26 Perfect Saturdays

We’ve planned out a year’s worth of memorable days—urban explorations, out-of-bounds adventures, and relaxed, cultural happenings of the very Seattle kind.

With Steve Wiecking, James Ross Gardner, Jessica Voelker, Christopher Werner, Karen Quinn, Rachel Solomon, Nick Feldman, Kristin Cordova, and Parisa Sadrzadeh By Laura Cassidy October 19, 2009 Published in the November 2009 issue of Seattle Met

IT’S NOT JUST YOU: Everybody’s working for the weekend. Yet when Saturday finally rolls around, it seems as though there’s nothing to do—or too much to do. That’s where we come in. We’ve planned out a year’s worth of memorable days—urban explorations, out-of-bounds adventures, and relaxed, cultural happenings of the very Seattle kind.





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Image: Jon Rowley


Turf and Surf
“We live in a basket of fruit,” says Kate McDermott through peals of laughter, her emphasis conveying the Northwest’s embarrassment of sweet riches. During harvest months, McDermott hoards apples of every stripe for her holiday-season students; during Art of the Pie (206-612-2761; classes in her kitchen or yours, you’ll slice and dice up to 18 varieties per pie shell. It’s the variety, and the crust, that’ll make your pies top shelf, like hers. McDermott spent two years striking just the right balance of butter and leaf lard with her husband, seafood and sustainability expert Jon Rowley.

Before leaving McDermott’s Magnolia neighborhood, stop by the West Wall at Fishermen’s Terminal (3919 18th Ave W, Interbay, [email protected], and follow the signs to the Knutson Family’s F/V Loki and F/V Njord to buy certified sustainable salmon right off the boat it was caught on. (Remember, the Northwest is a basket of fish, too.) To balance the intricacies of your newfound pie knowledge, Ethan Stowell, chef and owner of Anchovies and Olives and Union, et al., offers this couldn’t-be-easier salmon preparation: Preheat oven to 250 degrees and lightly oil a baking sheet; place two five-ounce deboned filets skin-side up after seasoning the flesh side with salt and pepper; bake, uncovered, for 15 minutes.


Look Up
The ornate embellishments and design details adorning Seattle’s best buildings are easy to pass by, but the Seattle Architecture Foundation’s (206-667-9184; Design Details tour on December 5 brings them into your line of vision. The two-hour walk begins at the SAF’s headquarters beneath Minoru Yamasaki’s late-’70s Rainier Tower and ends atop 42 stories of neoclassical terra-cotta inside the Smith Tower’s legendary Chinese Room. Between the two, guides will point out the structural secrets of high-rises and lots of eye-level decorative work. End your downtown day trip with an open-jawed gaze at the super modern Central Library (1000 Fourth Ave, Downtown, 206-386-4636;, and lunch amid arched Palladian windows at the Georgian Room in the Fairmont Olympic (411 University St, Downtown, 206-621-7889; Chocolate mousse—the finale of the restaurant’s four courses—provides a final example of exquisite ornamentation.

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Escape to the Islands
Baby it’s cold outside—but not at the Pacific Science Center’s Tropical Butterfly House (200 Second Ave N, Seattle Center, 206-443-2001;, where maintaining the fragile and exotic insect and plant life means temperatures hover in the low but humid 80s every day of the year. Tiptoe through on the afternoon of January 30, then wing up to the Hawai’i General Store and Gallery (258 NE 45th St, Wallingford, 206-633-5233; where the plumeria, orchid, and tuberose leis arrive fresh every week from Honolulu. Dinner will be jerk chicken with banana salsa around the corner at Luau (2253 N 56th St, Wallingford, 206-633-5828;

And then, the main event: Barlett Sher’s Tony-winning revival of the Rodgers and Hammerstein classic South Pacific at the 5th Avenue Theatre (January 29–February 21, 2010, 1308 Fifth Ave, Downtown, 206-625-1900, The songs will wash over you like a warm tide, but the production looks with clear eyes at essentially good people in a time of war who try to make themselves into better citizens of the world. When the curtain falls, let the wind steer you into Vessel (1312 Fifth Ave, Downtown, 206-652-0521; for a Nui Nui—a classic cocktail of the tiki variety made with rum, cinnamon and vanilla syrups, pimento dram, bitters, and orange and lime juices. The cold night outside will seem an illusion.


Ace Hotel standard room

Image: the hotel

Ace the Taste
Something you may hear yourself uttering after an afternoon with Richard Kinssies: “I’m loving the honeyed diesel on the nose of that riesling.”

Ready to talk the talk? Sign up for Mastering the Art of Wine Tasting at the Seattle Wine School (946 Elliott Ave W, Interbay, 206-285-1129;, a small classroom inside the seasoned sommelier’s Interbay outpost of his Seattle Wine Outlet. In the four-hour session, Kinssies breaks out the bottles and instructs you on every stage of the sip, from swirl to spit. “Wine is only intimidating,” he points out, “when it is in your mouth and you don’t know what to do.”

After class, select artisan cheeses that complement your favorite grapes at The Calf and Kid (, and invite friends over to help with your homework.

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Play in the Snow
When it comes to getting to the good powdery white stuff, well, the logistics of winter travel may keep you at home by the fire. Charter a Seattle Ski Shuttle van (206-953-0237; for your gang, however—or sign up to get on board at one of the pickup stations—and cross “chaining up tires” and “attempting to drive home when completely exhausted” off your to-do list. You’ll be at the Summit at Snoqualmie (425-434-7669; in about an hour, where, after choosing from among the three surrounding peaks, you can buckle into snowshoes, strap on a snowboard, jump on your skies, or flop onto the business side of a fat inner tube. Or, settle in between the fireplace and the giant picture windows at the Timberwolf Pub. No matter how you spend the day, a couple of brews at one of the resort’s many bars and restaurants is in order. After all, you’re not driving home.


Get Your Tail in the Game
Heads up, pigskin fans:
Steve Sarkisian, the Husky’s rookie head coach, put the bark back in the previously pulverized Pups, so tailgating promises more than just drowned sorrows. As Ken Tallquist, a 50-year veteran of the ’gates, tells it, “Tailgating is all about these four T’s. The more you have of them, the better.”

Time Get to Husky Stadium (3800 Montlake Blvd NE, 206-543-2200; at least four hours before kickoff. Leave yourself two hours for postgame color commentary and hot hard cider.

TVs A 3,000-watt gas-powered generator rents for about $50 a day from Home Depot (see for locations) and runs a television tuned to ESPN just fine.

Tents Ideally, one canopy covers all your essential high-tech equipment, and another shields you and your friends—and your face paint—from the elements. Try the Quik Shade Weekenders at Big 5 Sporting Goods (see for locations).

Tables And chairs. Nothing identifies a rookie like an unfurnished setup. Shop for folding tables and chairs at Costco (see for locations) and remember: Part of the tailgating spirit is welcoming extra-friendly neighbors to your shindig and gabbin’ gridiron.

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Have a Super Natural Day
It’s easy to overlook a 1,500-square-foot house when it’s located within 277 acres of lake-framed wilderness, but the converted 1920s bungalow that houses the recently opened Seward Park Environmental and Audubon Center (5902 Lake Washington Blvd S, Seward Park, 206-652-2444; contains all the secrets to the giant Seattle city park that surrounds it. Every other Saturday, nature walkers and eager explorers of all ages meet in the state’s only Audubon outpost for guided tours, workshops, and art projects designed to introduce the park’s old-growth trees, pileated woodpeckers, and nesting bald eagles to its city-dwelling neighbors. And vice-versa. Free-rangers can stop in to check out trail maps and birding books before heading out on their own, but if you miss the significance of the giant white oak or leave without knowing you might have caught a glimpse of the elusive mountain beaver, well, don’t say we didn’t tell you so. And don’t say we didn’t tell you to pack sandwiches from Geraldine’s Counter (4872 Rainier Ave S, 206-723-2080; for lunch, either. 


Dancing with the Spanish Stars
What’s hotter than hot? Gorgeous people dancing. What’s hotter than that? A crew of them, from Spain, with moves that crisscross borders and styles to mix moodily lit theatrics with the organic energy of ancient rhythms. No, this isn’t the sultry dance you associate with fandango and flamenco, it’s the swaying and thrashing burn of Compania Nacional de Danza at the University of Washington’s World Series on April 24. To get the most out of the experience, slip into a seat in the first 10 rows of Meany Hall’s auditorium (UW campus, 15th Ave NE & NE 40th St, University District, 206-543-4880; where raw emotion—and sweat—is especially palpable.

After the performance, swing over to Txori (2207 Second Ave, Belltown, 206-204-9771;, an always simmering, slim small-plates joint that makes Belltown feel like Barcelona. Snag the bench near the bar and prep area for more front-row action. Chef Joey Serquinia recommends kalimotxos, cocktails crafted with red wine and Coca-Cola and a citrus garnish, and traditional calamari braised in its own ink. Flavors that sing in a room powered by passionate people: a perfect finale.

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Time Travel
Things you’ll see as the ultramodern Sound Transit train glides over rails from Tukwila Station (7301 S 158th St, Tukwila, 206-398-5000; to SoDo Station (500 S Lander St, SoDo) in roughly 22 minutes:

1. Wide belts of greenery skirting shopping malls and four-lane highways.
2. Nose-ringed eco-tourists from Bellingham loading their bumper-stickered 12-speeds at Beacon Hill.
3. Aerial views of city mosques, neighborhood pea patches, and strip malls where it really does appear to be a small world after all.

Things you might see after walking a few blocks west to the hangarlike antique mall Pacific Galleries (241 S Lander St, SoDo, 206-292-3999;
1. An original cover-art illustration for a really bad ’80s Harlequin romance, with a note saying the work was once on display at the Bellevue Art Museum.
2. A pair of curved windows outfitted with amber glass and mirror salvaged from the old Freight House Restaurant on Terry Avenue.
3. A carved Italian statue of a boy holding a goldfish offered for about what it would cost to send that boy to college for two years.

Because you’re traveling light (rail) today, you have the perfect excuse to be “just looking.”


Go Animal Farming
Say what you will about potbellied pigs; Suzannah Sloan, director of Furrytale Farm (7988 Lovgreen Rd, Bainbridge Island, 206-842-1944;, says they’re among the cleanest animals around. You don’t have to take her word for it, though. Spend the day at the no-kill, no-cage animal shelter on Bainbridge Island petting the cleanly pigs, walking dogs, feeding horses and kittens, or mucking—as they delicately describe picking up pet poop. The eight-acre animal shelter relies on volunteers for farming chores from cuddling kittens to combing excited pups, and Sloan will take you or a whole brood. Catch the 9:35 ferry to Bainbridge, have a melt-in-your-mouth organic waffle at Real Foods Market and Cafe (764 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, 206-842-3312;, put in a two-hour shift of petting and mucking, and return on the 2:05 to pamper your own four-legged friend at Petapoluza N 36th St, Fremont, 206-632-4567; Lest he or she should feel left out, the two of you will make good use of self-serve cleaning stations equipped with deluxe steel tubs, dryers, natural shampoos and conditioners, brushes, clippers, and ear wipes for $20.


Party in your Yoga Pants
Call it a twofer for the soul. During Gina Salá’s May 15 Kirtan concert (begins at 7:30) at Eight Limbs Yoga (500 E Pike St, second floor, Capitol Hill, 206-325-8221;, you can release your chakra while simultaneously embracing your inner party animal. Feel free to react to the call-and-response devotional chants as you see fit: Find your flow on the dance floor or quietly contemplate the reverberating tones of the tabla drums (played by percussionist Geoff Johns). Either way, no one’s judging. When the last of the rhythmic hymns is complete, stop in at nearby Plum Vegan Bistro (1429 12th Ave Ste B, Capitol Hill, 206-838-5333) and bliss out over a chai-cream martini—vodka, chai-infused liquor, and almond milk, garnished with cinnamon. You won’t know whether to say “om” or “yum.”

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Court Summer Love
Embrace balmy evenings: Enlist a friendly opponent for a white-hot, late-night tennis match. Before the sun sets, make use of the generous demo policy at Avanti Sports (3503 NE 45th St, University District, 206-527-8866 and 14808 NE 24th St Ste A, Redmond, 425-746-8226;; serious sport-os can test-drive top-of-the-line rackets. But if you think you might pull a Serena Williams in a moment of passion, opt for a totally tossable $20 used one from Play It Again Sports (see for locations). After you’ve got a grip, surf over to the city’s list of 20 fully lit public nets ( A call to the athletics office and seven bucks per hour secures a home court advantage; as dusk creeps in, you can practically feel the love in the air. Jump in and serve it up.


Row, Row, Row,or SailTheir Boats
In your saltier days you could tack like the wind, but your brand new first mate’s never even experienced the quiet cut of an oar slicing through inland waters. At the Center for Wooden Boats (1010 Valley St, South Lake Union, 206-382-2628;, weathered mariners who pass muster (and who get there early, since the center does not take reservations) cruise out in the 19-foot, fin-keeled Blanchard Jr. Knockabout sloop, while landlubbers looking for their sea legs start on the Acme Skiff, a restored early-twentieth-century rowboat. Chart a course for the acres of clam chowder at Ivar’s Salmon House (401 NE Northlake Way, Wallingford, 206-632-0767;

After checkout, voyage to Cuttysark Nautical Antiques (320 First Ave S, Downtown, 206-262-1265; Among the cheeky and genuinely old and evocative objects: a big blue flag emblazoned with Captain James Lawrence’s dying command from the War of 1812, “Don’t give up the ship!”

Master Your Resources
Some questions you might bring with you to the 40 beds of ornamental and edible plants that make up the Bellevue Demonstration Garden (15500 SE 16th St, Bellevue, [email protected],

• “What do you suppose is nibbling at the leaves of this Brussels sprout start I planted?” (Bring the leaves and part of the stem, and a captured critter, if possible.)

• “Not much has ever grown in the northeast corner of my front yard. Any idea what might?” (Bring a photograph of the corner and what surrounds it, as well as a soil sample.)

• “What’s up with the yellow and black spots all over my rosebush leaves?” (Bring some leaves and blooms.)

The green-thumbed Master Gardener volunteers who staff the rows of dahlias, tomatoes, and ground covers from 9am to 1pm every Saturday live to fix finicky flora. They’ll sleuth out the perfect shade variety, suggest a floating row cover that will protect your veggies from hungry wildlife, and, if they have to, send your mildew-spotted leaves or unidentified crawlers to the diagnostic lab—all at no charge.

With your questions answered, you’re now free to roam. Watch the Master Composter turn the rich materials in his bins, examine the various tomato trellising methods and espaliered fruit trees, and smell and touch your way through the sensory garden. Upon returning, supercharged and inspired, to your own plots, pay it back—and forward. Produce grown in the Bellevue demo rows supplies more than 1,500 pounds of fruits and veggies to the Eastside food bank Hopelink. You can definitely pitch in a couple salads’ worth of the same to your local nonprofit. Your community, and Mother Earth, have already responded in kind.

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Multimedia Circus
Wine-and-cheese convos at Artopia ( Probably not. Your typical neighborhood gallery crawl this ain’t. Georgetown’s annual carnival-art-music mash-up, usually held at the end of June (watch our calendar pages for the date), is a raucous and totally rad display of the region’s most ripe, underreported, and underground talent (you’re in the land of no-rules thing makers and rusty old anti-industrialists, remember). Spotted last year: power tool races, spin art stations, graffiti walls, glassblowing, tribal belly dancers, 10-foot-tall bicycles, postmodern performance art—in the midst of musicians and street performers whooping it up. We’re talking overstimulation at its only-in-Seattle best.

When you need to escape the cacophony, caffeine kicks await at All City Coffee (1205 S Vale St, Georgetown, 206-767-7146;, and chocolate, malty dark porters from the nearby Georgetown Brewing Company are on tap at 9LB Hammer (6009 Airport Way S, Georgetown, 206-762-3373; When you’re hungry, keep with the nabe’s low-rent vibe and order the wildly popular, piled-so-high-they-teeter nachos at Georgetown Liquor Company (5501B Airport Way S, Georgetown, 206-763-6764; before a few rounds of old-school videogames. Souvenirs? Yeah, sure. Hit Fantagraphics Bookstore and Gallery (1201 S Vale St, Georgetown, 206-658-0110; for alterna-lit paperbacks, and Fruit Cocktail Collectibles (1210 S Bailey St, Georgetown, 206-669-0540; for oddities of days gone by.

A stop at Western Bridge (3412 Fourth Ave S, Georgetown, 206-838-7444;, the avant-garde contemporary art space, is akin to transporting to an abstract universe that speaks to you via emerging voices in photography, video, and installation.


Your Little Deuce Coupe
Are drive-in movie theaters next on the national endangered species list? Everett’s Puget Park will likely be replaced by a medical building by the time sunroofs and drop-tops are in season again, and Auburn’s six-pack of outdoor screens could face a similar fate within a few years. There’s no time to waste. Near the end of a cloudless day, get to XXX Rootbeer Drive-In (98 NE Gilman Blvd, Issaquah, 425-392-1266;, roll down your window, and request a three-quarter pound Triple X burger, onion rings, and a root beer float. If you’re lucky, a fleet of Fords and Chevys from one of the local classic car clubs will cruise through, fuzzy dice bobbing in the windows and Bobby Darin blaring on the oldies station. If you’re back on I-90 headed west to 405 by 7:30, you’ll sail into the Valley Six (401 49th St NE, Auburn, 253-854-1250; by eight o’clock, when the box office opens. The cost of admission gets you a double feature, so make sure little ones are pajama-clad before the main feature begins.


Enjoy the Fruits of Your Labor
Recipe for successful midsummer blueberry picking: Travel 30 miles east on I-90 to Bybee-Nims Farms (42930 SE 92nd St, North Bend, 425-888-5745; at the base of Mount Si. Arrive in midafternoon; it takes roughly 30 minutes to gather a pound (picking pails and take-home containers are provided), which goes for $2, and you’ll probably want at least three of them. Give little ones some experience in the field; the best berries are at an average six-year-old’s eye level. Finish picking by four o’clock, in time for the Italian-music dance party that breaks out in between the rows of Bybee-Nims’ six varieties of blues.


Image: Kathi Bahr

Recipe for Blueberry Crisp

1½ pints fresh blueberries
¾ cup unsalted butter
1¾ cups flour
¾ cup unrefined granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 tsp high-quality ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt

Butter a 10-inch baking dish and fill it with the blueberries, leaving room for topping mixture. Combine remaining ingredients in a stand mixer or by hand, then refrigerate for about 40 minutes or until slightly firm. Using your hands, crumble pebble-size pieces of the mixture over the blueberries until they’re covered completely. Place filled dish on a baking sheet and bake 15 to 20 minutes in a 365 degree oven until the crisp topping turns golden brown and the blueberries start to bubble. Remove from oven and cool slightly before serving.

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Get Into the Swing of Things
Back in daddy’s day, a seriously down economy dampened some spirits, sure, but hepcats in the ’40s jitterbugged their cares away. Think it’s a dandy strategy? We do, too. Here’s how to make whoopee.

Put on the Ritz Grab a guy or a doll and scamper to Private Screening (3504 Fremont Pl N, Fremont, 206-548-0751; to get togged to the bricks. Flaunt your gams with prewar circle skirts and saddle shoes, and suit up and look aces with suspenders and fedoras.

Come Fly with Me Every Saturday night at HaLo (500 E Pike St, Capitol Hill, 206 324-7263; instructors at the Century Ballroom school hipsters in the art of swing for a cool seven bucks. Show up at 9pm for the lesson; pro hoofers trickle in around 9:30.

Get a Little Sugar in Your Bowl When the dancing’s done, make tracks for a chilled treat at Old School Frozen Custard (1316 E Pike St, Capitol Hill, 206-324-2586; With specialty flavors like cake batter, key lime, and chocolate cheesecake, plus mix-ins for less than a Lincoln, this old-fashioned alt–ice cream shop’ll make your mouth croon like Frank’s did.


Earn Your Wings
True or false: In addition to fighter planes and commercial jets, Boeing once manufactured beds and boats. True.

When aircraft sales soared after World War I, Bill Boeing decided it would “behoove us to keep our shop occupied with work of a character other than airplanes.” You can see the bedroom furniture when you fly through the Museum of Flight (9404 E Marginal Way S, South Park, 206-764-5720;

The sprawling collection of artifacts and air- and spacecraft adjacent to Boeing Field does the amazing thing that all world-class museums do: It makes knowledge a byproduct of adventure. In the open-air garden of jet planes, you’ll climb aboard the first Air Force One and stand humbled before the enormous tail of the premier 747. Cross the futuristic pedestrian bridge to the six-story Great Hall, where a couple dozen of history’s high-flying champs hang from steel girders as if in flight. But to really experience how the airborne used to roll, get in touch with Olde Thyme Aviation (206-730-1412; before your visit; they’ll meet you on the field for the ride of your life in a vintage biplane.

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Go Back to School
Red Naugahyde benches, wood paneling, and blueberry flapjacks. You’re back in your college mess hall after an all-nighter, right? Nope, it’s just Cyndy’s House of Pancakes (10507 Aurora Ave N, Greenwood, 206-522-5100), but since nostalgia for the hallowed halls of education is so compelling, go with it.

After breakfast, book it to the Suzzallo and Allen libraries (206-543-0242; at the University of Washington. If it’s drizzly, great; books (the grand collegiate gothic structure holds children’s literature, natural science research, Pacific Northwest history) and newspapers (daily editions from Singapore, Rome, Calcutta) are never more comforting than in the rain. Librarians will assist nonmatriculated visitors with rare books, world maps, and Ellis Island arrival date databases—so long as frantic sophomores don’t need pointers in the Dewey Decimal system.


Go Around In Circles
Before you leave home, take off your watch and power down your phone. As you make your way to the Centennial Garden and Labyrinth (15 Roy St, Queen Anne, 206-282-0786; at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, empty your mind. Pause outside the garden and approach the coil—an always-open arrangement of stained concrete inspired by ancient medieval structures—by meditating on a question or studying something you’re grateful for. Or don’t. Walk toward the center slowly, with intent. Notice what you notice. After you reach the center, pause. When you feel that it’s time to move on, it probably is. If it feels futile, let that go; 3,500 years’ worth of circle wanderers can’t be all wrong. Retracing your steps, be aware that the way in is the way out. Some walk for 10 minutes, some stay two hours. There is no right, no wrong, no beginning, and no end.


Bring History to Life
In April 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, Seattle’s Japanese community was ordered to take just what they could carry and imprisoned in internment camps. The stuff they left behind filled basements like the one at the Panama Hotel and Coffee House (605½ S Main St, International District, 206-223-9242; There, through a window nicked out of the wood floor, aban-doned packing trunks provide a vivid war story. Little ones get down on their bellies to peer inside; pots of earthy oolong and red-bean-paste cookies complete the living lesson.

But your International Saturday need not be all somber and studious; check out the rare fish tanks at Liem’s Aquarium and Bird Shop (511 Maynard Alley S, International District, 206-624-0537), where the Little Shop of Horrors mood provides all the levity needed for exploring the rest of the neighborhood.

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