LAST SUMMER I scheduled a lunch date with a pal at Amazon’s new South Lake Union headquarters. The campus complex fills blocks, but I couldn’t find the entrance. The street signs had not been replaced since construction, many buildings still displayed no numbers or signage, and people kept stopping me to ask directions: “Do you know where Microsoft is?” “Is this Terry Avenue?” Finally, I just followed the streams of young techies wearing Amazon’s signature blue badges.

At least as long as Seattle Met has been in existence, since March 2006, South Lake Union has been a coming neighborhood. It starred in our second issue, touted for a new burger joint, as-yet-unbuilt offices and condos, and a $35 million park-to-be. But now, at last, there’s a there there. Lake Union Park officially opened the last weekend in September. Besides Amazon, Vulcan Real Estate has landed Group Health, PATH, Tommy Bahama, UW Medicine, and others. And so that all those office workers have places to eat besides the office commissary, Vulcan’s been courting Seattle’s leading restaurateurs—which is not to say Amazon’s in-house cafeteria isn’t spectacular. It is: menu offerings for every whim or diet, and a setting way more like a proper restaurant than a cafeteria.

I was all set to connect some dots in our current issue, in which our critic Kathryn Robinson identifies the trends that are changing how and where we eat, including South Lake Union becoming a restaurant destination. But then I started paging through the issue and got so caught up looking at the stunning photography, I lost my train of thought. Allow me to gush.

Admit it, didn’t you start to drool just looking at the rotisserie on the cover? For the second year in a row, Lindsay Borden has photographed our Best Restaurants issue, capturing sumptuous dishes and dishy chefs with equal elan.

John Keatley, a frequent contributor with a recent claim to fame of shooting Sarah Palin for her book cover, continues to outdo himself in almost every issue, capturing the essence of his subjects in novel ways. Turn to the portrait of social media maven Mónica Guzmán, and you’ll see what I mean.

We’ve done many shopping features in our pages, but the " Bright Ideas " feature in this issue by photographer Ryan McVay (in collaboration with style editor Laura Cassidy and art director Benjamen Purvis) may top them all. More than ever, the exquisitely composed clothes and objects of desire signal our city’s sophistication.

Lastly, we are proud to offer an exclusive excerpt of a just-published book by photographer Chase Jarvis. Seattle 100 is his fond, idiosyncratic love letter to Seattleites he knows and admires, told in stunning black and white portraits. Starting this month, Jarvis expects to display his photos, handsomely enlarged, on the walls of a new gallery space. In South Lake Union, of course.

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