17. We’re Buried in a Blizzard of Beignets
Suddenly they’re on menus all over town: those pillowy fried and sugar-dusted rectangles of gently sweet dough the French call beignets. “I just get a kick out of watching people eat ’em,” says Bo Maisano, chef at Tin Table (thetintable.com) on Capitol Hill, whose New Orleans heritage explains his devotion to the pastry. His secret? “Lard,” he whispers, looking around. We don’t know if the other joints serving the ethereal dessert—which, depending on the day, might include Artisanal Brasserie, Rover’s, Coastal Kitchen, Casper’s, Toulouse Petit, and good ole Crawfish Kitchen—follow Maisano’s formula or not. We are pretty sure the vegetarian Cafe Flora.
19. We’re About to Become the Center of the Small-Batch Spirits Universe
When Kent Fleischmann and Don Poffenroth set out in 2007 to open a distillery, they had to convince Spokane senator Chris Marr and the rest of the state legislature to tweak teetotalist laws and annual fees that had been kneecapping the local liquor industry since Prohibition. Their ultimately successful pitch: Small-batch spirits are made with grains and botanicals grown mostly in the Northwest, so a booming mini booze biz would be a boon to state farmers.
In 2008, Governor Gregoire signed a Marr-authored bill that ended the dry spell, and Dry Fly Distilling (dryflydistilling.com) —Fleischmann and Poffenroth’s house of spirits, which today churns out gin, vodka, and whiskey—started selling the same year. Other distilleries in Ellensburg and Woodinville followed. At press time 18 licensed micros were poised to open around the state, and 28 more awaited approval at the Liquor Control Board.
1–2. We Have Our Very Own Political Odd Couple
It’s human nature to toggle between wanting inspiring, if erratic, leaders and those who are capable, but dull. Now we’re lucky enough to have both: Mayor Mike McGinn for vision, drama, and headlines, and King County Executive Dow Constantine to spare the fussing and get down to the job of straightening out the county’s battered finances and administration. Now if you had to pick just one…
81. We Just Say No
To reefer madness, that is—America’s punitive war on weed. Last November, Pete Holmes unseated City Attorney Tom Carr—and announced that the city would no longer prosecute marijuana misdemeanors. This doesn’t affect felony possession (over 40 grams), which falls under state jurisdiction, nor the thousands of busts per year in the rest of the state. But 36th District state senator Jeanne Kohl Welles is pushing a bill to decriminalize possession statewide. And Seattle activists are promoting Initiative 1068, which would legalize pot outright from Oysterville to Usk. And the fact that Hempfest remains the most reliably peaceful (if not boring) mega festival in town ought to tell the guardians of public safety something.
22–31. We Know Sandwiches
Oh yeah, we got salmon. We got cupcakes. But for whatever reason sandwiches rule as our current obsession, so here’s a list of the Great Ones.
Baguette Box (baguettebox.com) The Drunken Chicken is a banh-mi on steroids.
Delicatus (delicatusseattle.com) New and brick-lined in Pioneer Square, offering a killer spicy pork with jalapeno aioli and hot pepper number called Fire of 1889.
Homegrown (eathomegrown.com) The turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich has a cult following among those who like their lunch with a side of sustainability.
Market Grill (206-682-2654) Don’t even think about anything but the blackened salmon sandwich at this Pike Place Market lunch counter.
Paseo (paseoseattle.com) Two words: Midnight Cuban.
Rizzo’s French Dip (rizzosfrenchdip.com) Big, wet French dips are all they got, and all you need.
Roy’s BBQ (royscolumbiacity.com) If there’s anything better than the pulled-pork Georgia Gold at this hole-in-the-wall, we’ve never met it.
Salumi (salumicuredmeats.com) Artisan cured meats made into marvels like the hot porchetta at Seattle’s legendary Old World salumeria.
Skillet (skilletstreetfood.com): Okay, it’s a burger…but it’s slathered with bacon jam!
Tat’s Deli (tatsdeli.com): The East Coast–style fave moved around the corner but remembered to bring its killer Tatstrami recipe. Whew!
79. Our Small Theaters Think Big
After debuting five years ago, Washington Ensemble Theatre (washingtonensemble.org) lingered contentedly under the radar, putting on daring, wildly imaginative plays in its tiny black box on 19th Avenue East. But in the last year, this fringe company has come into its own with a season of premieres (two regional, two world), including a 60-minute show about love-struck robots that sold out its entire run. As co–artistic director Montana von Fliss closes out her first solo show, Cancer: The Musical (sans music), we’re reminded that “alternative theater” is one of the surest bets in town.
80. Our Rock Stars Never Forget Where They Came From
It was big news in January when long-silent Soundgarden announced they’d headline August’s mega musicfest Lollapalooza. But nothing compares to the tremors we felt here April 16, when the iconic forefathers of grunge floored fans with a hush-hush, out-of-the-blue concert at Showbox at the Market—the band’s first stage gig in 13 years.
Masquerading under the anagram Nudedragons, they made their epic, 18-song return in the city they helped make famous, in front of a hometown crowd of 1,000 friends, a lucky few fans (tickets sold out in a matter of minutes), and fellow musicians (Eddie Vedder, Mudhoney’s Mark Arm, et al.). Even if lead singer Chris Cornell dubbed it a rehearsal, the show spoke volumes about this city’s symbiotic kinship between fan and band.
34. The Rich Don’t Always Want to Get Richer
Call it a tax revolt…in reverse. Seattle attorney, philanthropist, and Very Famous Father Bill Gates Sr. is spearheading a move to increase his own taxes by leading the charge for a state income tax on the very wealthy. And Seattle author, philanthropist, and heir to the Paccar fortune Judy Pigott is one of several American millionaires asking Congress to dismantle the tax breaks passed by the Bush administration.
The promised trickle-down hasn’t worked, Pigott told The Seattle Times, and has led to “the greatest wealth disparity since the Great Depression.” Which is why every year she gives away what she would be paying in taxes pre-Bush—and then some. Assuming Gates gets enough signatures by this month’s deadline, his state income tax proposal, Initiative 1098 (yeson1098.com), will be on November’s ballot. Fitting, perhaps, in a town not known for its tea.