Issue

October 2010

The Coffee Issue

How Seattle built a culture

From this Issue

Staples Center

I’ve been waiting for someone to create a Seattle-style Shake Shack, the fanatically obsessed-over chain of New York City burger shacks opened by Danny Meyer.

 This peaceful hilltop neighborhood nestled between Lake Washington and the Central District is best known for local faves such as the Hi Spot (killer breakfasts), St. Clouds (delicious all day long) and the Madrona Ale House (as popular with kids as with grownups).

October 3, 10 a.m.–5 p.m.

OysterFest

The tide is out, revealing a great seaweed-matted mud flat. Gulls are scattered on it like huge, mobile, white-feathered clamshells. They strut at the water’s edge, looking for stragglers and snacks the receding tide has left behind. A few come too close to a great blue heron, which flaps its wings, driving them off as if sweeping dust from the front porch.

Last year, when a Scottish friend of Robin Halbert’s began spreading word around the Microsoft campus that Robin and his wife, Calli, were creating British-style bacon, the orders started pouring in. The couple began making regular deliveries to Redmond, and the word kept spreading. In February, the Halberts created a website: properbritishbacon.com.

This past summer, I had two distinct only-in-Seattle moments. The first was at Carkeek Park when I saw a bunch of kids at a birthday party engaged in a sack race. When I looked a little closer, I realized they were hopping around in big, floppy burlap coffee-bean bags.

WHY WE LOVE IT: From her bright red lipstick to the ever-present pearls, north Capitol Hill resident Carolin Messier would have looked perfectly at ease in a 1940s French film noir, sipping café coffee in a sassy, tailored suit and Mary Jane heels.

Talk about ambitious art projects. Glimmering Gone, at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, pairs two esteemed artists working on different continents. Sweden’s Ingalena Klenell makes lacy landscapes of glass that resemble icicles, snowflakes and the thin crust that forms on puddles in winter.

The Seattle Antiquarian Book Fair takes place this month (October 9–10; seattlebookfair.com), enticing local book lovers with the promise of fragrant and crumbly yellowed pages, and at the same time prompting the question: Aren’t all ink-and-paper books becoming a bit antiquarian?

You might guess that Mount Baker-based eco architect Rob Harrison would be a zealot about energy-efficient lighting. But beneath his family’s roof, tucked in among the curly compact fluorescent lights (CFLs), a few energy-hogging incandescent light bulbs still glow. “You can’t create a mood” with energy-efficient lighting, Harrison says, so he reserves a few lamps for old-school bulbs. 

The figgy maple scone from Volunteer Park Café is utter perfection. Buttery, with bits of fig scattered about in the flaky dough, it may be the best in town. Capitol Hill, 1501 17th Ave. E; 206.328.3155; alwaysfreshgoodness.com

 Seattle artist and designer Sarah Bergmann is making quite a buzz, thanks to the Pollinator Pathway, a project she began in 2008 with the intent of creating more habitat for local bees and other pollinating creatures.

For many of us, it’s the first word we croak in the morning: Coffee. Not a question, nor a command (though sometimes a plea), but most often a statement—a fact of daily life, especially in Seattle, where, as you may have heard, we drink a lot of coffee.

 Have you ever found yourself in mid-haircut, wishing your salon also offered a selection of vinyl LPs and vintage music gear? Us, too! Thankfully, Radar Hair and Records has landed in SoDo.

Dr. David C. Grossman, senior investigator at Seattle’s Group Health Research Institute, has served nearly three years of a four-year term as one of 16 members on the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force, which last year was at the center of a controversy arising from its new recommendations on mammography screenings.

How does a longtime metalhead channel her deep desire to quilt? In the case of Boo Davis, 36, she quits her day job as an illustrator for The Seattle Times, creates a label called Quiltsrÿche (quiltsryche.com) and uses traditional techniques to make quilts featuring the “devil horns” hand sign and tributes to heavy-metal bands.

The wine buzz around the Puget Sound area has been all about the explosive growth of wineries and tasting rooms in eastern Washington and Woodinville. But urban wineries are blossoming, too, bringing closer to home the opportunity to taste—and buy—an impressive array of Washington wines.

WHERE: Long Beach Peninsula, for the 89th annual Cranberrian Fair, October 9–10. WHY: It’s harvest season for the deliciously tart bog-dwelling berries, of which Washington is the nation’s fifth-largest producer (who knew!).

The Fremont-based organic chocolate purveyor Theo has gained a well-earned reputation for fair trade cacao bean sourcing as well as innovative collaborations—for example, creating chocolates in cahoots with perfumers, tea makers and local Fremont Brewing.

 ALUM POWDER

In the quest for a crisp finish to her Chinese doughnuts, Lorna Yee relies on an old culinary standby

 Masterpieces from the Musée National Picasso