Freebie of the Day: Free Ice Cream from Bluebird Microcreamery

Ballard Residents, we have a scrumptious freebie for today! But you’re going to need your coat!

Bluebird Microcreamery, the locally sourced artisan ice cream parlor, will be offering free ice cream scoops today, after 3pm at their Phinney/Greenwood-located store at 74th and Greenwood. It is to celebrate the arrival of its  mobile ice cream truck, a gorgeous 1958 former milk delivery truck. Hop on the Facebook page to track the exact arrival  of the truck.

Grab your coat, Ballard residents, and hike on up to 7400 Greenwood Avenue for a free scoop. I’m craving a scoop of their chocolate chunk, made with Seattle-based Theo’s Chocolate, and a warm latte made from Stumptown beans.

Have Coffee with Jim McDermott

Are you concerned about what’s going on at the other Washington, as in D.C? Never fear, Congress man Jim McDermott is here. This Saturday, the Washington representative, Jim McDermott, will be at the Ballard Cupcake Royale from 11 a.m.- noon, according to The Ballard Tribune.  It’s your chance to hear and share your thoughts with the representative and let him know how he’s doing and what he ought to focus on.

I applaud McDermott’s effort to connect with his constituency. Representatives and senators need to take advantage of opportunities to openly listen to what the voters are thinking. We Seattleites are an opinionated bunch. Perhaps this explains why he’s been reelected as a representative 11 times.

I also applaud McDermott’s location choice, as it might make any potentially angry voters a bit nicer after they bite into a pumpkin cardamom cupcake or the Stumptown Tiramisu cupcake, the official cupcakes of the month.

If you’re interested in participating in the political process, go down to the Ballard Cupcake Royale at 2052 Market St. this Saturday to talk with the congressman.

Edit: I stopped by Cupcake Royale on Saturday in the afternoon and asked one of the employees how “Coffee with the Congressman” went. He said there was an excellent turnout. Glad to hear the Seattleites are actively participating in the voter process. Don’t forget to mail in your ballots for the Nov. 8th general election!

New Businesses Opening Up in Ballard

Keep your eyes out for new restaurants and businesses to frequent. There’s a few that opened this week or will soon that I cannot wait to check out. Here’s a list of what you can expect to see in Ballard. Let’s support these local businesses:

The Highliner Pub & Grill

The Highliner Pub & Grill has reopened! While it’s not exactly located in Ballard, it is only a hop away, located at Fisherman’s Terminal. Stop by if you want some of the freshest seafood or tasty burgers and sandwiches. It also has 15 craft beers on tap, which I cannot wait to try, along with 20+ bottled beers. While it closes a bit early on the weekends, it sounds like a great place to catch a Sounders game. Here’s the basic information:

  • Address: 3909 18th Ave West
  • Phone: 206-261-1254
  • Hours: Mon-Thu 10am-11pm, Fri – Sun 10am-12am
  • Happy Hour: Mon-Fri, 4pm-6pm
  • Website
  • Facebook

Po Dog

Po Dogs are much more appetizing than this

The local, late-night, hot dog spot, Po Dog, is expanding and coming to Ballard. While the location and hours have not been announced yet, it has been confirmed by the PoDog founder, Laura Olson. Thank you, Laura, for expanding your business to Ballard. I’m already dreaming about eating a South of the Border Dog on Ballard Ave.


Read more to find out about Full Tilt Ice Cream and the Ballard Auction House

Amazing Winter Season in Store for the PNW

If you’re into winter sports, it looks like we’re going to have a fantastic winter. According to a Seattle Times article, Accuweather predicts that we will have a traditional La Nina weather pattern, which means higher than normal precipitation and cold temperatures. We’re not talking pineapple expresses here. That’s the perfect recipe for snowfall and lots of it!

Looking more into the snowfall, the Cascade Mountains is predicted to have heavier snowfall after the New Year, around February and March. So, come 2012, I’m going to be in one place in Ballard and that’s Second Ascent, my favorite outdoor sports shop, located at 52nd and Ballard Avenue NW.

I like Second Ascent for one main reason. It’s not REI. Don’t get me wrong. I love REI. I’m a proud co-op member and I wear my Gortex jackets with Seattle pride. But Second Ascent in Ballard offers some things that REI cannot.

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Old Ballard Firehouse Turns 100!

Ballard is an old Seattle neighborhood. To prove it, the old Ballard Firehouse is turning 100 years old this Saturday. While it’s no longer a firehouse, it is a restaurant and a popular one at that. The Hi-Life will be celebrating the building’s centennial birthday in proper style!

To honor the old Ballard Firehouse’s rich history, The Hi-Life will have a Pancake Feed Saturday morning until noon, according to MyBallard. It will also make its signature Firehouse Bloody Mary’s. For lunch, The Hi-Life will be offering a firefighter’s traditional favorite meal: chili. In proper firemen style, there will be a Chili Cook-off later in the day till 5pm. You can purchase it that evening. To make you feel extra great about celebrating the old Ballard Firehouse’s birthday, all proceeds throughout the day will go to Seattle’s Bravest Charity.

Although it’s no longer a firehouse, I’m happy to see The Hi-Life recognize the Old Ballard Firehouse’s history. Personally, I always love eating at The Hi-Life because of its historic charm. There’s even more opportunities for businesses to take advantage of a firehouse’s historic charm. Two Seattle firehouses are on the market. Additionally, I always love buildings that are in historical, charming buildings, such as converted churches and more. For example, The Old Spaghetti Factory in Seattle leases out office space. Here’s more info. I can only imagine how creative a business space would be in the old Ainsworth and Dunn fish and grain warehouse buildings.

Lady Bug Cafe and Red Mill Totem House Open in Ballard

Two restaurants opened in Ballard this past week. I plan to check out both in the coming weeks. The first one is the Lady Bug Café, replacing Rizzo’s French Dip on 73rd and 15th. It’s impossible to miss as the exterior is painted to look like a ladybug, with fire truck red and big black dots scattered across. Cute, eh? According to MyBallard, The Lady Bug Café will offer coffee and breakfast-to-go, opening before sunrise at 4:45am. It will also offer sandwiches and soups. If you liked Rizzo’s French Dip, don’t worry. The Lady Bug Café will have the same owner, Mark Hackett, who received his training in New York City.

The second restaurant opening up is Red Mill Burgers, replacing the Totem House near the Ballard Locks. Along with burgers, it offers fish and chips and clam chowder. I’m happy to hear that there is a business in the Totem House. I dearly missed the Totem House when it left. Red Mill Burgers should serve as an excellent lunch and dinner temptation for Stone Gardens climbers, visitors at the Ballard Locks, and those walking up from Shilshole. I can’t wait to check it out!

What Would You Do with 30 Minutes on the Alaskan Way Viaduct?

Although the Viaduct is closing for nine days, there is an upside to it. The WSDOT is offering up the Viaduct as a unique venue. WSDOT is letting Seattleites stretch their creative muscles and submit an answer to the question “What would I do with 30 minutes on the Alaskan Way Viaduct?” The contest winner will get to do that on the viaduct at that time. So, Ballardites, what would you do when the popular north-south highway is closed? Submit your answers by October 16th. Here’s the WSDOT website for more information.

If you’re not feeling especially creative, you can also take a walk along the Viaduct on Saturday, October 22nd and take home a piece of the Viaduct. That takes place from 9:30am-12:30pm. Wear good shoes.

Ballard & Seattle Sell Homes Fast

Good news, Seattle real estate pros: Seattle is one of the fastest-selling markets, with San Francisco selling homes faster than in any U.S. city. A Seattle P.I. article reports that it takes, on average, 73 days for a home to sell in Seattle. Good job, Seattle!

But where do homes sell the fastest? Ballard, of course. According to a Zillow report, five of the top ten fastest-selling neighborhoods were either in or near the Ballard area, including Greenwood & Phinney Ridge. This makes sense, mainly due to the key influences: affordability and popularity. In the surrounding Ballard neighborhood, the homes held their value better and lost less value over the past five years. Additionally, it is still fairly affordable, compared to places like Queen Anne and Alki, and has growing popularity, due to its many amenities. After all, Seattle Weekly recently named Ballard the best neighborhood in Seattle to live in. Nice job, Ballard real estate!

Check out the REVERB music festival in Ballard this weekend

If you’re in Ballard this weekend, check out the 5th annual REVERB Local Music festival. It features over 70 local music acts all around various venues in Downtown Ballard on Saturday from 1pm-1:15am. Feel free to bring your kids in the afternoon, as there will be numerous family-friendly acts playing in Ballard then. Admission is $10 ($15 at the door), quite reasonable if you plan to stay for the full twelve hours. Feel free to check it out this weekend in Ballard. For more information, visit the Seattle Weekly REVERB website here.

Six-Story Development Proposed in Ballard

To show Ballard is a hot Seattle neighborhood, yet another six-story multi-use development is being proposed in the Ballard neighborhood. The California developer, Tim Ramm, is proposing a six-story, 130-unit building at 1760 N.W. 56th St. Early plans show it will include 1,400 square feet of retail space, a 112-stall parking garage, and a courtyard. There will be an early design meeting in mid-November.  Design is in trusted hands with the architect, Ankrom Moisan, a firm notable for such local developments as the gorgeous Avalon Towers in Bellevue.

The location is perfect for the development, as the popular Market Street is only a block away. Future tenants can enjoy the many delights that Ballard has to offer, being only steps away from the hottest Ballard restaurants, shops, and nightlife.

Proposals, like this, echo the transformation of Ballard as it becomes a denser Seattle neighborhood. Completed properties, such as Ballard on the Park, are only a few blocks away. Additionally, there are numerous building proposals, such as a 300 unit project on Market and 24th, a 271 unit at 14th and Market, and a green development project slated to start next spring. With these developments, Ballard is changing.

What surprises me is how many building proposals there are despite there still being vacancies at constructed buildings. For example, there are still a few vacancies at the development located at 15th and Market. I’m curious what changes will happen in Ballard to draw people to fill in the many apartment openings that will be popping up in the near future.