Tuesday, August 4, 2009


A short while ago I wrote several 100- to 200-word blurbs about some of my favorite Seattle things, past and present. They didn't run where I hoped they would, so I've decided to publish them here.

Empire Ice Cream
Got a hankering for some beet sorbet? How about a little saffron ice cream? Part of Seattle’s artisanal ice cream trend, Empire, like its similarly adored competitor Molly Moon’s, is anything but plain vanilla. Several friendly guys and gals from the little company’s Queen Anne headquarters travel each week to the Ballard and University District farmers markets to hawk their delectable wares. Can’t make it to market? Queen Anne’s Paragon Restaurant & Bar has Empire’s stuff on the menu, and the neighborhood’s Eat Local food store carries it, too.

Café Razor
Stylist Mallory Fry liked working at Rudy’s University District salon, but this year she decided to strike out on her own. Razor’s punny name – it’s in the back of the U District club Café Racer, a hidden gem in its own right – reflects Fry’s playful attitude toward her work. So does the art on the walls, which evokes a bohemian French painter’s studio, or maybe just an out-of-the-way Pioneer Square gallery. The tiny salon’s sole chair offers a view of Racer’s stage, and Fry’s late weekend hours – she cuts until 10 p.m. Thursday through Saturday – allow customers to take in a show while they get a trim. (Featured musical acts have included everything from New York psychedelic rock to homegrown old-timey folk.) Fry is charming and chatty, so you don’t have to sit in awkward silence. And, lest we forget, she’s excellent with hair – women’s and men’s alike. Her work at Rudy’s familiarized her with a wide variety of heads, so whether you’re yearning for a radical new look or simply maintaining an old favorite, she’s up to the task. 5828 Roosevelt Way NE, 206.428.8372.

Washington Ensemble Theatre
This is fringe theater as it was meant to be. Founded by a pack of University of Washington alums, WET has made its reputation as a place that debuts new works by up-and-coming playwrights. But it’s also a theater devoted to the strength of the ensemble, which currently includes the prodigiously talented Elise Hunt and (co-founder) Michael Place. In addition, the QTET program (Queer Teen Ensemble Theatre) gives local LGBT youth a chance to create original plays. A recent production, Titus, was a new adaptation of Shakespeare’s gory drama, with an emphasis on the play’s timely themes of political prisoners, betrayal, and torture. Even when it comes to the Bard, WET puts fresh ideas onstage.

Denny Blaine Park
Madison Beach Park is a fun summer spot, but it can get pretty crowded. If you want cool water, soft sand, and a mellower atmosphere, Madison’s little sister, Denny Blaine, might be the place for you. A small, semi-secluded Lake Washington beach tucked beside a grassy park, this underrated oasis attracts a diverse crowd: kids, couples, retirees, and tourists. It doesn’t offer the glamour of the upscale Madison Park neighborhood within stumbling distance, but sometimes all you need on a hot July afternoon is a place to take a dip and sunbathe your cares away.

Ravenna Alehouse
The “RavTav,” as it’s known among locals, used to be called the Ravenna Tavern, and folks say it was a genuine dive, seedy as they come. The Alehouse, on the other hand, is the kind of dive you actually want to go back to. It’s remarkably unpretentious for Seattle’s tony North End. Sure, there’s a digital jukebox, but there’s also pool, Taco Tuesdays, good local beer (among many other choices), and a clientele that’s always ready for a good time. And did we mention that the cook’s name is Cookie? 2258 NE 65th St, 206.729.9083.

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