September 2010

The Style Guide

Where Seattle's best dressed shop

From this Issue

OK, we know “pupusa” is a funny word. And, speaking as the kid who always snickered during health class—and sometimes personal finance class—I will try to get through this whole report without falling off my chair and disturbing people who are actually trying to finish their lunch in peace.

Married couple Rick Weersing (late of REI) and Ellen Kelly (a recently retired attorney) wanted to celebrate their passion for the outdoors with a space where avid hikers and nature enthusiasts could share their experiences—with a favorite beverage in hand. So in May they opened The Noble Fir (5316 Ballard Ave.

Tacos have taken the spotlight, with tortillas providing the perfect blank canvas for playing with bright colors and bold flavors. Here are five authentic taco purveyors that will have you demanding, “¡Uno más, por favor!”

Seattle has long struggled as a challenger in the fashion ring, but this year we finally upgraded to contender status.

Seattle Signature Styles
The 20 Seattleites on the following pages represent the epitome of local style, with day-to-day looks packing creative, personality-infused details. These style emblems embrace a larger trend: The “rules” of fashion need not apply.

Before Blueacre opened in March at the corner of Seventh and Olive, Oceanaire, a similarly swank seafood restaurant, occupied the space (until closing last year). Before chef Kevin Davis opened Steelhead Diner, he was the chef at Oceanaire. So, in essence, Davis has come full circle.

Two measures that would allow Washingtonians to buy bourbon and bacon in the same establishment—and take the state government out of the $849 million–per-year business of selling and distributing hard liquor altogether—are headed for the November ballot.

When rumors started swirling that this year’s Bumbershoot headliner was Bob Dylan, many Seattleites were disbelieving. The Bob Dylan? At our little Bumbershoot? But then it turned out to be true. (And people are still in disbelief.) Perhaps not since the ’60s, when Elvis visited the World’s Fair and the Beatles played the old Coliseum, has Seattle Center hosted as gigantic a musical guest.

For years, debilitating arthritis kept Leanne Stevens from doing much in the way of exercise. But on her 60th birthday, she gave herself two knee replacements. In 2008, after taking two years to recover from myriad complications, the former hiker and martial arts enthusiast was ready—or so she thought—to start working out.

Creativity and innovation tend to rise when a down economy forces people to make do with less. That creativity has certainly been evident in the way we dress in Seattle. People are hanging on to their clothes a little longer, making investments in timeless, higher-quality pieces, and hitting consignment stores and vintage shops with the wave of retro-chic yet to crest.

There’s nothing so antique as the future. Seattle Center embodies that. The site of the Century 21 Exposition in 1962, it remains a Space Age fly caught in amber.

It’s no secret that chocolate is balm for the soul, but it turns out it also boasts moisturizing superpowers for your skin. SoDo-based organic skin care purveyor Sweet Beauty has added Theo Chocolate’s white chocolate to its new line of zesty body lotions and scrubs. Our favorite scents? Fragrant tangerine truffle and mojito ($22/8 oz.).

Bright copper skin shines along the sweeping arm of a building on the new Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation campus at the edge of Seattle Center. The brilliant surface seems to reflect the weight of world hopes and of distinctly regional ambitions.

Eddie Bauer celebrates 90 years of outdoor outfitting this year with a Smithsonian-caliber archive of historic items from the Seattle-based brand.

Between the math assignments, art supplies and ever-mounting piles (backpack, sweatshirt, soccer cleats—wait, what is that green thing?), it can be tricky enough to organize your kids, let alone your entire home.

WHY: To dine at two new gourmet restaurants helmed by famous foodies. Lisa Nakamura, former chef at The Herbfarm, is taking a seasonal approach at Allium (shown above, 310 Main St.; 360.376.4904; in the Eastsound space formerly known as Christina’s (the magnificent waterfront view remains).

Hard cider may not have the huge fan base of Washington’s craft-beer-brewing movement or its rocking wine industry, but if recent appearances of the cult beverage on local menus is any indication, it’s only a matter of time.

It’s a classic American story: Chris Porter, a former TV news reporter in Indiana, was at a crossroads in his career when he decided to reject the obvious path in favor of pursuing a lifelong dream—a life of pie. “I grew up making pie in my mother’s kitchen,” he says.

There’s little signage, but once you locate Thai Curry Simple you’ll never forget where it is, because it’s hard to find a good lunch for just $5 in this town. But here you can choose between tasty, slightly pan-fried pad thai (with tofu or chicken) and green curry, zippy with lemongrass, each for $5.

Nestled inTO the triangular block of a remodeled 1920s-era automotive shop on Capitol Hill between Pike and Pine along Melrose Avenue (across the street from Bauhaus Books & Coffee), the new Melrose Project is a true marketplace, featuring an eclectic abundance of goods—all with an emphasis on local.

It’s bittersweet to see that the lovely gray wallpaper that once graced the interior of Madrona’s Cremant has come down, making way for June’s similar look of starched sophistication—matte-gray banquettes punched up with grass-green chairs and vaguely nautical lampshades.

Thierry Rautureau opened the tony, revered Rover’s in Madison Valley, where haute French cuisine is plated precisely onto custom Villeroy & Boch china and enjoyed during lavish, nine-course degustations. Those scenes in movies where the déclassé struggle to figure out which fork is used to pluck escargot from its shell could have been filmed at Rover’s in those early days.

In the last few years, myriad frozen-treat shops have come onto the scene, so D’Ambrosio Gelato’s opening (5339 Ballard Ave. NW; 206.327.9175; registered only a tiny ripple on my radar. That was before I got my first lick of the thick, dense, velvety stuff.


9/18 This popular trio of Seattle elementary schoolteachers write and perform wacky, Beatles-influenced sing-along songs about subjects such as moon boots and a “Ukulalien” (a ukulele-playing alien, of course). But the best part about these 6-year-olds-at-heart is that their music is good enough that parents actually enjoy it too.

Last spring, students at Ballard’s Adams Elementary School toted some of their science lessons outdoors. On the lawn beside the building’s front steps, landscape architect David Minnery involved first-, second- and fifth-graders in the design process—including model building, site analysis and mapping techniques—for the school’s new rain garden.

9/5 One of the first bands in America to embody the term “alternative rock,” Pavement came onto the scene in the early ’90s. Playing together for the first time in 10 years, their “one time only” reunion tour will feature the California–based band’s biggest songs (also celebrated on their album Quarantine: The Best of Pavement, released last March).

NAME: Nancy Pearl
OCCUPATION: Author; National Public Radio commentator
TV PRESENCE: Book Lust with Nancy Pearl, a monthly show on the Seattle Channel
LOCAL LITERARY STRENGTHS: “You really get a palpable sense of place from Northwest writers.”

9/3–10/3 Local photographer Andy Reynolds, who shot Spotlight Award winners Jody Kuehner, Ricki Mason and Debra Baxter for this issue (Fall Arts Preview article) has become known for his hyper-real, alternately funny and disturbing portraits of people caught in the act of something odd (a woman being consumed by a vacuum cleaner; a staged family portrait in which every member h