’s a mere 250-square-feet in size.

Despite reports of the demise of Seattle neighborhoods, we found several in and around the city that are thriving. While some are in the thick of a major growth spurt, others are suddenly sleeper hits, in that sweet spot where expansion is imminent but a prime parking space can still be nabbed on the first pass.

On Sunday morning, it’s time for yoga church.

At 8 Limbs Yoga Center in West Seattle, 35–55 students attend a class called bhakti yoga, described by owner and studio director Anne Phyfe Palmer as having a “devotional, heart-centered” approach. At the studio’s flagship location on Capitol Hill, 25–40 people attend a similar class.

Strolling past the 1930 Tudor Revival home on North Queen Anne, the property looks much like its neighboring houses built in the same era.

It’s never going to be easy to turn down one of those brownies your coworker brought to the office or to resist a sweet treat from the vending machine down the hall, but your odds improve if there’s a healthy alternative close at hand.

When I told my friends about the new Culture Club Cheese Bar on Capitol Hill, their eyelids grew heavy and deep moans ensued. There is such ecstasy associated with cheese, really good stinky cheese, that it makes chocolate look like child’s play.

Sometimes when people talk about Americanized food from ethnic cultures—the chimichanga, General Tso’s chicken, etc.—there’s a kind of derogatory subtext that implies these dishes can’t possibly be tasty because they aren’t authentic (so not true).

When the story broke in January 2015 that Anheuser-Busch had acquired the Elysian Brewing Company, one of Seattle’s oldest and best-loved craft breweries, beer lovers reacted like it was a death in the family.

Fiddling for more than three decades, but with a musical career that spans over 50 years, Randal Bays has made a name for himself playing traditional Irish music in the Pacific Northwest and around the globe.

“I’m an eternal dabbler,” says Lisa Jones, creator of Portland ceramic studio Pigeon Toe Ceramics. “I’m always willing to take on a process I don’t know.” Jones dabbled in a new medium this past year with the launch of the studio’s first candle line.

The art gallery scene in Seattle can be tricky to navigate, especially for newcomers like Sarah Brooks. “When I moved to Seattle, I was living on my own for the first time, and I was excited to make my first art purchase from a local artist,” says Brooks.


Silver Screen Star

Courtney Sheehan, artistic director


Sarah Rudinoff



Jacqueline Woodson



Brahms’ Symphony No. 4


Fine Fellow

Ahamefule Oluo, Musician and Comedian


Jason Hirata, Brink Award Recipient

The new season ushers in brighter skies, warmer weather and motivation to get out and do something. Luckily, spring also brings a bevy of performances, exhibits, concerts and other arts events worth getting excited about. Mark your calendars—--we’ve rounded up 38 great things to see, hear and experience now and in the months to come.

I love personal-size food, such as individual pizzas and mini pies. Petit Pierre Bakery’s tiny gateaux de voyage, or travel cake (hello, gourmet road food), is my current one-serving wonder.

To the women who trek, squat fireside and can effortlessly pair a matted French braid with bug-sprayed legs—or to those who have such aspirations—Oregon-based writer and geologist Ruby McConnell presents you with your new bible: A Woman’s Guide to the Wild (Sasquatch Books, $18.95).

Springtime is knocking and mushroom hunters are champing at the bit to get into the woods. For Seattle fungi fanciers, this usually means a trip over a mountain pass to the sunny slope of the Cascades in search of morels and porcini.

The Cocktail: The Tale of Two Cities

The number of women and minorities working in technology today is the lowest it’s been in three decades and is still heading downhill, says Seattle software engineer turned tech exec Tarah Wheeler Van Vlack.

“The situation for women isn’t getting any better,’’ says Wheeler Van Vlack, author of Women in Technology, which is slated for publication March 29.

When chef Travis Kukull and Epic Ales brewmaster Cody Morris shuttered Gastropod last fall, food nerds around the city sank into mourning.

Designer Peter Benarcik says he never considered himself a wood guy, but admits that growing up around a lumberyard (his father owned a home improvement store) influenced his interest in natural materials. “I love taking something traditionally perceived as flat and creating an entirely new shape,” Benarcik says.

It’s an annual ritual as familiar as the St. Patrick’s Day Parade: Spring brings sun-starved Seattleites out of hibernation, blinking in the daylight.

“We are stuff people,” says Becky Fann of the collection of artwork and objects she and her husband, Mike, have in their Bothell home. But you wouldn’t know it stepping into their carefully curated living room, part of a massive redesign created by Ballard-based interior designer Keri Petersen for the family last year.

The Seattle Sounders have the home field advantage when they take on Sporting Kansas City on March 6 in their first match of the 2016 Major League Soccer (MLS) season. They’ll be cheered on by their fervent fans (the team is top of the league for attendance, with averages of more than 44,000 tickets per game) who have high hopes for this season.

A team led by Seattle-based Group Health physician Beverly B. Green, M.D., and Gloria D. Coronado, Ph.D., of Kaiser Permanente Center for Health in Portland, Oregon, is helping boost colon cancer screening rates for low-income patients—by mail. With more than 100,000 new cases and 50,000 deaths annually, colon cancer is the county’s second-leading cause of cancer death for men and women.

While Seattle waits to see if infamous State Route 99 tunnel borer Bertha ever reaches the Alaskan Way Viaduct, we’ll celebrate her little sister’s work this month when the University Link light rail service opens six months ahead of schedule and $150 million under budget.

While art in the 20th century expanded its scope through abstraction, minimalism and conceptualism, something was clearly lost in the process. It would only be a matter of time before the sensuality and underlying eroticism of traditional Western figurative art—which held sway from ancient Greece until the Victorian era—would come back with a vengeance.

When celebrated neighborhood haunt Delancey (Ballard, 1415 NW 70th St.; 206.838.1960) first started firing blistery pizzas, owner Brandon Pettit witnessed a funny moment: A local leaned over to her friend and said a bit too loudly, “This pizza is OK, but it’s not New York style.”

The early word? Frustrating. Weeks after Queen Anne Beerhall opened in the former Cotton Caboodle facility on the southwest slope of Queen Anne Hill, amateur and professional critics slammed the Old World biergarten’s hit-or-miss food and confusing, cash-only bratwurst grill.

Seattle has been home to some of the country’s ablest writers of true crime; the late Ann Rule, whose book about Ted Bundy, The Stranger Beside Me, is a classic of the genre. Jack Olsen produced deeply reported books, such as the complex story of Spokane’s South Hill rapist, documented in his book Son.

Where: Goldmyer Hot Springs, enclosed in the thick foliage of Cascade forest, 45 minutes southeast of Seattle.