by Chelsea Lin - 273 Reviews - 109 List
In December 2009, I left my home (and my heart) in San Francisco and headed north, landing in Ballard amidst the cold drizzle of a Seattle winter. More than six months later, I'm loving the local food scene, the live music, the beautiful gardens, the plethora of good coffee and yes, even the rain. Here are a few of my current favorite spots--though I'm always taking recommendations!
(Photo: Looking more sophisticated than a normally do, and with a tragically empty wine glass, in WA)
Updated: June 11, 2010
There's something comforting about a cafe that offers everything the modern telecommuter could want: lots of seats, plenty of power outlets, BOTTOMLESS cups of coffee (not, you know, literally, but they'll refill your mug for hours), whoopie pies and cupcakes for when things at work get bad, wine and beer for when things get worse. You can bet when I?m not working at home in my sweat pants, I?m here.
Of all the things I left in San Francisco, it's the Mexican food I miss the most (sorry, friends!). After countless bland tacos and limp burritos, imagine my delight at finding this White Center taqueria that serves up some seriously legit south-of-the-border fare. There's not much ambiance to speak of, but the salsa caddy and bizarre mariachi music videos are definitely worth eating in rather than taking out.
My ?Citysearch Seattle 15?'those pounds I've put on enjoying the best this city has to offer?can be attributed almost exclusively to living within a half mile of this truly Parisian bakery. I?m embarrassed to say I don't know the name of the friendly-faced woman always behind the counter, but I thank her for not judging me when I come in sometimes twice a week for a latte and a kouign amann (perhaps the most perfect salty-sweet pastry on Earth).
So speaking of those extra pounds, how does one celebrate la bonne vie and still fit into one's pants? After trying bootcamps (too early) and gyms (not enough motivation), I've found a workout that's just right: Ballard's Shakti yoga studio. Not at all pretentious, Shakti is pleasant and friendly, and hot as Hades. It's not an easy 90-minute session, but if you want to sweat off that pork belly, this is the spot; sign up for the intro series if you're new to yoga (as I was).
This Seattle gallery stocked with PNW artwork has multiple locations, all of which I've visited to buy everything from organic baby booties to silver earrings to robot-printed plastic plates (note: these are the sorts of things I buy as gifts, beware). The best part? There's a location right in the central terminal at Sea-Tac, meaning that I can buy last-minute gifts that don't start with ?Someone in Seattle Loves Me, but??
I consider it a combination of rental karma, good luck and reliable friend referrals that I ended up living in Ballard--a quirky, fun neighborhood full of great characters, charming small businesses and plenty of parks to take my pups. On Sundays, everyone in the 'hood (and many from outside it) gathers on Ballard Avenue to buy Veraci pizza slices, heirloom tomatoes and organic dog biscuits; the vibe is more social meet-up than hasty trip to the market.