Review of a restaurant I’d almost forgotten

June 9, 2006 4:37 am
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 |   WS miscellaneous

The P-I takes on the Luna Park Cafe. I haven’t been there since a breakfast get-together some years back featuring WS Blogger Spouse and I inspecting the latest girlfriend of one of our beloved terminal-bachelor pals. (We liked her; he didn’t.)

Side note … it’s always struck me as odd that somehow that particular area around the underside of the west end of the Big Bridge has carried on the Luna Park name, even though the actual Luna Park site was nowhere nearby.

Finally working!

It’s been more than a week since I first noticed had this link to an (at the time, alleged) Alki live cam. Each day and night, I’d try it to see if it was worth adding to this site … but it wasn’t working … till now! Hope it stays up; of all the WS spots in need of a live cam, Alki would be top of my list. (And remember I’ve got a cam page on this site; if you know of any suitable-for-family-viewing WS live cams to add to the list, please send me the link!)

More about West Seattle’s next megachurch

If you’re curious about what brings Seattle’s best-known fundamentalist church to WS, new Web pages shine some light: It’s the building. (Didn’t realize they’d already shut the whole thing down for renovation & transformation, looking ahead to a fall/winter launch.) I don’t know anyone involved with Doxa or Mars Hill — but even as an outsider, if you read between the lines of the pages on the MHWS site, including this FAQ, it sounds like quite the takeover.

New connectivity choice?

Noticed recently that a lot of land-use applications in West Seattle these days — these addresses in Gatewood, Delridge, north end of Delridge, Admiral, Morgan Junction — are for wireless antennas for something called Clearwire. Thought maybe that was just a front company for the various wireless companies, but have since learned otherwise. And today, driving along Cali Ave, we noticed another Clearwire application sign up in front of the block of apartments/stores just south of the Junction 7-11. The Clearwire Web site does not mention how soon the company expects to launch West Seattle service; separate from the controversy over too many antennas going up too close for comfort, I’m interested in the possibility of an alternate broadband provider. Service from the Comcast monopoly is not really that Comcastic for us, and Qwest DSL doesn’t seem to be an option in our neighborhood. So we’ll keep an eye on this one too …

OK, we will!

June 7, 2006 8:18 am
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 |   Seen around town

Sign of life finally at the former tanning-salon space next to Pagliacci in the Junction: someone’s scrawled WATCH THIS SPACE over the butcher paper covering the big front window. P.S. Doesn’t seem like it’s been that long, but Pagliacci’s about to celebrate its TENTH ANNIVERSARY on this side of town.

All good things take time

June 6, 2006 5:02 pm
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 |   West Seattle restaurants

Well, I hope the new restaurant in the ex-Alki Market will be good. Somehow we’ve never managed to patronize either of the other Cacti. Anyway, tomorrow’s P-I will feature this article about the in-the-works Cactus on Alki, including the note that its expected opening is still quite some weeks off.

Up close and personal with The Viaduct

June 6, 2006 4:27 am
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 |   Alaskan Way Viaduct | Transportation | WS miscellaneous

You’ve laughed your way through the video we now know WE actually paid for!

You’ve bitten your nails while driving its scenic topside and muttering under your breath “just let me get to the other side before the Big One hits!”.

Now … just a week and a half to register for your annual chance to actually WALK on the viaduct. Hope to see you there.

Hell no, they won’t go

Looks like the folks at Pathfinder K-8 are not taking their new proposed home lightly. A big banner’s draped over the north side of the Fauntleroy pedestrian overpass, for drivers coming back into WS up off the bridge — SAVE PATHFINDER/NO BOREN/PTSA MEETING TUES. 6:30. Related: Found an interesting blog from a future Pathfinder parent, tackling the entire school-closure mess citywide.

TJ’s or not TJ’s?

A new comment on an old post reminded me I hadn’t heard much lately about the rumors of Trader Joe’s finally, finally, FINALLY coming to West Seattle. Seems speculation is centering around the forthcoming mixed-use project on Admiral just west of Metropolitan Market, so we went fishing around a bit.

Project description mentions “grocery store.” MM & Safeway are so close by (and PCC not much further), it would have to be something “specialty” like TJ’s.

The contact name on the applications traces to the same architect that handled the same owner’s project to the north (Bartell’s and what’s above it) — no sketches on the site, though.

A notice on a pole at the site mentions another design-review meeting just about a week ago — anybody got the scoop on that? Just curious.

Did find a couple other notes of interest along the way. First — a little history about part of the site. Second — I can’t find a direct link to the relatively recently renamed “Admiral Neighborhood Association,” but it looks like neighborhood leaders joined in a “street-level survey” a little earlier this year, with results documented here.

Enough about all that, though. Any inside info on TJ’s, or not TJ’s, very much welcome. Definitely tired of driving to Burien. And this is one of the last few franchises we still don’t have out here (in the years since WS Blogger Spouse and I arrived, we’ve stopped having to drive somewhere else for Pagliacci, Jamba Juice, Barnes & Noble, to name a few).

Sunday afternoon miscellany

June 4, 2006 2:06 pm
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 |   West Seattle religion | West Seattle restaurants | Wildlife | WS miscellaneous

-If you have a small child in the house, something new turned up at the WS Farmers’ Market today … fresh, local, vegetarian food for babies or toddlers.

-For the produce we didn’t find at the Farmers’ Market, we dropped by Tony’s on 35th. Great prices — beautiful apples for 99 cents a pound, mushrooms for $2.50. Kinda fascinating that the guy who runs it is the president of the Burien-area sewer district.

-Further north on 35th, we noticed the “Mars Hill West Seattle, Coming Soon” sign up at Doxa. According to the MH Web site, the dedication was just the other night.

-Also as we cruised northward on 35th, a wildlife sighting … one of our majestic national symbols, being pestered by crows. Common, I know, but always mesmerizing, as the crows are so much smaller than the eagles, yet so brazen about this behavior.


June 4, 2006 8:54 am
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 |   WS miscellaneous

OK, it’s a stretch to say this is the kind of recycling urged in Al’s movie … but nonetheless, I’m recycling today by pointing you to this post and reminding you tonight is the night for the benefit. We’re all stuck on this planet together — let’s help each other as much as we can.

Annexation angst

June 3, 2006 3:18 pm
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 |   Holidays

A sighting of popper noisemakers at QFC reminds me … If nothing else, here’s a reason to keep White Center un-annexed, and therefore unincorporated: If either Seattle or Burien takes over the turf, that means no more fireworks. I’m not a fan of those heavy-duty war-grade monstrosities you can get at the reservations, but I do think it’s appropriate to have a few sparklers in your own back yard on Independence Day. So, for as long as we’ve been in West Seattle, we’ve wandered over to the Roxbury Safeway parking lot a day or two ahead of time and bought a few boxes of safe-n-sane fireworks, then clandestinely ignited them in our yardlet, hoping nobody would sic the cops on us. But they’re against the law in Burien as well as Seattle, so if either of those cities annexes our neighboring chunk of unincorporated King County, it’s farewell, fireworks. Food 4 thought. Meantime, in a few weeks you’ll find us over in the Safeway parking lot tent, trying to settle on a modest pack of personal pyrotechnics.

Go paddle yourself

Surprise — the sun’s out. Forecast still insists it won’t be for long, but I have faith I can at least get out and pull weeds for a while. If you’d rather do something else environmentally friendly that also happens to get you out on the water, Cami from ever-trusty tells us Alki Kayak Tours over at Seacrest Boathouse is offering demos on Eddyline Kayaks till 3 pm today. (I personally think West Seattle needs a few more businesses with “Tours” in their name — why not show off our beauty? — so I don’t mind the occasional plug!)

Warming up to Al

June 2, 2006 9:40 pm
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 |   Environment

About a month before Al Gore was elected Vice President in 1992, West Seattle Blogger Spouse and I shoehorned ourselves into an outdoor crowd at the UW to watch him speak. This was supposed to be some sort of appeal to Them Young Voters; what passed for local music royalty pre-grunge, the Wilson sisters, opened for him, as I recall.

I remember the sunshine and the energy. I don’t remember being terribly impressed by him. But Al Gore ’06 is a different guy. See for yourself in “An Inconvenient Truth,” aka “the Al Gore movie” or “the global-warming movie.” We just got back from shoehorning ourselves into an indoor crowd downtown to see it.

Cool thing is, it’s not what you’d expect. It’s not a huge scarefest full of “Day After Tomorrow” disaster-rama-style effects — it’s heartbreaking pictures, and impressive charts, and a whole different side of the ex-Vice President. Best thing, it ends with zillions of bits of advice on how you can do something about the problem. Chances are, here in our blue peninsula amid a blue city, you might be doing something good already. (Here at WSB World HQ, we’ve “planted trees. Lots of trees” and we “recycle” — abundantly — so now we just need to give City Light a call as per the credit-sequence exhortation and ask if they use “green energy.”)

Also advised, “tell everyone you know to see (the) movie.” So that’s what I’m doing here, with a link to Saturday showtimes, and a link to the tie-in site. If you’ve got an environmentalist bone in your body, it’s a lot more satisfying than, oh, say, “Over the Hedge.”

Another grand opening

Tonight’s the night for Skylark Cafe & Club, where Madison’s used to be, just as Delridge starts heading south from the bridge. We’ll be at the Al Gore movie instead. But once the crowds ebb a bit, the Skylark menu (mmm, mac ‘n’ cheese!) sounds too good for us to wait TOO long to check out!

Casualty of the Cupcake Clash?

June 1, 2006 5:12 pm
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 |   West Seattle restaurants

Thanks to a tipster I’ll just refer to as “C” — we’ve learned there’s one less bakery in the Junction. Remo Borracchini’s, toward the Junction’s south end, has closed up shop. Sign says “Thanks for your years of patronage; visit us at our Rainier Avenue location.”

I’m not too broken up; don’t know if we ever went there, though I do vaguely remember some other bakery there previously, where West Seattle Blogger Spouse remembers trying to get a latte long ago and being told “Oh sorry, the gal who knows how to run that machine is out on break.”

Interesting, though, the west side of Cali Ave has been fairly low-turnover, compared to the east side. The only other recent shutdown I can recall is the tanning salon next to Pagliacci.

Pet owners, take heed

As we continue to co-exist with urban wildlife, things like this happen. (I found it on a blog search, but the author mentions he’s sent copies to the media, so the tale might be told more widely soon.)

I am very sorry to hear about this family’s loss. I deeply understand grief at the loss of a pet — we’ve been through that. But because this author seems to be urging a search-and-destroy mission against coyotes, out of his pain and grief and fury, it’s worth noting: The vast majority of urban-wildlife-vs.-pet cases involve unattended pets. That’s not a humane way to treat your pet, in any circumstance. Cars are a much bigger threat to them than other animals (no matter how “quiet” you think your neighborhood is) — as other, unfriendly humans can be.

Important to note, this sounds like the rare exception. The author does not describe the specific circumstances except to say that the dog’s owner “witnessed” the coyotes take it.

But again, in hopes of saving OTHER pets’ lives, it’s an appropriate occasion for one of my soapbox issues: The most responsible way to care for a pet is to keep it a house pet. Dogs, you can walk, on leashes. Cats — they do NOT “need” to roam outside. Old myth. (Besides possible danger to them, they also are a danger to what relatively few birds we have left in our neighborhoods.)

I’d love to hear your comments if you disagree with me. I just feel strongly that the solution to urban wildlife-vs-pets isn’t “eradicate the urban wildlife,” it’s “keep your dogs on leashes and keep your cats in the house.” (The blogger who lost his family dog also talks about kids — fwiw, I don’t believe you should leave them unsupervised either.)

Bizarre bridge death

May 31, 2006 4:44 pm
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 |   West Seattle news

Of all the deadly incidents on the West Seattle Bridge in our decade-plus of WS-hood, this one is probably the weirdest. Also weird, the way the story evolved over the day. Although this image from a local tv site gets the story quite wrong (not fixed even by 5:43 pm) …

Belated Cupcake Royale review, & Junction stroll

Used the sleepy holiday morning this past Monday as the perfect occasion to go try Cupcake Royale “for real.” As I wrote here a couple weeks ago, we dropped in on Grand Opening Night, but I didn’t actually have a cupcake — left that to one of my escorts. So this time, it was cupcakes and coffee for breakfast.

Verdict: Great frosting (mint), so-so cupcake (vanilla). Not too sweet, which is good, but not so moist (as at least one other reviewer here had mentioned), which was a little disappointing. The coffee (double-tall latte) was also just OK. I’ll give them another chance next time it’s convenient, but I’m not going to go out of my way to rush all the way to the Junction for a “fix.”

Meantime, we kept the radar up for news while down in the Junction for the CR stop. Seems like there’s more to say about what’s NOT going on than about what IS — the old Neilsen Florist shop still has papered windows, but the grease-penciled message from a glass company is gone; the new Super Supplements (ex-Urban Fitness site) doesn’t have an opening date posted yet; the former First Mutual Bank storefront shows no sign of what will move in next.

Bad news for gardeners

May 31, 2006 4:00 am
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 |   Gardening

It’s not West Seattle, but I just have to publicly lament this … I’m sure I’m far from the only person in WS with some Heronswood plants in the garden. I only discovered them two years ago, and I remember being shocked to find out they had actually sold out to a Big Corporation … now that seems to have come around to bite them (and us customers) in the you-know-where.

High Point must be high-fiving

May 30, 2006 5:44 pm
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 |   High Point | West Seattle schools | WS breaking news

The new school-closure plan is out, and HP Elementary got cut from the list (PDF document; West Seattle’s moment in the sun starts around page 16). Fairmount Park still has the Grim Reaper hanging around, though. Meantime, since High Point’s not closing, Pathfinder’s looking at a NEW new home — Boren (the current temporary home of Cleveland High, the past temporary home of Madison Middle). If the district manages its assets wisely, I see some lovely new view homes coming to Genesee Hill … they could at least honor the to-be-relocated school by calling the mini-subdivision Pathfinder Pointe, perhaps. Or — will Genesee Hill go the way of its current students’ “new” home, which according to this district info-sheet has been “closed” longer than it’s been open (yet lives on with rotating occupants)?

Good point, but maybe too late

May 30, 2006 4:18 am
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 |   West Seattle news | West Seattle schools

The semi-final list of proposed Seattle Public Schools closures is due to change hands today from the ciitizens’ committee to the superintendent. This morning, the Times spotlights the one West Seattle proposal that seems to make no sense — “closing” High Point Elementary (but not the building, which Pathfinder K-8 would take over) even as hundreds of brand-new housing units pop up all around it. And this morning’s P-I asks the other tough question — will this plan really save much money? I can’t see how it will unless the closed buildings are sold, period. Pathfinder’s Genesee Hill land alone would make dandy townhouse turf, if zoning allowed.

My West Seattle Memorial Day tribute

May 29, 2006 2:35 pm
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 |   Holidays

A few years after we moved to West Seattle, my mom decided it sounded like a great place for her to get a midlife re-start. So she moved here too. She found a great apartment near the Morgan Junction, with a peek view of the Sound and the Olympics. Eventually she found a job with a local nonprofit and started to build a life.

Then she started losing weight. We thought she just had an appetite problem. After a few months, we convinced her to see a doctor … who discovered she had one of the nastiest forms of cancer. (Not that any form of cancer is NOT nasty, but some are curable or nearly so — this one wasn’t.) Things fell apart quite rapidly. The nonprofit cut her loose before she even had a chance to start treatment (I won’t name them here but I do hold a bit of a grudge because of the way they treated her). She accepted the incurability faster than we did — and just kind of settled in to die.

This wasn’t really like her. She was always a bon vivant. But she decided she’d lived a good life (even though she was ridiculously young, still). She had an interesting take on it — “Doesn’t make any sense to say ‘why me.’ If you say ‘why me’ in the bad times, why wouldn’t you say ‘why me’ in the good times?”

She didn’t want to move in with us. She wanted to stay in that cozy apartment, with its peek view, and her stack of movie tapes, till the end was truly in sight, and then she’d think about her HMO’s inpatient hospice.

So we visited her every day. A hospice nurse came in a couple times a week. I could see my mom’s apartment from my road to work early each morning, and was haunted by the thought, “Wow, until I call and check in with her later, she could be dead in there, for all I know.” Strange, but maybe if you’ve lived through a loved one’s slow death, you understand.

The cancer that kills most people within six months of diagnosis didn’t get her till she was into month 9. The hospice nurse who admitted her to the inpatient facility when it seemed clear she had “days to go” was shocked that she didn’t move on to the next plane of existence till she’d been there six weeks.

My mom’s death wound up teaching me a lot about life. So I pay tribute to her here on Memorial Day. Especially because she died this time of year — and the bush that yielded the rose I took from her hospice bedside vase, to lay on her chest, not long after her last breath, still blooms bright this time every year, right next to our front door.