Mystic makes 12th Ave plans in Seattle’s growing kombucha culture and community

(Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

da Silva at the Broadway Farmers Market (Images: Alex Garland for CHS)

Carlos da Silva started brewing kombucha as a hobby about three and a half years ago. He and his friend, Caitlin Matteson, were both yoga teachers who liked the beverage made from fermented tea, so they bought a home kit from Communitea.

The pair, and their friends, enjoyed the brew they came up with, but there was one big problem.

“We didn’t make enough kombucha for a habit,” da Silva said. “We wanted to make more.”

From that scoby — the squishy tea starter disc — sprang forth Mystic Kombucha, a company which sells its creations around Capitol Hill including the weekly Sunday Broadway Farmers Market, and which, as early as this summer, should have its own kombucha bar on 12th Ave. Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Blue Stone hopes to be part of secret Hill trove of Korean gems

Jeff Kim and Chong Kim, right (Images: CHS)

Jeff Kim and Chong Kim, right (Images: CHS)

Chong Kim is an experienced restaurateur, but even he was unprepared for the crush of business when he opened Blue Stone, a new Korean restaurant on E Olive Way.

“I knew this was a good place, but I wasn’t expecting it to be this busy this fast,” he said. “It’s kind of scary, we have to maintain it.”

Kim previously owned cafes in Magnolia and Redmond before taking over the spot on E Olive Way. He and his wife found themselves in a more stable financial situation, so they opened a Korean restaurant using family recipes since that style of food has always been dear to them.

“We can do what we enjoy and like to eat,” he said.

Blue Stone opened in mid-March, and along with places like Oma Bap and Trove, and neighborhood stalwart Kimchi Bistro, makes for a boomlet of Korean food on the hill.

That little boom might be why Kim is finding his customers unexpectedly knowledgeable about the cuisine. People come in, know what they want and often pronounce it correctly, he says. Beyond that, Kim finds that about 10% of his customers actually speak some Korean.

“I said, ‘Whoa, I’ve got to be careful what I say,’” he said with a laugh. Kim said he’s grown to appreciate not only his customer’s savvy, but also their adventurousness. Continue reading

Elysian Brewing cofounder Dick Cantwell resigns three months after Anheuser-Busch takeover

"Brewmaster" (Image: Jeanine Anderson via Flickr)

“Brewmaster” (Image: Jeanine Anderson via Flickr)

When CHS asked Elysian Brewing cofounder and craft brewer Dick Cantwell if he would stay on with his company after it was bought out in January by one of the largest brewing corporations in the world, he only said “we’ll see.”

After three months under Anheuser-Busch control, Cantwell is now saying goodbye to the company, his Seattle-based brewery, and it’s E Pike pub. An Elysian spokesperson confirmed Cantwell’s departure Monday afternoon after Seattle Beer News reported the news.

Cantwell has not yet responded to an email request for comment on his resignation and what might come next for the brewmaster.

A pillar of the region’s craft brewing scene, Cantwell was the most hesitant of the three cofounders about the sale to Anheuser-Busch, the U.S. arm of international brewing conglomerate InBev. Continue reading

Capitol Hill’s newest lunch spot Meat & Bread opens inside the Central Agency building

IMG_7106The name pretty much says it all when it comes to Capitol Hill’s latest lunch counter. Vancouver-based Meat & Bread opened for business Monday inside the Central Agency building on 10th Ave between E Union and E Seneca.

Owners Cord Jarvie and Frankie Harrington hopped the border to oversee the soft opening of their fourth popular sandwich shop on Friday, where CHS got a sneak peek of the operation. Harrington told CHS he frequently came to Capitol Hill as a teenager growing up outside Vancouver and was ecstatic to make his mark in the neighborhood.

In Seattle, Jarive and Harrington are replicating their working recipe that keeps things simple with a menu pared down to four daily offerings. Opting for roasts and slow-cooked meats over the deli sliced variety, daily sandwiches include porchetta (roast pork), meatball, and grilled cheese with one rotating option. Most sandwiches go for around $10.

The menu does include a few non meat and bread items, including a rotating side soup and salad, two desserts, and $1.50 Rainier tallboys.

Continue reading

Gokan by Musashi, with a focus on the art of sushi, opens on E Union

A fixture inside Gokan by Musashi (Image: Agazit Afeworki)

A fixture inside Gokan by Musashi (Image: Agazit Afeworki)

By Agazit Afeworki, UW News Lab special to CHS

Private Tatami rooms bring Japanese customs to Capitol Hill (Image: Agazit Afeworki)

Private Tatami rooms bring Japanese customs to Capitol Hill (Image: Agazit Afeworki)

Rushing in, Gokan by Musashi restaurant owner Jun Park makes his rounds shaking hands with his staff, picking up phone calls and getting the music changed over the speakers. Offering some green tea, he apologizes for being late.

He was up until 5 AM the night before. But there was a good reason: He was cutting fish.

The busy owner of Musashi in Seattle and Bellevue decided to take a chance by opening a new restaurant on Capitol Hill.

Gokan debuts with a soft opening Friday night.

Gokan’s traditional and modern Japanese mix — complete with two tatami rooms — reflects Park’s passion to elevate the innovation in sushi bars. Park said he referred to his roots when building Gokan, which means “five senses” in Japanese, because he was tired of the fast-food style in his other restaurants.

“People would just eat and go,” said Park. Continue reading

Coffee’s ‘biggest event’ just downhill from the fertile roasting grounds of Capitol Hill

"Fraser at the helm of the roaster" -- Victrola Coffee Roasters

“Fraser at the helm of the roaster” — Victrola Coffee Roasters

For the second year in a row, Capitol Hill will be the coffee playground to attendees of one of the largest coffee conventions in the country, happening just off the Hill in the Washington State Convention Center.

Thousands of coffee professionals started gathering this week for the Specialty Coffee Association of America’s expo. Four days of lectures, demonstrations, and competitions officially kicks off Thursday.

The opening day concludes with a block party just outside Melrose Market from 7 to 10 PM. Thursday night’s event is open to the public, as is the latte art competition inside the E Pike Victrola. Local baristas are encouraged to compete and their local customers are encouraged to go cheer them on. Organizers tell CHS the block party will include a beer garden, food trucks, and of course, plenty of coffee.

Typically, the SCAA event travels to different city each year. The return to Seattle and the convention center coincides with the recent nearby arrival of the Starbucks Reserve Roastery and Tasting Room. Starbucks is this year’s official event host and says it is eager to show off its new showy operation on Capitol Hill.

But Starbucks won’t be the only roaster for attendees to check out within walking distance of the convention center. Capitol Hill is home to the densest cluster of coffee roasters in the city, which includes Victrola, Caffe Vita, Espresso Vivace, and Stumptown. Eastlake is also home to roasters for Kalani Organic Coffee and Monkee Tree Coffee.

According to permit information obtained by CHS, there are 30 coffee roasters within the city limits where green coffee beans are heated until they’re brown and aromatic.  Continue reading

Capitol Hill food+drink | Remedy Teas: under ‘new’ ownership

Irish, left, and Glenn (Images: CHS)

Irish, left, and Glenn (Images: Jeanny Rhee for CHS)

By Jeanny Rhee — UW News Lab/Special for CHS

With thousands of coffee pros arriving in Seattle this week for the Specialty Coffee Association of America 2015 expo, leave it to CHS to tell you about Capitol Hill tea.

Remedy Teas is now under the ownership of Christopher Glenn and Rich Irish, who have grand plans for continuing and expanding the tea house with health and sustainability in mind.

And, by “now,” we mean “as of last August.” Glenn and Irish said they weren’t in a hurry to make a big deal about the change.

“Some people will blast big signs of new ownership because they’re trying to change the business’ perception to customers,” Irish said. “Remedy Teas is a very solid brand in the community and we didn’t want to broadcast it.” Continue reading

Ms. Helen, Africatown, and Black Wall Street: Visions for the future of 23rd and Union

(Images: Jeremy Hurd-McKenney for CHS)

With major elements like a Public Development Authority or a land trust still on the drawing board, community members met with Africatown Seattle and the Union Street Business Association Saturday to talk about the future of 23rd and Union and landowner Tom Bangasser’s still-for-sale Midtown Center block. There was one solid announcement about the future of the property, however.

Bangasser introduced longtime community members Helen Coleman and her daughter, Jesdarnel “Squirt” Henton. The ladies were there to provide lunch and context for the changes at 23rd and Union and to announce that a lease for Ms. Helen’s Soul Food Bistro had been finalized with Bangasser.

Ms. Helen said the legacy of the Central District is “all about community and how you define home. I’m glad to have this privilege to come out of retirement to get what we need back in this community.” Ms. Helen and Henton spoke of the four generations of family the business would be representing. “Not only does it benefit my family, but it benefits my family,” Henton said, gesturing to the audience. “Ya’ll understand me, right?” Continue reading

Chocolate bunnies pop up on Capitol Hill

(Image: Dolcetta Artisan Sweets)

(Image: Dolcetta Artisan Sweets)

Whatever your level of faith, it’s difficult to resist a chocolate bunny. Saturday, Capitol Hill will again host the annual pre-Easter pop-up of Dolcetta Artisan Sweets:

It’s almost time… stop by Sole Repair Shop tomorrow (Saturday) between 11 and 4 for handmade Easter treats – decorated chocolate bunnies, Easter egg macarons, chocolate covered nougat, colorful bonbons, and your favorite Dolcetta bars, truffles, and caramels.

11134090_910351475681913_579227808923137028_oMeanwhile, a more permanent provider of sweets and amazing chocolate creations just might have something left for your basket at Bakery Nouveau. Here are a few treats we found on Nouveau’s Facebook page:

Bakery Noveau is open 7 AM to 9 PM at 137 15th Ave E. Dolcetta Artisan Sweets pops up at Sole Repair at 1001 E Pike from 11 AM to 4 PM Saturday.

Here’s the 2015 list of 2015 Capitol Hill-area egg hunts.

In 701 Coffee, 23rd Ave gets new, community oriented coffee house

A good coffee shop can grow to be a big part of a community.The Central District has a new coffee house at the corner of 23rd and Cherry. And its owners and longtime Central District residents, Sara and Rachel Brereton, have community-building hopes for 701 Coffee.

“There’s a lot of action going on around here, but there’s not really a lot of places for people to go,” Sara tells CHS.

701 Coffee opened in late March with a two-year lease following a string of businesses ranging from corner stores to a Metro PCS that have cycled in and out of the space at 23rd and Cherry over the years. Despite the space being at a heavily trafficked intersection and close to major neighborhood institutions such as Garfield High School and the community center, nothing’s lasted for long.

“I think it [the shop] will turn a dead corner into a thriving corner,” said Sara. Continue reading