Edy Kizaki

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!

Restaurants

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.

Shops
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.

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Edy Kizaki

Green Market in Sunset Hill is a Community Favorite

April 9, 2012 in Ballard, Shopping

GreenMkt1Life is good in Sunset Hill.  This premium Ballard neighborhood manages to have a distinct personality even within the larger area of Ballard.  Because it is out near the bluff overlooking Shilshole Bay and the marina and yacht harbor? Because it is so close to Golden Gardens Beach Park? Because it has a handful of wonderful little neighborhood stores and restaurants? Because of the great schools and community center? The Tudor and craftsman lined streets? The bright open skies that often occur near the water GreenMkt3(seen often in such magazines as Coastal Living but they do really exist)?  It’s hard to pin the reason down to one factor, but the truth is that Green Market is a good example of what makes the neighborhood attractive and intimately livable and walkable.

For a tiny space there is so much here, and it is so fresh.  Refrigerator cases offer staples and goodies, and new and intriguing “green” gourmet foods.  There are crackers, for example, but then there are also GreenMkt4multi-seed organic crackers.  And there are very nice fruits, apples, bananas, melon, but then there is fresh and tempting spring Asparagus, and it’s local and it’s on sale.  They are particularly proud of a large and sophisticated selection of wine and cheeses, including hand picked organic wine and local Northwest beers.

There are tons of local choices on the shelves here.  Honey I’m Home Catering stocks them with fresh soups and salads.  In addition they have their dressings, wraps, spreads, and special deserts!  There is fresh milk delivered several times a week from the local Smith Brothers Dairy.  Columbia Gorge juices and local fresh ice cream from Lopez Island Creamery.  Then there are the breads, among other local bakeries Macrina and Columbia City Bakery deliver their popular breads here.  Come taste for yourself!

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Edy Kizaki

Seattle Area Snow Day Traffic Webcams

January 18, 2012 in Ballard, Seattle Lifestyle

Seattle Street view in snow

Snow Day in Seattle

If you are going out in Seattle despite what has been billed as the “worst” storm in Seattle history (ask the kids and you may hear it’s the “best” storm) you will want to check on the weather conditions, and please see the last paragraph for links to live webcams that will be useful during this ice storm and also all year round!

In any case, the weather has ended up being a little less ferocious than at first thought.  The

snow people

I made Snow People while Daniel sledded at Whitman Middle School

National Weather Service has revised its predictions and now we are told that we will have up to 6 inches by 2 p.m. today.  The schools are closed for day 2.  Last night we got the usual recorded call from Seattle Public Schools which told us there would be no school again today for the second day.  The kids will be taking advantage of another day of fun in the snow, at the nearby parks.  For us, there are slopes at Whitman Middle School that are steep enough to keep us there till we are like popsicles.

But if you’re planning to make it in to work or even out for a quick grocery run the street conditions will be top of mind.  Seattle Department of Transportation has a new website feature, 22 live traffic video cams placed strategically around the city, and for route planning the site should be of some help.  SEATTLE TRAFFIC CAMERA WEBSITE.  On the Eastside, if you’re in Bellevue, try this BELLEVUE TRAFFIC CAMERA WEBSITE.  Another useful set of webcams can be found at this site, SET FOR KIRKLAND.  If you flip through the cams, the next one is set at Shorecrest High School in Shoreline.   It might also be helpful to check out  WSDOT list of webcams which includes Issaquah, Lynnwood and Redmond and also Seattle and Bellevue.

If you know of some Kirkland webcam and anything about Woodinville, please let me know.