New Gastropub Graces Ballard This October

Ethan Stowell is opening a new gastropub in Ballard come October. Named Bramling Cross the venture will unsurprisingly feature upscale beer with gourmet food. We say unsurprisingly because the restaurant is named after a type of hop, so beer, and fancy beer at that, will be the focus here.

The gastropub will feature 8 taps of local beer and a large variety bottles and cans. Stowell feels that with so many well respected microbreweries in Fremont and Ballard, beer is becoming an upscale thing; might as well pair some upscale food with it.

According to Eater, Michael Giffrod, chef from Stowell’s How to Cook a Wolf will be “serving up Stowell-caliber fried oysters, hot wings, foie gras, Wagyu culotte steak, grilled chicken, house-made sausages, and more in shared plates.”

Bramling Cross will at 5205 Ballard Ave, taking over the old Portalis space (which moved to 6754 15th Ave NW)

Ballard SeafoodFest Is This Weekend!

seafoodAs a neighborhood with deep maritime roots, it’s only fitting that Ballard would have an entire festival devoted to seafood. The 40th anniversary of the Ballard SeafoodFest (and second iteration of the accompanying BeerFest), takes over Market Street and Ballard Avenue this weekend with more than 20 food vendors offering everything from Filipino-style seafood to Northwest crab cakes and, of course, the traditional salmon barbecue.

BeerFest has expanded this year, and will be featuring some familiar names from around the neighborhood at its new spot near the main music stage at 22nd Avenue NW and Ballard Avenue. Look for Hilliard’s, Reuben’s, Stoup, Bad Jimmy’s, NW Peaks, and Peddler, along with many more breweries from around the Northwest. 14 ounce beers are $5.00, and there will be wine for $7 for all of you non-beer-drinkers. For more family-friendly activities, head to Ballard Commons Park for the skateboard competition, the giant kids’ slide, and vendors offering a wide array of stuff just for kids. Make sure to come back on Sunday afternoon for the kids’ superhero costume contest and the raffle drawing – the grand prize is two tickets on Iceland Air!

Festivities are slated to begin at 11:00 a.m. on both Saturday and Sunday, and BeerFest wraps up at 10:00 each night. Click here for a full schedule of the events!

New Ballard Burger Restaurant

This week Li’l Woody’s Burgers & Shakes opened up next to the The Bay movie theater (2040 NW Market St). With their previous success on Capitol Hill, they decided to try their luck in the heart of Ballard. Offering Molly Moons milk shakes, hand cut  french fries, and countless burger combinations Li’l Woody’s is a perfect option for one of our perfect Ballard summer nights.  

For a complete menu check out their website at lilwoodys.com.

Bastille Day and Seafoodfest… Busy Weekend in Ballard!

Not only will Ballard be bustling with seafood crazed locals this weekend, it will also host patrons celebrating the French National Independence Day, Bastille Day! Where do you think will be the happening venue in town to host such festivities? Bastille of course, will have a variety of specials, including $5 wine and cocktails, oysters and baguette sandwiches, as well as entertainment on their outdoor patio, beginning at 2pm.

Bastille will also host a pétanque tournament, a traditional french game similar to croquet, $5 per person, bragging rights free of charge. Bastille is just blocks away from where the Annual SeafoodFest will be serving up all kinds of Northwest seafood fare, general rules state that every vendor must serve at least one seafood item on their menu. Vendors and stages will line up along 22nd Ave NW, come on down and hangout with the neighbors this weekend!

New Ballard Restaurant: The Gerald

Ballardites, add a new restaurant to your radar. The space at 5210 Ballard Avenue will now be known as The Gerald, a restaurant/bar tapping into our desire for American comfort food. In an effort to fill the void created when Denny’s was torn down, The Gerald will be offering classic American diner options, such as Mac ‘n cheese. For the full menu options, please check out its website.

Perusing the menu, you know that I’ll be checking this place out in the next few weeks for three reasons:

  1. Poutine –  The heart attack-inducing food, poutine, is fries smothered in gravy and cheese curds. Slowly but surely, the Canadian classic has been sneaking down south in to the States. So, I cannot wait to taste The Gerald’s poutine creation.
  2. Swedish Meatballs– Despite living in the Nordic capital of Seattle, it is surprisingly difficult to find a place that serves Swedish meatballs. The only place I know that serves Swedish meatballs in Ballard is The Copper Gate. Besides that, the only option to satisfy my craving was to hop in a car and get lost in a Swedish maze of modern home furnishings that is IKEA. Now that The Gerald is open, you can bet I will order the Swedish meatballs. Thank you, The Gerald, for honoring Ballard’s Nordic roots.
  3. Cocktails – The Gerald offers an intriguing cocktail menu, inspired by the 50s and 60s. Highlights include the numerous gin cocktail options (the Ruby Gin Fizz, the Gimlet, and the James Bond-inspired Vesper), various ginger options, and more. I cannot wait to sip on a Silent Third while enjoying a sunny afternoon. Wouldn’t you like to try a “sexy coupling of lemon & vanilla,” otherwise known as the Sidecar? Oo, I’m thirsty!

The Gerald looks like a restaurant-bar hybrid. In the sea of restaurants and bars in Ballard,  it will be interesting to see how this one succeeds, as there are a few other restaurants that offer the comfort food options. It opens tonight, but an official grand opening will happen in the next few weeks. If you stop by, tell me what you think!

Don’t forget to check out The Gerald’s Facebook!

Ballard Coffee Works Will Open March 24th

If you’ve been out and about in Ballard, I’m sure that you’ve noticed progress being made on the former Tully’s space on 22nd and Market, otherwise known as the future Ballard Coffee Works space. As I mentioned in a previous blog, Seattle Coffee Works will be expanding and building a new store in that location. Last Sunday, I saw people painting the store frames, prepping it for opening. But, when will I be able to get my Ballard coffee fix?!

According to the Ballard News-Tribune, the Ballard Coffee Works is scheduled to open Saturday, March 24th. I cannot wait to sit inside and try a cup of its gourmet coffee. In the meantime, I’ll go to the Seattle Coffee Works on 1st and Pike. If you’d like more information, please visit its blog at www.seattlecoffeeworks.com

 

Top Ten Restaurants and Bars in Ballard of 2011

As a Ballardite who lacks an inner Julia Child, I find myself eating out a lot. Fortunately, Ballard is home to a large variety of restaurants, so I’m never bored. One Ballard couple took it upon themselves to eat and review every single restaurant and bar in Ballard. This is quite a feat, as our neighborhood has a lot to offer. One year later, they had made their top 10 list. Here is the list with links to each restaurant:

10. Tie between Flying Squirrel Pizza and Bastille
9. Copper Gate
8. The Boar’s Nest
7.Pasta Bella
6. Thai Thani
5. The Sexton
4. Ocho
3. La Carte de Oaxaca
2. The Walrus and the Carpenter
1. Plaka Estiatorio

So, Ballardites, what do you think? Do you agree with this list? What did the Seattle couple leave out? What adjustments would you make?

I’ve reviewed La Carta de Oaxaca and agree that it is absolutely delicious. Looking at this list, I’m honestly embarrassed that I haven’t been to many of these delicious places! Where have I been eating? It looks like I have a mission!

Congrats to the Best Farmer’s Market in the State – The Ballard Farmer’s Market

The votes are in! According to the Seattle Weekly, the best farmer’s market in the state of Washington is none other than Ballard’s own Farmer’s Market. This is the second year in a row that the Ballard Farmer’s Market has won this award. Held every Sunday, rain or shine, the Ballard Farmer’s Market is fantastic. It boasts great-tasting, varied produce throughout the year, even in the winter, and I always love picking up the soap there too. Along with having fantastic offerings year-round, it’s also in a supreme location, in the heart of Ballard on Ballard Avenue. In the summer months, I like to swing by Vera’s for breakfast, stroll around the Farmer’s Market, pick up a slice of wood-fired Veraci pizza, and enjoy the crowd.

If you haven’t stopped by, the Ballard’s Farmer Market is held every Sunday, from 10am-3pm, along Ballard Avenue. For more information, check out its website.

Is North Ballard Seattle’s Best Kept Secret?

Trulia recently released a report analyzing neighborhoods that locals look at but out-of-towners frequently look over in the daunting home searching quest. These would be considered a city’s best kept secret. According to the report, summarized in the Seattle P.I., Ballard’s zip code of 98117 is Seattle’s best kept secret. Encompassing Loyal Heights, Crown Hill, North Beach, Whittier Heights, and Greenwood, the 98117 zipcode offers quietly upscale homes without the expensive prices. Personally, I live in the 98117 zip code and think it is a fantastic neighborhood. It offers lots of restaurants and stores, yet still has a neighborhood feel to it.

What do you think? Do you think 98117 is Seattle’s best kept secret?

Amber Den to Open in Ballard in February

Amber Den is opening in Ballard in February. Located at 1556 N.W. 56th St., the Amber Den will focus on serving fine wine, craft beer, and Mediterranean small plates in a comfortable atmosphere. Owner Nick Simonton is hoping to allow people to appreciate fine foods while in a relaxed atmosphere. For more info, please visit its website, Facebook, or Twitter.

In my opinion, this is a fantastic idea for a Ballard restaurant. In a city where we wear gortex to the nicest Seattle restaurants, Amber Den epitomizes the personality of Seattleites. I’m excited to see this place open up in my neighborhood and can’t wait to try it out. It’s also in a nice, developing area of Ballard that currently has a lot of open spaces. Neighboring spaces will be important to Amber Den’s success, as a way to draw people away from Ballard Avenue and toward this location. To see the open spaces, view them here.

Courtesy of Ewing & Clark