Seattle Spoke & Food Event Tonight

It may appear to be a dreary wet morning, but that shouldn’t stop any diehard Seattleite from going out tonight  for the third annual Seattle spoke & food event! Grab your raincoat and bike to one of the participating restaurants between 6-10pm tonight, and 20% of your bill will be donated to the FamilyWorks food bank and resource center. FamilyWorks is a Seattle based food bank that intends to nourish and strengthen local families by connecting them with the support, resources, and community they need.

The restaurants participating in the event tonight seem to be spread all over the major neighborhoods in Seattle, so if you live in and around the city, you shouldn’t have trouble finding one near you. Participating restaurants include Serious Pie on South Lake Union, St Clouds in Madrona, The Shelter in Ballard, Julia’s in Capitol Hill, Stumbling Goat Bistro in Phinney, Emmer & Rye in Queen Anne, and Duke’s on Green Lake among others. For a bike map of participating restaurants, or for more information click here.

Ballardite Knighted!

This week, a local Norwegian leader in the neighborhood Kim Nesselquist was appointed to Knight, First Class to the Royal Norwegian Order of Merit, a great honor and award that recognizes only the best foreign nationals living abroad for their leadership in promoting the Norwegian-American culture. Nesselquist grew up in Norway, but has spent the last 20 years in America and currently is the Director of Development at Pacific Lutheran University. He has also helped negotiate a variety of deals from contracts with Boeing and Norwegian Airlines to working with the fishing industries and markets in the U.S. and Norway. Nesselquist was honored on Norwegian Constitution Day in Ballard and will continue to be a strong Norwegian American figure in the community.

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


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.

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


Ballard’s Going Down Under: Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub Moving to Ballard

Great news, Ballardites! Ballard is getting a little dose of Southern Hemisphere action, as the Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub has plans to move to Ballard in April. According to the Ballard News Tribune, the Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub will occupy the ground floor of the Old Carnegie Library, filling the 3,000 sq. ft space with a restaurant, wine cellar, and even a backyard patio.

This is an excellent fit for Ballard. I’ve been to the Kangaroo & Kiwi Pub in Green Lake and enjoyed the tone. It has the “down undah'” vibe without being kitschy. If you’re looking for a place that plays Phil Collins non-stop and has fighting kangaroos, this isn’t the place. Instead, it honors the culture with Australian and New Zealand cuisine, like lamb sandwiches and vegemite! It also offers import beer options beyond Foster’s, and plays rugby, cricket, and football matches on the TV.

As mentioned in an earlier blog, Ballard is turning into a 21+ version of the EPCOT World Showcase. I can’t wait to check this place out in April!

Warm Up at La Carta de Oaxaca in Ballard

Yesterday, in the middle of the 2012 Seattle Snowpocalypse, I realized that I was almost out of food, and I was STARVING. Not wanting to slowly wither away as the storm worsened, I headed in the direction where I could feed my hunger – not towards the grocery store, but towards Ballard Ave. As I used my inner strength to push me towards the street, I noticed hardly anything was open! The Tractor? Closed. Hattie’s Hat? Closed. The People’s Pub? Closed. My stomach growled.

As my eyesight blurred, my friend spotted a snowman, wearing a sombrero. Was it a mirage? I inched closer and saw a beacon of light; the snowman belonged to La Carta de Oaxaca, and the restaurant was OPEN and there were actually tables available! I have been meaning to try La Carta de Oaxaca for months, but every time I walk by, it is completely packed. So, you know it must be good. After warming up with La Carta de Oaxaca’s food, I found out it is one of the best restaurants in Ballard.

First off, the food is incredible. I ordered the mole enchilada, which arrived with a fried egg, showcasing how authentic La Carta de Oaxaca is. I bit into it and I could feel my taste buds smile. It came on a smaller plate, so I thought it wouldn’t be enough food; I left the restaurant stuffed! My friend ordered molotes, potatoes and beef sausage wrapped in fried homemade tortillas. Those were filling and incredible; you can always tell when something is homemade too. Muy bueno. My other friend ordered posole, a pork and hominy stew. That was also delicious. La Carta de Oaxaca also boasts a salsa bar, which is apparently very common in California. It’s fantastic to have salsa made out of fresh veggies for your meal. It’s 10x better than the Azteca salsa, which comes from who knows where.

Along with being delicious, La Carta de Oaxaca runs an honest business. As we were sitting down and removing our many layers of coats, a $100 bill flew out of my pocket and I didn’t notice. An employee picked it up and asked if it was mine. He definitely got a big tip due to his honesty!

La Carta de Oaxaca is a great place to go to warm up in the winter or to cool down in the summer. The food is incredible and the service is amazing. It’s a bit pricey but worth every penny. It’s a fantastic place! It is packed for a reason, but it certainly isn’t something to be missed.


Beloved Ballard Burger Place Closes

According to Seattle Weekly via MyBallard, Zesto’s Burger & Fish House is closed. The beloved retro restaurant at 6416 15th Ave NW will be replaced by RoRo BBQ and Burgers, a local Seattle chain.

I had a chance to stop by Zesto’s in December before it closed. I had no idea it was going to close. However, it makes sense, as the service and quality weren’t quite what it used to be in earlier years. Although it is sad that a restaurant is closing after 63 years, I’m glad it is being replaced by a local Seattle restaurant. I personally love BBQ and have only heard good things about RoRo’s.