Category

Lake Union

Category

A smaller Italian restaurant, Mercato Stellina, opened December 1st less than a block from the north end of Pike Place Market. It creates a diverse compliment to its neighbors in the same building: the long-established and fine seafood restaurant Cutters Crabhouse, and Mercato Stellina’s also newly-opened sister restaurant Chavez, which serves Mexican food.

Mercato Stellina has an intimate feel: the narrow galley shape of the space, low lighting, sophisticated high-end music, and the combination of tables and counters, some at which you can directly watch chefs/cooks as they prepare your dish. Seated at another counter, you can sometimes glimpse head pasta maker Joe Obaya creating fresh pasta for the restaurant through a glass pane. He has worked extensively in the restaurant business, doing his internship at the Herb Farm after culinary school years ago and now exclusively forms pasta for both Mercato Stellina as well as Cantinetta’s two locations. Last summer, Joe spent time in different areas of Italy researching and shopping for good Italian pasta-making machines and also studying techniques used by generations of pasta makers in the little town of Lecco.

Mercato Stellina’s Tagliatelle and also Sausage Pizza.   All photos:  Alethea Myers

Some of the ingredients on the menu are somewhat adventurous, such as utilizing unusual seeds grown at Steel Wheel Farm in Fall City, WA for pickled watermelon pieces (similar to sharp chutney) which accompanies honey on the burrata cheese antipasti. Or giant Alaskan octopus, cracked raw egg, rabbit, and toasted grasshopper, all featured on different pizzas or pasta.

Aspects of the menu will be changing out 4-5 times per year depending on the season, including some cocktails, and eventually may include a special Market Menu that features specials of the day. If you live in this zip code or work in the restaurant industry, you can receive 10% off your bill with their Neighborhood Discount. A 20% service charge is added in lieu of tip.

 

1 of 6 great entries for the Gingerbread Village: Historic North Seattle.  Design/Creation: Callison RTKL, Hargis, and Chef Lee Baldyga.  Photo: Alethea Myers

“While visions of sugarplums danced in their heads” seems an apt description of what creators were thinking for this year’s Gingerbread Village in downtown Seattle. The Sheraton Seattle Hotel has hosted the display for 25 years and they’ve moved it this year to the main floor of nearby City Centre (1420 5th Avenue). Our city’s top architects and master builders team up with Sheraton Seattle chefs and their culinary teams to create what could be termed “advanced gingerbread”: sugarplums & other candies, colorful Chiclet gum pieces symmetrically adhered to create a wall, gingerbread pieces become brick walls or a bridge, LOTS of frosting, and some even feature moving parts (such as a trolley on a track, or the Ballard Locks doors swinging open). This year’s theme is “A Celebration of Seattle” and each fairly-large creation features areas of the city, either in the past or in the future. They are a delight to look at, and you can vote for your favorite one.

Not only is the village visually appealing, but donations made (online or at the exhibit) will benefit the research of the JDRF Northwest Chapter, a non-profit with a vision to see “a world without Type 1 diabetes”. Previously the organization focused on diabetes in children only, but that has expanded since it affects adults as well. Different children were chosen to be JDRF Elves, and are represented by each team that completed each gingerbread creation.

The WA Athletic Club parking garage is located right next to the City Centre entrance on 6th Avenue, and after 5 pm on weekdays, it’s currently a $7 flat fee to park there. This is one of the parking options if you don’t live or work downtown and need to drive to see this year’s display.

Gingerbread Village Viewing Hours (until January 1st):

Mon.-Thursday    6:30 am- 11:30 pm
Friday                      6:30 am- 12:30 am
Saturday                 8:00 am- 12:30 am
Sunday                    8:00 am- 11:30 pm

MORE GINGERBREAD EXTRAORDINAIRE

The life-size gingerbread house in the lobby at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel.  Photo: Rachel Dooley

Another fun and labor-intensive gingerbread display is at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel (411 University St.).  Walk through a life-sized gingerbread house in the hotel lobby, admire the Festival of Trees which has been hosted for 40 years, or take your kids to the Teddy Bear Suite. Donations benefit the Seattle Children’s Hospital, another worthwhile cause.

Come enjoy these “sweet” holiday traditions!

As a chocolate lover, you might understand these terms: Dark, milk, white, infused, nutty. 70%, 80%, 90% cacao. Drinking chocolate versus cocoa. “Country of Origin”. And, a skinny mocha…hold the whip, please. The Northwest Chocolate Festival 2017 is the perfect opportunity to practice this lingo and discover even more about this sweet global obsession. This year, it takes place November 11th and 12th, at Smith Cove Cruise Terminal, Pier 91, near the southeast corner of Magnolia (close to both Belltown and Queen Anne). 

When attending the Northwest Chocolate Festival for the first time, one is struck by how immense the chocolate industry is, based sheerly on the number of exhibitors that are represented here. Over 100 chocolate industry vendors will be at this year’s event.  Artisan chocolate makers from around the world and USA, including a number of local crafters, offer samples of their products at each table you stop by. It truly is a chocolate lover’s dream: truffles, single-origin [world region] chocolate bars, liquid chocolate for drinking, syrups, and other incarnations.

But buying and tasting chocolate aren’t the only available activities at this event: 
What if you want to craft your own artisan chocolates or incorporate more into your own cooking?  There are cooking demonstrations and classes for that, led by professionals in the industry. And suppliers who sell chocolate-making equipment and supplies, to get you started.

What if you want to become a professional “taster” or turn your chocolate obsession into a career? Professionals in that field will lead you through what to savor to determine the quality in a piece of chocolate and other educational demos.

Chocolate begins life as pods hanging from a cacao tree.  Photo: CT Cooper

Are you’re interested in the process involved in a fruit pod hanging on a tree in the southern hemisphere ultimately becoming refined piece of chocolate? Or how carefully cultivated crops are yielding a better life for small farmers? Or how chocolate consumption can lead to better brain health?  Yes, yes, and yes.

The saying goes, Life is short; Eat chocolate. And, if you feel so inclined, celebrate this at The Northwest Chocolate Festival.

Their Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/1257237424388358/?active_tab=about

Steamposium, like a sleek Jules Verne futuristic submarine, is gliding into harbor on October 27th – 29th. The Bell Harbor International Conference Center on the waterfront near Belltown is hosting this gathering for those who love Steampunk.

For those not familiar with it, a simplified explanation of “Steampunk” is wearing period costume, often from the Old American West or English Victorian era, accompanied with advanced, futuristic weapons and other gadgetry built from materials readily available in the 1800s. Pocket watches, gears, and goggles abound. There are also variations on this, such as post-apocalyptic themes. The word is derived from “steam-powered”, such as devices like the steam locomotive (train) from that era, and is based on early science fiction literature.  Jules Vernes’ “20,000 Leagues Under the Sea”, and HG Wells’ future-predicting work as well, are two examples. One of the earlier examples adapted for the screen was “The Wild Wild West”, a series which ran on television from 1965-1969. It was based in the American West and featured two government agents, outfitted with advanced gadgets, who travelled by an adapted steam locomotive with special features (like an escape tunnel built in a fireplace) to track down masterminds in crime.

 

Another example of British Victorian Steampunk is the movie “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen”, based upon a graphic novel, among many other examples.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen

Steamposium takes place a few days before Halloween, and is a good excuse to showcase your garb and gadgets, or just admire other people’s handcrafted cosplay while walking around the convention. You can take classes/workshops on various aspects of Steampunk, drink tea and watch a fashion show, attend a mad science fair, or shake your metallic gears at a live music concert. Actor Billie Piper, who was Doctor Who’s companion for a number of seasons, who also appeared in Penny Dreadful, will be there, as well as her Penny co-star, Reeve Carney. Billie also played the key role in a PBS adaptation of Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park years ago. (Check out an upcoming celebration of Austen’s life & writing, called JaneFest at the University of Washington on November 4th, to admire clothing from the Regency era.)

So feel free to flash forward on the time-space continuum (using your 1800s ray gun to get there, of course), and enjoy yourself at Steamposium.  Your future self will thank you.

Believe it or not, Summer is almost at an end, though we hope the sunshine decides to stay a while! But, it ain’t over till it’s over, as they say, and there’s still lots of fun to be had, especially at the 4th annual Belltown Crush Block Party!

 

Belltown’s favorite summertime bash is going on this year at Bell Street Park and promises to be a blast!

 

Enjoy tastes of fabulous locally crafted wines and beers and scrumptious bites from Pintxo, Mama’s Cantina, Road Dawg, and Belltown Brewing.

 

Sip and savor your way through the festival while enjoying live tunes and don’t miss out on the grape stomping competition, to really get you into the spirit of the event and the summer. It’s a local favorite!

This year’s event will take place on Saturday, August 26th from 2-5PM. Advanced tickets are $25 with proceeds going to benefit Plymouth Housing Group.

 

This marvelous event is co-sponsored by Seattle Uncorked, Project Belltown, and the Belltown Business Association.

Be sure to join in on the fun in the sun, celebrate our vibrant community and support a great cause.  It’s the perfect way to spend your Saturday and send Summertime out in style!

Read more about the event and get tickets by clicking the links below.