Mystery no more

Chalk another one up for West Seattle Blog Spouse, who bet me that the ex-Remo Borracchini spot in The Junction would become a “fancy bakery with something French in its name.”

Sometime in the past 24 hours, a sign went up, as follows: “Coming soon (to delightfully spoil West Seattle with bread, pastry, cakes, chocolates and coffee)/Bakery Nouveau/home of world baking champion 2005/USA top 10 chocolatier 2004/William Leaman.”

According to a variety of online references, Leaman’s been at Essential Baking Company in North Seattle for a while and does indeed have quite an impressive resume, dating back into his teens. West Seattle’s got a fair amount of good bakeries — so could this mean we’re in for something great?

Maybe it was just a slip of the keyboard

October 14, 2006 10:27 am
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 |   Delridge | West Seattle politics

A political editorial (pro-Initiative 920, which means anti-estate tax) in the Sunday Times/P-I describes Services Group of America, which moved from its Delridge HQ (the building with the huge flag) to AZ, as a “small business.” Hardly!

My condolences, by the way, to anyone who lost their job because they didn’t want to move from West Seattle to Arizona; been through the “no relo? no job” thing ourselves. But it’s “good riddance” to SGA’s boss, perhaps best remembered for getting ticked off that he couldn’t get a heliport on the Delridge building (convenient for his commute from Vashon), and had the gall to take the fight all the way to the state Supreme Court!

Biz bits

October 13, 2006 2:34 pm
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 |   West Seattle businesses

-The former Casablanca Coffee on 35th has changed its name again. After 3 months as the Coffee Shoppe, it’s now “Carosello.”

-The windows at the former Borracchini Bakery in The Junction are now papered over. Still no hint of what’s next, aside from the city permit application a month and a half ago mentioning “modifications to existing bakery.”

And yet more weekend

October 13, 2006 12:06 pm
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 |   Transportation | WS culture/arts

Forgot to mention one last time, a BIG reason to stay on this side of the bay this weekend — the viaduct’s closing, 6 am-6 pm, both days. (And if you want to feel even better about driving less, “An Inconvenient Truth” is still at the Admiral.) Plus, in addition to the events mentioned in the post below, Chas writes to tell us it’s the last Music Nights @ White Center event tonight (seven participating venues).

Friday the 13th, and beyond

Here goes with our almost-weekly quick look at some of what’s happening around WS this weekend (which as far as we’re concerned, starts NOW!): The Fauntleroy Fall Festival on Sunday … Family skating at Alki Community Center tonight … Comedy juggling at Kenyon Hall tonight and Saturday … The first of two “Creative Conversations” at Youngstown Arts Center on Saturday … Clementine promises a grand-opening celebration with cake on Saturday (not mentioned on its website; saw it in a magazine ad!) … Tibbetts Church’s annual fall “rummage sale” today and tomorrow … “tick … tick, BOOM!” continues this weekend at ArtsWest … Volunteers are working on habitat restoration along the Duwamish on Saturday … Just outside the WS border, the Sonics-Storm Legends Tour stops at White Center Park/Community Center on Saturday morning … Elsewhere on the sports front, high-school football at West Seattle Stadium tonight and Saturday night … What are we missing? Leave a comment or e-mail us with anything to add!

Paving progress

October 12, 2006 8:59 pm
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 |   Transportation

Here’s the city’s latest update on the road work in The Junction.

Freakish fall

October 12, 2006 8:10 pm
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 |   West Seattle weather

Usually by this point in October, you can see what are literally the signs of fall: the “snow closure” road signs that city crews bring around and strategically tether to fixtures near steep spots — south end of Admiral, south end of Cali Ave, the nearly vertical drop on Charlestown, etc.

Instead of seeing these signs, we’re seeing record high temperatures and spectacular sunsets. So in case you’re missing typical fall weather, we found a reason to not miss it: the Columbus Day Windstorm, 44 years ago today.

Funnel fun

Speaking of driving … We seem to spend more and more time stuck in the right lane on The Bridge in the mornings, sludging along to get to the viaduct, then in the right lane on the viaduct in the evenings, sludging along to get to The Bridge. Problem is, more and more of us are pouring into those funnels, now that the city is granting new teardown-to-townhome permits almost daily (putting a dozen or more households where just one once sat). I totally admit to being part of the problem, in my single-occupant (albeit little) vehicle. The bus would cost me 3 hours a day roundtrip right now — 3 hours I can’t spare — and I don’t think Ron Sims’ bus tax is going to make things any better. Laugh at me if you want, but I still mourn the monorail. (I’d settle for a year-round Water Taxi.) See you in the funnel …

On the road again

October 11, 2006 7:01 pm
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 |   Seen around town

Made it up to the Admiral District for the first time in a bit … the road work’s started there too. But don’t let any of this keep you from spending your green in the local bizdists … just allot a little extra time, and get creative with the parking!

Pathfinder & Cooper fight back

October 11, 2006 6:57 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

At least, it sounds like that’s what happened last night, per Save Seattle Public Schools. I can’t find a news story about the hearing online from either daily paper. Prior to the hearing, though, the WS Herald had comprehensive coverage, even including a new editorial sort of apologizing for the controversial “huge egos” comment in last week’s paper.

Shop till you … slumber

The owner of Edie’s Shoes (in The Junction, just west of Easy Street) wrote to let us (and you) know about a cool-sounding event she’s part of this Thursday night: Her store, Carmilia’s, and Sweetie will be open for “late-night shopping” 7-10 pm — with wine and appetizers, she says! Gee, one more nail in the coffin of our WS memories from back when  apparel offerings in The Junction didn’t go much beyond Shafrans (scroll down for historical photo). A few more of these hi-fash stores, and you’ll half expect to see the “Sex and the City” gals strutting down Cali Ave.

It’s more than Maria vs. Mike

October 10, 2006 6:48 am
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle politics

Four weeks till Election Day, maybe less time till “voting day” for you if you use absentee ballots, so it’s never too soon for a reminder that there’s a lot more at stake this time around than just the big statewide races. For one, there’s Seattle Proposition 1, a tax levy for various transportation projects (NOT including the viaduct). Here’s the official city page with the ballot language; here’s how the city council summarized it when they approved it for the ballot; to find some West Seattle specifics, you have to read this and skim ahead to page 5 and beyond. Worth a look before you make a gut decision on “$365 million in taxes, or not?”.

Finally online

October 9, 2006 9:30 pm
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 |   West Seattle businesses | West Seattle online

The site for Clementine is up. (That link goes to the shop’s “about us” page, which is more refreshingly real than most such pages are.)

Monday nite notes

-The latest incarnation of the school-closure hearing roadshow is in West Seattle this week. As I write, the Roxhill hearing is under way; tomorrow night, I wouldn’t be surprised to see fireworks at the Pathfinder/Cooper hearing. You can track the developments more closely at the Save Seattle Public Schools blog (run by a Pathfinder mom).

-Speaking of closures, the viaduct will be out of commission 6 am-6 pm both days this weekend for its twice-yearly “is it REALLY still safe to drive on this thing?” checkup. And in The Junction, a closure related to the Cali Ave repaving is scheduled to continue for a few more days.

-Now, an opening: Sometime in the past few days, the GRAND OPENING banner went up at Kokoras Greek Grill in Morgan Junction, on the east side of Cali Ave, just north of Fauntleroy. We’ll run by in person as soon as we get a chance and report back on the menu offerings.

Yeah, but what can I do about it?

That question is answered at the end of this heartbreaking story from today’s P-I.

If you’ve been here more than a few years, even if you have never gone below the water’s surface, the idea of dwindling marine life won’t surprise you. Even around WS, we don’t see what we often saw in the ’90s — “rafting” California sea lions off Alki, diverse and numerous bird sightings south of Alki Point including surf scoters and buffleheads.

Not to say it’s all gone. But it’s going. Maybe not irreversibly, though — there are success stories out there, such as the brown pelican and the gray whale, when those in power dare to do something.

One more for the “Other Blogs in WS” page

How could we have missed John Moe? Heard a lot about his new book on the radio while driving around the past few days. The site for his “day job” mentions he lives on this side of the bay; his blog archive mentions some writing sessions at “the West Seattle Uptown Espresso.” (Which one?)

From one “boutique” to another

Catching up on biz news tonight, driving most of Cali Ave for the first time in a few days … sorry if it’s old news to you, but now we know what’s replacing Emily Ann’s Dollar Boutique in the prime (but so often turned over) real estate @ the southwest corner of The Junction: Big banner in the window proclaims “A Special Delivery for West Seattle/georgia blu/a baby boutique/Opening November.” Doesn’t surprise me in the least; first came the condos, now comes the baby boom, evidenced every Sunday with the abundance of young families in the crowd at the Farmers’ Market (among other examples). But will this new arrival give birth to a neon sign, to fit in with its corner-mates?

Burger beef, the sequel

Just a few words before we get back to other business … Yes, I agree with various commenters on the post below that In-n-Out would be the ultimate burger franchise to have here. I didn’t bring it up because there’s no point — they haven’t even expanded into Oregon, much less WA, and until they settle their family trouble, I doubt they’ll go much further than their current Southwest turf. By the way, we just tried the Tacoma Carl’s Jr. — had to go to Tac anyway, so took a side trip (it’s off Highway 16 on the way to Point Defiance, Tacoma Narrows, etc.). Even at 11 am on Sunday morning, the joint was jumping — including a couple members of the Tacoma PD. I predict quick colonization northward. (Bonus trivia question for any other longtime or semi-longtime WS’ites … can you name the burger joint that used to be on the site where Jack in the Box is now? At least, it was still there when we arrived in the early ’90s.)

Burger beef

We haven’t whined about this in nine months, and nobody really knew we were here then. So here we go again. I would never want to see West Seattle turn into a fast-food franchise wasteland, but it’s not going to kill us if we get just one or two more GOOD fast-food burger places. How about Fatburger, a Southern California transplant which has a few places on the east side? How about Carl’s Jr. (also from SoCal), which just opened its first Puget Sound spot (Tacoma)? Or even Wendy’s (which long ago used to inhabit the Ambaum spot that’s now a Peruvian restaurant)? All we have for quick burgers at odd hours are three McDonald’s (yuck) and Jack in the Box. Yes, I know we have some great burgers in non-fast-food-franchise settings (Easy Street, Elliott Bay Brewery, among others), but I’m talking, it’s 10 pm, you’re hungry, you want something fast and relatively cheap. Burien has only half as many people as West Seattle, but at least twice as many burger options. I’m tired of driving there (or to Bellevue) for a decent fast-food burger. Who’s with me? Can we petition somebody? Certainly got the real estate. What’s moving in to the old rental spot on Fauntleroy? How about the boarded-up gas station on Roxbury, west of the Safeway? If we’re going to build all these condos, folks gotta have somewhere to snack!

First weekend in October

October 6, 2006 10:29 am
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 |   WS culture/arts | WS miscellaneous

A sampling of West Seattle fun ‘n’ stuff this weekend: Tonight, the Twelfth Night Cabaret @ Youngstown Arts Center … also tonight, Family Movie Night (“Charlie & the Chocolate Factory,” free!) @ High Point Community Center … first weekend for Tick, Tick … BOOM! at ArtsWest … Saturday, EarthCorps needs help with planting & invasive-plant removal @ Lincoln Park … Sunday, remember the WS Farmers’ Market is still going strong, two more months (lettuce and tree fruit were both awesome last week, among other things)!

“Other blogs in WS”

If you haven’t recently checked out our tab (above) with that title, you might want to consider taking another look. Almost every day, our searching (and e-mail-reading) turns up yet another blogger who lives here in West Seattle, and some of the finds are true gems, like Mona’s site, whose work induced a reaction truly deserving of the now-antique online acronym ROFLMAO.

Good point

Today’s WS Herald editorial takes a sensible tack on one of the other hot issues Seattle Public Schools bosses are wrestling, school choice. (Although taking a detour early in the editorial accusing the Pathfinder K-8 community of having “huge egos” is a cheap shot; their only sin is that they care A LOT about what happens to their program, and if they didn’t fight ferociously for it, they would have been roadkill long ago. This page says they’re planning a show of force at tonight’s school board meeting, by the way.) Anyway, on school choice, the Herald suggests it stay just the way it is, with one big exception: Make parents who want their kids to go to non-neighborhood schools figure out how to get them there. Here in WS, we know a few families already traveling that path — driving their own kids from their home on the north end to their chosen school in the south end, or vice versa. They consider it their responsibility, and arrange their schedules to make it work.

Heap o’ hype

Noticed a fair amount of signs around WS lately touting “Verge Condominiums.” Didn’t realize till a morning drive along Harbor Avenue today that “Verge” is the building across from the piles o’ harbor stuff we always referred to as the “slag heaps” (caveat, I can’t find proof of exactly what’s in those piles). What’s more, it’s got an over-the-top marketing campaign. Signs in front of the building mention (paraphrasing now) “smelling salt spray,” among other fantasies. Checked out the Verge website after the drive and it’s really almost funny. For one, the waves on the home page are open-ocean, “surfing Waimea” type waves, not the “ferry wake” wavelets of Alki. For two, the typestyles are beautiful but they really needed to hire a proofreader (helloo, it’s macchiato, not machiatto; 2 misspellings apiece on this page and this page; then on this page, besides the misuse of “it’s,” the photo of the guy staring quizzically at the Fine Cuisine is good for a laugh).

Redevelopment can be a fine thing. However, you’d think they could sell these condos quite nicely without trying to paint the neighborhood as the next best thing to the OC.