Tag Archives: Queen Anne Avenue

Chocolate Happy Hour

Chocolopolis truffles in display case

For those of us who love chocolate, let’s face it, any time one is savoring chocolate is considered “happy hour”. But to have a formal chocolate tasting, one of our local, fine chocolate businesses, Chocolopolis, actually has a Happy Hour. Once a week on Thursday evenings at their store (1527 Queen Anne Ave. N.), they feature a certain theme: chocolate from a certain country, how chocolate flavors vary between different regions in the world, or tastings of different “inclusion” chocolate bars that have a surprise center, to name a few. Besides selling chocolate from around the world, their fine chocolatiers also make award-winning truffles under their own brand in their on-site kitchen.

The chocolate Happy Hour tasting table, Chocolopolis.  Photo: Alethea Myers

Washington State, not just Seattle, is home to quite a few artisan chocolatiers. This isn’t surprising in the Pacific Northwest, since other artisan foods such as single-origin coffee and microbrews are highly prized for their unique taste. Around Seattle, Fran Bigelow of Fran’s Chocolate’s experimented with sprinkling sea salt on her chocolate caramels years ago, which became extremely popular and may have started the sweet & salty combo movement we see now. Frango mint chocolates at Macy’s locations are produced locally and began back in 1927. Chocolat Vitale in northern Ballard serves their own rich, European hot chocolate made from real chocolate instead of powder (and sell other chocolates, too). Theo Chocolate, a relative newcomer, is housed in a former brewery in Fremont (a hops scent is still sometimes prevalent in the lobby air), and created the first U.S. certified-organic chocolate bar. And Dilettante Chocolates started on Capitol Hill over 40 years ago, and actually make cocktails featuring their confections (Mint Kiss Martini, anyone?).

Chocolate arranged by World Region

So back to Happy Hour at Chocolopolis: One can learn much from store owner Lauren’s mother, Marcie Adler, who has worked there for 8 years since the store opened. She was guiding the tasting theme this evening: Ecuadorian chocolate in different percentages (55%, 70%), under different brands. She explained that the key to tasting fine chocolate is to let it melt on your palate, no chewing allowed, and move it around in one’s mouth since taste buds vary.

Marcie also mentioned that cacao, which chocolate is made from, only grows 20 degrees north or south of the equator, so is a specialized crop. Hawaii is the only U.S. state that can grow it. At Chocolopolis, they divide their chocolate bars into world regions (such as Asia, South America, Madagascar, others), via a handy wall chart and labeling, which makes it easier to shop for small-batch, single-origin bars. And besides making their own, some of the other beautiful truffles they stock are from Orcas Island, Los Angeles, France, Kansas City, and San Francisco.

Chocolate labelled by region, Chocolopolis

If you really want to splurge on every artisan chocolate under the sun and even take educational classes, go to the Northwest Chocolate Festival each autumn to get your fix. Or occasionally stop by for happy hour on a Thursday night in Queen Anne.

Trick Or Treat On Queen Anne Ave. On Halloween!

Halloween is quickly approaching, and the merchants on Queen Anne Avenue North will once again be handing out candy and prizes to the little ghosts and goblins of the neighborhood on the 31st! Kids can visit businesses between McGraw and Galer from 3:00-6:00 p.m. This event usually draws hundreds of kids, so organizers suggest avoiding driving on Queen Anne Avenue during those hours. Crossing guards will also be on hand to keep all the trick-or-treaters safe while crossing the street.

Happy Halloween, everyone!

Queen Anne Events: 10 Things to Do in November

In addition to earning an extra hour of sleep in the fall Daylight Savings and the oncoming holiday festivities, there are several Queen Anne events to look forward to this month…

  1. November 1 & 2 – Scandinavian Holiday Bazaar at Swedish Club NW: From November 1st through the 2nd, the Swedish Club Northwest is hosting their annual Scandinavian Holiday Bazaar. There will be crafts, gifts, baked goods, music, entertainment, and more. Admission is only $1, and the event is open from 9 a.m. until 4 p.m.
  2. November 3 – Umbrella Tree Opens at Twirl Café: The much-loved café and indoor toddler play area, Twirl Café, will be closing on October 31st. On Monday, November 3rd, the place will reopen as Umbrella Tree! Play and eat at the new Umbrella Tree from November 3rd through 20th, when they will close until December 4th for renovations.
  3. November 3 – Jellyfish Day at the Seattle Children’s Museum: Explore and learn more about a mysterious sea creature, the jellyfish! On November 3rd, from 10:30 a.m. through 2 p.m., the Seattle Children’s Museum will be hosting events and activities focused on the jellyfish for Jellyfish Day!
  4. November 7 & 8 – Oprah’s “The Life You Want” Weekend at Key Arena: Find your calling and summon the courage to live it out, and fulfill your greatest potential. Oprah comes to town November 7th and 8th in “The Life You Want” tour.  Click here to buy tickets.
  5. November 12 – Dine Out for Coe Elementary at 5 Spot: On Wednesday, November 12th, dine at the 5 Spot from 8:30 a.m. until 10 p.m. and 25% of all food sales will support the Coe Elementary art program!
  6. November 12 – Members & Friends Dinner at Swedish Club NW: Head to the Swedish Club NW for their dinner for members and friends on Wednesday, November 12th! Kurt Armbruster will be talking about the history of Swedish singing groups and his book, Before Seattle Rocked: A City and Its Music.
  7. November 15 – Bastille at Key Arena: The popular U.K. band Bastille is playing at the Key Arena on November 15th in their “Bad Blood” The Last Stand Tour. Tickets start at $31.50.
  8. November 20 – Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce November Luncheon: The Greater Queen Anne Chamber of Commerce meets on the third Thursday of every month. Join the chamber guests and members for networking with other Queen Anne business owners, updates on the events and happenings within the chamber and neighborhood, and words from an occasional speaker. The luncheon takes place at the Best Western Plus Executive Inn at 200 Taylor Ave. N, from 11:15 to 1:00 p.m. on November 20th. The cost is $25 for members, $30 for non-members. RSVP required, to contact@qachamber.org.
  9. November 21, 22 & 23 – The International Gem & Jewelry Show: From November 21st through 23rd, attendees of the International Gem & Jewelry Show can buy gems and jewelry direct from designers at a discount price. The show is held daily at the Seattle Center exhibition hall, and is open to the public.

10. November 22 – TEDxRainier at the Seattle Center: The Seattle-area TED event, TEDxRainier is coming up on November 22nd. The event starts at 9 a.m. at Marion Oliver McCaw Hall, and offers a full day of educational, inspirational, and exceptional TED talks. Ticket prices start at $75 each.

Featured photo source.

Newly Opened Queen Anne Restaurants and Businesses

We’ve got some newbies in the neighborhood! Over the past couple of weeks, some brand new or overhauled Queen Anne restaurants and businesses have opened their doors.

When renowned chef Shaun McCrain left his post at The Book Bindery on June 28th of this year, there was a question about whom would fill his shoes at the top-notch Queen Anne restaurant. On October 1st, The Book Bindery re-opened with a new look, new name, and new chef! Chef Nico Borzee comes to the newly updated restaurant, Hommage, from Artusi on Capitol Hill. He was born in France, and started his career at age 15, working his way through several Michelin-starred eateries in France before becoming sous chef at Coi in San Francisco (Coi has two Michelin stars). Visit Hommage and sample Nico Borzee’s craft for dinner Tuesday through Saturday.

Look for some sparkle on the Avenue! Swissa Jewelers has moved to Queen Anne from 7th Avenue – they are now open in the little shop next to Queen Anne Chiropractic, where Calva Café used to be. Swissa Jewelers has been in business since 1973, offering beautiful fine jewelry, watches, custom jewelry and jewelry services including repair and engraving.

The blue-and-white retro Cookie Counter van has found a regular stopping spot on Queen Anne every Wednesday! Visit the Umpqua Bank parking lot each week on Wednesdays to enjoy their tasty vegan ice cream sandwiches. Check their Facebook page for daily updates.

Twirl Café will be transferring ownership to Umbrella Tree on November 1st. Umbrella Tree has been running kids classes and events out of the Twirl Café space for the last year, and when Twirl’s owner, Rebecca Pelletier, decided to close to focus on her family, the Umbrella Tree’s owners decided to step in and make it theirs! Twirl Café celebrates its last day on October 31st, and becomes Umbrella Tree on November 1st. The creative kids classes will continue to be offered, although changes and renovations will be occurring over the next couple of months. Click here for more information about the transition.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Featured photo credit: Suzi Pratt for Seattle.Curbed.com.