Archive for the ‘Seattle’ Category


Norberry learned a lesson from Charing the 2013 Mount Baker Home Tour, don’t get homes that are all constructed during the same time period! Our intentions were good, get all centenial homes to celebrate the Mount Baker Clubhouse’s 100 year anniversary, but 100 year old homes can look quite similar. This year we’ve improved the spread!


This year we’re going to take you on a tour of a full century of Mount Baker Homes. We’ll start with the oldest, an original Dose Home, to the youngest and award winning sustainable homes in the neighborhood. Along the way you will be transported to a very conservative, but darling 1930’s home. It was featured in Pacific Northwest Magazine, specifically for the kitchen. Your next stop will be the groovy ’70’s where large open spaces were the norm. The Dose home reflects the popular Arts and Crafts period at the turn of the century, it’s even furnished with Green and Green and Stickley like furniture. The two sustainable homes are again award winners, both collecting LEED Platnumn cerifications.


Finally, return to the 1920’s with a neo-storybook house, possibly straight from the British Coastline. The interior is certainly updated for a contemporary lifestyle, but the architect trained designer of the cottage has lessons for all of us to take away. The home is a true stunner!


Please Buy a ticket and come visit one of Seattle’s finest historical neighborhoods. It’s Olmstead designed! Tour runs from 10am to 4:00 pm, Saturday only. Please click through and purchase a ticket: http://www.mountbaker.org/

Your purchase will go to support the mount Baker Clubhouse, the oldest contiguously operating clubhouse in North America.



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Epic squid salad with green papaya.

Vienthong’s epic squid salad with green papaya.

SeattleMet Magazine is always publishing a top or best of list of some kind, but when they printed a story on the “Best Asian Restaurants” in 2011 it captured my son Douglas’s (then 12 years old) and my attention. Since we live near the Rainier Valley and Seattle’s International District, the hub for all things Asian, it seemed responsible to investigate the hood. We already had favorites, but were willing to expand our horizons and hopefully identify gems we were missing. I have traveled extensively through out South East Asia and was also hoping to find those meals that would instantly transport me back to the alleys and shacks simply by the taste and smells, a sign of true authenticity. I should note that I did not make it to China, as a brief visit was on my itinerary at the time in 1989, but the Tinaman Square incident just a week before prevented Americans from entering the country for a spell.

Katharine Robinson began her Met article “Northwest by FarEast” by stating “Where Dallas has it’s steaks, Memphis its barbecue, and LA its Mexican – Seattle has Asian food.” And what a trip it is visiting most all the spots. It took us over two years; some needed a second and sometimes a fifth chance. Most restaurants on our list are convenient to Seattle.
I finally motivated to publish this list because my favorite restaurant, Sea Garden, was forced to close due to a fire. It’s a reminder that good restaurants are transient and need to be highlighted when around. When it returns, Sea Garden will be my goto again! If you are craving both seafood and Chinese, this was the spot. My suggestion is Shrimp in Lobster Sauce, not on the menu, but the best in town.
Hing Loon on Weller in the ID is consistent, but easily the least sexy, fluorescent flooded room for food. Take Robinson’s advice and order from the sheets on the wall.
Chiang’s Gourmet, right off of I-5 at Lake City, Douglas’s favorite!  He doesn’t even check the menu: Szechuan noodles with pork, 5 star chicken. I’m always adding an experimental dish, of which there are many, but they don’t always work out. Skip the drunken chicken, stuffed tofu skin with mushrooms, tough, even for a diverse palate.
663 Bistro in the ID is great. Fortunately it was just remodeled so it’s easy to just focus on the food. Actually Doug and I had a hallmark night eating along side Fred Brown and Bill Russell of Super Sonics lore. Definitely get the Salt and Pepper Chicken, up there with the best wings in town. They made us a special beef rib and wide noodle stew that was great, and the green beans with ground pork is consistent.
Mandarine Chef in the University District wins for best noodles and dumplings. Order the chow mein to get the noodles.
Sichuanese Cuisine Restaurant on Jackson is awesome! I mean they keep bringing you food to throw into your table top hot pot until you explode. We stopped just shy of becoming a mess. Come hungry. Place is a dive.
Red Lantern was very good, especially the fermented black beans and pork.
Din Tai Fung is an absolute favorite and worth a wait. Soup dumplings are the bomb!
Gourmet Noodle Bowl in Chinatown is another all you can eat hot pot restaurant, and highly recommended by a huge number of regular Taiwanese students.
Dim Sum
Dave Lowry wrote the other half of the Best Asian list with his article “the True Taste of Asia” and nailed the best Dim Sum:
Joy Palace. Huge Asian crowds fill this hall with the food to support. Dave recognizes that “the shrimp dumplings are perfectly translucent, the shumai are resplendent umami, pork ribs are deliciously unctuous and they even have chicken feet.” Douglas and I ordered the chicken feet once and that was enough. Too much gnawing on little knuckles. Lowry also suggests skipping the standard oolong tea for Pu Li tea.
Jade Garden, We didn’t have the patience to wait in line.
Kawali Grill in Columbia City. Doug’s chicken was tinged with a little coconut and was great. The stews looked good. I ventured into the deep fried meat and will stick with the stews next time. 
Jae's inventive roll with tempura jalapeno

Jae’s inventive roll with tempura jalapeño

Japanese (Sushi)
Douglas and I are huge fans of Japanese, just wish I could afford it all the time, but it has led me to cooking it myself.
Nishino’s is our first choice if we are offered our pick of restaurants in Seattle. Everything is good from the sushi to the squid, asparagus and shitake mushroom stir fry, which I’ve come close to knocking off.
Shiro’s Sushi is often recognized as Seattle’s best sushi, but it is strictly sushi and sashimi.
Shushi Kappo Tammura I met the owner, Taichi Kitamura when he was hosting a Slowfood event at his former Fremont address and he espouses the locavore touch. Super jolly chef too, makes you appreciate the dear cost of a meal there.
Jae’s on Madison is a good sushi spot for a reasonable price, and he is game to invent fun and tasty rolls.
Japanese traditional
Maneki is great old school Seattle Japanese. Not our favorite sushi, but lots of broiled and oddball things to eat.
Tsukushinobo is another classic hole in the wall joint, some odd items, slow service and hard to find, but the fifteen minute wait on Friday morning for one of 50 bowls of  shoyu ramen is worth the experience at least once.
Samurai Noodle has very good bowls of ramen if it’s not Friday and you don’t want to wait in line for an early lunch. Buttery tonkatsu is the perfect belly warmer for an average Seattle day. We’ve enjoyed slurping all the varieties of ramen with home made noodles.
Kaname Izakaya and Shochu Bar great Japanese bar food and beef sukiyaki. The shochu was right up my alley.
Most of the best Korean Places are just north of Seattle in Shoreline, and they are generally the only restaurants with grills installed in the tables. Kids love these places and Douglas even learned to grill like a pro. Newer restaurants in Seattle are starting to take Korean to a fusion new level.
Original Sul Lung Tang, Old Village Korean, and Grill King are some of our favorites in Shoreline, but the Grill King seemed to have a little smokiness added to it’s cabbage kimchee which made it our favorite Banchan. Be sure to go hungry, Grill King has an all you can eat platter for $18.
Korean Tofu House near the University of Washington is a fun place to eat with the droves of students and is no watered down, or less substantial as other places in Seattle.
Joule and Revel in Wallingford are a bit fusion, especially with the specialty cuts of beef rib they get. So good!
Tanakasan is still on our to do list, but another example of Korean picking up steam in Seattle, and it’s a Tom Douglas establishment!
In 1987 I worked with Louis Richmond to introduce Seattle to Thai food by swapping Seattle Sheraton’s chefs with Sheraton Hotel’s Bangkok chefs, and it worked! We won an international public relations award! Unfortunately, it makes me a bit of a thai food snob.
May Restaurant and Lounge in Wallingford gets the award for best Phad Thai, and Katharine Robinson, from the Met article, agrees calling it the “prettiest rendition” too! You’ll eat banana blossoms in this version.
Thai Curry Simple on 5th avenue across from the train station is a transporting experience. If you need a trip to southeast Asia eat here. They even have fresh packets and multiple varieties of curry to take home. I successfully married salmon and red curry sauce, Douglas even enjoyed it, but not as much as the shrimp.
Siam on Broadway used to be my favorite, but some have been giving me pushback. Things do change…
Tamarind Tree is the place to impress. Every item is so good, and fun atmosphere.
Green Leaf is a more reasonable solution, and still very good. I’m personally hooked on the duck Pho and bahn xeo, the shrimp and bean sprout pancake, very messy.
Pho Bac is a pho staple around the corner from us, a total dive, but the beef broth is so good!
Monsoon and BaBar are two of the very best fusion Vietnamese restaurants in Seattle. They are going to be the most expensive Vietnamese restaurants in this category but they take pride in their ingredients. The owner of BaBar appeared so proud describing to me how he injected the rotisserie chickens instead of brining so that he could achieve the perfect crispy skin, a victory achieved through trial and error. Monsoon for brunch or dim sum makes for a very special date ;n)
Viengthong a bamboo dive shack and oh so good! Squid salad is awesome, the most beautiful deep fried whole chili fish…The food is more tangy than Thai. We brought fresh spring rolls from this establishment to a dinner party and they immediately disappeared. I’m very worried about the location as it is in an area being developed around the Mount Baker train station, so get there soon if you want Lao.
Please note, we did not list every restaurant in the Met “Best Asian Restaurants” article, as Douglas and I didn’t think they deserved to be on our list, or they were too far away, but we did add some favorites too.

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Please join us at Town Hall this weekend for Historic Seattle’s Bungalow Fair. Norberry Tile has supported and participated the event from its conception 13 years ago. Vendors will come from all over the United States to promote the organic Arts and Crafts style. It’s a celebration of handmade product and beautiful craftsmanship that Americans are gifted with.

I personally styled my 1924 cottage with period Arts and Crafts features and colors. I found it instantly drops my blood pressure upon entering because it is such an inviting environment. Think subdued colors, warm lighting, lots of wood and few right angles. If you have ever visited the Gamble House in Pasadena you know what it is like to be lovingly embraced by a home.

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Value is in the details.

September is an exciting time in the tile industry as summer-time construction completes. With walls up and the roof on, finish surfaces are the next items to check off.  It is more important than ever to invest in your home. Installing quality surfaces will create environments you want to live in over time, which in turn adds value. Using cheap materials often proves to be  false economy, as they are more commonly ripped out and replaced. Quality surfaces are timeless and enduring.

By working with Norberry Tile you can be assured of beautiful and appropriate surfaces for your style of home.  Bring a designer in with you for a third opinion.  Our goal is to have you install the tile once and be happy with it for your entire life in the home.  That’s adding value!

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Green Roof or Living Art?

Probably the most satisfying detail of my remodel is the green roof outside the kitchen.  It is simply a living piece of art!  Every other week it has a new appearance.  The Summer display going on now is chock full of color from flowers to succulent leaves.  The roof is composed of drought tolerant sedums, and they are growing on less than 4″ of soil.  It was installed as 12″ x 24″ living tiles.  The biggest contrast is the winter foliage when the roof turns burgundy red.

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Fireclay Tile is leading the way in how sustainable tile is defined.  Now manufacturing in it’s 25th year, Fireclay has taken it’s practice of producing the most beautiful, timeless and quality focused surfaces and added over 60% recycled material to make it LEED compliant.  And like the best tile made, it should outlive the structure its installed in.  Reusing discarded material in tile, called grog, is part of the traditional manufacturing process.  In the case of Fireclay Tile’s Debris series the grog is both post-industrial and post-consumer waste adding body to the terra cotta tile.  Enhancing the LEED credit value, where transportation distance matters,  West Coast installations generally score a little better with manufacturing located in northern California. 

Even when recycled content and LEED standards aren’t drivers for selecting a tile, the beauty of Fireclay Tile places it in the realm of the most beautiful handmade tile manufactured.  Norberry tile appreciates that we can make the most beautiful installations possible with Fireclay Tile.  The most beautiful commercial projects work with Norberry Tile to capture responsible and beautiful installations.

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Join us for the last Greendrinks of 2010: THE NEXT GREENDRINKS WILL BE ON TUESDAY, 8 DECEMBER, HOSTED BY NORBERRY TILE and the SEATTLE DESIGN CENTER and including our first annual holiday bazaar. (more…)

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