Ballard Notes

June 21, 2012 in Ballard, Seattle Lifestyle

BallardMkt2Each of our Seattle neighborhoods has a character of it’s own and much to offer, and such favorites as Queen Anne, Magnolia, Ravenna-Bryant, Fremont, Ballard and West Seattle are worth exploring for a day or even an afternoon.  Our warm summer weather and the late light (staying light at this time of year until about 9 p.m.) gives you the opportunity to wander, explore, take it slow.

Recently I have been spending a lot of time exploring the shops, restaurants and amenities in Ballard, and thought I would put Ballard2together notes that might be a jumping off point in your explorations.  But a caution, this is just the beginning!


Great Ballard favorites like Volterra and Ray’s Boathouse, Bastille Cafe and Bar, Senor Moose Cafe, and La Carta de Oxaca are among the treasures you will want to explore.  Some others that you should know about are Paseo, a small Cuban take out (cash only) that gets raves, Wild Mountain Cafe called “a hidden gem” with “the best breakfast” and “the best Happy Hour” and live music some nights, and Root Table on Market Street, an Asian/Fusion restaurant that is called “relaxing” and has reasonable prices., and one of the most beloved pubs with 100 years of history and a classic wooden bar in Old Ballard, Hattie’s Hat (“two bucks off every burger every Monday” “come on down and we’ll treat you right.”).  One of my personal favorites is Thai Ku on Ballard Ave, I’ll blog about it soon.  I promise I’ll add more choices here as I discover them.

And here is a list of restaurants on the My Ballard site which residents have voted for.

And here are some Restaurants I’ve blogged about:
Golden Beetle Restaurant — Creation of Seattle Restaurant maven Maria Hinds of the renowned Tilth, this Ballard gem on NW Market Street takes you far away from the Pacific Northwest to a land of middle eastern spices and sand.
The Matador — the Ballard location on NW Market St is best described as “perfect” whether what you want is a lunch, a happy hour haven, meeting friends for a drink.  I love the daytime options as the windows and light fill you with a sense of satisfaction, you could be in a European city a hundred years ago sitting BallardDoorwaythere in one of the wooden booths, at least until your distinctly Northwest fusion comfort food cuisine arrives at your table.
Mr. Gyros
— One of the best Gyros in Seattle, fast, friendly, and open late, what more could you ask for?  Near NW Market St and the Ballard Library in the heart of things.
The Scoop — Sunset Hill’s popular neighborhood ice cream parlor on 34th Ave NW
Smokin’ Pete’s BBQ – named as one of the West’s Top 10 BBQ joints in Sunset Magazine!
Larson’s Bakery — go here for Scandinavian pastries and wonderful bread, but maybe not the coffee.
Fresh Fish Company in Loyal Heights — I go here to buy halibut, Copper River salmon, black cod, crabs, shrimp, clams or mussels to steam, oysters, pickled herring, salmon candy, etc, but they do have one table and serve bouillabaisse, so it counts as a restaurant too, right?  Go for a snack.  The kind owner opened OldTown05up oysters for us the other day as I don’t have an oyster knife (that I’ll admit to).
Mike’s Chili Parlor — lots of people love Mike’s for the classic workingman’s bar atmosphere and the variety of chili, chili, or chili.  Near Trader Joe’s and Ballard Blocks, nice for lunch after a Sunday morning at the wildly popular (7,000 members and very cool) Mars Hill Church there.  Or our friend Jim Reppond likes to go for supper and have a beer with the chili!

Coffee Houses
Cafe Bambino — very tiny inside but you can squeeze in and the atmosphere is fantastic.  Their pastries are good too (try the banana blueberry muffin), and the italian coffee gets raves.  This is the perfect neighborhood stop-by cafe in East Ballard opened by a local sculptor as he felt the neighborhood on NW 65th needed a really good coffee spot.  The outdoor patio is a good hang out place and they sometimes have live music.
Caffe Fiore — Three locations, two in Ballard.  This is about the beloved and very atmospheric coffee house in Sunset Hill right near Golden Gardens, a neighborhood favorite and a great example of Seattle Coffee Life at it’s finest.

Sustainable Home Decor — A pleasant place to browse for all kinds of home decor made with “green” and natural materials
Ballard Blossom — great florist with superior blooms
Laura Bee’s Handbag Studio — create your own dreambag at Laura Bee’s, and enjoy a tempting selection of jewelry, accessories and home yummies.
Sip and Ship – Mailing services,  PO boxes, wifi, espresso station with plentiful seating, gifts and collectables, lots of stationary stuff, great friendly and helpful staff!  On Market St. in the center of it all.
Bella Umbrella — it is an umbrella studio!  I love that there are vintage umbrellas for hire, and people from all over the country use them in their wedding or event planning.  They also have great new boutique umbrellas and it’s a great place to visit and get to know.
Romanza — a true gift destination on NW Market in the heart of Ballard.

Ballard Neighborhood
About Ballard Bridge — one of five movable bridges in Seattle, the drawbridge regularly raises for ships to pass through, often all the way from Lake Washington to the Sound.
Green Market in Sunset Hill — More than just a small neighborhood market, Green Market has personality and a wonderful photo collage board of Ballard1neighborhood families and events.
Ballard Locks — A fun excursion for kids, an expansive park to sun or play in, a tucked away corner with plenty of water and activity, big and little ships always passing through, and the exhibit and salmon ladders and a great visitor information center that gives tours!
East Ballard Community Association — wonderful window on the neighborhood of East Ballard
Golden Gardens Beach Park on Labor Day — it’s popular with locals and a great beach destination.  Most of Ballard is close enough to bike here and there are 20 fire pits that are great for groups, first come first served.
Viking Days at the Nordic Heritage Museum — a fun local festival with food, playacted viking battles, and exiting things to see like a viking ship produced by early Seattle settlers!
Shops on NW Market St — a little selection of shops on NW Market, including the Majestic Bay Theater, and some notes on the neighborhood.
Shishole Bay — Photos and history notes for this picturesque location including the Marina and Golden Gardens.  Great and informative blog.

Ballard Real Estate
Bank Owned Properties in Ballard — at the time of writing this blog there were five but the link updates automatically for 30 days, so you can see what’s new by clicking.  If you visit after that, just email me and I’ll send you a fresh link.
Ballard Brick Tudors — a sketchbook of some of the Ballard brick Tudor homes that facinate homebuyers and visitors alike.
Great Ballard View Condo — A 2 bedroom 2.5 bath condo with vaulted greatroom and wonderful finishes, this is Ballard luxury lifestyle for sure, at an affordable price.
Ballard Classic Craftsman Homes — A sketchbook of photos of some of the classics that line Ballard residential neighborhood streets.