News Blog for Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood


Entries from July 2010

Tour de Fat rolls into Gas Works

July 31st, 2010 by master

A parade of hundreds of cyclists (many costumed) on bikes of every stripe cruised from Gas Works Park through Fremont and back to power up the Tour de Fat.

Tour de Fat is a traveling carnival and beerfest that New Belgium Brewing stages each summer in cities across the country to promote travel by bicycle and sustainability. This event was co-sponsored by Bicycle Alliance of Washington and BikeWorks.

One of the most popular areas was the art bike corral (“Rideable Art-icles”), where anyone willing to don a helmet could take a spin on whimsical welded contraptions.

The day culminates with a car-for-bike swap, with great fanfare. See that story, “Wallingfordian Trades Car for Bike at Tour de Fat.”

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Wallingfordian trades car for bike at Tour de Fat

July 31st, 2010 by master

Wallingford businesswoman Mrs. DeGroot wanted to change her lifestyle, so she traded in her 1997 Volvo for a bike at Gas Works Park this afternoon.

Mrs. DeGroot, an etiquette consultant who runs Wallingford Charm, rode into a cheering crowd on top of a circus car at Tour de Fat, an annual cycling event at the park. Moments later, she signed over the Volvo to charity and jumped on a brand-new Black Sheep commuter bike.

The cycling crowd, as you might imagine, was ecstatic. (Watch our video below.)

“It makes me really happy,” she told us after riding away with the bike. “You know, it’s time, because I’m going to be 60. And I’m just downsizing and want to change my lifestyle. So I just think it’s just a cool thing — an opportunity. Some people have opportunities that don’t take them. So I just took it.”

Mrs. DeGroot, who only goes by her last name, gave the license plate frame from her Volvo to one of the event organizers. He said he wanted the frame — which says “What Would Mrs. Degroot Say?” — to put on one of the Tour de Fat tour vehicles. Tour de Fat is run by New Belgium Brewing in Colorado best known for its cycling-inspired beer, “Fat Tire.”

“The bike is sweet, there’s no denying that,” said Mrs. DeGroot, who said she’s looking forward to her switch from driving to cycling. “I’m going to do it with purpose and pride, I’m going to make a serious effort.”

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46th Street mural vandalized

July 30th, 2010 by master

The 46th Street Mural, which hasn’t even seen its final details, was vandalized Wednesday night, a tipster told us. The words “Not Art” were painted in big black letters over parts of the mural. The picture below was taken Thursday morning and sent to us.

By the time we arrived yesterday afternoon, there was no sign of damage.

The issue of vandals striking the mural came up in the comments of our story that ran when a winner for the design was chosen. Leah Eister-Hargrave, 46th Street Mural Committee member, explained how repairs will happen:

Urban Artworks is responsible for maintenance of the mural for one year August 2010-August 2011, after this initial year, maintenance will be addressed by the 46th Street Mural Project committee with negotiations with Urban Artworks to handle any needed touch-ups. A contingency fund will be set up to address any costs associated with the maintenance. A notification system regarding any tagging or defacement will be set up through local community groups, such as FAWN, that have weekly walks through the neighborhood for just such purposes. A detailed record of all paints used and where within the mural they are used will be kept while the mural is being painted. Through continued coordination of our core members of the steering committee and these aspects of care and handling, we feel we can keep the mural beautiful for the neighborhood.

Meanwhile, painting continues apace. This was the first we’d seen of the painted columns:

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Weekend: Tour de Fat, jazz, Irwin's party, more

July 30th, 2010 by master

Hop on your bike and head to Gas Works Park for Tour De Fat, New Belgium Brewing’s traveling bicycle festival that rolls into town this Saturday. The brewers partner locally with Bicycle Alliance of Washington to celebrate cycling — the event features a costumed bike parade for children and adults, music and other live performances, a car-for-bike swap, beer garden and food vendors.

Here’s the schedule for the day:

10:00 a.m.  Bike Parade Registration
11:00 a.m.   Bike Parade Launch
12:00 p.m.   Performances Begin
12:20 p.m.   The SLOW RIDE
1:30 p.m.     The Great Bike Story Contest for New Belgium Cruiser Bike
2:35 p.m.     Car for Bike Trade Celebration
4:50 p.m.     Faux Finale
4:55 p.m.     Faux Real finale
5:00 p.m.    Curtain Closes

The folks at Sustainable Seattle are looking for volunteers for Tour de Fat from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Learn how you can help by contacting Eldan Goldenberg or going to this site.

As part of the Wayward Music Series, avant-jazz band Ask the Ages will play in the Chapel performance space at the Good Shepherd Center at 8 p.m.

Irwin’s Bakery, at 40th and Bagley, is throwing a customer-appreciation party from 4 to 7 p.m. The sidewalk cookout is free.

Sadly, the Avila Sunday dinner (and Avila itself) is no more. But Joule still serves up a special menu at the end of each week. This week the theme is Italian grill, featuring smoked pork belly and anchovy grilled pizza, grilled pesto octopus with chickpeas and sorrel, peach with basil and pecorino salad. They’ll also make Italian ice with a snow cone machine.

Feeling pretty stuffed? Digest in front of the TV — watch Tilth chef Maria Hines battle Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto on the Food Network’s “Iron Chef America” at 10 p.m.

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U District bank robbers in Wallingford?

July 29th, 2010 by master

Wallingford Neighborhood Office Director Janet Stillman sent out this alert in the weekly E-News this afternoon:

Two Bike Policemen stopped by the office today. (I didn’t know we had bike policemen in Wallingford!) They are looking for 2 guys who are believed to be living in cars in Wallingford. One is a very tall pale white guy and the other is a short guy with reddish brown hair in a ponytail. If you see them, call 9-1-1 and tell the operator where you saw the suspects in the Bank Robbery in the U district.

Our sister site U District Daily posted an item about a bank robbery that happened on July 26:

UW Police just sent out an alert about a bank robbery that happened yesterday around 11:50am.  This time, the Key Bank in the 1300 block of NE 45th Street was the target.  The robber was a white man in his late 30’s, 6′3″, with messy gray/partially gray hair.  He was wearing glasses, a striped shirt and a black jacket.  After the robbery, the man got away on foot westbound from the bank on NE 45th and was seen carrying a Fireworks shopping bag.

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New spiritual center opens this Sunday

July 29th, 2010 by master

Thanks to our sister site My Green Lake for this story.

A new spiritual center and community space is coming to the neighborhood.  Green Lake Spiritual Center, located at 125 NE 52nd St, is opening its doors this Sunday (August 1, 2010), 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.

India Holden, who co-directs the center with her husband Steven Holden, says the center is “loosely organized around spirituality, not any one religion, and is designed as a community center.”  The space will be made available to the community to use free of charge, although donations will be accepted.

“People can do session work like healing work, counseling, meetings, workshops, support groups, meditation, classes, sat sangs, etc.,” says India.  “Really anything. We want to support people in bringing their gifts into the community and provide the space for that.”

India will also be teaching several programs at the center, including an Inner Wisdom class, Saturday guided meditations and Sunday morning spiritual explorations focused on Bhakti talk and conversation.

On September 5, 2010, spiritual teacher Matt Kahn will be visiting the space.  In November, India will be holding a party there, celebrating the release of her book ‘You’re an Adventurer on the Cutting-Edge of Yourself.’

India says that the opening of the center is the result of a vision that she had.  “This,” she says, “is the dream of my life becoming reality.”

All are welcome at Sunday’s grand opening party.  A schedule of the day’s events can be found here.

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Avila shuts down

July 28th, 2010 by master

Update: Nancy Leson at our news partner the Seattle Times has details from Avila co-owner Bronwen Carpenter on the closure plus reactions in a story posted today:

“It was an agonizing decision to close,” said co-owner Bronwen Carpenter in an e-mail, “but after weighing several factors we decided it was for the best.” Despite the positive response to Avila, “the day-to-day business just wasn’t there.” With her husband, Jared, and his co-chef Alex Pitts, “we started with big dreams and and a shoestring budget,” she explained. But after a couple of slow months, increasingly long work days and a growing financial burden, the trio decided the closure was their best alternative.

Wallingford has lost one of its most acclaimed, innovative restaurants. Avila, which Jared and Bronwen Carpenter opened just last November with Chef Alex Pitts, was closed as of yesterday morning, according to a post on its Facebook page:

Thanks so much to all our patrons, staff, and purveyors over the last year. Avila’s doors are closed, but we created a lot of great times and great food, and had fun doing it!

Reviewers agreed that Pitts was pushing the culinary envelope at Avila, not always to diners’ delight.
The Seattle Times said:

Their cerebral style of cooking is freewheeling yet grounded in solid technique. A read-through of the menu tantalizes; sampling it is never dull but sometimes begged the question: Is this culinary exuberance or creativity run amok?

The Seattle Weekly’s Surly Gourmand said:

Someone needs to give these motherfuckers the stern talking to they obviously never got in kindergarten: you can’t mix the Play-Doh colors together, and you can’t pair sunchoke flan with angel food cake. You just can’t. You might try, but you can’t.

When it named Avila the city’s “Boldest Newcomer,” Seattle Magazine said:

The seasonal/ local/sustainable cooking is gloriously bold if, at times, overly enthusiastic (many dishes would benefit from Coco Chanel’s “take one thing off before you leave the house” mantra). But to taste cooking this ambitious, with such vision, without hopping a plane to NYC or LA? We’ll take that deal.

Seattle Met summed up its critique with insights into Wallingford’s restaurant scene:

On that piece of 45th, you’re sitting smack in the middle of a string of other one-word restaurants—Joule, Sutra, Tilth—which pretty much corner the market on food that’s originally conceived, impeccably sourced, and priced accordingly. No sense taking them on when you could apply your considerable wit and verve to something a little more suited to weeknight casual than weekend destination.

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What's that yellow helicopter?

July 28th, 2010 by master

Seems like every day we see a yellow helicopter flying over Wallingford and wonder, “Is it a news chopper? Medic? What could it be?”

The answer, as with so many questions, was just a Google search away.

That’s a tour helicopter, which explains why we’re seeing it a lot more in the summer. We must spot (and hear) the helicopter on its way to Green Lake or the UW, in a tour package that includes the Space Needle, Lake Union, Lake Washington, Snoqualmie Falls, Ballard Locks and Elliott Bay Marina.

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Wednesday in Wallingford…and beyond

July 28th, 2010 by master

We’re in the full throes of summer now — cloudless afternoons, highs in the 80s — and the wading pool at Wallingford Playfield is the most popular spot for the 6-and-under set. It’s open today, tomorrow and Friday, noon to 7 p.m.

The Farmers Market runs 3 to 7 p.m. in the south parking lot of Wallingford Center. Peaches and nectarines are among the fruits in season now. Tried them grilled? Oh, you should.

Chef Jeff Marshall from Bizarro will do the chef demo at 4:00 p.m.

If you’ve shopped at the Farmers Market, many Wallingford Center businesses offer 10% off purchases. Be sure to ask!

You could top off your evening with Trophy‘s new Bumbershoot cupcake — the proceeds help send kids to the music and arts festival in September.

If you feel like heading out of the neighborhood (or want to know why northbound traffic is so bad tonight), Greenwood has its biggest event of the year, the Seafair Parade. The 60th annual parade starts at 6 p.m. and runs along Greenwood Avenue North from North 95th Street to North 85th Street, then turns west on 85th to 6th Avenue Northwest. Ten thousand people will watch 100 floats, drill teams, marching bands, groups of cute kids, and of course, the Seafair Pirates.

Head east to take in free music tonight. The weekly University Village concert series features The Beatniks from 6:00 to 8:30.

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Cantinetta gets Eastside sibling soon

July 27th, 2010 by master

Cantinetta fans, you’ve probably heard that the rustic Italian Wallingford restaurant is opening another location in Bellevue.

Nancy Leson at the Seattle Times writes today that the new spot at 10038 Main Street in Old Bellevue will open in late August, and she serves up many details of the new restaurant and how the two Cantinettas will work together.

Some more details from the story:

A second location has been on his agenda from the start said [owner Trevor] Greenwood, who will split his time between the two restaurants, working the door and the floor. In doing so, he hopes to keep the Cantinetta experience as consistent as possible, and brings to that task in Bellevue a new chef, Tomer Shneor, late of New York City, where the Israeli chef worked with Daniel Boulud and perfected his prowess with pasta during two years spent at Lidia Bastianich’s flagship restaurant, Felidia, Greenwood said.

That practice should serve him well as he works in conjunction with chef Emran Chowdhury, who will stay the course in Wallingford taking over where chef-exec Brian Cartenuto left off. Chowdhury and Shneor will share Cartenuto’s role at the two Cantinettas, where they’ll collaborate their menus and “keep a consistent product” according to Greenwood.

Read more about Cantinetta’s history and future in the Times story.

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