Archive for July, 2015

I know what you are thinking: “Enough with the Seattle posts already!” Well, I have plenty more to share, but today’s finds will wrap up a week of posts and finds from my recent trip to Seattle and I will slip the rest in here and there in the coming weeks.

FF: Ray’s Boathouse

IMG_1152I don’t post a lot about restaurants, but while in Seattle I was treated to a lovely dinner at a local institution, Ray’s Boathouse. In addition to great food and service, Ray’s Boathouse is right on the water facing west overlooking Puget Sound with the Olympic range in the distance – which is the perfect setting in which to dine at sunset.

About Ray’s Boathouse: “Ray’s seafood restaurant in Seattle serves the freshest seafood prepared with classic technique and global inspiration. Situated on the shores of Ballard overlooking Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains, Ray’s iconic seafood restaurant and bar believes in offering sea to plate fare while supporting sustainability and our local rockstar fishermen!”

Ray’s Boathouse is located at 6049 Seaview Ave NW in the great city of Seattle, WA.

FF: Tully’s Coffee

tullI am tempted to say that there is a Starbucks on every corner in the company’s home city of Seattle, but it seems that there is a Starbucks on every corner in every city these days. Nothing against the undisputed leader in the coffee world, but on my trip I was drawn to a smaller chain of Seattle coffee shops, Tully’s Coffee.

About Tully’s Coffee: “Prior to opening the first Tully’s store in Seattle, Washington back in 1992, we made a promise to offer the finest coffees available by sourcing only Arabica beans from the world’s best coffee-growing regions. We’re obsessed with our trade and that’s why we serve coffees that have been crafted by hand, in small batches. It’s this commitment to quality that has helped us become the Pacific Northwest’s largest fully handcrafted coffee retailer.”

Learn more about Seattle’s Tully’s Coffee here.

Visit Tully’s Coffee’s online store here.

FF: San Juan Island Sea Salt

sanjaunI am a salt collector, so what better memento of my trip to Seattle than some local salt? Like the salt from San Juan Island Sea Salt – harvested in the beautiful San Juan Islands north of Seattle and south of Vancouver.

About San Juan Island Sea Salt: “Our salt is solar evaporated and hand harvested in unheated hoop-houses making the process completely driven by the sun. Unlike many sea salt makers, we allow our seawater to completely evaporate, bringing in the whole mineral wealth of the sea to broaden the flavor. Sea Salt you buy in the store is generally 99% pure NaCl (sodium chloride). However, naturallly the ocean is only about 80-85% NaCl, and this difference is where our salt packs in a whole lot more flavor! Our sun powered evaporation is quiet, seasonal and low input. Contrast that with boiled salt, which can take as much as 2 pounds of liquid fuel to make 1 pound of salt.”

Learn more about San Juan Island Sea Salt here.

Visit San Juan Island Sea Salt’s online store here.

I have posted pictures I have taken from my seat on planes in the past, but I have to say my most recent trip afforded one of the most impressive views I have been fortunate to see. While on approach to the Seattle-Tacoma airport last week, the plane glided through the Cascade Mountains and did a final turn around the majestic peak of the snowcapped Mount Rainier. The photos do not do the scene justice, but it was very cool.

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BeechIn the heart of Seattle’s Pike Place Market you can’t help but notice the crowds gathered around a particular storefront. When you walk up for closer inspection you see the crowds are looking at the cheese-making operations of Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – a purveyor of artisan cheese (and related treats) made and served right on site.

About Beecher’s Handmade Cheese: “At the Beecher’s Handmade Cheese shops in Seattle’s historic Pike Place Market and New York’s Flatiron District, visitors press their noses against the windows to witness a vat of creamy white milk transformed by the expert hands of the cheesemaker. Although he is aided in the process by simple machinery, the cheesemaker is crafting cheese using the same techniques that have been used for thousands of years. A cheese lover since childhood, Kurt Beecher Dammeier remembers encouraging his mother to buy artisan cheese at a time when processed cheese was overtaking the market; and he recalls his great-grandfather, whose first name was Beecher, purchasing Stilton by the wheel.”

Beech2Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is also a restaurant where you can dine on dishes using their signature products, like their “World’s Best Mac and Cheese” – which you can also purchase online and have it shipped right to your home: “It’s purely the handcrafted, artisan cheese. Beecher’s ‘World’s Best’ Mac & Cheese is made with an incomparable combination of our signature Flagship and Just Jack cheeses. A hint of spice and penne pasta, versus the standard macaroni, make for a creamy mac that’s not just for kids. Best when bubbly and hot, our Mac & Cheese is shipped frozen so you can enjoy it fresh from the oven.”

Beecher’s Handmade Cheese is located in the historic Pike Place Market in the great city of Seattle.

Lucky for us, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese also has an online shop.

Learn more about Beecher’s Handmade Cheese – including their NYC location – here.

SEATNWhile preparing for my trip to the great Northwest metropolis that is Seattle, I wanted to familiarize myself with the city’s history without having to do too much research (well, reading). My solution was thumbing through the pages of Seattle: Then and Now by Benjamin Lukoff – which brought the Seattle’s past and present together in a way that made me appreciate the place as I walked around the city.

About Seattle: Then and Now by Benjamin Lukoff: “Seattle’s growth from a small lumber town to one of the world’s most influential urban centers has been spectacular. Little more than a century ago, the city was made up of dirt roads and timber buildings. The arrival of the Great Northern Railroad in 1893 and the start of the Klondike gold rush in 1897 changed all that. Businesses in Seattle are still booming today, but they are now less dependent on location and more on inspiration. Seattle Then and Now presents archival photos along with modern views of the same sites as they appear today, highlighting some of the best-loved places in the city along with striking examples of modern architecture that help make Seattle such a vibrant and innovative city.”

I love old pictures of cityscapes and appreciate the glimpse they give us to history. In Seattle: Then and Now, the vintage photos of Seattle are not only a window to the past, they are a path to the future.

Seattle: Then and Now by Benjamin Lukoff is availalble from Amazon and other fine book retailers.

FISH.WA.3My trip to Seattle was not all pleasure, it was also a business trip. I had to tour the offices of colleagues in the greater Seattle area. I was please to find one of the offices tucked away in the Fishermen’s Terminal in the city’s Ballard neighborhood. I have to say the offices were very cool – they overlooked the docks where the great fleet of fishing boats call home. I could totally work there.

About Seattle Fishermen’s Terminal: “The Puget Sound Purse Seine Fishermen’s Association approached the Port of Seattle in 1912 asking for a homeport for the local fishing fleet. Fishermen’s Terminal, the Port’s first operational facility, was officially dedicated on January 10, 1914. Today, Fishermen’s Terminal is home of the North Pacific fishing fleet, providing moorage for 400 commercial fishing vessels and work boats. It is also a hub of vessel maintenance and repair activity that brings vendors and suppliers together with a network of banking, insurance and other fishing and seafood related businesses that give our region economic diversity and resilience. Boats based at the terminal fish for a wide range of species including salmon, halibut, cod, crab, shrimp, pollock and tuna. Vessel types include crabbers, gillnetters, longliners, purse seiners, trawlers and trollers. The fleet based at Fishermen’s Terminal and throughout the Puget Sound region account for about 40 percent of the landed U.S. fish catch every year.”

The Fishermen’s Terminal is located at 3919 18th Ave. West in the great city of Seattle, WA.

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The Fishermen’s Terminal is home of the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial (above), which honors the men and women who have lost their lives in the profession over the past century.

FISH.WA.4About the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial: “In 1988, the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial dedicated this magnificent bronze and stone aggregate monument at Seattle’s Fishermen’s Terminal. The celebration culminated years of effort and generous contribution by Seattle’s commercial fishing community. This towering sculpture and the bronze name plaques at its base have become a place of reverence, recognition and healing for the families of more than 675 local commercial fishermen and women who have lost their lives pursuing their livelihood since the turn of the century. More than a tribute to an industry and the lives of its men and women, the monument fills a special need for commercial fishing families. In many instances, those who are lost at sea simply vanish, leaving their loved ones without a word or a trace. The construction of this monument has provided their memory a residence, a site for family and friends to visit, to place flowers, to reflect and to heal.”

Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial is located at The Fishermen’s Terminal in the great city of Seattle, WA.

IMG_1143As a big fan of movies, I often try to scope out the cinema scene in places I visit. It is fun to see a movie in a cool old theater or discover a little-known film before it plays nearby back at home. I am fortunate to live in the Kansas City Metro area where I am told there are more cinema seats per capita than anywhere else in the U.S. – including some great independent theaters.

Anyway, on my recent trip to Seattle, I discovered a couple of gems – The Grand Cinema in Tacoma and the wonderfully restored Cinerama theater in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood. (My personal photos of these sites accompany this post.)

The Grand Cinema in Tacoma

IMG_1144First, on my trip to Tacoma I stopped in to The Grand Cinema, a great independent (a non-profit at that) art house that shows the best in current independent and foreign films. I snuck into a late afternoon matinee of Testament of Youth – which was absolutely lovely and I highly recommend.

About The Grand Cinema in Tacoma: “The Grand Cinema is the South Sound’s non-profit home for independent, foreign and local film. Our mission is to enhance the cultural vitality of the Greater Tacoma community through the art of film. As a non-profit, we are supported by loyal patrons, volunteers, small staff and Board of Directors. In addition to screening independent, first-run films 365 days per year, The Grand is also the proud host of the Tacoma Film Festival, Tacoma Film Camp, 253-Second Film Viewing Party and many other unique film programs and special events.”

The Grand Cinema is located at 606 South Fawcett Avenue in Tacoma, WA in the historic Merlino Arts Center.

Check out the official site of Testament of Youth here.

Cinerama in Seattle

IMG_1146On the other side of the spectrum, I also visited the historic Cinerama in Seattle. Cinerama is a restored single-screen theater that was once the place to see the epic multi-screen spectacles that were part of the movie business’s attempt to compete with television back in the middle of the last century. Now, fully restored with modern amenities, Cinerama shows the latest blockbuster movies on a huge wide screen and it is great fun. I snuck into a mid-day screening of Ant Man to escape the unusually hot Seattle day. By the way, for a big summer release, Ant Man is actually more fun than most and the perfect popcorn flick.

About Cinerama: “Combining sleek comfort and futuristic decor with breakthrough advances in motion picture technology, Cinerama opened just a year after the World’s Fair came to town. Over the decades, it became a favorite venue for Seattle moviegoers of all ages, from families to Star Wars buffs who camped out in line for weeks before a premiere. 1999: Philanthropist and entrepreneur Paul Allen saves the theater by buying it and embarking on a multi-million-dollar renovation that includes advanced sound and projection and a restored Cinerama screen. 2014: Cinerama installs a state-of-the-art Christie 6P digital laser projection system, Harkness Matt Plus screen, Dolby Atmos surround sound, Meyer Sound cinema speaker system, and wider seats with more leg room.”

Cinerama is located at 2100 4th Avenue Seattle, WA in Seattle’s Belltown district.

Check out the official site of Ant Man here.

Two views from the bustling waterfront of the city of Tacoma, WA on my recent visit:

Turn-of-the-Century buildings on the hill overlooking the city:

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…and the majestic peak of Mount Rainier still well covered in snow on the hottest day of the summer:

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Last weekend on my visit to Seattle, I took side trip to the smaller city to the south, Tacoma, where I had never been before. I was pleasantly surprised to find Tacoma to be a vibrant city with a lot going on including a very happening arts and theater scene.  Of course it helped that I was there the weekend of the 23d Annual Tacoma Maritime Festival, which over took the city’s restored historic waterfront and was great fun.

I was pleased to find some great museums in the city including the very cool Museum of Glass and the surprising Tacoma Art Museum. Here are just a few of the museums that make Tacoma a perfect side trip from Seattle:

The Museum of Glass

tac1The Museum of Glass: “The Museum was envisioned as a center that would nurture artists, celebrate the dramatic new Studio Glass movement and encourage creativity.  This vision is realized through the exhibitions in the galleries, the art installations on the outdoor plazas, the hands-on art studio, and the Museum’s diverse educational programs, as well as the Hot Shop. Today, the Museum’s stainless steel cone serves as a beacon to a stunning contemporary art museum as well as a symbol for the restoration of a waterway and the revitalization of a city.”

The Museum of Glass is located at 1801 Dock Street in Tacoma, WA.

Tacoma Art Museum

tac2Tacoma Art Museum: “Tacoma Art Museum is a public-spirited institution with nationally recognized exhibitions and innovative educational programs. Named by USA Today as one of the “Top 10 Great Places to See Art in Smaller Cities,” the museum has developed a reputation for presenting art in a thought-provoking yet accessible manner with a strong commitment to Northwest art through its acquisition and exhibition programs. Founded in 1935, the museum has strong roots in the community and anchors Tacoma’s lively downtown university and museum district.”

Tacoma Art Museum is located at 1701 Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, WA.

America’s Car Museum

tac3America’s Car Museum: “America’s Car Museum (ACM) is an educational institution dedicated to preserve and interpret the history and technology of the automobile and its influence on American culture. The Museum displays vehicles donated from the founding LeMay Collection and acquires, preserves and interprets additional vehicles and artifacts which enable it to promote America’s automotive heritage. ACM is committed to its educational charter and education programs abound for young and old, enthusiast and general public to explore broad themes of American mobility and lifestyle in an instructive and entertaining manner.”

America’s Car Museum is located at 2702 East D Street in Tacoma, WA.

Washington State History Museum

tac4Washington State History Museum: “The Washington State History Museum is where fascination and FUN come together! People of all ages can explore and be entertained in an environment where characters from Washington’s past speak about their lives. Through interactive exhibits, theatrical storytelling, high-tech displays and dramatic artifacts, learn about our state’s unique people and places, as well as their impact on the country and the world.”

Washington State History Museum is located at 1911 Pacific Avenue in Tacoma, WA.

FF: The Hillary Clinton Action Figure from Exit 9

FF1This is not a political statement – positive or negative – it is just a statement: no matter your political stance, don’t you just kind of have to love the Hillary Clinton Action Figure I found from the fine folks at Exit 9?

About the Hillary Clinton Action Figure from Exit 9:

“The Hillary Clinton ready-for-action figure is finally here! She comes with five points of articulation and one incredibly snazzy pantsuit!”

Find the Hillary Clinton Action Figure from Exit 9 here.

See all the cool (and I mean really cool) products available from Exit 9 here.

FF: The Mint Tisane / Meditation Room Candle from LAFCO New York

FF1I love highly fragrant candles and there are few better than the Mint Tisane / Meditation Room House & Home Candle I found from the fine folks at LAFCO New York.

About the Mint Tisane / Meditation Room House & Home Candle from LAFCO New York:

“Created with natural essential oil-based fragrances, this candle is richly optimized for a 90-hour burn time. The clean-burning soy and paraffin blend is formulated so that the fragrance evenly fills the room. Each hand blown vessel is artisanally crafted and can be re-purposed to live on long after the candle is finished. FRAGRANCE: Soothing eucalyptus, basil, and sage are infused with fresh mint in this uplifting blend. Warm notes of exotic spice add depth and distinction to a truly unforgettable fragrance.”

Learn more about the “luxury items and fragrances” of LAFCO New York here.

FF1I continue to be obsessed with the “Flea” collection from the fine folks at Jayson Home. The Flea collection is a well-curated selection of vintage items for the decided upscale clientele of this Chicago-based purveyor of “modern and vintage furnishings and home accessories.”

About Jayson Home: “At Jayson Home, beautiful things aren’t just a passion. They’re our obsession. For nearly twenty years, we’ve been scouring the globe for modern and vintage furnishings and home accessories designed to inspire. Timeless but always of the moment. Sophisticated but never stuffy. Edgy but elegant. These are our guideposts for collecting an ever-evolving mix of modern day and one-of-a-kind vintage furniture, tableware, lighting, candles, books, pillows, textiles and more. Over the years, our urban home emporium has evolved from our landmark building in Chicago to an online destination for home-interior devotees and designers. Our incredibly savvy clients push us to continually evolve, offering an always-exciting collection of products and the highest level of service. Our greatest desire is to help you live beautifully.”

Current Flea items Jayson Home is offering include this gorgeous Antique Cinema Bench, this Vintage Wood Easel, and just in time for next year’s Bastille Day – this Vintage French Wood Plaque (above right).

See the entire Flea collection from Jayson Home here.

Learn more about Jayson Home and see their entire collection here.