A revelation that I discovered via Seattle Magazine is the “microhood”. It isn’t a kitchen feature, it’s a small little area within your neighborhood that has it’s own endearing character. It could be a couple of small shops, a park, some cafes; whatever it is, it’s distinctly part of your neighborhood’s charm and usually only those that live in the vicinity know about it.
Seattle has microhoods everywhere. Shoot, Queen Anne has three of it’s own. Along West Galer (Via Tribunali, Top Pot, Caffe Fiore), and the other on McGraw and Sixth (Malena’s, Ken’s Market, Macrina Bakery). My favorite is along 10th and Howe with Brent’s Muse Coffee Co. and the Icebox Grocery (one of the best local grocery stores/delicatessens in Seattle). Muse Coffee is a really great coffee shop. They get their beans from Herkimer and their baked goods from Little Rae’s Bakery (props for being a nut-free facility). The Icebox has some great food (definitely get the bread pudding) and fun choices in wine. Plus, it helps when it’s only a block or so away in case I’m in a bacon or butter emergency.
The Seattle Times has even had a running feature where they highlight local microhoods. The most recent? That odd stretch of Leary that could either be called Fremont or Ballard. I say Ballard. They’ve also talked about Georgetown, and it’s explosion of growth (although this growth could push it out of microhood status). They also mentioned Greenlake’s Tangletown. Tangletown is one of my favorite little areas; with Zoka, Mighty-O, Luau, and more, the hungry will always be happy here. Tangletown is also the home of the sublime Kisaku; did you know that Kisaku means Frank? Holla.
Think about your neighborhood and it’s hidden joys. I think the hallmark of a good one is character and, of course, a great place to grab a bite or a cup of joe. And if you can walk to a Starbucks you don’t live in a microhood. Your block is part of a business plan, sorry.