December 9, 2011
This month, your Schwabe cuisine critics are focusing on a combination of ground spices that is sweeping the world – and King County. The spices are turmeric, cumin and coriander, and the dish is curry.
Originating on the Indian subcontinent, curry, in one variation or another, is now extremely popular in China, Japan, Thailand, Vietnam, the Caribbean, North America and, of course, Great Britain, where it has practically displaced fish and chips as the national dish. Curry enthusiasts (there are entire magazines devoted to curry) rave about its cancer-fighting properties, its endorphin-producing spiciness and even its aphrodisiacal qualities.
This is a professional publication, so we’ll skip over that last attribute and go straight to the cooking.
Ballard is home to India Bistro (2301 NW Market St.; 783-5080; seattleindiabistro.com), featuring North Indian-style cooking. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner; we went for lunch.
The dining area is clean, bright and presentable, although casual; you will not embarrass yourself by bringing a colleague or client here. Most tables were occupied by 12:30, although noise levels were manageable and we had no trouble holding a conversation.
We started with the buffet lunch ($7.95). The selection was limited. The tandoori chicken was spicy and moist. The other dishes on the buffet line included a mushroom curry, and a curry made with cabbage and peas. Sad to say, the food tasted tired and bland, without the wonderful aromatic nose that really good Indian food has. The vegetable pakoras had been out for a while and were no longer crispy and hot.
We ordered a lamb vindaloo (medium spicy) from the menu, and had much better luck. It came in a tomato-based sauce with long-grain, saffron rice on the side. Tomato sauces can overwhelm, but this one was bursting with complex flavors and a real pleasure to eat. The rice had just the right chewy texture. This kitchen is capable of preparing good-to-excellent food, but order off the menu because you won’t find it on the buffet line.
For most people looking for Thai food on lower Queen Anne, Tup Tim Thai (118 W. Mercer St.; 281-8833; tuptim.com) is the place to go. The dining area is simple, open and clean, with average noise levels. Be prepared for a quick, friendly greeting, often with a joke from Nat if he’s at the front. Somehow the restaurant always manages to seem fairly busy, but you’ll rarely have to wait for a table.
There are five curries on the menu: red, yellow and a recently added emerald (green) curry, along with a Penang curry and Mussaman curry. This reviewer orders takeout for dinner from here about once a week, so we’ve sampled all five. Each has its own distinct flavor, but the beef Penang (Penang neua) is simply one of the best Thai dishes this reviewer has tasted. The coconut milk balances out the spiciness of the curry while allowing the flavor of the curry to come through. The basil adds a snap to the flavor, while the peppers add a snap to the texture.
The beef can sometimes be a tad overcooked, but in this dish that’s not a bad thing. It comes as spicy as you like it, and with each additional level of spice, it seems as though extra flavor in the curry comes out. Served over white rice that’s always done well, never mushy, it makes a divine meal.
A trip to Tup Tim Thai isn’t complete, however, unless you cool off the heat from a curry with a dish of coconut ice cream. This ice cream is made from coconut milk with coconut flakes, and topped with crushed peanuts. It’s the perfect end to a spicy, flavorful curry dinner.
As you walk into Root Table in Ballard (2213 NW Market St.; 420-3214; roottablerestaurant.com) you can tell it takes its name seriously. The restaurant is warm and inviting. Large paper lanterns adorn the space, and the tables and chairs are made out of gnarled pieces of wood.
The menu doesn’t disappoint either, whether you are a curry lover or simply looking for some delicious Thai fare. We started out with curry corn fritters dipped in a spicy peanut sauce, followed by the main affair, known as the “Menage-a-Thai.” This yummy dish features your choice of meat and jasmine rice over steamed veggies, with three different curry sauces on the side. The red curry was our favorite, as it was the spiciest, but the buttery yellow and the cool green curry were excellent as well.
If you are looking for a unique twist on the season, the pumpkin green curry is another great choice. With about half of the entrees on the menu featuring some type of curry, you will be sure to find something that satisfies your lust for spice.
Overall, the curry scene in King County is alive and well, with lots of good, imaginative choices out there. We’re always on the lookout for a good curry, so if you have your own favorite curry joints, we’d love to hear from you.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Michael Herbst at 206-407-1570 or at firstname.lastname@example.org; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx.
Originally published in the December 2011 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association.
November 10, 2011
No political edition of King County Bar Association’s Bar Bulletin would be complete without a food column dedicated to politics. This month’s column is a guide to political food, with journeys to food and drink on all sides of the aisle, and some unusual formats for civic engagement.
Election Night “Blue Plate” Special
Every other year, on the first Tuesday in November, the Washington State Democrats tend to host an election results party in the vast ballroom of the Westin Hotel. Before the polls close, we recommend grabbing dinner at the nearby Icon Grill (1933 Fifth Ave.; 441-6330; icongrill.com) lest the champagne hit you on an empty stomach.
In preparation for November 2012, which will be the next opportunity to attend, we found two reviewers who had never been to the Icon Grill. We sent them on a recon mission.
At the door, our reviewers found the host’s greetings friendly and rapidly followed by significant visual stimulation. The decor is, to say the least, potentially distracting. Peach and orange hues dominate, with much to look at, including glass sculpture and myriad light shades.
“The food was good. We tried two specials that are not on the menu: a Dungeness crab risotto and an asparagus and chevre salad. The menu certainly had enough on it for us to want to come back again to try more,” the reviewers said.
The political food operatives plan to return for “hog-wild mac n’ chz” (macaroni and molten cheese sauce with barbecue pulled pork and caramelized sweet onions). They were also taken by the dessert menu, which featured a very oversized Texas funeral fudge cake (a seven-layer cake, large enough for four to split, that comes with both ice cream and a bottle of milk).
The service was friendly and attentive upon entry and departure, but not especially prompt in between. This can be good or bad depending on your schedule, but overall our reviewers plan to go back.
The Hunt for “Red” October Burgers
If your favorite color is red, or even purple, then a trip to the PumpHouse Bar & Grill (11802 NE Eighth St., Bellevue; 425-455-4110; pumphousebellevue.com) may be for you. Known for being the location where former Republican Rep. Jennifer Dunn would take her staffers for a treat, Washington State Republican Party members can frequently be spotted there.
Our political food operatives heard word of a recent sighting of Washington State Republican Party Executive Director Peter Graves and Democrat rising star Cyrus Habib, so the political food team took a trip to the PumpHouse to see what all the fuss was about.
The parking lot smelled of bacon and the air was filled with cheers and testosterone when the team visited this sports bar during Monday Night Football. The fried foods were addictive and delicious, the mugs frosty and the beer poured just right. The burgers were greasy and tasty.
Frankly, for a few moments, in the neon light, the team forgot that they were less than a minute from The Bravern in Bellevue, Washington, and not in Bellevue, Kentucky. We approve.
New Money Meets Campaign Finance
Fundraisers can be stuffy, but not at recent political hot spot The Nabob (819 Fifth Ave. N.; 281-9850; thenabobbar.com). Former City Council candidate Maurice Classen is part owner in the bar, which has seen a high volume of events this year. From the Classen race to a young professional’s fundraiser for gubernatorial candidate Rep. Jay Inslee in late September, this spot is on the rise for the younger political crowd, especially for young attorneys investing in politics.
The Nabob is a fun neighborhood watering hole. The food menu is limited, but it offers some good options for sharing and snacking.
“Really, this is a place for drinking and relaxing. There are lots of tables, and the atmosphere is comfortable and inviting,” our political team said.
You can also entertain yourself with traditional bar games such as pool or darts, and The Nabob has a wide variety of board games available. All in all, The Nabob is a great place to sit back and spend an afternoon or evening, or both.
Get Out the Vote
When deciding to delve into the spots in King County to get political, we could not help but give a shout-out to Neumos (925 E. Pike St.; 709-9442; neumos.com) and adjoining MOE Bar (1425 10th Ave.; 709-9951). These neighboring and jointly owned venues were the location for several fantastic events encouraging civic engagement.
In July, Neumos hosted Candidate Survivor — a Seattle City Council candidate forum organized by civic engagement nonprofit the Washington Bus (washingtonbus.org). The event gave 400 younger voters the chance to get to know Seattle City Council candidates. It pits candidates against each other, and asks them questions about subjects from transportation policy to skinny-dipping in Lake Washington, and it gives the audience the power to send text messages to vote for their favorite candidates.
Oddly, City Council Member Jean Godden showed her talents on stage by giving the crowd advice on “sexting.” When it’s not filled with elected officials dead set on scaring young voters for life, Neumos is a great spot to see a band with reasonably priced drinks and a fun ambiance.
Next door is MOE Bar, where Washington Bus and The Stranger held a “State of the Union” watch party in January. Any day of the week, MOE Bar is a fantastic spot to grab a drink and a snack before heading to see a band next door.
We recommend starting the night off with a “So Fresh, So Clean,” a drink made with Hendrick’s gin, Batch 206 vodka, lemon juice, cucumbers and 7-Up. Pair it with an order of halibut from Pike Street Fish Fry (925 E. Pike Pl.; 329-7453; pikestreetfishfry.net) and have it delivered to your table. We also go wild for the grilled asparagus and the smoked chili mayo.
Days of Yore
Vito’s Restaurant & Lounge (927 Ninth Ave.; 397-4053; vitoseattle.com) is frequently described as possessing a certain amount of Rat Pack glamour with an undeniable history for power deals and misdeeds. During its heyday of the 1960s and 1970s, it would certainly have made this list.
In January 2009, Vito’s closed its doors shortly after an allegedly gang-related killing took place in the restaurant. But the doors reopened in April 2010, and at least one political event has taken place since then — the co-birthday party and fundraiser for Port Commissioner Rob Holland and the 101st birthday of former Gov. Albert D. Rosellini. While Gov. Rosellini did not attend, instead saving his energy, a good time was had by all.
Gov. Rosellini passed away October 10, and in his memory you can check out this Seattle landmark. We recommend pairing the “Gnocchi Verdi” with an episode of “Mad Men.” The bartenders are very knowledgeable and can direct you to some nice bourbon.
Several days after protesters with the Occupy Seattle group began camping out in Westlake Park, Big Mario’s New York Style Pizza (1019 E. Pike St.; 922-3875; bigmariosnewyorkpizza.com) came to the rescue, providing pizza to the protesters and setting up a special. Anyone wanting to feed those camped out in Westlake could buy a discounted pizza and Mario’s would deliver it to the protesters.
More than 100 slices were reportedly delivered on the third night of the protests. One of our favorite pizzas in Seattle is the Big Mario’s mushroom, pesto and caramelized pear pie.
While this article hits the presses on the fringe of the election season, by visiting the above locations all year long, you can keep the election excitement alive all year-round.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Jamila Johnson at 206-407-1555 or at email@example.com; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx.
Originally published in the November 2011 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association.
October 12, 2011
Seattle is a great food town, but it has not traditionally been a great town in which to find a full menu after 11 p.m. In honor of Night Kitchen — a restaurant only open for late-night dining that closed its doors indefinitely this past summer — Dining Out With Schwabe salutes the late and all-night dining options.
Nothing is more frustrating than finding yourself hungry for a full meal and not being able to find an open kitchen. These are our solutions to your late-night eating dilemmas.
Open ‘Til Midnight or 1 a.m.
Want access to a Tom Douglas restaurant after seeing a play with a client? The Palace Kitchen (2030 Fifth Ave., Seattle; 448-2001; tomdouglas.com) is open until midnight. While The Palace may print up a fresh menu every day and it has a good variety of local Northwest-style food, it is well known for its “Palace Burger Royale.” You can expect the chef to do a good job on your steaks, too. Like most any other Tom Douglas restaurant, save some room for the coconut cream pie for dessert.
Another client-friendly, midnight kitchen for the post-theater crowd is Ten Mercer (10 Mercer St., Seattle; 691-3723; tenmercer.com), conveniently located by McCaw Hall and the Seattle Repertory Theater. We recommend taking anyone here who has a gluten allergy, as the restaurant has a separate, gluten-free menu. Try the fresh halibut on udon noodles with a Szechuan broth for a tasty meal.
Want a cheaper, edgier, likely client-free, post-theater location? Try Café Mecca (526 Queen Anne Ave N., Seattle; 285-9728). On all nights but Friday and Saturday, the kitchen is open until 1 a.m.; it’s open all night on Friday and Saturday. It’s a quick walk from Seattle Center to this bar-and-restaurant combo where the corned beef hash is surprisingly memorable, even if parts of the night that led us there might be hazy.
2 a.m. to 4 a.m.
A few years ago, after striking out trying to find a full kitchen open, we discovered that much of the International District kept its kitchens open until 2 a.m. One personal favorite is Sea Garden (509 Seventh Ave. S., Seattle; 623-2100), serving a full menu until 2 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and until 3 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights.
There are many excellent seafood items, but try either the prawns or the Dungeness crab in black bean sauce. You can probably pick the crab you want from the fresh tank. Late dining in the International District does not draw a different crowd or provide an ambience different from earlier evening dining, and there is ample late-night street parking.
Remember earlier this year when we reviewed Meander’s Kitchen (6032 California Ave. S.W., Seattle) in the “Dining Alone” column a few weeks after the diner opened? Since then, Meander’s has taken off. Still nestled below the old Chinese restaurant sign, owner Miranda Krone expanded the 13-seat spot to include the neighboring space after winning Seattle’s “Favorite Diner” in Seattle Weekly.
Now, Meander’s is also open from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights. It is a fantastic time to try our favorite item, “The Red Eye”, and savor some cheese grits on the side.
Finally, check out Lil’ Woody’s (1211 Pine St., Seattle; 457-2128; lilwoodys.com), reviewed last month, as it intends to open late-night hours in the future (promising “soon” to be open until 3 a.m. on Friday and Saturday nights).
Open All Night
The classic all-night option in Seattle is 13 Coins, with locations in Seattle (125 Boren, 682-2513) and SeaTac, conveniently near the airport (18000 International Blvd., 243-9500; 13coins.com). This is usually the first option to come to mind for dining after midnight, to the point that you may have quite a wait if you have not made a reservation.
You can get a private, high-backed booth or sit at the bar to watch the chef prepare the made-to-order hollandaise for the “Dungeness Eggs Benedict” — a favorite for out-of-town clients if you are picking up or dropping off at the airport. The “New York Steak and Eggs” is also a perennial favorite.
Beth’s Café (7311 Aurora Ave. N., Seattle; 782-5588; bethscafe.com), a favorite of the Travel Channel, “does not close.” It is open 363 days a year, 24 hours a day; closed only for Thanksgiving and Christmas. The breakfast menu is available 24 hours a day.
Beth’s is both an after-hours destination and an experience. No doubt most of those who read this article will have visited Beth’s Café at some point or another. This will not be new to you. However, for those of you who have not experienced Beth’s yet, it is worth the wait, and wait you will. At 12:45 a.m. on a Sunday morning, there was a wait. Driving by at 10 a.m. on Labor Day morning, there was a line of at least 30 people waiting to get into the café.
There is much to tempt you on the menu, but Beth’s claim to fame is the omelets. Two sizes only — six or 12-eggs, the latter accompanied by all-you-can-eat hash browns (as seen on “Man v. Food’s” Seattle edition). I mean really—who EATS that much? Apparently everyone. While I sat waiting for my breakfast burrito, those omelets were coming by me faster than a Labrador at a dog park. The breakfast burrito was HUGE, spicy and delicious, accompanied by the bottomless hash browns.
Then there’s the atmosphere: Where else can you enter a literal modern art gallery and order greasy hangover food any time of day or night? This is definitely a place to bring newcomers and visitors to Seattle, as it is a Seattle institution and deserves the status.
The Hurricane Café (2230 Seventh Ave., Seattle; 682-5858; hurricanecafe.com) is perhaps Seattle’s quintessential 24-hour locale after a night of serious drinking. The music is loud and the food is a blocked artery waiting to happen.
All around, The Hurricane Café is exactly what it is supposed to be: open in case one needs food to soak up one too many drinks from the firm’s holiday party or a night reliving one’s youth. The diner fare has all the classic breakfast options; our personal favorite is undoubtedly the biscuits and gravy.
Dining Out With Schwabe has a confession: At all hours, we are a little enamored with The 5 Point Café (415 Cedar St., Seattle; 448-9993; the5pointcafe.com — not to be confused with the Five Spot). Maybe it’s the catchy slogan — “Alcoholics serving alcoholics since 1929.” Maybe it’s the very public battle its owner had to obtain outdoor seating on the outskirts of Tilikum Place Park in Belltown.
Whether it’s while grabbing an early breakfast on the way into work or late-night drinks and diner fare, The 5 Point is, frankly, just interesting. During the 2010 primary election, we spotted Congressman McDermott celebrating with folks from the political blog Publicola and the civic engagement organization The Washington Bus. Earlier this year, we spotted news crews speaking with owner Dave Meinert — organizer of the Capitol Hill Block Party — about what we presumed to be the city’s late-night initiative.
The full menu is served 24/7 and the chicken-fried steak weighs 11 ounces (translation: It’s heavy; perhaps the largest in town).
Also open all night, Randy’s Restaurant (10016 East Marginal Way S., Tukwila; 763-9333; randys-restaurant.net), previously reviewed in our “Scary” article [Bar Bulletin, July 2009: https://www.kcba.org/newsevents/barbulletin/BView.aspx?Month=07&Year=2009&AID=diningout.htm].
Next time you are suffering from insomnia, working far too late or just simply suffering from Night of the Living Dead Syndrome, you don’t need to drive around looking for a place whose kitchen is still open.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article, or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Christopher H. Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx.
Originally published in the October 2011 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association.
September 13, 2011
It is back to school time again. In celebration of the season and the fond memories we have of September, the Dining Out with Schwabe Team went into the restaurant community to learn something “new.” Be it a new restaurant, a new way of doing things or a restaurant that teaches its guests something new, the Dining Out squad was schooled without the heavy investment in back-to-school gear. Here are some of the lessons learned.
Lesson No. 1: Bring an Apple for Teacher (and Your Burger)
While looking for lunch on Capitol Hill, we were saved by a plain, black chalkboard sign. In choppy, white chalk letters, it commanded us to “Eat a Burger.” We followed the sign’s advice, just like we once followed the instructions of our fifth-grade teacher. We were glad we did.
It was inside the new burger joint, Lil’ Woody’s, 1211 Pike Street, that we met “The Trotter.” The Trotter is a messy burger and we mean that in the best possible way. It is covered in caramelized onions, apples and Hills bacon chopped into little pieces and drenched in Woody’s own horseradish. You can easily find yourself full from it alone, but we also give credit to Lil’ Woody’s for naming its fries (and the special salt with them) “crack” and encourage taking up the habit and washing it all down with a Molly Moon’s Handmade Ice Cream shake served on premises.
The owner, Marcus Lalario, has a winner on his hands. He is also part owner of Captain Blacks and the HG Lodge, and an investor in Havana, The Saint and Molly Moon’s.
Lesson No. 2: You Are Never Too Old For Grilled Cheese
When tasked with trying new things, one of Seattle’s newer restaurants, which happens to be down the street from our office, popped into mind: RN 74, 1433 Fourth Avenue, 206-456-7474. RN 74 is the latest venture from restaurateur Michael Mina.
RN 74 is named after the main highway that runs through the Burgundy wine region of France. True to its namesake, RN 74 offers “simple interpretations of regional French cuisine” and, of course, a wide variety of wines. One of these “simple interpretations” that is a must try is grilled cheese fondue. This dish is served with tiny squares of grilled cheese and a “fondue” pot of tomato soup.
Also of interest is the “Last Bottle Served” Train Board, which, similar to a train station departure board, is constantly updating patrons on the status of the wine stock. Expect to get service from a number of employees — as the tips are shared, anyone who walks by will care to help you get that new glass of chardonnay. Also, for anyone who misses “Ally McBeal,” let’s just say the restroom setup and style make you think John Cage will be peeking out of any corner.
Lesson No. 3: Bring Your Beer in a Brown Paper Bag
This month we discovered a new diner that we adore: The Lucky Diner, 2630 First Avenue, 206-805-0133. And true to the best diners, it has something about it that is unique, but hard to place.
The Lucky Diner brings an old-school look that screams Norman Rockwell nestled within Belltown. The menu is a new take on classic diner fare with hearty breakfasts and late-night hours for coffee after the theater or a night at the bar. But the lesson we learned was not the pleasure of the chicken-fried pork and eggs (although they are pretty tasty), but the small touches added to the experience. For instance, the diner serves its bottled beer in a paper bag with the restaurant’s logo delicately stamped on the bag.
Despite the urge to try new things, the Dining Out Team is quite nostalgic about the diners of Seattle’s past. Many of these beloved diners have not survived — our largest woe was the loss of Minnie’s on Capitol Hill and Lower Queen Anne. Maybe The Lucky Diner will fill that void.
Lesson No. 4: Make Friends Outside Your Clique
It can be too easy to stay within the core of downtown for happy hour or to dive deeply into the neighborhoods, but Dining Out With Schwabe eyed some construction at the corner of Fifth and Wall, outside the hectic downtown world where the parking was ample. Thinking we were embarking on a new restaurant, we learned it was merely a new location for an established local, known to many, even if new to us: Amore Infused, 522 Wall Street, 206-462-4552.
When we stepped in to this new location for the “infused” Italian cuisine, the environment seemed somehow a bit surreal, perhaps due to what seemed like mixed metaphors between the two halves of the bar area. As we dined in the lounge, the servers seemed particularly proud of the cucumber-infused vodka that allows you to drink your salad. For those clients coming into downtown for happy hour, this may be a parking-friendly alternative, especially on Wednesday when happy hour is all day.
The team went through the “Blue Glacier Martini” listed as the signature cocktail, the “Dirty Ernie” and the “Cucumber Mist,” made with the house’s aforementioned cucumber-infused vodka. We learned the infused reference is to an Italian style infused with other European and Northwestern influences. It might also refer to the bar’s wide selection of vodkas infused on the premises.
We also tried a variety of the happy hour food items. Well received: the marsala burger sliders and the jojos, and the free basket of truffle oil popcorn.
Lesson No. 5: White Wine Totally Goes with Bacon
In addition to delectable treats, the Dining Out gang also has a hunger for learning. So why not satisfy both cravings at once at TASTE Restaurant, 1300 First Avenue, 206-903-5291, where you will learn how to pair some of the Northwest’s best wines with the perfect plate of food.
TASTE’s wine list reads like a cheat sheet, arranged by taste and aroma profile — “Black, Bitter and Blue” for some of the reds and “Caramel and Honey” for a few of the whites. The staff, led by TASTE director and local winemaker Danielle Custer, are skilled at pairing great local wine with the perfect meal or snack.
And you want to know the best part? TASTE loves to share its wisdom with its guests. Settle in for a group study session led by your server. Or opt for the learn-on-your-own model with TASTE’s “Flights & Bites” menu, which offers three pre-selected pairings (our last meal on Earth might have to be the Wilridge “estate mélange blanc” and stuffed fig with bacon combo). At TASTE, you really can learn something new every day.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Jamila Johnson at email@example.com or Christopher Howard at firstname.lastname@example.org; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx.
Originally published in the September 2011 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association.
August 13, 2011
When the temperature rises, not everyone heads out to climb rocks or raft whitewater rapids. For some, the rising mercury signals to the brain that it is time to engage in the age-old practice of “summer reading.” This month, Dining Out takes a look at the best places to sip and read in the city, depending on the genre that strikes your fancy this summer.
Genre: Mystery. Coffee Shop: Cherry Street Coffee House, 103 Cherry St., Seattle, cherryst.com; 206-621-9372.
Review: Cherry Street Coffee House’s original locale is nestled in an historic Pioneer Square building adjacent to Seattle Mystery Bookshop. The spacious underground seating provides plenty of spots to sit and read your favorite whodunit. As you wonder who broke into the bank vault in your favorite book, look over to the bank vault inside the café that houses the owner’s office.
We recommend savoring an iced Americano and a Seattle Bagel Bakery bagel with house-cured lox, red onions, cream cheese and capers, or one of the pita BLTs. Almost everything on the extensive menu is delicious, from delightful feta and Mediterranean sandwiches to vegan soups and quiches. Mysteries never tasted so good.
Book Recommendation: One of the best things about Seattle Mystery Bookshop is its author events. Check out Chris Ewan’s signing of The Good Thief’s Guide to Venice, a book about a thief considering a new career as a crime novelist until his first-edition copy of The Maltese Falcon is stolen by a femme fatale burglar and he has to catch the thief. Get your copy signed at noon on August 12 and bring it over to Cherry Street Coffee House.
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Genre: Northwest Writers. Coffee Shop: Oddfellows Café, 1525 10th Ave., Seattle; oddfellowscafe.com; 206-325-0807.
Review: There is something rustic and charming about Oddfellows Café: white wood walls, metal coat hangers, cupcakes with fluffy whipped icings, and old coffee tins. The interior of Oddfellows is made of 90% salvaged, recycled or repurposed items.
Summer readers are destined to find bliss when combining the Oddfellows experience with a book from Seattle’s legendary bookstore, The Elliott Bay Book Company, next door. The Northwest writers section is located conveniently near the cash register. We recommend an iced latte and the baked eggs.
Book Recommendation: Looking for a new book, Dining Out with Schwabe picked up two great summer reads on the last trip to Oddfellows/Elliott Bay. Check out Spokane author Jess Walter’s The Financial Lives of the Poets and take a comedic journey into debilitating debt and financial journalism in blank verse.
Consider moseying over to Oddfellows with the classic western homage The Sisters Brothers, by former Washington (and current Oregon) author Patrick deWitt, and follow western hitmen Eli and Charlie Sisters as they track their prey and Eli questions the morality of his career choice.
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Genre: Memoir. Coffee Shop: B & O Espresso, 204 Belmont Ave. E., Seattle; b-oespresso.com; 206-322-5028.
Review: “Life is like a box of chocolates.” Cliché? Yes, but we have no shame in suggesting that memoirs are best enjoyed with a macchiato and a sweet farina custard baked in phyllo, and served warm with an aromatic rosewater and orange syrup. Nearby Half Price Books at 115 Belmont Ave. E. is within easy walking distance and is an interesting choice for an afternoon treat and literary escape. On hot days, we recommend indulging in a double espresso milkshake.
Book Recommendation: There is no shortage of memoir recommendations, but two jump to mind: Joan Didion’s The Year of Magical Thinking and Marie Brenner’s Apples and Oranges: My Brother and Me, Lost and Found.
“Life changes fast.” These are the first words of Didion’s masterpiece memoir of the year following the death of her husband. The raw emotion, neurotic grace and perfectly crafted sentences of this memoir make it a must read.
Less acclaimed, but nonetheless interesting, Brenner’s memoir starts with a similarly blunt sentence: “We fight at the dinner table.” Brenner’s memoir explores how two siblings can be so different: one a bleeding-heart liberal, New York journalist, and the other a conservative apple farmer in Eastern Washington. Brenner’s tale of siblings and redemption is a rewarding read.
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Genre: Manifesto (a genre of sorts). Coffee Shop: Bauhaus Books and Coffee, 301 E. Pine St.; bauhauscoffee.net; 206-625-1600.
Review: Many Seattle coffee houses scream self-righteous, revolutionary hive. Love it (as we do) or hate it (as many do), it is not hard to find a number of coffee houses that openly advertise that they are a superior reading locale.
We tend to agree that Bauhaus is a great spot to dive into a good book and some serious intellectual thought. Grab your lit on how to change the world, a cup of joe and a Ding Dong by the register, and be the change you want to see.
Book Recommendation: Bauhaus sealed this category when a recent trip to the café resulted in seeing a young man reading Mao’s “little red book.” But in our mind there is more to this category than the traditional definition of manifesto. Instead, we recommend Common As Air: Revolution, Art and Ownership, by Lewis Hyde. Hyde provides a stirring defense of our cultural commons by an historical review and skepticism of the very concept of intellectual property.
We also recommend When Brute Force Fails: How To Have Less Crime and Less Punishment, by Mark A.R. Kleiman. With 2.3 million people currently behind bars in the United States, Kleiman presents a number of new ideas, and challenges traditional beliefs of justice and crime in America.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Jamila Johnson at email@example.com; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx.
Originally published in the August 2011 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association.
July 13, 2011
With summer right around the corner, Team Schwabe undertook the difficult, yet oh so satisfying, task of determining the best ice cream in Seattle. This is one dispute that we would gladly settle again.
Over 20 brave and hungry volunteers donated their tummies and taste buds to participate in our highly scientific test. We asked our eager test subjects to sample 21 frozen delicacies from Seattle ice cream and frozen custard shops. From each of the seven shops, we tasted one vanilla, one chocolate and one specialty flavor.
This was a blind taste test, so none of the testers knew which brand he or she was tasting. Volunteers were then asked to rate each one on a scale of one to 10 based on taste and consistency/texture. Each volunteer selected his or her favorite vanilla, chocolate and specialty flavor. The votes were tallied and Team Schwabe declared the winners.
A side note: We tasted both ice cream and frozen custard. We learned that to be marketed as frozen custard, a product must contain at least 10% milk fat and 1.4% egg yolk solids. The frozen custards tended to be smoother and creamier.
The Contenders (in alphabetical order)
Baskin Robbins: This is the ice cream shop that many of us grew up on, and we all have our favorite of the 31 flavors. This well-known ice cream shop was created by two ice cream loving brothers-in-law nearly 75 years ago. There are over 20 locations in Seattle. We chose butter pecan as our specialty flavor. Go to www.baskinrobbins.com for the location in your neighborhood.
Bluebird Homemade Ice Cream and Tea Room: Bluebird is fairly new to the Seattle ice cream scene and it is already the favorite of many. One of the reasons why we love Bluebird is because its ingredients are almost all locally sourced and organic whenever possible. Flavors are based on the season and change frequently. We chose snickerdoodle as our specialty flavor. Bluebird is located at 1205 E. Pike St., Seattle, 206-588-1079, www.bluebirdseattle.blogspot.com.
Full Tilt Ice Cream: Full Tilt was started a few years ago by husband-and-wife team Justin Cline and Ann Magyar. Full Tilt has a fun and funky atmosphere and the flavors are out of this world. On the day we stopped in to collect our test materials, they were sold out of Oaxacan chocolate, a flavor packed with lots of chocolate and chocolate-covered grasshoppers. Although we fancy ourselves brave testers, we were just as happy to select ube (a purple yam) for our specialty flavor. Full Tilt has three locations. We purchased our goodies at the White Center store located at 629 16th Ave. SW, 206-767-4811, www.fulltilticecream.com.
Husky Deli: Husky Deli has been making ice cream for about 75 years. Husky Deli has dozens of delicious ice cream flavors, including Husky flake and Swiss chocolate orange. They also make delicious sandwiches and soup. We selected Nutella as our specialty flavor. Husky Deli is located at 4721 California Ave. SW, 206-937-2810, www.huskydeli.com.
Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice Cream: Molly Moon’s opened its first location in the Wallingford neighborhood in spring of 2008. The Seattle ice cream scene has never looked back. Molly Moon’s features local and seasonal ingredients to create delicious ice creams. The flavors range from simple, but incredibly delicious chocolate ice cream made with Theo’s Chocolate to the wilder strawberry balsamic. We chose the salted caramel as our specialty flavor. Molly Moon’s has three locations. We stopped into the Wallingford shop located at 1622 N. 45th St., 206-547-5105, www.mollymoons.com.
Old School Frozen Custard: Old School opened its first location in 2007. Old School makes fresh frozen custard every day. It always has vanilla, chocolate and one very special flavor of the day. We were lucky enough to try the juicy lemon. Old School boasts that its frozen custards contain fewer calories than ice cream. We sure did not miss those extra calories. Old School has two locations. We purchased our delicious treats at the Capitol Hill store located at 1316 E. Pike St., 206-324-2586, www.oldschoolfrozencustard.com.
Peaks Frozen Custard: Peaks opened its doors in Seattle in April 2008. Just about everything at this family-owned business is made from scratch at its shop. The ingredients are local whenever possible and their methods are sustainable and environmentally friendly. Every day Peaks makes vanilla, chocolate and two specialty flavors. We chose root beer float as our specialty flavor. Peaks is located at 1026 N.E. 65th Street #A101, 206-588-2701, www.peaksfrozencustard.com.
Vanilla: The hands-down favorite of our trusty testers was Peaks Frozen Custard. Testers described this frozen custard as “silky,” “smooth and creamy,” with a “buttery flavor that lingered.”
Other testers loved Bluebird’s “classic vanilla bean flavor” and “velvety” consistency. And, for some of our testers, Baskin Robbins vanilla ice cream was a familiar favorite. One tester reminisced that it reminded her of “ice cream that my grandmother made!”
Chocolate: Our testers again raved about Peaks Frozen Custard. Testers described this frozen custard as having a “very deep chocolate taste,” “great texture with a rich chocolate taste,” and of course “very smooth and creamy.” One taster said the flavor reminded her of a Fudgsicle.
Other testers loved Molly Moon’s Theo’s Chocolate ice cream. Testers described this ice cream as having a “powerful chocolate flavor” and “excellent chocolate flavor and smooth consistency.” One taster said this ice cream reminded him of a “dark chocolate tart” and loved the “complexity of the flavor.”
Our testers also loved Bluebird’s chocolate ice cream. Testers “loved the chocolate chunks!!” and the “nutty and delicious” flavor. One tester rated this ice cream as “My favorite of all the ice cream flavors. DELISH. #1.”
Specialty Flavor: Our testers had a dispute about their favorite specialty flavor. We had a tie between Husky Deli’s Nutella and Old School Frozen Custard’s juicy lemon. Testers described Husky Deli’s Nutella as “super,” “creamy,” and “yum!” and “double yum!!” One tester said it tasted “like eating a cup of cocoa!” Old School Frozen Custard’s juicy lemon was described as “delish!” “super lemon,” and “really good!” One taster said the flavor reminded him of a “lemon chiffon pie.”
Testers also loved Full Tilt’s ube ice cream. This flavor was described as “smooth and delicious,” “really delicious!” and “creamy goodness.” One tester said that this ice cream tasted like “purple butterscotch.”
We all had our favorites and this dispute may still be ongoing. But we can certainly say that we enjoyed being guinea pigs and would gladly volunteer for this test again.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article, or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Jennifer Campbell at firstname.lastname@example.org; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx.
Originally published in the July 2011 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association.
June 1, 2011
Eating at a club has always had a certain cachet. The quintessential club-dining experience is probably still the Rainier Club, with its wood-paneled walls, hushed corridors and many fireplaces.
But dining at one of Seattle’s many clubs or associations offers more than just exclusivity. There are some real culinary treats out there if you are lucky enough to get invited — or willing to become a member.
The Rainier Club, 820 Fourth Ave., Seattle, 296-6848: Lunch at Seattle’s Rainier Club turned out to be much more enjoyable than one might expect if you last went decades ago. It started with a greeting by name for the member and a handshake welcome for the guest. Staff remained remarkably attentive for the entire stay. We ate in the main dining room, which was quite bright and airy.
The Rainier Club has a soup, sandwich, salad and cookie bar lunch available in its lounge. The halibut and monkfish entrees that we had for lunch were well accompanied (by polenta fries and mushrooms for the monkfish) and the Caesar salad came in edible bowls of fried cheese.
We were there for lunch, but we checked out the wine list, which was surprisingly reasonably priced. The Rainier Club has a wine committee, which prides itself on finding interesting wines and good values.
We did not give into temptation, but the dessert menu looked excellent, including a wide variety of sorbets and ice creams made on site. And, if you simply cannot decide, the club features “a symphony of desserts,” bringing a platter from the pastry shop, including chocolates, fruits, cookies, and tastes of the ice cream and sherbet. We will want to return for that.
But remember, when dining at the Rainier Club, the dress code is business casual (no jeans).
Washington Athletic Club, 1325 Sixth Ave., Seattle, 622-7900: The WAC offers a vintage, Seattle club experience. We recently lunched at Torchy’s (464-4626) on the second floor. Although the ambiance is old school, and the décor a little heavy, it was nicely alleviated by a table next to the window. The contemporary cuisine is complemented by an award-winning wine list.
The server was friendly and attentive; the service and food quality solid. The charmoula steak salad avoided the usual ho-hum steak salad ingredients. This salad was served with nicely arranged slices of a grilled flat iron steak, fennel, orange segments, almonds, chèvre, kalamata olives, frisée, and spinach with a light charmoula vinaigrette (marinade of oil, lemon juice, garlic, salt and herbs such as cumin, coriander and sometimes saffron). An adherent of the caveman diet would be thrilled with this selection.
While vegetarian menu options were sparse, our server graciously cooperated in crafting a vegetarian version of the southwestern Cobb salad, made with romaine, mint, frisée and Cotija cheese, which came with a peppery chipotlé dressing. While a little overzealous with the green onions, the unique chipotlé dressing and Cotija cheese were a welcome and interesting variant on this classic salad.
Dom Polski (aka PB Kitchen), 1714 18th Ave., Seattle, 322-3020: Most places we review in this column are commercial. They exist because they want your money, and in exchange they feed you and/or provide you with a “dining experience.”
Dom Polski (the “Polish Home”) is not in that category at all. Dom Polski exists to give expatriate Poles and their families a place to gather, celebrate Polish culture and history, pass on Polish traditions to their children growing up American, and perhaps to feel a bit homesick together.
There is a cafeteria on the ground floor of Dom Polski, which is open for dinner (and Sunday brunch) to members. “Membership” in this context turns out to be a convenient fiction: pay $1 and you are an instant member for a day and can dine in the cafeteria.
The menu is limited to standard central European fare: pierogi in several varieties, pickle soup, borscht, sausages, breaded pork cutlets and “stuffed pigeons” (actually cabbage leaves stuffed with meat). The pierogi made this reviewer weep with joy they were so delicious. The pickle soup was good, but could have been hotter.
Homemade pies and cakes cover the bar counter, which also is where you go to order Polish beer (try the Zywiec — pronounced “zeev-yech”). Prices are very reasonable, but bring cash, as no credit cards are accepted.
This place has no pretensions: Please do not come here expecting a quiet, romantic meal and a servile waiter. The floor is wood and the ceiling is high, so it gets loud (you will not hear your mobile phone ringing) and the service is charmingly amateurish and overwhelmed during peak times. Come here for authentic Polish food and, with the sound of Polish being spoken all around you, the illusion of eating in a bustling restaurant in a small market town by the banks of the Vistula.
A brief digression while we are on the subject of Polish food: here’s a shout-out for George’s Deli: 907 Madison St., Seattle, 622-1491. It is a very pleasant walk from downtown Seattle on those rare days when it is not drizzling. This Polish deli has quite simply the best deli-style sandwiches this reviewer has found in Seattle, and the prices would be very reasonable even for a sandwich that was only half as good (and half the size — these are overstuffed monsters).
Try the pastrami sandwich on rye for a piece of carnivore nirvana. The corned beef sandwich is also excellent. Here’s a secret for those in the know: While it is not on the menu, they will make you a head cheese sandwich if you ask nicely.
George’s has a refrigerated case with sausages, jars of pickles line shelves on the walls to the left, and candy and boxes of cookies can be found on the right. Buy a box of “piernicki” biscuits with your sandwich, to munch on later in the afternoon. There is no place to sit and eat here — everything’s strictly to go.
If you are looking for a club happy hour, a membership to the Columbia Tower Club (701 Fifth Ave., Columbia Center 76th Floor, Seattle; membership director, 219-6747) will leave you feeling on top of the world. The Columbia Tower Club is situated at the top of the tallest building in Seattle and has breathtaking views of our fair city.
Happy hour starts at 4 p.m. and comes with a fabulous wine special: only $1 for the first glass. The food is more than acceptable, although tries a bit too hard. The grilled cheese sandwich was somewhat over-constructed with the addition of almonds to the comfort food. Yet the Korean barbecue quesadilla was an adventure in unique flavor combinations. Served with either seasoned pork or tofu and jack cheese, it also comes with a side of perfectly spicy kimchi and a jalapeño and apple salsa. The spiciness of the kimchi and salsa offset the quesadilla nicely, making the entire dish an excellent happy hour treat.
Food at all of these clubs (and at George’s) receives Dining Out With Schwabe’s seal of approval.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law firm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Christopher Howard at email@example.com; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx.
Originally published in the June 2011 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association.
May 10, 2011
by Joaquin Hernandez
Members of our condemnation group recently attended a national conference dealing with the latest in eminent domain laws and issues. Attorneys from across the country noted that lenders nationwide more and more are intervening in eminent domain proceedings. Owner/Borrowers fail to appreciate that many deeds of trust (“trust deeds” in Oregon) address what happens when the property securing a loan is being taken by the government. Some of these clauses give a bank or other lender the right to intervene in a condemnation lawsuit at the expense of the owner/borrower. Before the economic downturn, lenders were unlikely to be involved in condemnation actions. In those days, banks just sat on the sidelines and waited for the results of a condemnation lawsuit.
Most deeds of trust or trust deeds contain a provision that gives the lender the right to any proceeds resulting from an eminent domain proceeding (read and understand your loan documents). Of course, the lender or borrower pays little attention to such clause because the odds of their property being taken by the government are slim or unknown. Sometimes these provisions require the owner/borrower to pay the lender’s attorney fees and costs in an effort to protect the lender’s security interest. An owner/borrower should urge that their attorney work on the phase of a condemnation proceeding where the fair market value of the property is determined. Then each party can have their own attorney represent their respective interest in the apportionment phase—where the court determines how to apportion the proceeds—if the lender and borrower cannot agree on how the proceeds should be apportioned.
Is the lender entitled to all of the proceeds? What happens if the determined fair market value of the property does not sufficiently cover the amount of the loan? These questions can be answered in the apportionment phase of a condemnation proceeding.
May 1, 2011
Cooking classes are a great way to develop your culinary skills quickly and have fun. We took the cooking plunge and tried three cooking schools and one wine-tasting class. We thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and are better cooks (and wine tasters) because of it.
CLASS ONE: SPANISH
Name of School: Dish it Up!, 2425 33rd Ave. W., Suite B, Seattle, 281-7800 (Magnolia) and 5320 Ballard Ave. NW, Seattle (Ballard); http://dish-it-up.com/.
Name of Teacher: Chef Wayne Johnson, the executive chef at Andaluca in the Mayflower Hotel, taught our class. He was very easygoing and made cooking seem like a breeze (though we know otherwise). Oh, and his food was amazing! It is easy to understand why he was recently named one of the United States’ top African American chefs.
What I learned to cook: We learned how to cook a Spanish feast. This was a demonstration class, so we got to sit back, drink wine and watch the magic happen. No wonder it seemed like a breeze.
Chef Johnson made the best hummus we have ever tasted — ever, seriously. He also made a beet salad with green beans and goat cheese, quail, lemon-herb risotto, sautéed mushrooms with swiss chard, and flan with crumbled bacon on top. Bacon makes everything taste better.
What I liked most about this class/school: Dish it Up! does it right. We have taken several classes here, and have always left full and happy. The chefs also provide you with their recipes, so you can recreate the meals for your next dinner party.
Each class accommodates about 12 to 14 students. The chairs are arranged around a kitchen counter, so it feels like you are hanging out and watching your friend cook you an amazing meal.
Unexpected thing I learned: Adding just a little Greek honey yogurt to your hummus takes it over the top.
CLASS TWO: INDIAN
Name of School: Hipcooks!, 217 Yale Ave. N., Seattle, 467-1196; http://seattle.hipcooks.com/.
Name of teacher: Bonny taught our class, “Shortcut to Nirvana.” She made everything seem effortless and fun. We did not use a measuring cup or spoon throughout the entire class. It was just a dash of this and a handful of that. We would taste to see if it needed any more “love” (which collectively referred to any spices).
What I learned to cook: An entire Indian meal! We made veggie samosas, papadums with three sauces — mango chutney (my favorite), raita and green sauce — sang paneer (cheese and spinach), “spicy and sassy fish curry,” and chicken tikka masala.
What I liked most about this class/school: The class is very interactive. The participants do almost everything (except the prep work), so the three-hour class flies by. But, what I really liked most about the class was that I learned I could easily cook Indian food at home.
I am sure my friends are going to be impressed with this new skill. And I particularly enjoyed our matching aprons.
Unexpected thing I learned: I was surprised by the amount of onions you use to cook Indian food. I still smell like onions a day later. [Note from editor: She did.]
CLASS THREE: BREAD
Name of School: Cook’s World, 2900 NE Blakeley St., Seattle, 528-8192; http://cooksworld.net.
Name of teacher: The class was led by pastry chef Clare Cecich, formerly with the Dahlia Bakery. She showed us the proper techniques to mix, knead and roll out a variety of delectable baked goods.
What I learned to cook: In our three-hour class, we made bagels, cinnamon rolls, rosemary focaccia bread and dinner rolls.
What I liked most about this class/school: Cook’s World is part kitchen store, part classroom. Class sizes are relatively small and are very interactive. After our three-hour class, we got to take advantage of the 20% day-of-class discount we received on all kitchen merchandise.
Unexpected thing I learned: You cannot use a traditional mixer to make breads. You have to use a hook (Kitchenaid mixers have the right attachment) or knead by hand.
CLASS FOUR: WINE
Name of School: Esquin, 2700 Fourth Ave. S., Seattle, 682-7374; http://www.esquin.com/events.htm.
Name of teacher: Our teacher was Arnie Millan. Arnie is a sommelier certified by the Guild of Sommeliers. Check out his website, www.ArnieMillan.com.
What we tasted: In addition to learning to improve our cooking skills, we sought to improve our appreciation of wine. The class we took was a single session on “ancient wines,” featuring grape varietals that are believed to have been the basis for wines thousands of years ago.
What we liked most about this class/school: The two-and-a-half-hour class was educational as well as entertaining. Even before we got into the history, we learned to improve our basic approach to tasting for wine appreciation, including how to appreciate a wine’s clarity, how to swirl to maximize the aroma, and how to move the wine around to appreciate the full flavor. We then tasted eight wines “with an ancient pedigree,” and one grog made from the recipe divined from the tomb of King Midas.
Unexpected thing we learned: The history of wine was fascinating and Arnie is a wealth of knowledge in this area. The most interesting or surprising historical facts we learned were that in ancient times almost all wines were made with resin (like retsina today) and it was considered uncouth to drink wine without mixing it with saltwater.
Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt is a multiservice, Northwest regional law frm with offices in Seattle, Vancouver, Portland and Bend. For comments on this article or to share your favorite places to eat or drink with the Schwabe, Williamson & Wyatt attorneys, contact Jennifer Campbell at 206.689.3052 or at firstname.lastname@example.org or Allison Miller at 206-689-1216 or at email@example.com; see also www.schwabe.com/dining_out.aspx.
Originally published in the May 2011 issue of the King County Bar Bulletin. Reprinted with permission of the King County Bar Association.
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April 5, 2011
By Jill Gelineau
Despite the down economy and budget problems for most governmental agencies, there are a number of big projects in the area still moving forward. The Milwaukie Light Rail Project – an extension of TriMet’s Green Line into Milwaukie from Portland State University – is slated to receive $200 million in funding from the Obama Administration through the New Starts program. With these funds, and others obtained thus far, the project is moving full steam ahead with acquisition of private property. TriMet’s appraisers are contacting property owners within the rail corridor to set appointments for appraisal inspections, and many offers have already been made by TriMet. Construction is scheduled to start this year.
The Columbia River Crossing (replacement of the I-5 bridge between Portland and Vancouver) continues to be in the news as stakeholders consider the bridge type. With a goal of construction starting in 2013, property acquisition is not that far off if the project can stay on schedule. The Final Environmental Impact Statement is on track to be released this year.
Also of note and gaining traction again is the Newberg-Dundee Bypass Project, which has been in the planning stages for over 20 years. With funding from the 2009 State Legislature now available in 2011, ODOT has been actively acquiring property within the Phase I area. Phase I will ultimately result in a two-lane limited access road connecting Highway 99W southwest of Dundee to Highway 219 south of Newberg.
Local utility companies are also busy as of late with their own projects. Bonneville Power Administration’s I-5 Corridor Reinforcement Project is currently working to release a Draft Environmental Impact Statement later in the year, after which BPA will hold public meetings to discuss all of the route alternatives currently on the table. While the agency does not plan to announce the final transmission line route until 2013, the time to potentially influence the project’s location is this year.
Portland General Electric’s Cascade Crossing Project is also in the works, with the environmental review and permitting process currently underway and scheduled to last another two years. PGE is indicating that private property, or right-of-way, acquisition will begin this year; however the debate between the proposed and alternate corridors from Boardman to Salem continues.
Other statewide projects proceeding with plans for private property acquisition in the near future include the Murphy Road Corridor project in Bend, the Glen Creek Road NW at Wallace Road NW Intersection Widening project in Salem, and the Salem-Keizer School District’s acquisition of property for a new elementary and middle school in west Salem.