News Blog for Seattle's University District Neighborhood

 

Mugshot Monday #6 – Tea Republik: Where Tea Holds Supreme Power Over the Bean

September 8th, 2014 by master

Welcome to #MugShot Monday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

I rolled down the Ave. on my bike past dense pockets of cannabis air, past Starbucks, past the Vape Store and found myself in front of Tea Republik.

Still on my coffee cleanse, I was thankful that my next MugShot Monday adventure would not be filled with the aroma of espresso while having to sip on a less-than-exciting cup of generic tea.

Tea Republic welcomed me with a nicely designed interior, warm lighting and a very friendly and helpful –would he still be considered a barista?– let’s just call him Tea-Guy!

I happened upon Tea Republik on a quiet morning, however, Manager Daniel a.k.a. the Tea-Guy said that once classes start up they get considerably more business. Although not strict about people ‘camping‘ with their laptops and school books, he occasionally has to remind patrons to help pay the rent!

While they have generous evening hours of operation, this republik is not for morning people:

Monday – Thursday 11am-11pm
Friday – 10am-12am
Saturday – 11am-12am
Sunday – 11am – 10pm

I ordered a London Fog, but after sitting down and looking at the tea menu I had buyers remorse and realized I should have ordered their Lavender Cream Earl Grey ($4.49 for a large pot, $3.99 for a small). Regardless, the tea arrived to my table and was delightful to sip. I had asked if he could sweeten it with honey instead of sugar of which he did without a blink of an eye.

In addition to House Specialties, Loose Leaf, Traditional, Caffeinated or Decaf, and an assortment of Flavored Teas, they also serve pre-made sandwiches and have bakery items if you have a hankering for something sweet.

I loved sipping and refilling my little tea cup. There is something so satisfying about pouring tea. I am sure I am tapping into the ancient art of the the Tea Ceremony. It’s a sweet reminder to slow down and breathe.

With its clean and inviting space (I even checked out the immaculate bathroom) the Tea Republic is the perfect atmosphere for students and people who need to get out of their home office. Daniel would like to add that this Republic is not a library, so make sure you purchase well and often if you plan to be there for a while — and I might add, tip your Tea Guy!

Tea Republik

4527 University Way NE

Seattle, Washington

(206) 497-7631

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Mischief, Dreams and the Unknowable Forces of Jim Woodring: Author Event This Thursday PM

September 3rd, 2014 by master

“There are a lot of elements in the stories that mean something to me that shouldn’t mean anything to anybody else, though of course I hope they do.”

Jim Woodring, 2002 (from an interview with Gary Groth in the Comics Journal)

Jim Woodring will discuss and sign his new book Jim: Jim Woodring’s Notorious Autojournal at the University Book Store in the U District Thursday evening at 7pm.

Woodring is an award winning American comic artist, writer and designer. He has been creating fictitious and surreal worlds for decades using illustration, comic and fine art. This book is a collection of his ‘autojournals’ and explores the mischievous creatures, dreams and other realms of his strange worlds.

The Event is free and starts at 7pm. You can purchase your own copy of the book at the store, by phone or online.

Where: University bookstore (4326 University Way NE, Seattle)

When: 7pm, September 4th.

For more information contact the University Bookstore: (206) 634­-3400

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Mugshot Monday #5 – Remembering Long Lost Cafés of the Ave.

September 1st, 2014 by master

Welcome to MugShot Monday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafés

Front view of the Last Exit on Brooklyn / Photo Cred:Moss Willow via Wikipedia

For Labor Day I felt it would be nice to take a break from visiting up-and-running cafés and look back at some Cafés of Old in the University District.

It was a time before the internet and laptop computers. Before people were glued to their social media and texts. Before a cafe had to advertise free wi-fi to have street-cred. Back then, going to a cafe was really about wanting connection, a conversation, a moment of reflection with a cup of coffee, a pen, journal and a thought. It was a place to read Kafka,  poetry or write your own story. We didn’t obsess about coffee brands, gluten-free or Grande vs. Venté.

Cafe culture was about getting out and listening to the buzz on the street; being open to a more colorful collection of faces and delving into the dark-roasted realm of coincidence and spontaneity.

I moved to Seattle when I was 20 years old and my first job was at the Espresso Roma Cafe (where the Cafe on the Ave. now sits). Back then it was the waning years of grunge. We had to keep a close watch on the bathroom since folks would duck in and shoot up and fall asleep in there. It seemed like every one of my co-workers was in a band….hmmmm I guess not a lot has changed.

One of my favorite places to go for breakfast was The Black Cat (Brooklyn near Campus Parkway) The Black Cat was a vegan leaning vegetarian joint run by a collective of anarchy inspired punks and was operated for five years in the mid-90’s. The decor was a collection of remnants, mis-matched furniture and bike parts. It was a great place to go and feel apart of the Seattle sub-culture.

No posts about long-loved and lost cafes would be complete without an ode to Last Exit on Brooklyn. Appropriately situated on Brooklyn Ave., it opened in 1967 and sadly closed in 2000 not too long after a relocation to N. University Ave. According to Wikipedia, in 1985 it was deemed one of “Americas second oldest continuously run coffeehouses”. It was a spot you couldn’t help feel the vibe of the Grateful Dead, true hippy-dom and authentic bohemian round table conversation.  Body-odor shy people probably made a point to stay away because of an unspoken rule that with enough patchouli, showers were optional. It was also famously a meeting spot for chess players amateur and professional, including such players as  Peter BiyiasasViktors Pupols, and Yasser Seirawan. Last Exit remains a legend of Seattle café culture.

When Last Exit closed in 2000, many of the colorful grab-bag of patrons found their way down to The Pearl in the middle of the 4200 block of University Ave.

Saving the best for last, The Pearl was the beautifully inspired vision of Robynne Hawthorne whose love of literature, art and culture could be seen in every detail of the place. From the amazing mural her friend painted with magical and ghostly figures on the back wall to the beautiful finely crafted bar area. I saw Laura Viers play in her early years, and Jason Webley preformed his memorable musical performance art. The Jelly Rollers were frequent players and I always enjoyed doing my homework sitting next to the owner’s two beautiful young daughters.

Cafés will always be a place I crave to go and sit with a cup of coffee or chai. I still look for that independent café that offers an atmosphere that rises above the on-the-go coffee crowd, computer plug-ins and get-em-out the door vibe. In Seattle, a café that offers a warm interior with ambient light, an interesting staff, local offerings and consistently diverse music playing is where I will come back to.

Today, independent bookstores, video stores, record stores and cafés are all being challenged by today’s big business market. But it’s important to remember that they have been the backbone of youth culture, independent arts and creative expression in cities. In my opinion, independent cafés are needed to create a meeting space for people, ideas and diversity.

Today as we remember independent cafés of old, head out to your favorite spot and make sure you tip your barista extra good!

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MugShot Monday #3-Ringing the Cowbell for Sound Coffee & Morsel

August 18th, 2014 by master

Welcome to MugShot Monday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafe’s

Have you Been Meaning to Stop in at Sound Coffee and Morsel Cafe? Did you Hear a Cowbell Ring Out and Wonder Why? Does the Idea of Bacon Jam do Anything For You? Doesn’t A Biscuit Sound Perfect Right About Now?

Entrance to Biscuit Heaven

I had been hearing about Morsel for a while now and was curious about what it had to offer. So, as I biked  down University Avenue in search of the next coffee spot, I was excited that it was going to be my next stop!

It was a hot morning and quickly moving its way to an 80 degree day. I wasn’t sure if hot coffee and a biscuit was going to hit the spot, but in the name of MugShot Monday, I dared to partake. I stepped into Morsel and was immediately greeted by 2014 U.S. Latte Art 3rd place winner Kyle Dols who had a contagiously spirited smile and immediately got me up to speed on all things biscuit.

Based on what Dols said was the most popular menu item, I ordered a “Spanish Fly” ($6.75) with the Rosemary/basil biscuit-of-the-day, and my usual double tall Americano ($2.75).

As I was waiting for my Biscuit to arrive Dols prepared me a sample of their housemade soda. He created a blackberry, rosemary and vanilla just for me! It paired perfectly with my biscuit and was a nice refresher as it was really getting sweaty at my booth! My biscuit arrived looking glorious, albeit a little tall for my eating geometry, but once I figured out how to consume it I was in a biscuit heaven that I didn’t even know existed. Consisting of proscuitto, fried egg, manchego, arugula, and mama lil’s pepper aioli, this beauty (pictured below) ended up hitting the spot in a big way!

Morsel has a lively environment, good music, great staff and just a few house rules!

  • Enjoy the comfortable first-come-first-serve seating, but please order first before sitting down
  • Free wi-fi, but don’t be that lame person taking up a four top to yourself — share your table if you’re gunna be on your computer!
  • Bus your own dishes!
  • Don’t forget to ask about the Bacon Jam!
  • And hit the Cowbell on your way out!
  • Serving Veltons Coffee from Everett Wa. This Americano was perfectly poured, smooth and sweet!

    The Spanish Fly and sample of housemade soda

    On their website, Owner Kekow Chin-Hidano says that “Our customers are awesome, they like our food and they like us…and we like them. I really couldn’t ask for better customers.”

    I found this to be a truly delightful cafe to spend some time. I look forward to visiting in the colder months when some comfort food will really be just the thing! And for those of you on the West side, Morsel now has a Ballard location called the Morsel and Bean that I hear has a drive-thru!

    Cowbell is for Awesome!

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MugShot Monday #3-Ringing the Cowbell for Sound Coffee & Morsel

August 18th, 2014 by master

Welcome to MugShot Monday: a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafe’s

Have you Been Meaning to Stop in at Sound Coffee and Morsel Cafe? Did you Hear a Cowbell Ring Out and Wonder Why? Does the Idea of Bacon Jam do Anything For You? Doesn’t A Biscuit Sound Perfect Right About Now?

Entrance to Biscuit Heaven

I had been hearing about Morsel for a while now and was curious about what it had to offer. So, as I biked  down University Avenue in search of the next coffee spot, I was excited that it was going to be my next stop!

It was a hot morning and quickly moving its way to an 80 degree day. I wasn’t sure if hot coffee and a biscuit was going to hit the spot, but in the name of MugShot Monday, I dared to partake. I stepped into Morsel and was immediately greeted by 2014 U.S. Latte Art 3rd place winner Kyle Dols who had a contagiously spirited smile and immediately got me up to speed on all things biscuit.

Based on what Dols said was the most popular menu item, I ordered a “Spanish Fly” ($6.75) with the Rosemary/basil biscuit-of-the-day, and my usual double tall Americano ($2.75).

As I was waiting for my Biscuit to arrive Dols prepared me a sample of their housemade soda. He created a blackberry, rosemary and vanilla just for me! It paired perfectly with my biscuit and was a nice refresher as it was really getting sweaty at my booth! My biscuit arrived looking glorious, albeit a little tall for my eating geometry, but once I figured out how to consume it I was in a biscuit heaven that I didn’t even know existed. Consisting of proscuitto, fried egg, manchego, arugula, and mama lil’s pepper aioli, this beauty (pictured below) ended up hitting the spot in a big way!

Morsel has a lively environment, good music, great staff and just a few house rules!

  • Enjoy the comfortable first-come-first-serve seating, but please order first before sitting down
  • Free wi-fi, but don’t be that lame person taking up a four top to yourself — share your table if you’re gunna be on your computer!
  • Bus your own dishes!
  • Don’t forget to ask about the Bacon Jam!
  • And hit the Cowbell on your way out!
  • Serving Veltons Coffee from Everett Wa. This Americano was perfectly poured, smooth and sweet!

    The Spanish Fly and sample of housemade soda

    On their website, Owner Kekow Chin-Hidano says that “Our customers are awesome, they like our food and they like us…and we like them. I really couldn’t ask for better customers.”

    I found this to be a truly delightful cafe to spend some time. I look forward to visiting in the colder months when some comfort food will really be just the thing! And for those of you on the West side, Morsel now has a Ballard location called the Morsel and Bean that I hear has a drive-thru!

    Cowbell is for Awesome!

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MugShot Monday #2-Fat Ducks Bakery and Deli

August 12th, 2014 by master

Welcome to MugShot Monday(on Tuesday this week!): a caffeine inspired journey to uncover University Ave’s Cafe’s

This Fancy Duck is enjoying her Double Tall Americano

Okay, Okay, I know…only two weeks into the weekly series and I’m already behind schedule. I can explain!!! But first, let me introduce you to Fat Ducks Deli and Bakery located on the north end of University Ave.

You will more-often-than-not be greeted by owner Jaclyn Roth who not only makes a good Americano, but will also offer you a pillow if you’ve by chance just recently thrown your back out and are noticeably gimping around the cafe.

I stopped in on Monday, but I failed to note the closure dates(hence my posts’ tardiness) Roth was on a trip in New York to, among some other things, purchase the amazing pastrami that she imports regularly from Brooklyn.

Roth comes from an east coast family that ran a deli bakery, and that is where she honed in her amazing baking skills. From rugelach to her creatively named cookies and sweets, Roth is baking away what must be all the hours in a day!

But since you need to eat a meal before dessert, her menu includes a vast assortment of sandwiches, soups, bagels (from Blazing Bagels) and more. This is the part where you take a bite into the Lucky Duck ($8.95), where you will taste that delicious pastrami, or if you’re a traditionalist like myself, you’ll order the Lox Duck($7.50) which is the classic bagel with lox, capers, etc. Whatever you order, give Jaclyn a little time to make it perfect. Good things come to those who wait! Trust me,  it will hit the spot!

With free wi-fi, a nice seating area in the back, some outdoor seating, Fat Ducks is a great spot to ‘waddle’ to for a coffee and a treat, lunch or an afternoon snack.

For more information, or to find out about her catering options, check out the Fat Ducks website.

Al, Ryan and Kyle (left to right) are regulars at Fat Ducks. They recommend the Corned beef. They were happy to rave about Jaclyn and Fat Ducks Bakery and Deli!

PCP cookies...don't worry, they're safe to eat!

LSD bars, I bought one for my 12 year old daughter; she loved it!

Everyone could use a little THC every once in a while!

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