Seattle Outsider Musings

Now that Seahawks Super Bowl XLVIII mania has subsided, and Skittles supplies have been restocked, tightly-held offseason personnel maneuverings are underway.  Seattleites are turning their attention to that other hometown sports team: baseball’s much-maligned Mariners.  Cactus League spring training games are underway in Peoria, Ariz., and by all accounts, ex-Yankee Robinson Cano is off to a fortuitous start as a newly-minted Mariner.  Let’s hope his “net drill” hitting workouts with 1st baseman (for now) teammate
Justin Smoak will also pay off in the MLB season ahead…

Pro sports aside, sun-deprived locals are anticipating the arrival of spring.  Topping the list of kick-off events is the 35th annual charity F5 St. Patrick’s Day Dash.  Wave 1 starts at 8:30 a.m. at 3rd & Mercer in Seattle Center, and promises to live up to it’s well-earned reputation for family-friendly fun.  Seattle’s parade honoring the Irish saint will follow at 12:30, starting at Jefferson Street and going up 4th Avenue to Westlake Park, at Pine.

Onlookers seeking traditional Irish fare & libations within walking distance or a quick ride on the Monorail will find plenty of welcoming restaurants & watering holes in which to celebrate.  Most notably: FX McRory’s, at 419 Occidental Ave. to the South; and Kell’s Irish Restaurant & Pub and Owl & Thistle, both located to the North, on trendy Post Alley off 1st Avenue.

Speaking of great places to wine & dine in Washington state, foodies take note that this year the state boasts nearly two dozen semifinalists for the prestigious James Beard Foundation Awards.

And the nominees are:
Best New Restaurant: Aragona and Bar Sajor
Outstanding Bar Program: Canon
Outstanding Chef: Johnathan Sunstrom of Lark
Outstanding Pastry Chef: Neil Robertson of Crumble & Flake Patisserie
Outstanding Restaurateur: Rick and Ann Yoder of Wild Ginger
Outstanding Service: Cafe Jaunita in Kirkland
Rising Star Chef of the Year (under 30 years of age): Chris Weber at The Herbfarm in Woodinville, and Blaine Wetzel at The Willows Inn on Lummi Island
Best Chef Northwest:
Chris Ainsworth of Saffron Mediterranean Kitchen in Walla Walla
Eric Donnelly of Rock Creek
Renee Erickson of The Whale Wins
Jason Franey of Canlis
Nathan Lockwood of Altura
Brendan McGill of Hitchcock
Dustin Ronspies of Art of the Table
Ethan Stowell of Staple & Fancy
Jason Stratton of Spinasse
Rachel Yang and Seif Chirchi of Joule

Finalists will be named on March 18; winners will be announced May 5 at Lincoln Center in NYC.  And the envelope please…

Lastly, In the WTF/You Can’t Be Serious! department, another embarrassing “oops” was released from Seattle Mayor Ed Murray’s communications staff.  Seems Hizzoner had to retract a statement he’d issued to the press mourning the death of Jim Diers, the popular former director of Seattle’s Department of Neighborhoods.  “Trouble is”, says Seattle Times political reporter Jim Brunner, “Diers is alive.  Murray’s office mixed up Diers with Joe Dear, a former top state official who headed the state investment board and was chief of staff for [former Governor] Gary Locke.  Dear died this week of prostate cancer.”  Jim Diers’ response to the notification of his untimely demise: “I am dead tired, but I’m not dead.”  Words Mark Twain would’ve appreciated!

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