Sunday, March 30, 2008

Check Your Receipts

A recent trip to Matador with a fellow BGGer proved to be a bit more expensive for this Ballard Gossip Girl than expected. After having a light meal and a refreshing beverage we decided to split our check, giving the bartender 2 credit cards. We both signed and left a generous tip. That was that. So, you can imagine my shock when I checked my bank statement a couple days later and saw not only my charge from Matador, but also the one that should have been charged to my fellow BGGer. Instead of running both our cards, they ran mine twice! Apparently this is not the first time this has happened either. Several sources close to BGG have had similar experiences at Matador. Have you had a similar experience? Chime in.

Ballard Avenue to become walking street?

Rumors are circulating through Ballard that the City is considering making Ballard Avenue a walking street and alternate route to the bike path: up one street from Shilshole Avenue. As I learn more I will let you know.

Crazy Peeps in Ballard

Latent Easter Club Running Wild?

There were some crazy peeps out in Ballard tonight. This is actually a working bicycle with one working light for an eye parked outside BalMar. It looks like the peep bike took a spill somewhere along the way. BGG ran into a group of folks dressed up like bunnies and mice in the Smoke Shop. We think they were part of some club but we may have been too "happy" at the time to remember what club it was.

Here's a shot of a Rat in the Smoke Shop. We won't tell the health board if you don't...

Update from the comments: It sounds like the event was called Rubber Easter. There are more pictures and information here : I am thinking that maybe they should have made cars out of rubber instead of cardboard, but either way it was super fun to see! Keep up the good work, arty folks.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tiger Tail...common housecat?

While the name does its part to setup tag lines like "they're Grrrrr-eat!" or the Seattle Times more earnest sounding recent pun, the offerings and atmosphere at Tiger Tail made a minimal impression on me. They do have good prices on several regional wines, good happy hour deals, and fun, colorful art on one wall. Maybe I arrived at exactly the wrong time between initial new business buzz and more established crowds, but the energy just wasn't there. The hint of pretentiousness was. If you go, be prepared to balance it out with a stop at the Tin Hat or the other established bars nearby.

March Madness Continues With the Cougs

Looking to watch the 4:30 Cougar game today? Well, here is a suggestion. Venture over to Ballard's next door neighbor, Magnolia and watch it at the Village Pub. With 27 flat screens you won’t miss a moment of the action. Now under new ownership, the Pub is better than ever. And even though it is no longer technically a Cougar bar I guarantee WSU fans will not be disappointed. Magnolia Village Pub, 3221 W McGraw St, Seattle, WA 98199Phone: (206) 285-9756

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Beer Drinking Gals Better Step it Up!

We hear from Amanda over at KISS Cafe that some four months after opening, quite a few men have chugged their way through 99 beers to fill up their beer-finder lists, but the most any woman has checked off is between 10 and 15 of their ever changing selection of mostly Northwest and West Coast brews. Are women ordering more wine? It might be that we just don't have as strong a need for bragging rights. Regardless, I was pretty surprised and I think the women behind the bar who did the tallying were as well.
I'll be trying to check off a modest two or three this week between other Ballard outings. Who's with me?

Saturday, March 22, 2008

How A Gossip Girl Picks Her Bracket

We have much better things to do than to pour over stats and watch Sports Center. We have come up with a surefire way to pick a winning bracket. We're sharing our secret because sometimes it's painful to keep this much genius inside.

Our method involves looking at the players, coaches and cheerleaders. It involves a little TV time and some internet searches. Why waste time with those pesky seeds and field goal percentages? Evaluate each team on the following arbitrary points and make your bracket picks accordingly.

Cheerleaders wear turtlenecks? LOSE

Bare midriff cheerleaders? WIN!

Players with Hot Tattoos? WIN!

Players have black shoes and black socks? WIN!

High socks? WIN!

Low socks? Lose

Player with Really Long Jesus-like hair, playing on Easter weekend? WIN!

High percentage of Ugly Knee Braces?

One guy with weird Plastic Face Mask Thing
- WIN!

Pre-game speech about destiny and God? Lose

Pre-game speech about Mom and team attitude? WIN!

Prominent player with Headband? WIN!

Chair throwing Coach? WIN!

Crying coach? Lose!

Good luck! Since we know you already had to turn in your bracket, be sure to use this key if you are betting on one-off games for the rest of the tournament.

March Madness In Ballard?

Where to watch the games in Ballard? Here is a list of good bets.

Ballard Loft - New sports bar in the hood has plenty of flat screens and they're opening the bar early in the morning to let the fans watch.

Lock and Keel - Good BBQ and a few flat screens set high so you won't miss the action.

Matador - Ole! If you can grab a seat at the bar here, the happy hour between 4 and 6 p.m. can't be beat. They're playing the games and the bartenders are muy caliente!

Ballard Grill and Alehouse
a.k.a. "The 4 Bs" - This scary sports bar on Leary has plenty of TVs and beer. And pool if you need it.

Let us know what other bars are playing the games. Our Bracket Can't Be Beat.

Friday, March 21, 2008

17th of May Parade!

The 17th of May Parade, held on the 17th of May, celebrating Norwegian Constitution Day has a new start time. For those of you new to Ballard the parade when falling on a weekday begins at 6pm. A weekend parade began at 4, but Norwegians are not the stubborn, traditionalists you all think we are. This year our parade is starting at 3!

This will be one of many updates on the parade. Mark it down: 17th May 3pm. Drinking commences earlier. Grab your lawn chair, your Norwegian flags, and stake your claim early the weekend parades are always packed.

I know all the Ballard Gossip Girls will be there.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Ballard Bar Hates the Mayor

Sometimes, a picture is worth a thousand words. In this case, 86 nickels make the point. We saw this poster up at the Tin Hat expressing their dislike, no, hatred of Mayor Nickels. Why? We're guessing the Mayor's incessant campaign to crack down on nightlife is the reason.

* Although it failed at the City Council, the Mayor's pet project - an ordinance that would require licensing for clubs - has branded him as one of the most anti-nightlife mayors we have had.
* He was involved in a highly publicized sting on "trouble" night clubs. Thankfully for bouncers and club owners, the first case to go to trial has come back with a not guilty verdict.
* Bars are still angry about loss of revenue from the smoking ban which Nickels backed.
* More stringent noise ordinances passed last year making it easier to crack down on clubs with live music.

Note to the Mayor: people in Seattle go to bars, clubs and they vote. They also organize.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

It's Purple! - Monkey Bridge is Now Open

After a few months of setup in the former pharmacy location at 1723 NW Market, Monkey Bridge Vietnamese Cuisine opened today. It will probably be another couple of days before they're serving beer and wine since liquor license applications have been backed up. It sounds like a lot of permits have been slow going for new restaurants and bars lately. This family run business had hoped to open in January but just got through some of the final hurdles.
We stopped in for a quick bite today and would have lingered longer if the wine had been available. The decor and the staff were both welcoming and the couple of dishes we tried were very flavorful. What can you expect to find? If you're looking for Phở, they offer several options (including vegetarian) in a more comfortable atmosphere than other neighborhood spots. They also offer Bánh mì sandwiches, several salads and a range of noodle and rice based dishes like Ginger Chicken, Lemongrass Tofu, and Vietnamese Rhubarb and Beef.
Their dinner special entrees featured salmon and sea bass and looked like they'd be worth a splurge (in the $15 range) on a night when I'm hungrier. Most of the other menu options cost between four and eight dollars.
Besides the atmosphere and great prices, I was impressed by the descriptions on the menu, particularly the fact that all the soups actually specified what type of broth they contained. This is rare and really helpful for picky eaters like myself who avoid the chicken and beef ones.