Fremont Sunday Market

The Best of the Fremont Sunday Market

(Photo: www.fremontmarket.com)

Since 1990, the Seattle Fremont Market has been quite the event and despite its age, they still refer to it as an ongoing experiment that I think we can all safely say works. Unlike your traditional farmer’s market, this one is open all year round and features less fruits and vegetable and a lot more fun.

“We favor common sense, courtesy and intelligence over excessive bureaucracy. Our aim is to provide an accessible community marketplace for anyone who wants to sell their goods and try their ideas,” They say on their website. “Our goal is to help people succeed and make the experience here fun and rewarding for all. We ask for your understanding, cooperation and comments as the markets continue to grow, change and evolve.”

The Fremont Sunday Market features over 150 vendors bringing their A-game and an amazing selection of handmade crafts, street food, antiques, collectibles, vintage clothing, up-cycled furniture and world imports. The market it open from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. each week rain or shine.

While this isn’t exactly a popularity contest, here are my top picks and booths worth a second glance at the market. What they sell is incredible and I found that these people are a lot of fun to talk to too. I can’t guarantee that they will all be at the market during your next visit, but I’ve included their website links just in case you miss them.

All About Cookies

Pamela Rose and her cookies have been a fixture in Fremont since 2011 and since that time, she pretty much has perfected the simple cookie. Today, she bakes up over 40 different varieties of cookies and bars that in addition to the market, can be found in various local coffee shops. She says that she strives to make treats that not only taste delicious, but look great and are made sustainably. She tries to use palm oil products as little as possible (to protect rainforests and orangutan habitats), while using Eastern Washington’s Shepherd’s Grain Flour and Sky Valley Family Farm eggs in abundance. While many of the cookies are made the traditional way, others are gluten free and made with rice flour with a goal of making each cookie tasting like a cookie should.

Personally, what I think is the best cookie is also the most popular. The S’mores Bar has everything you like about the campfire treat with chocolate and marshmallow goodness atop a graham cracker crust. It’s huge too! Other choices include (but not limited to) Blackberry Cream Cheese, Chocolate Cherry, Blueberry Orange White Chocolate, Chocolate Crinkle, Chai Spice, Oatmeal Raisin Walnut, Snickerdoodle, Silly Sugar Whales and good ol’ Chocolate Chip.

Factory 305

Factory 305 gets their name from the area code for Key West Florida where shop owners Jerry and Kate used to live. What started out as a hobby as turned into a full time unique woodworking business. Using a CNC router, Jerry carves out his designs while Kate lends a hand painting. Together, they have produced a fantastic selection of wall art that just about everyone can appreciate. Their Star Wars/Aztec design is truly amazing with lots of attention to detail. But the pair also churn out other great designs including recreations of various beer logos, state signs, superhero logos (suitable for kid’s room or a local man cave) and even some great-looking pieces made from pianos! The day I visited, Kate showed me a fantastic shelf and cabinet that was made from a baby grand piano. If you like their work, but don’t see something that speaks to you, they will gladly work from your own design as well. “Whether it is our idea or a customer’s we have fun creating each and every one.”

Lost Commodity

Lost Commodity is a Seattle-based bag company dedicated to designing and producing quality goods that will only get better with time.

The story goes like this: after a night of waiting for the shuffleboard table to open up at a local watering hole, a small group of friends decided to design their own gear for an upcoming surf trip down to the Baja peninsula. The trip there and back was a rough one and sadly, the gear didn’t make it. However, that only strengthened their resolve to fix what went broken (with many, many prototypes) to create what they now are proud to call their Heritage Collection. Their stuff is pretty neat and definitely worth a stop.

Fire and Scrape

Beth Ringland describes the art of Raclette Cheese as “food theater.” The process of scraping a variety of fatty Raclette cheese under fire originated in the Alpine regions of Switzerland and France as far back as 1291! Ringland brings her “theater” to the streets of Fremont heating halves of Raclette cheese under a direct heat source and then scraping the cheese and sliding it on new potatoes, seasonal vegetables or baguettes and served with cornichons and pickled onions (as is the tradition).

Sweatpea and Boy

Sweatpea and Boy have been screenprinting infant, toddler and adult apparel in Tacoma since 2013 and when they come to the street of Fairmont, they come prepared! Each Sunday that feature a variety of original designs on many different colors and sizes to choose from. My favorite design by far is the Paramount logo redo using Mount Rainier as a stand-in and the word “Seattle” replacing Paramount in the same movie company font. I’m pretty sure you could wear this only only half of the people looking at would notice the difference between it and the original logo.

Sweatpea and Boy offer screenprinted images on super-soft t-shirts, hoodies, sweatshirts, tank tops, sweatpants, hoodies, hats and patches. They offer many designs that can be printed on top with slogans and saying for Seattle, Tacoma, Edmonds and Portand. You’ll also find Northwesty graphics featuring the Space Needle, Husky-wear, 12th man needs and more.

Maria Made Me

Maria Benjamin is a delightful person. She quietly sits nearby as shoppers stop to look at her original, handmade greeting cards often getting a chuckle here and there. Unlike some vendors, she waits until people approach her and she actually encourages people to open her 3D cards to see how they “pop” up when opened. These are super impressive, but Maria told me that she doesn’t actually make the 3D cards (which when you see them, you’ll know why that’s an impossible feat) but every other card on display are lovingly created by her hands. She offers a variety of themed cards including birthday, graduation, baby, holidays, sympathy, friendship and more.

While we may not be sending as many cards out as we used to, Maria’s work will make you rethink that notion.

Susu Rolled Ice Cream

Another type of “food theater” comes from Chef Muhammad Fairoz A.R. and his partner, Katie Pohl. Together they literally roll gourmet ice cream and create sundaes that a work of art, but don’t stand around too long admiring it as it’s gonna melt. Fairoz and Pohl combine French custard ice cream recipes with the heritage of Thai-style street ice cream and create something magical.

Here’s the…scoop…they begin each flavor by pouring a fresh custard base onto an anti-griddle (which is extremely cold) and flip it around, chop it up, mash it really good, spread it out and then roll sheet of the perfect confection into sundae cups where the rolls are topped with a variety of deliciousness. And the flavors offered are just as unique as their pair. Flavors can change every week, but usually they offer a couple of favorites like S’mores Fun (chocolate base, graham crackers, marshmallow and shaved chocolate) and Like a Mango in the Sky (a Vanilla-Coconut base with Mango Purée, Sticky Rice and a Pineapple Cloud) along with a few adventurous choices like these recent offerings: Yuz Laughin’ At Me? (made with Lavender, Yuzu and pickled cucumber), Masala Spice & Everything Nice (made with Masala Chai, Papadum and Jeruk) and the Goaton Ramsay (made with Goat Cheese, Apple Grapefruit Compote and Tuile).

Review: ‘Kim’s Convenience’ is a Refreshing Change at Taproot

Lia Lee and James Yi. (Photo: Robert Wade/Taproot Theatre)

From stage to TV and back to stage again. That is the journey of Kim’s Convenience, a Canadian Korean comedy. Created by Ins Choi, this play was published in 2012, was first performed in a few local theatres then a TV version of the play premiered on CBC in October 2016. In July of 2018, the show became known internationally when the show debuted on Netflix. In January of this year, the TV started its 4th season. Finally, this week the play made its U.S. debut at Taproot Theatre.

Co-directed by Scott Nolte (founder of Taproot) and David Hsieh (founding artistic director of ReAct Theatre), Kim’s Convenience is a breath of fresh air at Taproot. It is one of the few plays that have been co-directed here, it features five actors making their Taproot Theatre debut and there is some Korean speaking and singing performed (without subtitles!) as well. The play is also very funny while having a lot of heart too. (Don’t worry, the Korean language is only minimal and you don’t need to know what they are speaking to understand what they are saying.

In a way, Kim’s Convenience is sort of like TV’s All in Family with Mr. Kim (James Yi) taking the role of Archie Bunker. Mr. and Mrs. Kim (Annie Yim) are first generation immigrants to Canada who purchased a convenience store when Mrs. Kim was pregnant with daughter Janet. Now 30 years later, Mr. and Mrs. Kim, also known as Appa and Umma (dad and mom) are beginning to think it might be time to retire. Appa begins to have an interest in passing on the store down to Janet (Lia Lee) while Janet is more interested in getting to know Alex (Obadiah Freeman) an old family friend.

Janet also wants to break free from Appa and Umma and pursue her budding career as a photographer. Her brother, Jung (Parker Kennedy) already did – by getting in trouble and getting kicked out by Appa.

Alex (Obadiah Freeman), Appa (James Yi) and Janet (Lia Lee) in “Kim’s Convenience.
(Photo: Robert Wade/Taproot Theatre)

Though still steeped in tradition, Appa likes to think of himself as a modern man who knows all of hip lingo the kids in the neighborhood are talking about. He fancies himself as to knowing who might be a shopper and who might be a “stealer” just by looking at them. He’s more preoccupied by the Japanese cars parked in the no-parking zone near his shop while his daughter reminds him that not everyone who drives a Japanese brand of car is actually Japanese. He’s a stubborn man who treats his adult daughter like a child and when it comes to Jung, he’d rather change the subject.

Kim’s Convenience is a very fun play with a lot of heart and a pretty simple plot. It’s a bit shorter than Taproot’s usual productions and its performances do not offer an intermission. You won’t need it though. Just when you think it’s time for a break, the actors are making their bows. Rest assured, you’ll get your money’s worth of laughs.

Although we might not be able to relate to some of the Kim family’s ways of doing things, we can relate with their family life. They laugh, fight and make up with each other, just like the rest of us.

This play wouldn’t be half as good without James Yi. He’s played the part before, so he’s a master at playing Appa. His comedic timing is good and Lia Lee makes for a great sparring partner. You’d swear that they are related in real life. Obadiah Freeman also does a fine job taking on not one, but four roles for play, each character completely different from the others. It’s very impressive.

On the other end of the spectrum is Parker Kennedy who comes across a little rough in his role. Unlike Lee whose acting seems natural, Kennedy’s is a bit forced. However he does have some nice interactions with Annie Yim’s Umma character. She’s a loving mother and doting wife and even though her son disappoints her some, her love is still apparent as she encourages him to make things right with this father.

As always, Mark Lund’s scenic and sound design is impressive. When you walk in, the convenience store on stage looks like it open for business and you’d be tempted to go up to grab a snack. Perhaps that is why there was an usher at the front of the stage before the show began when I went to make sure audience members didn’t do just that.

Kim’s Convenience is fairly family-friendly too, but be forewarned that there is some swearing, which surprised me somewhat. You don’t usually hear much swearing at a Taproot Theatre play and it didn’t add anything to the story either. Taproot recommends the play for those age 14 and up.

Kim’s Convenience continues through June 22, 2019. Tickets range from $27-$50 (depending on the performance date and time) and can be purchased online or by calling the box office at 206.781.9707. Taproot Theatre is locate at 204 N. 85th St., Seattle, WA 98103.

All About the Norwegian Bliss

Cruising has become a big deal in Seattle, and it doesn’t get much bigger than the Norwegian Bliss, the largest Norwegian Cruise Line ship that can hold up to 4,004 guests and 1,716 crew members (which comes to about 1 crew member for every 2 and 1/3 people on the ship). During the 7-day summer cruises, the ship begins and ends at the Seattle port with stops at Juneau, Skagway, Ketchikan and Victoria, B.C.

Haven living room and dining room.

I got a chance to come on board the Bliss last summer and is it a sight for sore eyes! They started our two-hour tour literally at the top in what they call Haven. It is considered a luxury enclave where high-rolling guests board early ahead of the regular guests. It is sort of a ship within a ship with its own private pool, spa suite (with a steam bath, vitality pool and over 50 specialty treatments), dining service and concierge service. The luxury suites come with personal butlers ready to answer your every whim. In addition to the master suite, living room, dining room and private deck areas, many also include separate bedrooms, activity rooms and bathrooms for the kids. Those who stay in Haven never have to leave the private area of the ship unless they desire to.

Haven bathroom (before maid service!)

While Haven is out of reach for most of us, Norwegian Cruise Line surprisingly offers a variety of different options for singles, couples and families. Sure, having a state room that looks out over the sea is amazing, but I can tell you, even without a window, there isn’t a “bad” room onboard and with so much to do, you won’t be spending much time in your room anyway.

A more basic room on the ship.

As we toured the hallways, it became apparent just how big this ship is and how easy it would be to get lost. Fortunately, NCL thought ahead. The carpet features a school of fish all heading one direction. You simply follow the fish to your room and when you leave your room, follow them again to reach the main activity areas.

One of the best things about a cruise ship is how much is included. Meals, activities and Broadway shows are all complimentary. Now, not everything with your vacation upfront, (there are plenty of ways to spend your money with upgrades and special activities) but you’d be surprised how being budget-conscious isn’t impossible.

Pool area, waterslide and splash play area.

Keeping Busy

While you might desire laying out in the sun all day, you might be the only one as there is SO much to do. Perhaps the most exciting thing on the ship is its Aqua Park. The activities here include a double-loop waterslide that passengers board while standing up (the bottom is dropped underneath them) and are shot over the side of the ship and back on board again. You’ll also find the Aqua Racer tandem racing waterslide, a children’s splash area, two pools and a few hot tubs thrown in for good measure. The area also features a giant video screen that airs current sporting events on land during the day and movies at night.

Starting line up for the races.

Racing enthusiasts will not be able to wait to get behind the wheel of the two-level, open-air race track. At 1000 feet, it’s the largest as sea. (There is an extra charge of $9.95 to drive.) The ship also features a mini golf course, a bowling alley, an art gallery, a gym, a spa and casinos. Laser tag battles can be found here as well for $9.95 extra per game.

At night, most of the shows playing on the ship are free and include the Broadway show, “Jersey Boys” (the Tony award-winning musical about and featuring the music of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons), “Havana!” (1950s Cuba in its vibrant heyday), a Beatle cover band and a standup comedy show. The show, “Happy Hour Prohibition-The Musical” will set you back an extra $29.95. It’s set in world famous Madam Lulu’s New Orleans speakeasy where tantalizing madams will regale you with tales of bootleggers.

Where the Jersey Boys play.

Grab a Fork

There are lots of food options on the Bliss as well with plenty of complimentary dining rooms with menus that change daily. These include the Garden Café a buffet with multiple dining stations serving up breakfast, lunch and dinner. I was treated to lunch here and options go way beyond your local buffet back home. Other choices include the Savor Main Dining Room which has been described as “balancing classic favorites with unique new dishes” with an extensive menu of deliciously fresh flavors.

The Taste Main Dining Room also serves a wide variety of cuisine including the chef’s signature dishes and wine recommendations. Over at The Local, the dressed down pub is open 24 hours a day serving favorites like chicken pot pie, fish and chips and prime rib.

Coco’s ice cream and candy parlor.

Upgrade dining options include La Cucina Italian Restaurant, the Texas smokehouse Q, Cagney’s Steakhouse, the Los Lobos Contemporary Mexican Restaurant and the chocolate lovers’ paradise, Coco’s. If being away from a Starbucks makes you sweat – you’ll be glad to know that there is one full-sized one on board too as well as a Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville at Sea bar and restaurant. Other choices include The Cellars (A Michael Mondavi Family Wine Bar), The District Brew House, The A-List Bar and the Sugarcane Mojito Bar.

Separate and Then Regroup

The “Entourage” lounge for teens.

One of the best things Disney did was create a cruise line where kids and parents could have fun together or separately. That same idea is shared aboard The Bliss too. Here, the ship features three FREE kids programs that are staffed by certified-trained staff members all…day…long. The “Guppies” is designed for those age 6 months to 3 years old socializing with others with simple activities with hosted activities and a playroom offering simple activities from building blocks to painting with edible paints.

One room of The Splash Academy for 3-12 year-olds.

The Splash Academy youth program geared for those ages 3-12 with themed activities, parties, sports and more every day and the Entourage welcomes teens ages 13-17 with their own “no parents allowed” area with activities including basketball games, theater classes, video game competitions, pool parties or just hanging out in a cool, relaxed environment.

The ship even offers late night babysitting (for an additional charge) so you can have a romantic night out.

Learn more about the Norwegian Bliss and other cruises here.

(All photos by the author)

Space Needle Puts Time in a Bottle

(Photo: Space Needle/Chad Copeland)

Earlier this week the Space Needle made the announcement of the unveiling of the 2062 time capsule and a nationwide search for items to be included when it gets sealed later this year. The idea is fairly simple: find the moments and memorabilia that reflects the people and the culture of today and tuck them away. The hard part will be narrowing down the list.

On Thursday, May 9, members of the press were invited to see which items had already been picked for the capsule which is set to be opened on April 21, 2062, the 100th anniversary of the Space Needle. Early entrants included United States Postal Service Forever Stamps, personal messages from the band Pearl Jam, one share of Amazon stock and a Twinkie. Seattle Seahawks Walter Jones was also on hand to share his prediction of Super Bowl win.

You can get into the act too. The Space Needle will continue collecting items through Friday, September 13, 2019 before the time capsule is officially sealed during a special ceremony on Monday, October 21, 2019. Visit their contest page for the chance to add your own personal treasures or memories into the 2062 time capsule. A total of six winners will have the opportunity to participate.

(Photo: Space Needle)

And if it has been a long time since you’ve gotten up close and personal with the Needle, you’re missing out on newly designed all-glass floor on the lower level and the floor-to-ceiling glass walls on the upper level. Truly a sight to see. You can read more about it here.

Although you can’t miss it, the Space Needle is located at 400 Broad St. 98109 at the Seattle Center.