Issue

January 2012

25 Best Burgers

Dining editor Allison Austin Scheff tasted and re-tasted an unholy amount of burgers to bring you this comprehensive and mouth-watering list: The 25 Best Burgers in Seattle.

From this Issue

Oh, thank you, Earl of Sandwich, the first man to put meat between slices of bread. And thank you, too, people of Hamburg, Germany, who, legend has it, made a steak of ground meat and called it a hamburger. That was 300 years ago, give or take.

1. Knute Berger (Crosscut columnist and editor-at-large of Seattle magazine): The Scoop Burger at Scoop Du Jour ($8.95) in Madison Park, without cheese but with tomatoes, pickles, onions, and a pile of shredded lettuce.

We’re living in some peculiar culinary times: Geoduck has been upgraded from anonymous chowder clam to star of the raw bar, and the food illuminati eat beef tongue and sweetbreads, know the names of egg farmers and have gotten awfully snooty about their strawberries. And now we’re seeing burgers that cost more than a used Kia.

Hamburger All the Way
Five Guys
Renton, Northgate and Redmond
$4.99

All-American Burger
Butcher’s Grind House Burger at Local 360
Belltown
$11

Although technically it didn’t get its start here, the burger has become the ultimate American dish, and I love seeing how the iconic sandwich has evolved in different cities across the country.

In L.A., you’ll invariably find an option served with a pile of avocado slices.

The next time you need a gift in a pinch (as in, 20 minutes before that forgotten afterwork party you just remembered), swing by one of two new gift stops, located on opposing hilltops to suit any crosstown breakneck trek.

You lucky Ballardites, you: Two-year-old Lemon Drop vintage boutique has moved from its original, easy-to-miss North Seattle spot to bigger digs four blocks off Market (Ballard, 5818 24th Ave. NW; 206.547.1840).

For designer Mark Tindall, the “big and tall” section in menswear only works halfway. “[Shirts] were always long enough, but big and boxy,” he says. “They would be huge on my neck, short on the arms.”

Looks aren’t everything, but in the world of finance, they can be a key to success, according to Scott, a 57-year-old Seattle-area certified financial planner and wealth manager. Though things had been going well at work, Scott was worried about losing his edge.

The latest issue of Northwest Home (found inside the January issue of Seattle magazine) showcases some tasty tables, a Ballard couple’s cool

On one of the last warm summer days of 2011, a construction crew put up the black steel tower of a pile driver in the extreme northwest corner of the parking lot just north of CenturyLink Field. Within days, a reciprocating WHAM! bounced among the brick and sandstone walls of Pioneer Square, as if the workers were announcing a turnaround for the beleaguered neighborhood.

Wine World Warehouse is a David and Goliath tale. Literally. The 23,000-square-foot shop just off I-5 in the Wallingford neighborhood was the vision of longtime Seattle wine expert David LeClaire, but it almost didn’t happen.

What qualifies something as funky? Artist Xenobia Bailey has a pretty clear answer: a passionate spirit of improvisation, of winging it with the materials at hand and celebrating the idiosyncrasies that result.

There’s a new Cuban sandwich in town, and it’s a keeper. Snout & Co.’s chef and owner, Lee Scott, serves his pickly mojo pork pressed sandwich ($7) out of a shiny black food truck.

For years, there have been complaints about the lack of (and lacking) Indian food options in Seattle. I’m here to tell you: Travelers is the answer to your prayers.

There is so much to like about Ba Bar, Eric and Sophie Banh’s latest; no surprise, really, as they’ve been feeding us delicious Vietnamese and fusion dishes at Monsoon and Baguette Box for years.

Restorative broths can be found in many traditions. In Greece, there’s the lemon-tinged avgolemono soup; Jewish cooks simmer chicken broth for matzo ball soup; and in Mexico, there is menudo, a holiday staple of simmered tripe, chiles, and a deep and rich broth.

Local filmmakers and film buffs hoped it was just a blooper reel as they watched the popular Motion Picture Competitiveness Program pass in the state Senate, but die before reaching a vote in the House during budget wrangling last May.

Not only is Seattle home to a multitude of mystery writers (see: the weather), it’s also an excellent place to curl up with a mystery novel (see also: the weather).

PERFORMANCE: “Redemption,” a live marimba performance with ambient music orchestrated by Seattle producer Steve Fisk (known for his work with Nirvana and Mudhoney).

Brangien Davis: This new piece is billed as a “concept album and self-help manual.” Come again?

Ryan Boudinot wrote his first story in first grade. Called “The Lion,” it was a retelling of the ancient fable of Androcles, a runaway slave who pulls a thorn from the paw of a fearsome lion and is rewarded with the beast’s eternal loyalty. Boudinot’s take was more autobiographical: “I bring the lion home, and it scares all my friends and teachers.”

WHY WE LOVE THE LOOK:

If your lifestyle necessitates a bag worthy of carrying puzzles, books and snacks for your brood while containing your entire office on the go (files, laptop, iPad, etc.), look no farther than the City Tote by Push Pull Cambodia, a gorgeous, sturdy cross-body messenger bag.

Date night in Seattle can quickly add up, so if springing for a sitter—in addition to dinner at that new Capitol Hill hot spot and a movie—makes a night out a budgetary no-go, check out SittingAround.com, an online baby-sitting co-op.

Seattle’s South End hilltop neighborhood is heating up. Long treasured for its diversity, Beacon Hill is amassing a trove of new tastes, out-of-the-box art and community music spaces—not to mention the new light rail station that provides quick and easy access for residents and day-trippers alike.

TASTE

Longtime friends and bartenders Trevor Garand and Rita Dixson opened casual neighborhood bar The Bridge this year in dive-bar Redline’s old space in West Seattle. It’s now a clean, welcoming bar (hooray!) with an outdoor patio and a fresh food and drink menu.

Countless recipes. Thousands of taste testers. Bacon. All of these ingredients were essential in Alissa Leinonen’s plan to make her dream of producing a line of fresh salad dressings a reality.

CAFÉ PRESSE

Straight from Paris, the rich, silky chocolat chaud is made with 71 percent origin unico (single origin) solid chocolate, French Cacao Barry cacao, half milk and half cream. Served Parisian style with fresh whipped cream on the side. $5/8 ounces.

CHOCOLOPOLIS

“As I ate the oysters with their strong taste of the sea and their faint metallic taste that the cold white wine washed away, leaving only the sea taste and the succulent texture, and as I drank their cold liquid from each shell and washed it down with the crisp taste of the wine, I lost the empty feeling and began to be happy and to make plans.”

The phrase “old soul” is overused, but it’s perhaps never been more appropriate than in the instance of 24-year-old Allen Stone, the local singer/songwriter whose voice brings to mind Stevie Wonder, Prince and anyone else who can sing the hell out of an R&B song.

Seattle generally doesn’t give locals the tabloid treatment, but that wasn’t always so. In the 1950s and ’60s, the press was obsessed with Seattle’s answer to Brangelina, the gorillas Bobo and Fifi.

The 12-Stack Burger
Burger Madness
SoDo, $18.98
Twelve beef patties, each topped with a slice of American cheese. Finish one with a combo meal (includes fries and a drink) in less than 30 minutes and you’ll get a $20 gift certificate.

The Goliath Burger

Turkey Burger
5-ounce Turkey Burger at Teddy’s Bigger Burgers
Woodinville
$9.89

Wistful remembrances, stories told and retold (“Back when I first met your dad”)—hanging out at these classic burger places colors the memories of friends, parents and grandparents. Dick’s, Burgermaster and even the comparatively young Red Mill are Seattle burger icons, beloved for far more than just fries and shakes.

Sure, your smartphone can talk the talk, but can it do the robot?

January is the month for overly optimistic New Year’s resolutions, so why not dream big by signing up for an aerial yoga class? The exercise trend is taking wing all over the city, and involves airborne workouts similar to traditional yoga (focusing on core strength, flexibility and coordination) but performed while hanging from a ceiling-suspended apparatus.

WHERE: Eugene, Oregon, for the seventh annual Oregon Truffle Festival

It’s been said that big things come in small packages, and what better package for a “big thing” than a pizza box?