Archive for January, 2008

Saké Before Beer, Never Fear

I’m loyal to beer over all other adult beverages, but I realize that man cannot live on beer alone. I also make time for saké. The best place to find saké in Seattle is at Saké Nomi, a Pioneer Square store and tasting bar owned and operated by the husband and wife team of Johnnie and Taiko Stroud. Nomi is a great place for both the seasoned saké enthusiast and the curious newcomer. There are free tastes from the weekly bottle-pour menu, warm saké for the cold weather and shelves of bottles ranging from the “I can afford to take home two of these” to the “you’ve gotta be kidding me” price ranges. Maybe the best things about Saké Nomi are the welcoming personalities of Johnnie and Taiko. Whether you want to learn about saké, take a few bottles home or just hang out and have a few drinks, you’ll feel comfortable there.

If you haven’t checked out Saké Nomi yet, now’s a great time. Here are some things they have coming up:

  • New Saké Unveiling – on Saturday, February 2nd, from 12-8pm, 10 imported saké new to Washington will be available by the glass. Several of these are from some of Japan’s oldest and most prestigious breweries. It’s a good opportunity to try some new stuff before shelling out for an entire bottle.
  • Sushi Suiyobi (aka Sushi Wednesday) – due to customer demand for sushi, Johnnie and Taiko have partnered with J Sushi in the ID to try out a Wednesday sushi night on a trial basis. The deal is you order one of three sushi sets (two have different varieties of fish and one is vegetarian) by calling Nomi no later than noon on Wednesday. The sushi is delivered by 6-6:30 that night and then you chow down and pair some saké with your meal. The sushi sets run from $20 for the veggie to $25-30 for the fish. The first go round on this will be tomorrow, January 30th.

Review: Riverdance Farewell Tour

Based primarily on traditional Irish music and dancing with modern and cross-cultural influences blended in to the mix, Riverdance features a five piece band playing both contemporary instruments and old Irish instruments like the Uilleann pipes and the bodhran and a full troupe of Irish dancers joined by the Moscow Folk Ballet Company, two tap dancers and a flamenco soloist. The show is very loosely arranged as a sort of artistic interpretation of Irish history from ancient times to the modern era via segments that include a five piece band, singers and dancers performing sometimes together and sometimes separately, linked together by offstage narration and onstage screened projections. While the narration was sometimes useful for providing a sort of context to the onstage action, it wasn’t strictly necessary. The show would have been equally as enjoyable and easy to watch without it. The projections, however, actually detract from the show, displaying art that is probably meant to appear primitive but seemed rather amateurish instead. It also didn’t help that the stage set was unattractive, with unappealing full-length panels that seemed to serve no other purpose than unnecessarily drawing the eye from the onstage action.. The show definitely would have been better served by a simpler set that keeps the focus where it should be, on the perfomers.

These minor irritations aside, Riverdance remains a compelling show. Irish dancing can appear simple on a superficial glance, but the intricate footwork of the dancers is astonishing, even when you’ve seen it before. Try to mimic the straight upper bodies with arms held at sides while you tap, twirl and kick and you might be surprised at just how challenging it really is. While all of the dancing is quite spectacular, I found that I enjoyed it best stripped down to its essentials. The first act’s “Thunderstorm” in which the Male Irish Dance Troupe storm over the stage with no other musical accompaniment than their own tapping feet is breathaking. Then again, any time a large group of the dancers take the stage, the sheer force of their presence is dazzling.

The dancing is the deserved primary focus of the show but music gets its chance to shine, too. The luster dims a bit for the vocal performances–I wasn’t horrified by the singing but I wasn’t impressed by it either, and wouldn’t have missed it had it been left out–but any time the band became the center of attention was a good time. Of particular note is fiddler Pat Mangan who is so clearly having a good time that if you somehow managed to dislike his excellent playing ability you’d still have to appreciate his pleasure.

Overall, Riverdance was an enjoyable show, accessible to a wide audience. You don’t have to like or know anything about Irish culture to enjoy the show but if you do want to see it–and I heartily recommend it–you’ll want to get your tickets right away–it’s only at the Paramount until February 3rd before moving on to the next stop on its farewell tour.

tuesday agenda : liars at the showbox


liars at wamu in october 2007 [flickr]

Follow Donte’s advice [seattlest] and go see Liars tonight at the Showbox (classic). Most of the people who complained about their show at WaMu [mb] were probably there to see Interpol anyway; so you should take their comments with a post-punk, mope-polished, disaffected grain of salt. The more intimate confines “at the Market” are likely to be a much better setting for the jumpy garagey mess and Angus Andrew’s “onstage leaps, falsetto howls, big smiles, double drumming, suggestive calf-bearing”. With No Age, Past Lives. $15, 8pm [showbox]

Washington State proves yet again that the Prohibitionists didn’t actually lose, they just went West.

In a blow to retail giant Costco, a three-judge Court of Appeals panel in San Francisco Tuesday upheld key parts of a statewide system for regulating beer and wine sales.

Costco, which owns and operates two dozen warehouse-club stores in Washington, sued the state’s Liquor Control Board in February 2004, arguing that the system was anti-competitive and violated a federal law designed to limit monopolies. It won an earlier round in federal court more than two years ago.

Today a panel of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said the Liquor Control Board could keep a ban on high-volume discounts to beer and wine retailers — a possible boon to Costco’s much smaller competitors. It also upheld rules requiring distributors to make deliveries to each store rather than a central warehouse.

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On the Huskies’ mud-splattered paw prints

That Seattle Times series on the off-field adventures of UW’s last good football team, the 2000 Huskies, has been an eye-opener — especially coming from a news source that a few months ago seemed to have joined the 2007 Fire The Coach bandwagon. Even the late, sainted Curtis Williams isn’t immune.

The truly dysfunctional part about it all is that there is a vocal, well-heeled segment of the UW boosters that just does not give a damn. (Anyone heard anything from Ed Hansen since this series started?) Wins are everything. The players can be rapists, wife-beaters, serial drunk driving artists, or attempted murderers, just as long as they keep winning games.

Ty Willingham was hired as coach in large part because he had a rep as a coach who never played fast and loose with the law or the rules, who wouldn’t let the players get away with this kind of crap under him. That’s largely true, as far as anyone can tell.

Paradoxically, that rep is a perennial thorn in his side, because some of the best players in the country don’t want to play for a coach who’s known as a straight-arrow hard-ass. So they go elsewhere.

That, right there, is the unspoken reason why so many of the boosters want Willingham fired. They’d rather have a flashy, permissive, Neuheisel-style coach who will attract the best talent in the country and win games. They’ve no problem letting that talent get away with murder. Almost literally.

I give the Times credit for admitting their complicity in all of this. You’ll notice a continuing theme in the stories: the reporters knew about the players’ “off-field problems” even at the time. They didn’t cover them in detail because, I suspect, they didn’t want to be held responsible for wrecking the Rose Bowl chances of the enormously popular Huskies football team.

Shoreline watch: Man bites off part of prostitute’s ear

I’ve been trying to think of some sort of meaningful commentary for this, but I think the facts say it all:

A man bit off a piece of a prostitute’s ear in Shoreline on Sunday night because he thought she was trying to leave without providing sex, according to the King County Sheriff’s Office.

The quarter-sized piece of her ear was recovered from a garbage can in the man’s kitchen, police said, but physicians at Harborview Medical Center were unsure whether it could be reattached.

According to deputies, the man found the woman through an ad on Craigslist and invited her to his Shoreline home. They agreed upon a price and she was paid, said sheriff’s spokesman Sgt. John Urquhart.

Before the deal was consummated, the 44-year-old woman moved toward the door to get better reception on her cellphone, but the man thought she was trying to leave, police said.

“The fight was on,” Urquhart said.

Urquhart said the woman fled and made her way to Northwest Hospital, where Shoreline police were called. After investigation, police said, the 54-year-old man was arrested and the piece of ear retrieved [Times].

First of all, biting is bad. People, do not bite your hookers unless they ask you to. But then he threw her ear in the trash? Why did he bite her in the ear in the first place? I’m just…baffled by the whole thing.

Damn hippies

Flickr user jkerssen dropped this gem from the Seattle Municipal Archives into the photo pool. I couldn’t resist.

1970 letter concerning hippies in Pike Place Market

Oh, the days when Seattle was younger, smaller, and overrun by those damn hippies and their free-loving gals. (The letter is transscribed below the cut.)

Please, jkerssen, give us more ephemera from the city vaults (or at least page two of the note). And the rest of you, just keep dropping your pics into our Flickr photo pool, and you might get featured in a post one day that your grandmother will print out and keep in her memory book. (No, really, my grandmother prints out my blog posts and saves them. She’s a little bit of a packrat.)
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Three more days

Two would-be Seattle-area startups are hitting the final days of a contest that could net them $50,000 to help get their businesses off the ground. The Quickbooks Just Start contest runs until Jan. 31st, leaving us only three days to help catapult one of our local entrepreneurs into victory.

Suzanne Sprague of Bremerton is the founder of MelodiesAboutMe, a company that creates original personalized children’s music. Like many Seattleites, Sprague’s whole family is passionate about good music, including her daughter, whose love of a song that included her name helped inspire the creation of MelodiesAboutMe. Sprague works with her husband, mother, and sister (who lives in Lake Stevens) to arrange the music and run the business.
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The Reeds Grassblades

This sculpture, titled “the reeds” “Grassblades”, at the Seattle Center is the work of John Fleming Susan Zoccola. Installed in 2002, it is one of the more photographed aspects of the Seattle Center campus.

Special thanks to Seattle Daily Photo for the corrections!
You can find out more about Susan Zoccola at her site: http://www.susanzoccola.com

coyote spared! for at least another week.

The infamous coyote of Discovery Park, having already evaded leg traps, has now swayed enough public support in its favor that the U.S. is giving it another week to roam the park, threaten kittens, and approach the homes on the Naval base.

Here’s the latest from Seattle Parks & Rec spokesperson Joelle Ligon:

“Once we know something about it, if it is sick or aggressive, then we will make a plan to protect humans. We have no reason now to believe it is a danger to humans. … If you are visiting the park, your dog should be on a leash. If you live in or near the park and have a cat, we strongly recommend that your animal be an inside pet, not just for your pet’s safety, but the safety of smaller animals that your pet might prey on, like songbirds.” [p-i]

Sounds like sensible advice even if there wasn’t a brazen and fearless coyote on the premises.

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