Monthly Archives: January 2010

The Stranger loves Louisa’s

And not just because Alcena Plum, owner of Louisa’s Cafe Bakery, bought an article about the Eastlake restaurant in the Stranger‘s holiday Strangercrombie auction.

Bethany Jean Clement, the Stranger’s restaurant critic, acknowledges that purchasing the article (which is in tomorrow’s edition but online now) might have influenced her review but, she says, not much:

I had to be nice in writing this review, because Alcena Plum purchased it in our annual Strangercrombie charity auction, but please note that I did not have to be this nice. What a relief it is to be able to write this to you. Strangercrombie aside, I would like to hereby sincerely recommend Louisa’s, whether for a massive cinnamon roll or a carefully prepared, tasty, and also fairly massive dinner. Without pretension and with its heart in the right place, Louisa’s is serving nice food in a nice neighborhood space.

Clement raved about the garlic sage prawns (perfectly cooked and lots of ‘em), the smoked tomatoes in the panzanella salad, the tacos el carne adovado, the free-range chicken and the half-bottles of wine. And, she says, the “portions are mighty.”

Read more of the article here.

Seattle Times: District plan for siblings upsets parents

Linda Shaw, the Seattle Times’ education reporter, has a story today about Seattle parents unhappy with the school district’s transition plan to its new neighborhood-based attendance strategy.

Shaw reports that the parents are upset that, despite their intense lobbying efforts, the transition plan, which the board is set to vote on tonight, doesn’t guarantee that siblings will be assigned to the same school:

The affected families are those with children already in elementary school and younger ones still at home. They want their younger children to be able to attend the same school as their older siblings — something that was virtually guaranteed under the old rules and will be guaranteed again once the new assignment plan is fully in place in 2015.

As we’ve reported previously, Eastlake parents and activists have been seeking better access for neighborhood kids to TOPS@Seward School, Eastlake’s local school. A plan to offer a geographic zone for Seward in the transition plan was dropped. An amendment restoring a provision setting aside 20 percent of the kindergarten seats at Seward for Eastlake kids is on the table this evening.

Read the rest of Shaw’s story here.

Meeting tonight: The Seattle School Board’s meeting begins at 6 p.m. at school district headquarters, 2445 3rd Ave. S. You can also watch on Comcast channel 26. The board is expected to vote on the transition plan this evening.

Eastlake Ave. Blog is latest local news partner with Seattle Times

The Seattle Times is announcing today that six more local blogs are joining its Networked Journalism project. The Eastlake Ave. Blog is one of them.

The Times project, sponsored by J-Lab: The Institute for Interactive Journalism (its press release is here), which is funded by the Knight Foundation, began in August with partnerships with five leading Seattle blogs:

In addition to Eastlake Ave., the new sites joining the partnership are:

In its story last August announcing the project, the Times said the goals were:

  • Enhancing communication between the respective sites and The Times to share news tips and perhaps collaborate on news gathering.
  • Linking to and promoting stories on partner sites when it helps fill coverage holes.
  • Exploring tools that might enhance advertising opportunities across the partner sites.
  • Learning about how such a partnership benefits the respective sites.

To be clear: I’m not going to work for the Times and the site is not being acquired by the Times. No money is changing hands. For now, the partnership involves sharing news tips and, when appropriate, content. I’ll link to the Times when they cover Eastlake (I’ve done that many times already) and you may see Eastlake Ave. Blog stories featured on the Times web site.

The Times and the partners are discussing other ways to collaborate. Under the terms of the grant, the Times and the four other news organizations participating in the project nationally report back on what they’ve learned about collaborating with hyper-local blogs like Eastlake Ave.

If you have questions or thoughts, please feel free to contact me: curtmilton (at) Thanks for your interest and support in Eastlake Ave.!

– Curt

Crosscut: NOAA workers not happy with potential move to Newport

Bob Simmons is reporting on that the Web site is hearing from some civilian employees of NOAA — “a small sliver of the 175-member civilian work force,” he says — that they aren’t thrilled about the agency’s pending move to Newport, Oregon.

Their main concern is about the quality of life in Newport:

The employees who are quietly in touch with Crosscut worry about the schools in Newport, the scarcity of housing, and the cuts in pay they will face when they move. Federal workers are paid according to the purported cost of living in the region where they’re assigned. Seattle ranks high in cost and equivalently high in pay. Newport doesn’t. The NOAA workers we heard from expect to lose as much as 7 percent in wages because, according to the federal formula, living’s easier in a small town.

That’s ironic because the quality of life was one of the main reasons NOAA sited in its decision to move its fleet. But Newport isn’t exactly a culture center (it’s main industry pre-NOAA was tourism). The nearest college town is over winding mountain roads in Corvallis. Portland, with its theaters, art museum and symphony, is a couple of hours drive away.

Read more of Simmons’ Crosscut story here.

Welcome our first advertiser: Ruby Condos!

I’m very excited and extremely pleased to welcome Eastlake Ave. Blog’s first advertiser: Ruby Condos.

Thanks, Ruby, for joining up with Eastlake Ave. and Neighborlogs!

Ruby is the new condo building at 2960 Eastlake Ave. E. They’re home to the restaurant Ravish and they’re just across the street from the Eastlake Bar and Grill.

Ruby features one-bedroom apartment homes, all with views of Lake Union. There’s underground parking, a courtyard just above the street, stainless steel appliances and granite countertops in the kitchen, 9-foot ceilings and much more. Best news: All the remaining units are priced under $299,500 (prices start at $279,500).

For more information, click on Ruby’s ad at the top of our home page.

If you’re an Eastlake business, or a business that might appeal to Eastlake residents, I’d like to recommend advertising with us. It’s easy and inexpensive. You’ll be reaching an audience that lives in, works in and cares about the Eastlake neighborhood. What could be better than that?

For more details, check out our advertising page.

Big crowd for Serafina/Cicchetti neighborhood event

It seemed like half of Eastlake was at Cicchetti on Saturday.

The occasion was the annual Eastlake neighborhood “thank you” event put on by Susan Kaufman, owner of Cicchetti and Serafina. An Eastlake resident, Kaufman was busy working the room, chatting with friends and taking photos (check out the pictures on the walls at Cicchetti; they’re Kaufman’s work).



The event usually happens at Serafina but took place this year in Cicchetti, Kaufman’s new restaurant just across the courtyard from Serafina. Neighbors enjoyed the views from the upstairs, and the food and beverages generously supplied by Kaufman.

Guests’ name tags included the street they live on, which made it easy to find neighbors you knew or were just meeting for the first time.

As we used to say at the little weekly paper I worked for in high school: A good time was had by all. Thanks, Susan!

Seward set-aside for Eastlake kids back in school district transition plan

It appears the Seattle School District heard Eastlake’s parents at its Jan. 6 meeting.

A provision that sets aside 20 percent of kindergarten seats at TOPS@Seward School for Eastlake kids has been restored to the district’s New Student Assignment Transition Plan (NSAP) for the 2010-11 school year. The set-aside, which has been in effect for several years, had been dropped from the plan, sparking a petition drive in the neighborhood and testimony at the Jan. 6 school board meeting.

The school board will vote on the amended transition plan at their meeting on Wednesday evening at school district headquarters, 2445 3rd Ave. S.

In an amended transition plan, posted on the school district’s web site (and attached to this post), the 20 percent provision has been reinstated for the 2010-11 school year. After that, a new tiebreaker based on a geographic zone is supposed to be implemented to help determine how many Eastlake kids can attend their neighborhood school.

The full text of the relevant portion of the amended transition plan is as follows:

The geographic zone tiebreaker will not be in place for 2010-11 assignments. It will be included in the Transition Plan for the second year of implementation. It is not known at this time how the NSAP will change choice patterns for option schools, and that could be helpful data in drawing the geographic zones. The implementation timeline also limited the ability to develop this plan component for 2010-11. 

When the geographic zone tiebreaker goes into effect for 2011-12 assignments, the previous TOPS kindergarten priority will no longer be relevant. As an interim, one-year transition step, this tiebreaker will remain in effect for assignments for 2010-11. The TOPS kindergarten tiebreaker provides that distance will be applied as a tiebreaker for 20% of the open kindergarten seats for applicants who list TOPS as their first choice. (Open seats are those remaining after siblings are assigned.)

The school district is trying to whittle down the number of tiebreakers used to determine school placement (there are currently 17 sets of tiebreakers). For an “option” school like Seward, the tiebreakers in the final attendance plan will be:

  1. Is a sibling attending the school?
  2. Does the student live inside the school’s geographic zone?
  3. And, finally, a lottery.

The geographic zone is a new tiebreaker and the size of a zone for Seward has yet to be determined. The Eastlake Community Council has proposed a zone to include all of the neighborhood from I-5 west to and including the houseboats, and from E. Galer north to the Ship Canal. It’s possible that the Roanoke Park area and north Capitol Hill neighborhoods might also be included.

The geographic zone won’t be determined until December and is subject to a vote by the school board. For a more detailed explanation of how the geographic zone would work in determining which Eastlake kids can attend Seward, see our previous post.

Also changed in the amended transition plan is a provision to continue providing bus transportation to current students who are attending a school outside of their middle school attendance area. The original provision was to continue to provide transportation for five years, but that has been cut to two years. Since TOPS@Seward draws students from all over the city, this will have an impact on many of those attending.

At a meeting of the Seward Site Council in November, parents of current TOPS students spoke movingly about how they value the diversity at the school. Parents of current students from the south end of the city worried that they would be unable to get their kids to Seward without transportation provided by the school district.

A stated goal of the new attendance plan is to reduce costs by reducing the amount of transportation the district provides and by returning to more neighborhood-centered school attendance.

The Seattle School Board is scheduled to vote on the transition plan at its meeting this coming Wednesday, Jan. 21, at school district headquarters, 2445 3rd Ave. S.

Washington Middle School in lockdown following threats

Central District News is following the breaking story of threats made via cell phone against students at Washington Middle School.

KING/5 is reporting:

Police are keeping students inside Washington Middle School in Seattle this afternoon after 911 received a cell phone threat from a man threatening children.

Seattle School District spokesperson Theresa Whipple says a cell phone trace put the location of the call somewhere near the school at 2101 S. Jackson Street.

Eastlake kids who attend Montlake Elementary move on to Washington for their middle school years.

Click here for ongoing coverage from Central District News. Follow CDNews on Twitter at

Casey McNerthney has a report on the situation on

Serafina/Cicchetti community ‘thank you’ event is Saturday

The entry to Cicchetti is just off the courtyard off East Boston.

Serafina usually has its annual Eastlake community “thank you” event in the fall, but owner and Eastlake resident Susan Kaufman and her staff were too busy launching their new restaurant, Cicchetti, to do it at that time last year.

The slightly delayed “thank you” will be this coming Saturday, Jan. 16, from 1 to 3 p.m. at Cicchetti, 121 E. Boston St., around the corner from Serafina. They’ll be serving an array of cicchetti (Venician small plates) and beverages.

You’ll need to bring the invitation letter that was found inside the latest edition of the Eastlake News, the community council’s newsletter, to get in. Copies of the News can be found all over the neighborhood.

In the letter, Kaufman notes that Serafina is entering its 19th year and that she’s “humbled” by the restaurant’s popularity. “I have said it many times and in many ways,” she writes, “much of our success is due to the loyalty of our community, Eastlake.”

She adds:

“What a special neighborhood it is. Eastlake, through all its changes and growth, continues to have the same heart & soul. I am proud to be an integral part of this community, both as a resident and a business owner.”

In addition to the “thank you” event, Kaufman will host the first meeting of the Eastlake Merchants Association at Cicchetti on Jan. 28.

Update: Lease sign down at Sitka & Spruce’s old space

UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 14: The lease sign is off the old S&S space. I’m making inquiries about what is up.

Original post below:

Anyone need a cozy Eastlake location to house their restaurant?

Sitka & Spruce‘s old location is available to lease. The popular restaurant closed in Eastlake on Dec. 30 and will reopen on Melrose Avenue on Capitol Hill in the spring.

When Sitka & Spruce announced in December that they were closing, there was a rumor in The Weekly that Cormac Mahoney, the chef behind last summer’s popular Tako Truk and a former chef at S&S, might be leasing the space. But when I asked Cormac about it, he downplayed the rumor. I’m taking that as a “no.”

Personally, I’d love to see Cormac and the Tako Truk crew locate in the neighborhood. Can we start a petition?