May 2012

From this Issue

Sometimes in the process of producing an issue, our editors inadvertently create a “word of the issue”—a word (or words) that we are suddenly, unintentionally in love with, so much so that it pops up repeatedly throughout a story (if not the entire issue).

For many of us, it’s not a tough trade: swapping a reliable cell signal and ubiquitous WiFi for a sweet slice of small town heaven. Tucked away in all corners of the Northwest are tiny backwater hamlets, perched seaside, on idyllic bays or in mountain clefts, brimming with character, friendly locals and a peaceful main street to stroll.

Here comes the sun! Kick off the spring entertaining season with a fresh take on elegant outdoor style.

In 1961, while studying interior design at the University of Washington, an arty kid from Tacoma experimented with melting and fusing glass. Today that kid is a world-renowned glass artist of tremendous influence—and as of this month, Dale Chihuly can boast an entire museum devoted to his career.

The first thing most seattleites think about upon hearing the phrase “glass art” is Dale Chihuly.

From the moment they come into view as you climb the rolling hills just east of Ellensburg, what strikes you first about the turbines of the Wild Horse Wind and Solar Facility is their scale.

In my house, Mt. Townsend's Seastack Cheese is a mainstay. It’s not an everyday cheese—a bit too pricey at $12 for an 8-ounce wheel—but when the occasion allows for a small splurge, a few crackers, a pot of fig jam and we’re in business.

What is the bronzed, round, impossible-to-pronounce pastry that’s lately popping up in the finer artisanal bakeries? Kouign amann (pronounced queen-ya-mahn) is a Breton pastry that has it all: tons of butter, sweet caramelization and a good bit of salt, like a salted caramel in pastry form.

There are people whose jobs require them to wake before dawn, pound cold butter and fold it into chilled dough, and then fold it, roll it, chill it, fold it, roll it, and chill it again and again until the butter is but a whisper-thin memory between weightless layers of pastry.

With a half-dozen stylish boîtes under their belts—Po Dog, serving luxe hot dogs in the $7 range; Grim’s, a bar; and The Social, a nightclub; along with a Ballard project in the works—it’s clear that Laura Olson and Chris Pardo’s collection of edgy hot spots attract the young and hip like be

In the tidy, snug dining room where Madison Park Café lived for 30 years, Café Parco now thrives (all those displaced Sostanza fans needed somewhere to go for the saucy Italian food they love).

At chef Tak Kurachi’s bright U:Don noodle shop in the University District, you’ll wind your way through the clean, spare restaurant, grab a tray and order one of the eight udon (Japanese rice noodle) dishes. On a warm day, try the zaru udon, the thick noodles with soy dipping sauce, ginger and scallions.

Wilridge Winery and Vineyard’s 80-acre estate on Naches Heights near Yakima is most likely the only vineyard site in the state—maybe even the world—that shares a border with a popular rock-climbing cliff.

Sotol, Tequila and Mezcal

Before opening contemporary art space M.I.A Gallery in Seattle last January, Mariane Lenhardt was working with a much older group of artists—ancient artists, in fact: the anonymous creators of Neolithic rock paintings in Somaliland.

Trolling with a guide off Malcolm Island near the northern end of Vancouver Island, British Columbia, we watch the rod tip, hoping for a strike. It’s 6:30 a.m., and the sky over the Coast Mountains looks like the underbelly of a salmon. The rod tip dips sharply, and I let out the line, trying to keep the fish on.

Action figures seem to be everywhere. On a shelf at home, Sigmund Freud, cigar in hand, is often in a death struggle with his counterpart, C.G. Jung. (My wife is a psychotherapist.) I’m amused at how these playthings get incorporated into my granddaughters’ games when they visit—there’s an absence of Barbies at our place.

Long the Monday night special, Spring Hill’s fried chicken has generated a feverish following—and spurred a concept rejigging and a name change: Spring Hill became Ma‘ono in February. Now you’ll reserve a table and your fried chicken dinner (just 30 orders nightly!) at the same time, or opt for the ever-famous burger.

Few foods look more fetching on the plate than fiddleheads, those vibrant green coils that emerge in moist forests each spring. Aptly named, a fiddlehead is the new growth of a fern, with a curled spiral that resembles the scroll on a violin’s neck.

If invention is born the minute an idea pops into an unsuspecting brain, Mike Fitzgerald’s Halfpops snack was born when an idea popped, well, half-popped, into someone’s bowl.

Remember how creepy it was when those disembodied feet kept washing up on the shores of BC? Some posited that it was the result of a serial killer, or a plane crash, or a human trafficking ring.

The tale of new Yuan Spa is one of ancient East meets Eastside.

The number of licks to the center of a Tootsie Pop may be up for debate forevermore, but that riddle has been solved for new Seattle Sweets & Co.’s organic caramels. The answer is two: one lick to tantalize the taste buds and another to quickly devour the decadent, rich chew.

Even in the harsh, unforgiving light of the iPad era, the longstanding tradition of print literary magazines hasn’t lost its luster. Recently, three independent journals showcasing writing and art (mostly by locals) have begun to establish themselves in the Seattle literary scene.

Freelancers know it well: that stir-crazy feeling one gets when working alone at home (especially when the cat refuses to help with brainstorming).

If the walls of the century-old Washington Hall in Seattle’s Central District could talk, they would recall legendary happenings, including performances by Billie Holiday and Jimi Hendrix.

Epitomized by the work of influential California architects Charles and Ray Eames and real estate developer Joseph Eichler, mid-century modern homes took root in Seattle when the city was expanding beyond its core into neighborhoods such as Magnolia, View Ridge and West Seattle.

Bounce-house-weary moms and Hunger Games–crazed kids have a cool new birthday party option: archery. The newly remodeled Next Step Archery facility in Mountlake Terrace offers kids (and adults) a chance to learn Olympic-style archery, either just for fun or for competition. Parties include a short lesson, archery challenges, and lots of games and moving targets.

What do a sports-loving snail, a deep-sea-diving walrus and a trapeze-artist monster have in common? They’re all part of the colorful (and earth-friendly) pack of creatures known as Zomsters, imagined by Snoqualmie mom Ronda Bergman for her new children’s clothing line.

“I’m actually not that great of a brewer,” confesses Ballardite Todd Gehman, founder of the homebrew recipe sharing website Hopville ( “I’m much better at making a site for brewers.”

Gents, pair your dapper skinny necktie with a clip made to fit: Kirkland-based jewelry artist Paige Forland forges her 1- to 3-inch-long tie clips from an array of burnished metals, such as copper and brass, adding modern textural designs or custom engraving for a polished finish to your power suit.

Lynnwood-based designer Andrea Voss’ muse list reads as follows: Coco Chanel, early-’90s rockers like Axel Rose and the costumers of Star Trek. The women’s and menswear designer cites the quirky assemblage as influences behind her ultramodern Voss Rock line.

It isn’t the soft-lilac-hued walls or sparkling chandelier that first draws shoppers into the new Anthousa (South Lake Union, 900 Lenora St., Suite 105; so much as the wafting aromas of crisp cucumber or spicy nectarine.

“The problem is, we don’t have enough walls.” It sounds ironic, coming from Joe McKinstry, owner of prominent Seattle homebuilding and remodeling company Joseph McKinstry Construction Company.

Bellevue may be best known for the brand-name mecca Bellevue Square mall (or more recently, for being at the opposite end of the grumble-inducing 520 bridge toll), but just one block south of the downtown park between Bellevue Way and 100th Avenue lies the sweet Old Main Street district with plenty of new draws that are worth the lake crossing. 

Tutankhamun would likely have been less than amused by Steve Martin’s musical tribute to him on Saturday Night Live back in 1978—the very same year the wildly successful Treasures of Tutankhamun world tour hit Seattle.

For the first time in its 37-year history, the Seattle International Film Festival has selected a film that was locally produced and shot by a Seattle filmmaker for its opening-night gala. Could this be a hint that local independent moviemaking is finally gaining some cred? Signs point to yes.

^ “Glass is one of those materials that have been incorporated into so many of the banal parts of our landscape; commercially, domestically and technologically we use it and are surrounded by it.

If you find yourself going into withdrawal waiting for the (just announced) third season of the IFC comedy Portlandia, don’t fret—there’s a live version of the Northwest culture-skewering show going on right now, all over our own city. See for yourself in this side-by-side comparison of Portlandia skits and Seattle realities.