Things to do in Fremont

Have you been to the center of the universe? The Fremont neighborhood in Seattle has given itself this bold title. Honestly, after spending some time there, we can absolutely see why! It's a bohemian wonderland littered with great coffee, even better food, and a seemingly endless variety of funky art. Let's face it, anywhere that boasts a gigantic troll under a bridge is a place worth visiting, right? It's just the right distance away from the craziness of downtown and it's seated along a canal. This means as you're buying your fresh produce and local art at the Fremont Sunday Market, you have the gorgeous backdrop of ships slowly passing under the Aurora bridge. Here's why we think you should spend one of these few late summer days left exploring Fremont.


Brouwer's Cafe

Looking for those one-off crazy beers you can't find anywhere else? For over a decade, Brouwer's Cafe has been one of Seattle's most sought-out craft beer destinations. They have over 60 rotating beers on tap and an impressive selection of over 400 bottles to choose from. Plus an incredible scotch collection, impressive whiskey offering, and some pretty swell house cocktails. Now... typically a place with this insane of a beer selection isn't known for its food. Not the case with Brouwer's. Their modern take on classic Belgian cuisine is incredible and they are probably most well known for their mouth-watering lamb burger. So we'll finish with this: after a long day of cycling along the canal or walking the Fremont Sunday Market, Brouwer's is the perfect place to cut loose and unwind.

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The Whale Wins

Waterfront dining at it's best. Renee Erickson was awarded a James Beard award in 2016 and when you visit this establishment, it's apparent why. This vegetable-forward menu is the embodiment of local and seasonal. They do a near flawless job of gathering fresh ingredients from the local coastline, farms and gardens, cooking them to perfection in their wood-fired oven, then excitingly serving them for the table to share. Renee's own words sum it up perfectly: "The Whale Wins is a warm, approachable, neighborhood restaurant — a place to enjoy great wines by the glass, draft beer, spirited cocktails, and flavorful, ingredient-focused food with friends and family." 

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Theo Chocolate

If you're looking for the closest thing to a Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory kind of experience (and yes, of course we're referring to the Gene Wilder version), then make sure to tour the Theo chocolate factory while you're in Fremont! There may not be any Oompa Loompas, but you will be stuffed to the gills in amazing samples. All the while you can feel good about supporting these guys because frankly, they're amazing when it comes to running a sustainable business. They build long-term relationships with farmers around the world, and their products reflect the value of those relationships and the quality of cocoa they buy. They go above and beyond to support critical needs like reforestation programs in Peru and maternal health initiatives in Eastern Congo. Every bar contributes to Theo's positive impact all over the globe. And if that wasn't enough, the chocolate is just amazing! Personal faves are the mint or chili dark chocolate, but they are sure to always have exciting new flavors! 

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Mischief Distillery 

At Mischief, the tastings are lively, engaging, and delicious. The grounds are pristine, the decor is unique, and the owners and staff are inviting. We love that all their whiskeys are exclusively rye whiskeys because of a commitment to sustainability in their local growing region here in Washington and Oregon (and rye grain being the only grain not requiring chemicals to grow). Because of committing to this specific type of whiskey, they've really honed their skills and consider themselves "rye experts." In addition to the rye, we have to say their gin is one of the best we've ever had: the aromatics they use really make it unique and stand out from the norm. If you leave your tasting with a bottle or two, don't miss the cocktail recipes on their website! 

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Kamonegi 

In Japan, soba is a way of life, but here in the States, soba restaurants are few and far between. We love that Kamonegi is trying to change that! What this cozy little restaurant lacks in seating and space, they make up for in incredible service and perfectly executed dishes. The chef-owner is an artisan soba maker and the Japanese equivalent of a sake sommelier, so you are getting a very authentic soba and sake experience with an aggressively seasonal & modern slant. The soba noodles themselves are outrageously good, nutty with a perfect al-dente chew. We recommend starting with the umami-rich broccolini tempura with parmesan and miso anchovy aioli, moving onto the mushroom soba with leek, mitsuba, and truffle oil, and finishing off with the charcoal Butter Mochi Cake with grilled corn ice cream and soy caramel. But the staff can guide you through all your questions and you really can't go wrong with anything you decide on. 

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Sunday Market

This European style indoor-outdoor market has been building a following for almost 30 years now. Over 200 vendors bring antiques, collectibles, retro, vintage, original fashion, tools, and estate sale treasures. Also, there's a continually changing bazaar of unusual items from all over the world, new and innovative designers, artists and craftsmen with one-of-a-kind artisan products. Don't even get us started on the gourmet food trucks that line up to offer their incredibly eclectic cuisines. The market is free and happens no matter what the weather brings. With Seattle's own Theo Chocolate on one end and the Red Door Ale House on the other, its surrounded by a fabulous selection of neighboring shops, cafes and restaurants. Little insider's tip: The Red Door Ale House has some of the best buffalo wings we've ever had.

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Canal Park

Right along the canal you'll find this unique and truly romantic park. It sort of winds along the water with a beautiful walking trail. It features several benches to watch the ships slowly pass or to watch the incredible summer sunsets. Or walk right up to the canal and sit above the water for a more intimate view. The park provides a community gathering space, notably for the annual Fremont Fair, which is celebrated in June and draws more than 100,000 people! On a beautiful night, take someone you love to an incredible meal in Fremont, then find a spot on the canal and watch the sun go down. Hard to beat! 

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Burke Gilman Trail

The 19 mile long Burke Gilman is without a doubt the most popular trail in Seattle. It's paved. It's flat. It's beautiful. What more could you ask for in a trail? From commuters cycling to work daily to evening joggers, it's rare ever to find this trail empty. We bring it up here because quite a nice stretch of it takes you right through Fremont. You follow the beautiful curvy path of the canal and see some pretty interesting installments like the Fremont Rocket, Vladimir Lenin statue, and the Fremont Troll. If you want to explore Fremont on a bike, the Burke Gilman trail is the way to do it.

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Fremont Troll

Ah yes... The infamous Fremont Troll. In 1989, the city launched an art competition to fix up the area under the bridge, which was becoming a common hang out for drug dealers. Later that year a team led by sculptor Steve Badanes started a project inspired by the folktale Billy Goat's Gruff. It's 18 ft. tall and made of 2 tons of concrete and is 100% weird. But that's what's so great about areas like Fremont! It's home to some major tech giants and big business, yet has a giant creepy troll sculpture under its bridges. It's incredible.

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Vintage Mall

You're walking along, head down an art-filled stairwell out of nowhere and it opens up into this massively packed, super funky, super cool vintage shop. Imagine you went to 900 estate sales and painstakingly picked out only the very coolest items you could find. Organize them in an easy to browse fashion in a basement in Fremont and you've got the Vintage Mall! From rare vinyl to vintage pyrex to that insanely cool armchair your great-great-grandmother hand made for great grandmother... Even if you're not looking to buy anything, you'll leave here with some crazy cool trinket you won't soon forget.

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Slow Living: What it is and why we love it!

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Slow living has become more than just a buzzword, it’s a movement. And no wonder since people every day are living at an impossibly fast pace. Slow living is all about taking a step back from the chaos and intentionally taking a slower approach to aspects of everyday life. It’s about decelerating the pace of our modern living and adding back balance, ease, and sanity.  

We are excited to share a few of our favorite aspects of slow living, but in this week's blog, we take on how the slow living movement can be incorporated into home design. 

Our surroundings have an impact on how we feel. Design can affect our mood and ambitions. To induce the slow-living concept into our lives it helps to incorporate a design that allows you to live in a more conscious, intentional, and mindful way. And yes, the interior of your home can help you feel more balanced! If you incorporate the following principles, you’ll be well on your way to creating a home designed with this in mind: 


S

Sustainable:

Meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs. This also means focusing on pieces that will last and not treating everything in life as disposable (sorry, IKEA)

L

Local:

Showcasing regional goods (or pieces from your travels)

O

Organic:

Not mass-produced

W

Whole:

Not processed



Slow living design. Our tips: 

  • Create gathering spaces that foster wellness, conversation and time with friends and family.

    • Place furniture so it’s positioned to entice conversation.

    • Family rooms with comfortable seating centered around a large coffee table for board games or hobbies.

    • Oversized dining tables with plenty of chairs that welcome meals together and lingering conversation.

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  • Incorporate an organic and natural way of living.

    • Choose accent pieces with hand-loomed fabrics

    • Bring nature inside by adding branches from a tree, a fresh vase of flowers, or a bowl filled with rocks and moss from your favorite weekend getaway.

    • Chopped firewood next to a woodburning fireplace plays up both nature and functionality.

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  • It’s all about warmth

    • Warmth can be incorporated with color, but it doesn’t mean you have to ditch the gray. Adding soft, touchable texture eludes to a comfortable warmth and a tranquil home.

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  • Artisanal Touches

    • Skills such as pottery and weaving trend with this design because they visually stimulate feelings of the slow art (and time) it took to lovingly put the piece together. For instance, if you select a natural woven pillow handmade by a local artisan, it reminds you of how the craft of weaving and the slow methodical art of creating that pillow took time, concentration, and connection with the skill. The very thought of that can help you disconnect from the chaotic world, making the design inside your home an integral part of reaching a more balanced mindset.

    • Unique, one of a kind pieces are dominating the home fashion industry. Original pieces of art and anything handcrafted allow for personal expression. “Self Expression” is the ultimate of the slow living trend. And again, this doesn’t have to be expensive. One of a kind pieces can even be made by you, or your children. It may entice you to embrace the whole slow living movement and take up a hobby or two!

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  • It’s all about texture

    • You’ll find lots of layering of textures. Think about it: If everything is too similar, our eyes have trouble focusing. Using texture helps to bring harmony and balance to the room. Texture in this sense can come from a variety of sources from soft fabrics and textiles with movement to harder materials like wood and stone, on any touchable surface.

    • The easiest and least expensive way to add texture in the home is through fabrics and textiles. These are usually smaller pieces like pillows and throw blankets. Soft furnishings in a selection of textures can make a big impact when displayed together.

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Ultimately, slow living is a connection with yourself, those around you, and the world. We hope that incorporating some of these ideas inspires you to take life a little slower.


Selling your home shouldn’t be… slow.

Let us work with you to find the right buyer.

Livin' La Vida Starbucks

Okay. We want to just start by saying we know this can be an oddly controversial topic. People seem to either look up to Starbucks as the best possible way to start their day or… look down on Starbucks as a corporate giant destroying the coffee business. It’s a bit extreme we know, but we like to find ourselves sitting comfortably in between the two. Living here in Seattle, the home of Starbucks, we thought we’d give our two cents on what it is to live the Starbucks lifestyle.

First of all, let’s talk about what Starbucks is great at.

It can’t be stressed enough how valuable the combination of fast wifi & a reliably clean bathroom is. Whether you’re meeting friends or just headed to work, being able to stop in somewhere that feels familiar and has clean facilities is a lifesaver. Gas stations and fast food spots filled this hole back in the day but we all know we’ve been on a road trip and bought some Starbucks coffee strictly so we could use a CLEAN bathroom. Ok and maybe a cake pop or two… I mean we’re there we might as well.

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Which brings us to the drive-thru. Usually associated with not so healthy fast food options, Starbucks really gave the drive-thru a better rep when they started introducing them into their cafes. Utilizing technology like video screens where you can see your barista has slowed the process, but made it more of an enjoyable experience from a consumer standpoint. The time a customer may spend in a Starbucks drive-thru compared to the top fast-food chains is about double. But there’s no mistake that the experience and reward is generally far more enjoyable.

Then, of course, there’s the fact that you can find Starbucks in over 80 countries. The current count is a little over 29,000 stores! That’s insane. This does provide a level of familiarity and comfort no matter where you are in the world which is a pretty nice benefit. Starbucks has mastered the art of consistency. Your two-pump-vanilla-soy-triple-tall latte be made virtually the exact same way no matter what location you walk into, and there is something to be said for knowing your drink will taste the way you want it, consistently from day to day, anywhere in the world. If it doesn’t taste the same, you can ask for it to be remade and as consumers, we are willing to pay for that consistency and guarantee.


Let’s dive into the not so great aspects of this $3.5 billion company.

One thing that most people who strongly dislike Starbucks seem to have in common is this: They consider themselves to be “true coffee lovers.” They drink interesting single-origin coffees from a Chemex and add absolutely no cream or sugar. Starbucks has made super dark french roast coffees their primary workhorse and for good reason, most people pour a whole lot of cream and sweetener into their coffee. Darker roasted coffees can stand up to that battering of sweetness. So if you’re looking for uniquely artisan coffees extracted in an extremely precise way and brewed by an award-winning barista, your friendly neighborhood Starbucks is probably not the place to go. It’s ironic, if you look up Starbucks’ top competitors, you find companies like Dunkin’ Donuts and McDonald’s. If Starbucks were a “coffee company” why would it be compared to a burger joint and a donut shop? This is more ammo for the coffee purists out there who think Starbucks shouldn’t even fall in the realm of a coffee shop.

All people agree, though— Starbucks is a really great dessert shop.

Okay, we’re half kidding, but seriously: Frappuccinos make up close to 1/5 of all Starbucks sales. Outside of that, quite a few of Starbuck’s items are more sugar than coffee. For instance:

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Venti (extra large) white chocolate mocha with whipped cream -- 73.8 grams of sugar (about 18 teaspoons)

Venti chai tea latte -- 52 grams of sugar (about 13 teaspoons)

Venti caramel macchiato -- 42.1 grams of sugar (about 11 teaspoons)

For comparison, a can of Coke contains 33 grams of sugar.

This is a growing concern of Starbuck’s as they are currently working on changing some Frappuccino recipes to be more healthy. Bottom line is it’s not a favorite of the third wave coffee lovers. But guess what? It’s ok to not be a coffee snob! Its okay to drink a little coffee in your cream if that’s how you like it!


Now all that being said…

In an effort to show true coffee lovers that Starbucks does actually know it’s stuff they’ve opened up stores like The Reserve Roastery which we recently toured and absolutely loved! With more of a focus on single-origin coffees and interesting brewing methods, this place is a must if you’re in the Seattle area. You can’t help but feeling just a little bit cooler as you leave!

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Whether you are team Starbucks or not,

the fact IS they have become a world recognized brand that has been both praised and mocked almost more than any other. They have an undeniable stronghold on the market and have built the empire to prove it. If you’re looking for a reliable place to sit comfortably on good wifi and sip a reliably decent coffee no matter where you are in the country or world, Starbucks is likely the best option.

But, if a truly third-wave experience of artisan-roasted coffee is what you’re after, visit the Starbucks Reserve Roastery or, here are some of our absolute favorites in Seattle.

Enjoy!

Slate Coffee Roasters

Stumptown Coffee

Victrola Coffee Roasters

Caffe Vita


Let’s meet at Starbucks!

We’d love to help you get settled into the PNW