“New” cam

May 21, 2006 8:00 pm
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 |   West Seattle online

Not sure exactly how new it is, but it’s certainly a new addition to our West Seattle Cams page … an in-store cam at Quidnunc in the Junction.

(If you know of ANY WS live cam that’s not on our page — nothing adult, OK? — please send it our way … we’ve tried every search combination we can think of to unearth whatever’s out there, and this is all we’ve got. So far.)

Lettuce at last!

May 21, 2006 4:40 pm
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 |   West Seattle Farmers' Market

Small delight from the West Seattle Farmers’ Market today — the lettuce finally arrived, at least at the booth for the Monroe organic farm (near the northwest corner of the market lot). Picked up a wonderful-looking head of red butter lettuce for $1.75. Last weekend in desperation, I bought one of their $3.50 bags of “salad mix” — I’m not usually into all those exotic small leaves, but it was truly tasty. Now, I’m just waiting to see if they’ll have the “Freckles” variety of romaine again this year. P.S. If you still haven’t been to the WSFM, it’s a great place for a walking breakfast. About half a dozen booths offer baked goods and even savory “galettes” — the prosciutto one got a rave from a member of the WS Blog delegation — sorry I don’t remember the name of the booth that offers them, but it’s on the north side of the WSFM and also is home to the $1 “lavender lemonade.” Yum.

Mystery vehicles of Westwood

While en route this morning to the multi-Starbucks side of Westwood Village (I’d prefer to patronize local independent stores but the Frappuccino fan in the household insists no other frozen coffee drink compares), I got another look at the eternally parked vehicles along Trenton (north side of WV) that always make me go “hmmm” … one is a U-Haul-size truck encrusted in graffiti; it’s been there for months if not years. On the other side of the street, along the downslope of the Southwest Athletic/Chief Sealth/etc. playfield/stadium, a couple of rickety motorhomes seem omnipresent — or at least, they’re there every time we drive by (an average of a couple times a week). Are they abandoned? Do they belong to people who live in the area but don’t have parking space for them at their homes? Are they auxiliary changing facilities for sports teams who play for the field? Or … here’s the paranoid person inside of me coming out … perhaps, mobile meth labs? Take a look next time you’re en route to Bed/Bath/Beyond, Barnes ‘n’ Noble, or Target, and tell me what you think.

Saturday night miscellaneous WS Web-wandering

May 20, 2006 10:22 pm
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 |   Fairmount Springs | Fauntleroy | West Seattle online | WS miscellaneous

–The latest edition of the Alki News Beacon just went up a few days ago.

–On the other end of the peninsula, the Fauntleroy Community Association’s spring newsletter is now posted.

–Found an excellent tale of community crime-fighting at the “Fairmount Springs” site.

–The West Seattle Junction site has been bannered “New Site Coming Soon” for months. I know redesigns are tough, but I’ve seen entire skyscrapers go up faster than this.

–Just one week till Colman Pool opens for the summer. If you have never been to this Sound-front city pool, you are missing something spectacular. Excellent swimming bargain, too, since its public swims run up to three hours, three times the maximum swim time for the same price at Southwest Pool and most other indoor facilities.

–Want to re-experience the joy of discovering West Seattle? Check out this blog entry from a new arrival.

Boat or billboard?

May 20, 2006 1:42 pm
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 |   Elliott Bay Water Taxi | WS miscellaneous

Sorry if you tried visiting WSB in the past 20 hours or so and got an error page. Some sort of hijinks at the hosting company, apparently. Anyway, here’s what we  would have posted last night if we could have:

We rode the Water Taxi last night for the second time this season. It’s picked up even more ad banners since our first ride. They cover most of the surface space on the top deck. Mostly for WS enterprises — from our favorite bubble-tea place to the new cupcake joint — with a notable exception, Ye Olde Curiosity Shop on the waterfront.

We’re all for revenue-raising on behalf of public transit. But this is veering on the tacky — all the aesthetic qualities of those ad collages you find yourself facing sometimes in restaurant restrooms.

Meantime, speaking of public transit, tipster Rob wants to make sure we all know that our next chance to speak out in WS regarding the ongoing viaduct saga (remember, now we have FOUR OPTIONS!) is coming up in just a few days — here’s the calendar.

More rebranding

We used to call the little grocery on the west side of Cali Ave, halfway between Morgan & Alaska Junctions, “the so-so market.” Not as a judgment on its quality or lack of it, but because its old sign saying “50-50 Market” looked more like “So-So.”

Well, we can’t make that joke any more. West Seattle Blogger Spouse tells me it’s put up a new sign with a new name, “Juneau Street Market.”

Everybody’s trying to upscale around here. Question though, does it have … CUPCAKES?

Get the dirt …

May 19, 2006 2:23 am
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 |   Environment

… on the stability of the dirt beneath your dwelling: New UW map link is getting a lot of publicity today.

But beware, it’s tough to decipher. Or at least, I’m having trouble here in the wee hours. All I know is, I’m in the blue zone. Hmm.

We came, we saw, we cupcaked

Back from a peek at the Cupcake Royale grand opening-fest in the Junction.

As we stood in line for the freebies, along with dozens of other cupcake-curious folks, West Seattle Blogger Spouse hissed at me, “WHAT does it say on her T-shirt?” referring to the chirpy young CR staffer handing out mini-cupcakes “to tide (line-waiters) over.”

“Legalize FROST-itution,” I reassured WSBS. Just one of several mildly suggestive slogans on T-shirts for sale inside the shop, which was busy and buzzing, if semi-spartan. A big blue star dominates the back wall, loosely coordinated with the medium-blue paint gracing the ceiling (though the walls otherwise are off-white).

But I know you’re not here for a decor discussion. Sorry to say, I didn’t try the cupcakes; hadn’t had dinner yet. One of my escorts did try ’em, and describes the chocolate-with-chocolate-frosting cupcake as “airy.” (Side note — the beverage selection includes some old-school bottled sodas, like Squirt and Crush.)

Meantime, Coffee to a Tea with Sugar (aka Sugar Rush Baking Company) across the street bravely soldiered on. Both CTS/SRBC and CR have posted hours till 10 pm. Clearly no one associated with these joints remembers the dim days when the Junction had nothing open till 6, much less 10. P.S. The Super Supplements signage is up in the old Urban Fitness place, and it just looks wrong, somehow.

The end is in sight

May 18, 2006 3:23 pm
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 |   WS miscellaneous

Looks like things will be back to nearly normal soon at Lincoln Park.

Meantime, remember, tonight’s the Cupcake Royale grand opening. We are hoping to make an appearance.

Spring cleaning on a grand scale

May 18, 2006 2:19 am
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 |   Environment

If you’re on the south side of WS, you can’t miss the flyers posted about this Saturday’s big cleanup. Hizzoner’s even coming, all the way from the north side of WS. Bummer the forecast doesn’t look so good right now — but as long as it’s not pouring, it’ll probably be a fine day for trash-picking, ivy-pulling, and what have you …

Two WS schools in the crosshairs for closure …

May 17, 2006 6:04 pm
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 |   Genesee Hill | High Point | West Seattle schools | WS breaking news

… but Alki Elementary, which was on the last list, is not one of them. That surprises me, as I’d guess the district would make a mint from selling that land to condo developers.

The ones that did make the list just made public tonight are Fairmount Park and High Point. However, that fancy new-ish building at High Point won’t close — the district wants to move Pathfinder over there.

Maybe the district figured that Genesee Hill real estate is worth more than the Alki land? Better views. More later when the official district docs are out …

Brave bicyclist

May 17, 2006 2:16 am
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

Some weeks back, as we walked past the front of Aaron’s Bicycle Repair in Morgan Junction, we saw a hand-lettered sign on the store door that said “Gypsie was hit by a car.” We’ve often stopped to look through the window at the store’s resident cats, so we quickly made the assumption that “Gypsie” was one of them.

How wrong we were. This article says “Gypsie” is one of the shop owners, who’s battling back from quite an ordeal.

(Though my bike’s been in the basement for years, I’ve long felt fondness toward Aaron’s, because even at the height of anti-monorail mania, they were among the few who proudly and prominently displayed pro-monorail posters.)

Trying to save a tree

May 16, 2006 4:17 pm
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 |   Development | Environment

Maybe you heard the saga of the older lady who spent some time today sitting in a tree near Alki, trying to protect it from further hacking. I don’t know if this particular tree is such a cause worth fighting for, but I certainly sympathize with the escalating loss of our urban forest. Personally, if I had been Cindi Laws, I would have held a sit-in in that splendid garden she had, now a long-forgotten ghost on yet another spot claimed by condos.

(Wed. morning update: here’s a link to the tree lady’s story.)

No need to wait for “The Bite”

May 16, 2006 3:32 am
|    Comments Off on No need to wait for “The Bite”
 |   West Seattle restaurants

The Seattle Center’s big food fest is still weeks away. But just one week from tonight, you can check out the Taste of West Seattle — with proceeds going to a great cause. (Tickets on sale now!)
Can’t tell if they’ve had this fundraiser before; I don’t remember anything big under the banner “Taste of West Seattle” since a short-lived mini-“Bite”-style event quite a few years back.

Fizzle, not sizzle

May 15, 2006 7:49 pm
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 |   WS miscellaneous

So much for the “heat wave” … didn’t hit anywhere near 80 ’round these parts. West Seattle Blog World HQ was comfy throughout the evening, even the parts of the bunker exposed to direct sunshine out of the west. However, it’s definitely time to switch from hot espresso drinks to iced espresso drinks. And if you’re into sugary (er, corn syrupy) soda, don’t miss the “four 12-packs of Pepsi products for $9” coupon in the Fred Meyer insert from last Sunday’s paper. (We alternate trips between the really nice Fred Meyer in Ballard, aka West Seattle North, and Burien, aka West Seattle South.)

If Alki gets too crowded

May 15, 2006 3:24 am
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 |   Environment | West Seattle beaches

The first impulse, if those record-high temperatures really do materialize late this afternoon, will be to flee for the beach. Alki will likely be a madhouse. So here are a few alternatives you might consider:

Lowman Beach. Cozy, quiet, beautiful. Not much parking, though, so walk/bike/bus if you can.

-The beach just west of Seacrest Boathouse. Steep and rocky but the boathouse area in general, with the pier and its downtown vista, is a nice place to hang out, and there’s good bubble tea across the street.

-Or drive a bit south to Burien and check out Seahurst. Also a bit parking-challenged, but there’s an overflow lot up the hill a short way.

Remodeling must be tough

May 14, 2006 10:17 am
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 |   West Seattle restaurants

Scenes from the Junction, on the way to and from the Farmers’ Market:

-Cupcake Royale’s still got a lot of work to do before that grand opening party Thursday … I  suspect they’ll be burning the midnight oil.

-Up the block at the former Neilsen Florist store, the posted liquor license application mentions the business name “Think Tank LLC.” Haven’t been able to trace that one yet. But a glass company has grease-penciled onto the butcher-papered door, “WE WERE HERE AGAIN FRIDAY (AFTERNOON), NOBODY HERE AGAIN.”

4 things to do in West Seattle today

May 14, 2006 8:58 am
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 |   WS miscellaneous

-Go to the Farmers’ Market (10 am-2 pm).

-Decide whether you want to recruit somebody for the Hi-Yu Pageant (deadline tomorrow) or perhaps protest it as a last remnant of sexism (hey, after all, the Miss America pageant is in its last gasps). BTW you will never catch me trashing the Hi-Yu Parade. Beauty queens or not, I love the parade. Hope you’ll join me on the sidelines (July 22).

-Stake out a spot on Alki for tomorrow’s impending heat wave.

-Practice cooling off by going to public swim at Southwest Pool (4 pm).

Clash of the Cupcakes intensifies

May 13, 2006 7:35 pm
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 |   West Seattle restaurants

Thanks to tipster Deborah for the news that “Coffee to a Tea with Sugar,” across the street from the about-to-open Cupcake Royale, isn’t just painting “cupcakes” on the window to meet the challenge — it’s rebranding entirely. We drove through the Junction and verified her tip that CtaTwS is rebranding itself “Sugar Rush Baking Company” — that’s painted across the top windows (though the door has the original name, which I have always found so emetic that I haven’t been able to try the place). Gotta wonder if the May 10th review planted here is another form of combat.

The wild, wild outdoors

May 13, 2006 3:11 pm
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 |   WS miscellaneous

Taking a brief break from all that sunshine … Our neighborhood positively roared with the sound of lawn mowers and weed-whackers, mixed with the chugging of cars en route to the garage sales dotting every block. One member of the WS Blogger Clan managed to purchase that best-of-all garage sale souvenir … a knick-knack whose true purpose in life is entirely mysterious … even the seller had no idea what it was for.


Finally the pattern in all this new restaurant/bar activity has dawned on us … We’re getting colonized by North Seattle.

When we got here more than a decade ago, the persistent perception seemed to be that “no one who’s SOMEONE would want to live THERE — it’s boring, out of the way, rolls up the sidewalks even before the sun goes down.” The population out here was dominated by old folks who’d bought their houses during the real-estate boom around World War II.

But the secret they kept was the true desirability of this side of the bay — water access, fabulous views, proximity to the rest of the city without quite so much urban density, noise, blocked sunshine, and so on. We saw it when we got here, and as the for-sale signs started going up (we had a morbid joke that you could find a new one by following the aid cars around), other “young” (subjective term, we know) people followed us.

What lagged was culture and services for a younger, livelier, better-off population. But now, somebody’s turned on the tap. We started thinking about this after a reputable tipster e-mailed us that he’s heard Queen Anne’s Bricco wine bar is opening an outpost next to Cupcake Royale (could be the space formerly occupied by the used bookstore — we hadn’t even realized that store had left).

The cupcake folks, of course, are from the north side. So are the Matador people whose business is booming just a bit further north on Cali Ave. According to this article, the people behind Talarico’s run successful nightspots in Fremont. Down on Alki, the ex-market is turning into a Cactus Restaurant, previously known only to folks in Madison Park (and Kirkland).

These are just the most recent examples. The colonization of West Seattle REALLY started with a couple of watershed events — Pagliacci opening in the Junction (can we whine again about their delivery-area borders? thanks) and Starbucks expanding beyond the lone Admiral store that for years after we got here remained its only presence in WS. True!

On one hand, we’re happy that WS is finally considered hot ‘n’ happening. On the other, we’re personally feeling a little left out, since we’re not in the snack/sip/hookup demographic many of these places are targeting. But overall, it makes WS a livelier place than the old days dominated by drugstores and diners, no question, and WSB World HQ can at least enjoy the resulting vibes by osmosis!

Quick reminder

May 12, 2006 4:49 pm
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 |   WS miscellaneous

Back with more later tonight … but first … a reminder … tomorrow’s the Letter Carriers’ Food Drive; do some good without even having to leave your house/apartment/wherever — fill a bag with nonperishable food ‘n’ put it out where you pick up your mail.

Trashing the tunnel

May 12, 2006 3:31 am
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 |   Transportation | West Seattle news

Sorry I didn’t know about this meeting ahead of time; sounds like a chorus in which I could easily have sung — I’m also in the “tunnel schmunnel” section, although, as I’ve mentioned, I’m more a fan of the “third option” at the moment. Not that I’ve done any scientific studies or anything, it just seems like something we can get done quicker and cheaper.

(Side note with calendar relevance: The only time each year I actually feel warm and fuzzy about the viaduct is when I get to walk on it. The WSB team always signs up for that event — WSB Spouse and I are both “adult orphans” whose moms died of cancer, and it’s become our way of paying tribute to them each summer.)