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A Message to the City from Ken Jennings

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What we're doing "might save hundreds of thousands of lives. It might save millions of lives. This could be our Greatest Generation thing." by The Stranger
Ken Jennings says what were all doing might save hundreds of thousands of lives. It might save millions of lives. This could be our Greatest Generation thing.
What we're all doing "might save hundreds of thousands of lives. It might save millions of lives. This could be our Greatest Generation thing." Courtesy of Ken Jennings

Good morning. It's Friday, March 27, and today's message comes from the greatest Jeopardy contestant of all time, Ken Jennings.

"Things have been turned upside down so quickly and are changing so rapidly that it's hard to process. It's hard to know how to act. It's unnerving. Nothing like this has happened in living memory," he says.

"It seems to me like we're trying out the biggest-ever version of the trolley problem from philosophy. This is a classic ethical dilemma that revolves around a switch operator on a trolley line having to decide, in a split second, whether the trolley should go down one track or another, and therefore mow down different groups of people..."

"But we've never seen a trolley problem quite like this, where we as a city, and even more broadly as a culture, have just all decided seemingly automatically all the things that keep us sane, all the most beloved social and economic institutions—whether that's your kid's school or the neighborhood bar or the S&P 500—we're willing to mow down the whole thing just to save the other people on the track, because they are the most vulnerable among us."

He adds, "That's just remarkable to me. That even with the huge absence of national leadership right now, that Seattle and the country and the world have done this. It might save hundreds of thousands of lives. It might save millions of lives. This could be our Greatest Generation thing... our moon project."

He also thanks people who cant stay home like sanitation workers, postal workers, grocery workers: Youre on the front line of this, you are the real greatest of our time.
He also gives a shout-out to people who can't stay home, like sanitation, postal, and grocery workers: "You're on the front line of this, you are the real greatest of our time." Courtesy of Ken Jennings

According to his bio:

Ken Jennings was born in 1974 just outside Seattle, Washington, but grew up overseas. His family spent fifteen years in Korea and Singapore, where his father worked as an attorney. His only lifeline to American pop culture during those years was TV on the Armed Forces Network, where he watched Jeopardy! religiously after school every afternoon.

Jennings won the Greatest of All Time trophy in January, after a Final Jeopardy clue about who has the most speeches of any non-title character in a Shakespeare tragedy.

"The tournament was the highest ranked television event on prime time television apart from N.F.L. playoff games," the New York Times pointed out—more than twice the viewership of the series premiere of The Bachelor. (It must be recorded that Stranger superfan Nathalie Graham had predicted Ken's victory.)

Ken is in the new show Master Minds, premiering on the Game Show Network on April 6. "This outfit is unrelated to the show, it's my new quarantine look," he joked on Twitter.

This outfit is unrelated to the show, its my new quarantine look, he joked on Twitter.
"It's my new quarantine look." Game Show Network

Ken is also the author of many books, including his Junior Genius Guides, in which he guides young readers "through his favorite subjects, from maps to mythology, planetoids to presidents." If you would like Ken's thoughts beamed into your head twice a week, you should listen to his podcast with John Roderick, Omnibus. If you're more of a board game person, did you know he has a board game?

"Also I just want to take a second to thank those of you who didn't stay home today because you couldn't," Ken says in his Message to the City this morning. "Those of you who went out as sanitation workers collecting trash or or delivering mail, or delivering food, or stocking grocery shelves—you're on the front line of this, you are the real greatest of our time, and we're thinking about you and we appreciate you."

To everyone else: "Even though we feel isolated right now, this is a great cause, it's worth doing, and it's worth doing right."

Thank you so much for your message, Ken.

Thank you for helping us make sense of this.

Have a good day in quarantine, everyone.


* *

Previously in this series:



Lynn Sheltons Message to the City on March 25th.
Lynn Shelton's Message to the City on March 25th.

Timothy White Eagles message to the city on March 24.
Timothy White Eagle's message to the city on March 24.

Cookie Coutures message to the city on March 23.
Cookie Couture's message to the city on March 23.

Sarah Rudinoffs message to the city on March 22.
Sarah Rudinoff's message to the city on March 22.

John Osebolds message to the city on March 21.
John Osebold's message to the city on March 21.


Ben Gibbards message to the city on March 21.
Ben Gibbard's message to the city on March 20.

Nathan Chans message to the city on March 19.
Nathan Chan's message to the city on March 19.

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ridingsloth
12 days ago
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Channeling the vibe of loud and lively Osaka, Shota Nakajima’s Taku now open on Capitol Hill

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Shota Nakajima at work at Taku

Through his years running the award-worthy kitchen at 15th and Pine’s Adana and into the scary current times around Capitol Hill’s food and drink economy during the response to COVID-19, chef Shota Nakajima says he knows survival in the business isn’t really about the dishes and the booze. It’s about the vibe.

“Let’s do simple,” Nakajima says of his new addition to the neighborhood’s scene — Taku is now open on E Pike.

In this time of face masks and travel bans, it’s a journey.

“I want it to be really Japanese,” Nakajima said of the loud and so far surprisingly busy “casual spot for quick-serve cocktails” and breaded and fried kushikatsu.

Taku, Nakajima says, is his take on the glories of a busy Osaka bar — loud and obnoxious and full of good drink.

His goal is to have a drink in your hand in minutes. You enter the bar, grab a piece of paper, scribble out your order, and stay alert.

Still the youngest chef/owner on the Hill, Nakajima’s second venue has been a long time coming. CHS first wrote about the project’s early plans in December of 2018.

His tenure in the neighborhood began in 2015 with his namesake Naka restaurant and a focus on kaiseki and its seasonally focused, multi-course meals. He rebooted the concept to become Adana in early 2017 and make his food more accessible and more affordable.

Taku, the small, tightly packed bar, debuts a year and a half later in the giant mixed-use Pike Motorworks development on an E Pike that is much changed and in an environment that is going to be rough for every bar and restaurant. Nakajima says he prefers to stay positive — his Adana offered $2 Coronas the other night.

The new joint is a busy space with or without customers. With neon design by Electric Coffin and Shogo Ota of Tireman Studios, Taku started with Nakajima’s sketches and ended up a space they hope echoes with Osaka alleyways and Shinsekai district food stalls. There’s a long counter with room for 30 non socially distanced patrons plus a communal table. Taku also indulges in the Capitol Hill takeout window trend. You’ll also find a PIke/Pine bonus connecting to the building’s quasi-public inner plaza: Adam Heimstadt of Unicorn Seattle is reportedly constructing a custom unicorn door for the entrance.

Inside Taku, you’ll find simple draft cocktails and booze slushies, plus wine, sake and bottled Japanese beer, and a Toki highball machine. The breaded and fried goodness on the food menu ranges from $2 to $4 a pop for kushikatsu including shishito pepper, Japanese little smokie, lotus root, large shrimp, brie cheese, beef shortrib, veggies, mochi, “and more.”

Taku is “the kind of place I want to go to after I get off work” where he’ll finally be able to find a good bowl of rice after a night out in Pike/Pine — that’s the line Nakajima has been using when talking about the bar. It’s true that the busy young entrepreneur is sometimes not working. He said he is happy to mostly leave Taku in the hands of his right hand chef, Chris Hoey. You’ll find Nakajima still hard at work in the kitchen at Adana but, at Taku, he’ll finally get to enjoy his “rice on the Hill.”

He’s looking forward to that. He’s also interested in seeing what happens when he introduces the loud Osaka vibe in a place Kyoto-quiet like Seattle.

“When your order comes up, they’re gonna call your name,” Nakajima warns. “Better not be in the bathroom.”

Taku is located at 706 E Pike and is open Wednesday to Sunday 3:30 PM to 2 AM. You can learn more at takuseattle.com.


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ridingsloth
26 days ago
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"He’s also interested in seeing what happens when he introduces the loud Osaka vibe in a place Kyoto-quiet like Seattle."
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Magic Acrylic Makes This Ring Stand Out

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LEDs look great no matter how you use them, but sometimes you want to hide them from direct view. [Charlyn] found a great way to do that, using a special material designed just for the purpose.

[Charlyn] built a ring as a piece of fashion jewelry, hooking up a Gemma M0 microcontroller to a Neopixel Jewel, which packs 7 individual LEDs. The hardware is secreted away inside an enclosure featuring both 3D-printed and lasercut parts.

Rather than openly show off the electronics, it’s all hidden away inside. Instead, a piece of black Chemcast LED acrylic is used, which allows LED light to shine through, while otherwise appearing opaque. Those interested in learning more can check out the product details on the manufacturer site.

It’s a great way to make a subtle costume piece that only reveals its flashier side when you so decide. We’ve seen badges use similar techniques on PCBs to great effect, too. Video after the break.

 

 

 

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ridingsloth
82 days ago
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Well that stuff's neat.
ojiikun
82 days ago
Fun fact: this material can often be salvaged from old LCD panels. Better yet, it can be used with or without the diffuser to get more or less diffusion.
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Capitol Hill ‘neighborhood cafe’ Tallulah’s isn’t closed — but it’s not open, either

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(Image: CHS)

Diners hoping for a Friday night visit found the 19th at Mercer restaurant dark and a paper sign on the door announcing it was closed for the night. Weekend brunch patrons had their reservations canceled. The weekend closure followed other nights of unannounced shuttering. This Monday and Tuesday brought more of the same.

Ownership hasn’t said anything definitive but Capitol Hill restaurant Tallulah’s did not have the best week of business even as the venue marked its sixth year on Capitol Hill’s quieter side along the leafy 19th Ave E.

The restaurant ownership won’t say it is done. But it’s not open, either. Owner Brad Haggen tells CHS the restaurant was closed due to staffing issues. “We lost some key staff and were not able to take care of our guests properly,” Haggen said.

He has not responded to further requests as the restaurant remained shuttered this week.

(Image: Tallulah’s)

The wrinkle comes just over a year since CHS reported on new ownership for the Linda Derschang creation.

Tallulah’s debuted in December 2013 in a lighter vision, veggie-friendly menu, and more modern design design that was partly a response to Derschang’s reputation for vintage and dive vibes.

Entrepreneur and investor Haggen, part of the family behind the grocery chain told CHS after the 2018 acquisition that the Derschang founded restaurant represented a “no brainer” opportunity as was looking for businesses to start or buy following his family’s sale of their interest in the grocery company.

Haggen made Tallulah’s part of a small collection of “neighborhood cafes” including Skylark’s in Bellingham and ownership of regional franchise rights to a Neopolitan pizza chain.

For now, it isn’t clear what Haggen’s next move will be on 19th Ave E.


IT'S NEARLY THE END OF 2019! YOU'VE BEEN MEANING TO! SUBSCRIBE TO KEEP CHS GOING INTO 2020! EXCLAMATION! The holidays are busy times when we typically lose subscribers. We need your help. Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE TODAY. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment. CHS currently has just over 800 subscribers! That's a lot! But we need more. Why support CHS? More here.


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ridingsloth
112 days ago
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Well, at least Lisa and I got in once?
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Now open: Zaika — new Indian on Pike at the base of Capitol Hill

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Zaika owner Nitin Panchal (Images: CHS)

Not everyone is shying away from big food and drink opportunities on Capitol Hill.

Zaika, a new Indian restaurant taking over the Tango space at the base of Pike just above downtown, is setting out to be, well, new Indian — a new take on the familiar food and drink that blends in with its colorful neighborhood and the bustling nightlife of Pike/Pine.

“There’s something new out there,” owner Nitin Panchal tells CHS. “Most of the people, they might not ever have tried something like this.”


IT'S NEARLY THE END OF 2019! YOU'VE BEEN MEANING TO! SUBSCRIBE TO KEEP CHS GOING INTO 2020! EXCLAMATION! The holidays are busy times when we typically lose subscribers. We need your help. Support local journalism dedicated to your neighborhood. SUBSCRIBE HERE TODAY. Join to become a subscriber at $1/$5/$10 a month to help CHS provide community news with NO PAYWALL. You can also sign up for a one-time annual payment. CHS currently has just over 800 subscribers! That's a lot! But we need more. Why support CHS? More here.


With the exit of much loved Poppy from Broadway earlier this year, Zaika is ready to step in and offer forward looking takes on Indian cuisine with a menu that has room for both Malai Chicken and Chicken Tikka Tacos. Beyond the menu, Zaika’s opening took longer than expected as Panchal said he tossed out the initial designs for overhauling the space and spent extra weeks on refining his launch menu. It’s an ambition not far removed from the efforts that drove the creation of Mamnoon as a showcase of Middle Eastern flavors just up the block from Zaika on Melrose.

CHS talked with Panchal this summer about his plans for Zaika and hopes to bring “a Capitol Hill happy hour take on Indian food” to the former Tango space. Tango Restaurant and Lounge closed after 19 years of date nights and tapas at the corner of Pike and Boren to make way for the new venture.

When Tango was born, its area wasn’t quite the draw Zaika inherits. Today, it shares the block with the massive Starbucks Reserve Roastery and the Melrose Market, both huge magnets for neighborhood visitors, shoppers, and diners. Not everything has changed. Though its building sold, Club Z still does its thing across the street.

Panchal, who ran the Chutneys on Queen Anne for a decade — though not its Capitol Hill cousin that closed in 2013 — and also operates Subway franchise locations in the area — didn’t want to add another traditional Indian restaurant to Seattle. For one, it would be a waste of Capitol Hill. “This is where we can do something different,” he said, saying his hope is for his Indian clientele to seek out Zaika as an alternative to more traditional restaurants and for neighborhood diners to embrace the new project as a great place for meals and drinks mixing seasonal Pacific Northwest tastes and ingredients with Indian flavors and spices. Eater Seattle attended a tasting and has more here on Zaika’s offerings including pumpkin soup with coconut cream, goat cheese potli, fish moili, and dahl jeera cauliflower.

There is also lunch. Eschewing the business lunch buffet scene, Zaika instead offers an elegant — and filling — $15 thali that is an excellent showcase of the simple twists it is hoping to bring to the Pike and Melrose dining scene.

Zaika is now open at 1100 Pike. You can learn more at zaikaseattle.com.

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ridingsloth
118 days ago
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Tango replacement is open. Run by the guy who ran Queen Anne's Chutneys (which I love(d?)) and doing Thalis for lunch? I'm very interested.
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Freedom! Capitol Hill is getting a ‘self pour’ wine and beer bar

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Wine entrepreneur David Clawson is back in the States and ready to lead a revolution of freedom in the wine and beer biz while putting an important Capitol Hill cafe space back into motion. He may have been “Brexited,” as he puts it, but his new battle in Seattle on the north end of Broadway will be about “self pour” and the freedom to explore beyond the class system of fine wine.

“We are flipping all that on its head,” Clawson tells CHS. “Why not let the customers try an amazing range of variety and wines.”

In coming days, construction will begin to overhaul the former Starbucks indie-flavored Roy Street Coffee into a new cafe by day, wine and beer bar by night venture.

Clawson is still working on a name for the project but he knows what will be at the center of it — self pour.

It will be an experiment — the cafe will be the first in the region to venture into what Clawson said is a popular and successful UK and European trend — in wine and beer democracy.

“You’ll go in, get a card, and use the machines — like a credit card — selected, dispense different pour sizes. Hit the button, off you go,” Clawson explains.

“It’s giving them freedom to try a huge range — likely more than 100 wines and beers by the glass, more heavy on the wine. And letting people do what they want.”

This being the United States and Seattle, Clawson has ready answers for any cluck clucking. Recent changes in state laws make the whole thing even more clearly legal and in line with regulations — though Clawson says much of it could have probably been done under previous rules. Still, it’s a new approach that authorities will be dealing with for the first time. And it has a rebel spirit — it would be illegal in Oregon, Clawson points out.

As for the other obvious question, there is also an answer for preventing “over service” and over indulgence. The credit system on the cafe’s cards ensure that the law is followed. After 10 ounces of wine or 24 ounces of beer, the card must be reactivated so staff will be able to assess whether a customer is in proper shape for another round. Poor pours and worse choices? Those are up to the customer. We do not recommend you try the 7-11 “suicide” approach when playing with the spigots.

The North Broadway project is part of a recent tradition of business innovation rippling through Capitol Hill bars and breweries. Optimism Brewing famously opened in 2015 as a no cash venue. We have a “wine on tap” wine bar — Footprint on E Madison. And the natural wine trend will be represented soon on E Pike at La Dive.

Meanwhile, if the coming beer taps and islands of wine dispensers sounds a little Amazon Go, CHS has led you astray. Clawson is planning a fully-staffed cafe and bar with baristas pulling shots and a menu of daytime breakfasts and lunches, and nighttime bites to accompany the booze.

The new cafe and bar will replace the Starbucks-backed Roy Street as the project shuttered in April after a decade on Broadway. Roy Street debuted in 2009 as part of a pair of new Capitol Hill cafes that looked, felt, and in some ways operated like the independent cafes the new joints were designed to mimic. “As part of Starbucks standard course of business, we continually evaluate our business to ensure a healthy store portfolio,” the company told CHS earlier this year. “After careful consideration, we’ve made the difficult decision to close the store on Roy Street.”

Clawson said he wants to keep Roy Street’s place as a community gathering spot intact with room for meetings and gatherings by day and events at night.

Self pour, for him, is clearly about an entrepreneurial opportunity and a passion for craft beer and, especially, wine. If you’re looking for a model, Clawson tells us about the 15 years he spent in London where he helped to create The Remedy Wine Bar & Kitchen, “a relaxed, intimate, and friendly slightly geeky wine bar.” His return to his hometown of Seattle included a search for a new project and a new place to do business. He looked across the city including across Capitol Hill. Pike/Pine didn’t feel right, he said. North Broadway with a collection of unique restaurants, a quieter bar scene, and, probably most importantly, an amazingly large and amazingly available cafe space fit the bill.

While he is still working on the name, Strata Architects is setting about a redesign of Roy Street that will continue the space’s more intimate warrens and separation while creating a “lightened up,” more modern approach. Work will probably stretch into spring with a planned opening, perhaps, by March or April.

As he learned in densely packed London, the best customers will live nearby. Clawson says his focus for the new cafe and bar will be to  create a “local community feel, a local destination.”

“It’s the local populace we care about,” Clawson said.


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ridingsloth
162 days ago
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Lisa and I were just talking about what might end up in this space.
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