Alright, we all know it's August, and that means it's supposed to be sunny. But if you've lived in the Northwest longer than a week, you know that this posting is not as ill-timed as it may sound: it is always wise to have a Plan B on hand, particularly where our weather is concerned, and then particularly when you feel it's least necessary. Seattle Weekly's Mike Seely has been trying to convince me for days that, since it is August, "outside" should make it onto my Top 5 list of "Places to Pretend it's Summer in Seattle." Call me Puddleglum, but the most I will concede on that point is to give the great outdoors an honorable mention... like the friend you don't actually expect to show up to an event, but invite anyway in order to pad the guest list.
Summer at Fremont Coffee Co.
The actual guest list looks like this:
5. Fremont Coffee Company: 459 N 36 St, Seattle, WA 98103, 206.632.3633 - One of my favorite coffee destinations in the Fremont area, the Fremont Coffee Company lives in a big, craftsman style house, featuring one tiny little sun room, and a beautiful veranda that wraps around well over half of the building. Even on days when it rains, you can take to one of the wicker chairs with your coffee and watch the world swirl by, still feeling like it might only be a passing afternoon rainstorm in the venerated tradition of a deep South summer.
4. Buenos Aires Grill: 220 Virginia Street, Seattle, WA 98121, 206.441.7076 - We can't all pick up and go to South America on a whim, and we can't all Tango. But never fear: Buenos Aires in Belltown takes care of both for you. You won't find more amiable service anywhere than in their bar, and their dessert menu alone is enough to make you a repeat customer. Open every day after 5:30 pm, the best times to go when in need of an exotic vacation are Friday and Saturday nights after 8:00, when a pair of professional Tango dancers entertain guests by dancing dramatically through the restaurant, and (if you're lucky) across the bar.
Dancers Tango across the bar at Buenos Aires in Belltown.
3. The Seattle Aquarium: 1483 Alaskan Way Seattle, WA 98101, 206.386.4300 - Compared to a $408 ticket to Hawaii, for just $17 you can experience the Northwest's version of snorkeling, and drink coffee at the same time. You'll find a schedule of events online, but while a lot of the talks are cool, the highlight of the aquarium is Fifi the Octopus getting her lunch. If you arrive around 3:00, you have time to visit the cafeteria before it closes and explore the tidepools before the crowds start to gather for Fifi's feeding. Fun fact about octopi: apparently, due to anatomical complexity, anything they swallow has to travel directly past the brain to the stomach. Consequently, if an octopus takes too big a bite and tries to swallow, it will actually knock itself out.
2. Ballard Market (Town & Country): 1400 NW 56th Street Seattle, WA 98107, 206.783.7922
Seattle, WA 98107, 206.783.7922- Here in Seattle, we love our Farmer's Markets and small fruit stands, but for a fruit and veggie lover's feng shui paradise, it's tough to top the Ballard Market. In particular, putting it on this list, the Ballard Market hosts a gorgeous selection of tropical fruit around this time of year. If you're in need of summer meal inspiration, forgo the usual grocery store run and go here instead. The arrangement, assortment, and aroma of fruit should spark nothing less than pure culinary brilliance.
Seattle, WA 98103, 206.632.5100
1. Theo Chocolate: 3400 Phinney Avenue North
Samples galore at Theo Chocolate in Fremont!
Seattle, WA 98103, 206.632.5100- Last, but certainly not least, we all know that the toughest thing about living in the Northwest is the tendency toward depression that accompanies insufficient sunshine. Theo Chocolate (the next best thing to falling in love for a mood boost) just might be the answer. A little off the beaten path in Fremont, Theo's offers factory tours and chocolate education for those who plan ahead. For those who don't, it still provides gifts, books, organic/fair trade chocolate bars and confections, and an unfailing supply of samples.
All chocolate is good... chocolate purchased directly from the place where it is made is even better. Not to mention, their current seasonal "apricot and chamomile" truffle is like bite-sized summer with a chocolate coating.