December 2014

Cozy Northwest Getaways

27 ways to enjoy the snow from sleigh rides & igloos to hot toddies by the fire
Plus, the best gifts under $25

From this Issue

he aim of making cities more bike friendly has traditionally focused on the streets—striping, signals and barriers, that sort of thing. But this year The Bike Design Project (, a nonprofit innovation platform in Portland, took aim at the velocipedes themselves with a national competition to inspire bike designs that strive to do no less than “reshape urban mobility.”

Improvements in the human condition often begin with a single person endowed with an extra dose of courage, determined to do the right thing in the face of obstacles and naysayers for the benefit of the many. Seattle magazine is proud to partner with Crosscut to present the second annual Crosscut Courage Awards.

Crickets for dinner. Buses filled with pot smoke. Good karma. Our annual review of the high points and low lights of the year.

This time of year can start to feel like you’re trapped in a crinkling vortex of wrapping paper with “Jingle Bell Rock” on repeat. But with his new, permanent work of public art, “There Is Another Sky,” New York artist Spencer Finch reminds us to slow down and look up.

Infinite ways to enjoy the cold weather, from sleigh rides and igloos to relaxing by a fire.

Whether you are a powder hound, laid-back freerider or Polartec poser, you can find your perfect place in the snow with our at-a-glance roundup of essential ski areas.


How big? Largest ski resort in the state
The scene: Families

Seattle’s Ski Hill
Get your winter blast fast at The Summit at Snoqualmie

From affordable treats to luxe baubles, here is our essential roundup of unique, thoughtful and chic gifts for everyone on your list.

Luxury Gifts

While you sit in the audience watching Pacific Northwest Ballet perform The Nutcracker with flawless grace, the backstage is buzzing with quick costume changes and last-minute fixes. This is the purview of PNB’s Sherri J.

Blackberries. A cluster of them, fat and ripe, one of Seattle’s sweetest freebies. Normally, I’d pick them—they aren’t growing next to the road, after all. But on this summer day, I’m standing on Harbor Island in South Seattle, designated as a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hazardous-waste Superfund site, and looking at the lower Duwamish River—also a Superfund site.

Back in 1999, when this Pike Street Hillclimb cubbyhole opened, it was a pizzeria that served just beer and wine. Ben Dougherty and his then business partner, Kacy Fitch, were hired to design and build a credible bar, which they did, in addition to buying the place outright in 2002 and hiring rock-star barman Murray Stenson to solidify their standing.

After breaking his foot for the second time, Pacific Northwest Ballet dancer Jordan Pacitti hung up his pointe shoes in 2010 to follow a different dream.

There’s something both sweet and foreboding about Rachel Denny’s work—her animal “trophies” bring taxidermy to mind, but instead of fur, fins or feathers, these mounted specimens are clothed in human trappings: cashmere cable-knits, lace tatting, felt, coins and in at least one case, candy wrappers.

We asked and you answered. Seattle magazine readers cast their votes months ago for their favorites in a number of categories--everything from takeout joints to pool halls. Here are the results from this year's Readers' Choice Poll.


Best Salon for Cuts and Color
Fix Salon

Local actors Jessica Skerritt and Dane Stokinger don’t have to stretch too far for their roles this holiday season. The married couple plays a married couple (Ralphie’s mother and father) in the musical A Christmas Story (11/25–12/30; times and prices vary. The 5th Avenue Theatre, 1308 Fifth Ave.; 206.625.1900;

Discussing stylish new restaurants and bars opening in Pioneer Square is reaching fatigue status, but confabbing over the most promising arrivals never gets tiring.

“There’s sometimes a misconception that this is an uplifting show,” Ahamefule “Aham” Oluo says. A smile curls at the edges of his deadpan voice, but it comes from a place of sincerity, not scorn. His tall frame folded into a café chair at a coffee shop in his neighborhood, Columbia City, he is discussing his new show, Now I’m Fine.

1. Serve pre-bottled cocktails so you don’t have to play bartender all night 

Looking into my crystal ball—and yes, I have one, an old green Japanese fishing float—I foresee that the year 2015 promises to be the year of either Big Headaches or Big Solutions.

If you’ve tried to snag a seat at Little Gull’s oyster bar on a busy night or at The Walrus & The Carpenter pretty much any time, you’ve likely noted the phenomenon. Lately, we just can’t get enough of plump and briny oysters—we revel in the taste of the Northwest that’s captured in each freshly shucked bivalve.

WHERE: The Quileute Oceanside Resort, on the northernmost point of Washington’s Pacific Coast (330 Ocean Drive, La Push; 360.374.5267;

WHY: For wild midwinter weather drama and unbeatable storm watching.

Every December for each of its 24 years, Cafe Lago has been rolling out a traditional Italian treat called Panforte. It’s pronounced pan-FOR-tay and translates to “strong bread,” but what you really need to remember is that you only have a month to taste this holiday tradition.

1. Designed in Australia and sold at Totara in Madrona (1130 34th Ave.; 206.765.7581;, this supersoft, gray lumberjack onesie by Doodlebug ($27) starts a hipster baby off on a stylish foot.

Seattleite Lynn Caldeiro can only remember fragments of her first hospitalization four years ago—a nurse standing over her, her husband crying by her side, her own high-pitched scream above the din of the Overlake emergency room. She was sedated, her wrist and ankle strapped to a gurney.

It’s safe to say that with two French restaurants, a Parisian culinary education and a country house in the Béarn, Jim Drohman is a Francophile at heart. So it comes as no surprise then that he relies on cheese as a foundational ingredient in his dishes, in particular, Comté.

Marguerite Cocktail
This has been served at parties since at least the early 1900s and makes a lovely addition to a holiday gathering. It also is easy to make in advance (anywhere from a couple of hours to a couple of days before the party starts).

Serves approximately 10

11 ounces gin (Voyager is nice for this)

11 ounces dry vermouth

For Le Pichet’s French onion soup (aka soupe a l’oignon gratinée or gratin lyonnais), chef/co-owner Jim Drohman uses at 14-month cave-aged Comté cheese, which has a strong, nutty flavor and smells slightly of the barnyard. On its own, the cheese is satisfying, but melted over a bowl of rich, French onion soup, it’s sublime.

There is nothing quite like Cabernet Sauvignon. While other varieties swim in and out of fashion, Cabernet—one of Washington state’s signature wines—paddles above the fray. Is it the flavor profile, which combines lush black currant fruit with dark earth tones, often swaddled in alluring oak notes of dark chocolate, espresso and cedar?