Have “Coffee With Everything” at Café Con Todo

Coffee and Dance, the perfect match!                            Image via Cafe Con Todo’s Instagram (@cafecontodoseattle)

Cafe Con Todo, literally translates to “Coffee with everything”- Now there’s a message we can really get behind!

In a city where Coffee is almost more essential than water to daily life, good coffee shops are paramount, and Café Con Todo more than fits the bill.

Located in Fremont, mere blocks from Ballard in the area known as ‘Frelard’, Café Con Todo is nestled between a hot yoga studio and the dance studio to which it is attached (Salsa Con Todo, or SCT), making it oh-so perfectly Seattle and a fabulous addition to the neighborhood.

Image courtesy of  Mariah Whiteman, Cafe Con Todo

Café Con Todo has been a labor of love for the owner and the dance family from SCT behind him, taking nearly 2 years to get up and running, and it shows. There is very obviously a lot of thought and care that has been put into every corner of the room and every shot of espresso. The positive energy is palpable- the place just *feels* good.

The space is beautiful- open and bright, with plenty of natural light from over-sized windows and skylights in the ceiling. The café doubles as dance studio space, regularly hosting classes after business hours and on weekends, and bares the same beautifully polished wood floors and floor to ceiling mirrors along one wall that you would imagine in such a space, matching the look next-door at SCT (they are joined by a set of French doors making both spaces easily accessible to one another). Depending on the time of day, expect to see dance students milling about, getting their caffeine fix before class, or a beer afterwards.

Cafe Con Todo’s bright and beautiful interior                         Image courtesy of Mariah Whiteman, Cafe Con Todo

Serving local favorites Slate Coffee, Dry Sparkling soda, a variety of teas, and more, Café Con Todo is serious about quality and originality.  Try a unique twist on a blended drink with their signature Greek Frappe, created as an homage to the creamy yet light concoctions the owner grew up with in Greece.  If you’re not in the mood for caffeine, wet your whistle and get a different type of buzz with a glass of wine, a beer or kombucha, both of which are available on tap.

Left image via Cafe Con Todo’s Instagram (@cafecontodoseattle), Right image courtesy of Mariah Whiteman, Cafe Con Todo

The food menu is focused more on savory with a sprinkling sweet, currently offering a selection of pastries and a few gluten free goodies from Flying Apron Bakery. Their intent is to expand the selection of treats, add sandwiches and savory waffles as well as gluten/dairy free and vegan friendly options to the menu shortly.

Having just opened the first week of April, they are still getting their feet wet and their name out there, but it’s already clear that Café Con Todo is one of the good ones and is poised to become a neighborhood favorite. After all, who doesn’t love supporting a local small business, a damn fine cup of coffee and good vibes?

Stop in and check them out Monday-Friday* 7 AM – 6 PM and get your fix, and follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@cafecontodoseattle) for updates and the latest on their development!

*Weekend hours dependent upon studio events and will be updated on social media.

Café Con Todo
Located in Fremont, right next to Salsa Con Todo at
213 N 36th St
Seattle, Washington 98103-8610
(206) 412-3301

Image via Cafe Con Todo’s Instagram (@cafecontodoseattle)

New Ballard Tool Library

The new Ballard Tool Library.  Photos: Alethea Myers

The new Ballard Tool Library is officially open. Occupying the street level of a residence just south of 77th St. on 15th Ave. NW, the new tool library, as of this writing, has about 900 tools to choose from already. Membership to this library is one option when you become part of Sustainable Ballard, which currently has 1,500 followers. The yearly fee is $35 per individual, $60 per household, plus a suggested donation of $1-$5 per tool, depending on its size and popularity, for the week that you use it. At BallardToolLibrary.org, you can click on the “Inventory” button and view what’s in stock. (But no holds are placed online—preference is given to those who come in-person.) After becoming a member, receiving a tool use policy, and signing a waiver, you can borrow to your heart’s content.

JB Harmon, Ballard Tool Library manager, and Jenny Heins, Sustainable Ballard president, on location.

According to Jenny Heins, president of Sustainable Ballard, it took four years to find a location for the BTL, due to the lack of affordable space in Ballard. Jackson Design Build, a green building business which owns a number of buildings on the block, stepped forward and suggested their space might work as storage space. But after looking at it, they realized that it would definitely work for the tool library itself.

Here, tools are defined in the broadest sense: DIY supplies and other items that you won’t need to buy or store at your home, including those that are only rarely used. Such as a juicer, standard sewing machines, a table grinder (to sharpen tools), a dehydrator, garden tools, floor buffer, post-hole digger, automotive, high-end dishes/cutlery for party entertaining, tool books, and in the future, bike repair tools, among others. And let’s not forget shop tools. There are also a fun games and puzzles section, which is “take one, leave a different one”, according to Jenny, or can be borrowed and brought back as usual. There are also “take permanently & no need to return them” items: 100s of donated sewing patterns, fasteners, paint brushes, nails, and paint, for example. Some inventory is overflowing, such as many, many hammers.

Long-time native Kevin Johnson, right, drops off donations for the tool library. Left: manager JB Harmon.

JB Harmon, manager of the BTL, puts his former mechanical engineering skills and time in the Peace Corps in Ghana to good use here. “I also worked in a machine shop for 5 years, so it’s a really good combination of my prior experience and my values as well.” He answers what questions he can (it’s a large inventory) and beyond that, he said YouTube is a great how-to resource. A Repair Café is held once a month there by volunteers in the community who have knowledge to share.

Puzzles and games area

Jenny Heins mentioned people in the community have responded well, even before the library opened. “People in Seattle are so generous, and I think are very interested in the sharing economy model.”

Location: 7549B- 15th Ave. NW
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ballardtoollibrary
Hours: Tuesdays 11 am- 1 pm,  Thursdays 5 pm-8 pm,  and Sunday 12 pm-5 pm

Seattle Restaurant Week Is Back And Better Than Ever!

Today marks the start of the tastiest week of the season- the triumphant return of Seattle Restaurant Week!

We here in Seattle are so blessed with an abundance of fabulous dining options, ranging from simple and inexpensive to exotic, lavish and extraordinary, which usually doesn’t come too cheap. Seattle Restaurant Week is an opportunity for people to explore many incredible restaurants they may not normally spring for by offering fabulous deals you won’t want to miss out on.

Every Sunday through Thursday from April 2nd to April 19th, over 165 restaurants across the city will be offering up $33 three-course dinners, with many also offering $18 two-course lunches as well. These restaurants range in price, type of cuisine and location, giving you tons of options to choose from, in every department!

To maximize your SRW experience, check out a list of participating restaurants here (click on the name of the restaurants to see their location and view their SRW exclusive menu) and be sure to check out The Seattle Times lists of best overall value, best ambiance, neighborhood favorites and SRW newcomers.

If you are going to explore SRW (which we highly recommend you do!), remember to be patient, make reservations and tip your servers well! While SRW is a great opportunity for diners, restaurants do tend to get swamped, and the nicer and more understanding we are as patrons, the better the experience for everyone!

Now, go out and get a healthy dose of YUM, before it’s too late!

A Nordic Ballard Weekend

Ballardites: Norwegian events are happening this weekend in downtown Ballard! Even if you’re not into lye-soaked, fermented fish (aka lutefisk), there will be something for all of us to choose from, starting tonight Friday, March 16th, and running through Saturday, March 17th. Here’s a summary of what’s happening, and where to read more information:

FRIDAY, MARCH 16TH

Photo: Scott Radford

VIKING BINGO
Tonight from 8 pm-11 pm, the Ballard Elks #827 are hosting Viking Bingo Night for a good cause. Add flair by coming in costume. Or come as yourself. Or better yet, come as yourself in costume. Either way, enjoy cash prizes, commeraderie, drinks and snacks.

Viking Bingo Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/2016540948624324/
Ballard Elks site:  http://ballardelks.org/
Ballard Elks Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BallardElks827

 

SATURDAY, MARCH 17th
NORWEGIAN HERITAGE DAY / TASTES OF NORWAY

Start with a 5k Run at 9 am, then immerse yourself in all things traditional Nordic after that. Does life get any better? Listen to live Norwegian music, learn about the beautiful murals in the Ballard Sons of Norway’s Leif Erikson Lodge, sample or watch authentic Norwegian cooking demos (lutefisk not required), as well as dance, clothing, handicrafts, genealogy, and more.

LEIF TO LEIF 5K FUN RUN/WALK 
Funds from the run/walk go toward Leif Erikson Lodge repairs/upgrades and the Ballard Senior Center. Registration/Check-In is at 8 am, Run is at 9 am.  $10 for adults, $5 for children.
Run/Walk’s Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/events/178197896127596/

 

NORWEGIAN HERITAGE DAY 2018
Norwegian Heritage Day Facebook:
 https://www.facebook.com/events/401112583666095/
Ballard Sons of Norway/Leif Erikson Lodge site:  https://www.leiferiksonlodge.org/

Proudly wave your Norwegian flag, and enjoy a culture that helped shape Ballard!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Irish Eyes Are Smiling! Seattle Center’s Festal presents the 2018 Irish Festival

With St. Patrick’s Day right around the corner, there’s no better time to celebrate the beauty and depth of the Irish culture, and Seattle Center’s Festal is gearing up to do just that!

Head to Seattle Center on Saturday, March 17th and Sunday, March 18th and find a serious taste of the Emerald Isle right here in the heart of in the Emerald City. Festal’s Irish Festival will bring to life a multifaceted, in-depth adventure through Ireland, its history and traditions, no passport necessary.

Enjoy a fun and fascinating exploration of Irish cultural heritage, past and present, through visual arts, live performance, games, activities, and of course, food! Explore the market place featuring Irish handicrafts, live Irish music and that famous and oh-so-impressive Irish step dancing.

Do you have the luck of the Irish? Find out by tracing your own roots in geology workshops (yes! That’s at the festival!), and learn a bit of the Celtic language while you’re at it. The festival also promises Irish movies and short films, cultural exhibits and live demonstrations and maybe even a few Irish celebrities!

 

Festal is a series of multi-cultural events presented by and at the Seattle Center each year. Now in its 21st year, Festal continues to shine a light on the beauty and majesty of cultures across the globe by showcasing their rich and complex traditions, histories, art, music, dance, food and much more. Festal’s Irish Festival is presented in partnership with the Irish Heritage Club of Seattle.

 

Whether you’re looking to learn more about your own heritage, wanting to learn more about Ireland and its culture in general, or you’re simply tired of leprechauns and green beer and looking for a more authentic experience, Festal’s Irish Festival is sure to be a fun and fabulous way to spend your St. Patty’s Day weekend.

Seattle Center Festál
Irish Festival
March 17-18, 2018
Armory Main Level
http://www.irishclub.org

Ballard’s 46 Libraries

A few of Ballard’s 45 Little Free Libraries.

Including our great (let’s be honest) Ballard branch of the Seattle Public Library, there are 46 libraries in our neighborhood! If you’ve seen little (often wood) boxes standing on poles along a residential street somewhere containing books, they are referred to as “Little Free Libraries”: a worldwide movement which started in Hudson, Wisconsin. As of Fall 2016, 50,000 of these little book depositories/lending libraries have sprouted up across the globe.

So how does it work? Some kind individual or organization wants to spread the joy of reading books and increase literacy. So they either buy a pre-made box from the Little Free Library organization  that originated the idea, or build one themselves. Books range greatly in subject matter, but the goal is to provide a varied selection of literature for the community. You can take a book, trade, or donate your own books. There is no need to bring back the book you borrowed, but if you have a few to share to keep the book exchange stocked for other neighbors, that’s great.

There are some fantastic structures in Ballard. They range from straightforward and practical, to colorful and whimsical! If you’re interested in finding out where a little free library is near you, or go on your own fun tour to see many of them, here’s a great map. Click on the book icons on the map to see what some of the boxes look like.

If you’d like to get involved or receive a $20 rebate for starting a new one, check out this page at Sustainable Ballard’s site. Or read more on Little Free Library’s FAQs page.

Happy reading!

Say Välkommen To The Holiday Season At Yulefest!

Ready or not, it’s officially the holiday season.

The music has started, the decorations are going up, and each night, another house is lit up in the most festive of colors. If you ARE ready for some good ol’ fashioned Holiday cheer (so, basically unless you’re Scrooge?), head down to the Nordic Heritage Museum’s Annual Yulefest this Saturday and Sunday, November 18th and 19th!

Yulefest features all things Scandinavian and all things holiday, making it the perfect event to get in that ’God Jul’ (Merry Christmas) spirit!

 

Enjoy traditional Nordic-inspired items from many different vendors, plenty of delicious Scandinavian sweet and savory treats at the Nordic Cafe (even get some to go for later!) and traditional and contemporary Nordic music and dance will be performed on three different stages.

Kids are encouraged to have fun and get crafty with plenty of kid-oriented crafts,  a raffle and the opportunity to meet the man we all want a visit from in December, Santa Claus (or, Julenissen in Norwegian, Jultomten in Swedish)!

Grown-ups are also encouraged to have plenty of fun and toast the season in the Valhalla Beer Garden (which will be nice and toasty warm!) with a tasty beverage including the Nordic-fav hot mulled wine, glögg. Skål (cheers!) to that!  

This year, Yulefest celebrates its 40th year of bringing Scandinavian holiday fun and flair to our community, and it will be the last Yulefest celebrated at the Nordic Heritage Museum’s current location, before they move on to bigger and better things for 2018.

Yulefest is a wonderful celebration of culture, the holidays and community. If you’re ready for some serious holiday spirit, good food, fun music and maybe even some holiday shopping, Yulefest is the place to be!

God Jul!

Halloween in Ballard

Photo:  Julia Raasch

If you live in or frequent downtown Ballard often, Halloween might be your favorite time of year here (as it is mine). The sidewalks, especially along Market Street, are a moving panorama of little kids dressed in their Halloween costumes, holding hands with a parent or two, some of which occasionally dress in costume, too. It brings a smile to one’s face, watching them gather their treats, handed out by local shop owners. This year is no exception, with trick-or-treat happening from 4:00-6:00 pm on Tuesday, October 31st, along Market Street and Ballard Avenue, near Bergen Place Park.

MyBallard.com neighborhood treat map

There’s also a nifty map on MyBallard.com if you’d like to add your house as a place to stop in the neighborhood to collect more treats. Happy Hallow’s Eve!

Sustainable Ballard Fest

The Bubble Man entertains a crowd at the Sustainable Ballard Festival.

The 14th annual Sustainable Ballard Festival takes place on September 9th in downtown Ballard, from 11 am to 4 pm.  The Sustainable Ballard organization works to promote sustainability: environmentally, socially, and personally. They work to foster neighborhood community and connectivity. This is done through this yearly festival, hosting meaningful movies, sharing resources (like tools or books), coming together to knit items for the homeless, gardening/food and urban livestock education, and volunteering, among other things. Anything that positively increases our interconnectivity, especially in a future no longer based on oil.

So expect more family-friendly, community-building activities and vendors at this event. The festival takes place at Ballard Commons Park (the skate park at 5701 22nd Ave NW) that Saturday, and the first 200 people to arrive at the Chinook Book table (11 am) will receive their 2018 book full of coupons & sustainable resources, courtesy of Town & Country Ballard Market. Check out the extended list of things to do at their website or Facebook page below:

http://www.sustainableballard.org/festival https://www.facebook.com/SustainableBallard

 

The Fremont Fair- Keeping Summer Solstice Splendidly Strange Since 1971

“Delibertas Quirkas” may well be the best (and likely most succinct) way to describe our favorite neighbor, the delightfully different Fremont neighborhood.

For those of you who weren’t Latin majors (probably all of you) “Delibertas Quirkas” means “freedom to be peculiar” and Fremont certainly embraces this motto readily, but never quite as much as at the annual and highly anticipated Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade.

The Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade are a traditional kick off to Summer around these parts, and are guaranteed to have something for everyone. With nearly 400 artists, craft vendors, food booths and more, you’re bound to find something beautiful, delicious or at least interesting around the city’s most well-loved street festival.

Worried there’s only booths to peruse? Fear not! The Fremont Fair is as diverse an event as Fremont is itself and the Crown Jewel and most famous part of the whole shebang is the Solstice Parade. If you’ve never attended, its sure to be unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. People powered floats, stilt walkers, giant puppets, dancers, musicians and the world-famous nude bicyclists all gallivant through the neighborhood from the intersection of 3rd and Leary Way to Gas Works Park in a display of color, joy and body paint unique to this event.

The parade takes place on Saturday at 1 PM and its canine counterpart will be on Sunday at 2:30 PM. That’s right, the festivities would not be complete without the Dog Parade! Led by Seattle’s beloved Blue Thunder, hordes of pretty pooches, dressed in their finest (accompanied by their people, of course) will strut along 34th avenue in what might be the cutest and cuddliest parade you’ve ever seen.

After that, check out the Art Cars, an incredibly unique display of over 75 pieces of art on wheels. You’ve never seen cars ‘tricked out’ quite like his before!

If that’s not enough excitement for you, be sure to bring your dancing shoes, as the fair features two all-free stages of musical groups and DJs scheduled throughout the weekend, including a mix of well-known and up and coming local acts.

And of course, there will be plenty of delectable food to feast on, including plenty of local favorites and a wonderful beverage garden featuring libations from this year’s event sponsors, Casa Noble Tequila and Corona.

The Fremont Fair is fun for the whole family and a Seattle-centric event you won’t want to miss.

Fremont Fair and Solstice Parade 2017 Hours-
Saturday June 17th:
Craft Market- 10 am-8 pm
Music- 11 am- 9 pm
Solstice Parade- 1 pm

Sunday June 18th:
Craft Market- 11 am-6 pm
Music- 11 am- 5:30 pm
Dog Parade- 2:30 pm

 

For more information about this colorful celebration including anticipated musical performers and food vendors, click here!