Back from Seattle after a romp across Capitol Hill for food, fun, and friends. If you had to ask you should know it was cold and at moments teasingly sunny.
Friday, we celebrated the Kid’s birthday. A whole mob of us showed up at Blotto’s to celebrate. This is Jordan and Christy’s pizza joint, bottle shop and bar on 12th Ave and E Denny Way. Wine selection is all-natural style, then there is the sourdough pizza crust, the only kind available. The dough is prepped prior to the open at 5 PM, if there’s a problem with the dough they won’t open, you’ll take your chances because it is just that good.
From within this hole in the wall there are maybe a dozen seats in the main room, another dozen in the backroom, and another dozen out front. If it sounds like a lot, you’d be surprised at how much they’ve done with so little space. Residents on Capitol Hill cram into Blotto’s. Once they’ve sold out, and that’s almost every time they open their doors, they clean the ovens, wipe off the tables and then like that lights are off, and joint is closed.
Friday, we kept them late. No worries, Jordan and Christy are friends of the Kid. The enterprising couple are skilled natural wine purveyors. You’ll find this kind of wine here and there throughout Seattle, but it is still not to be expected. I’d wondered how they deal with new customers that have not run into this style of wine before. At the counter where you order Christy keeps a few bottles open. You want a red, white, rose or orange wine? No problem she’ll pour you a glass and like that you are on your way to becoming a fan of natural wine.
Another member of our group is about to open his own natural wine shop. You’ll find Other Worlds at the northeast corner of Pike and 14th . The thing to know about this scene is that you don’t get into the natural wine business to make a great big fat killing at the cash register, you sell natural wines because it is the right thing to do, at least for you, for your values, because of what you know about how transformational a simple unmanipulated glass of wine can be in this overcomplicated too often too complex world we live in.
There are way too many awkward definitions for what makes a glass of wine natural. I’ll give it my best shot, a winemaker takes grapes grown from their own vineyard and does their level best to not interfere. To ferment the grapes native yeast from the vineyard is used. Natural wine is first and foremost not created with supply chain yeasts that are marketed by various suppliers around the world. The flavors unlocked by wild yeast is specific to the place where the grapes are grown, skilled tasters can tell you where a wine is from simply by identifying the character of the wild yeast.
L’Oursin is located down on E Jefferson St at 14th Ave. Like Blotto this French restaurant only has natural wines on its list. As far as the Kid knows these are the only two eating establishments that offer only natural wine. Saturday night we were a smaller foursome out to eat at this off the beaten path restaurant.
The Kid’s circle of friends is all bound up in life on Capitol Hill. Especially fun is how this group of late 20-somethings to early 30-types thrive as the full power of their adulthoods blossom. There was a special event that pulled a big crowd, not their crowd, a big crowd of early 20-somethings, and it was in that instant that my Kid realized she was no longer a kid at all, not even a post adolescent teen type kid, she was for better or worse a wise world tested credit card carrying fully realized former kid.
All my Kid’s circle are aiming higher, most want to go further, some have already left Capitol Hill, some have had to move back, a few vow to never leave— we know that’s more whimsical hope than a fait accompli. Setting your marker on the table of your life is fair game, you want to claim you’ll live and die on Capitol Hill then so be it, odds are long you won’t but no harm in saying you’re going to try. This is what is called an unknowable boast—
The Kid is in the prime of her life and this is where she’s been fated to play her cards. Capitol Hill has its own buzz, its vital, congested— if you lived her you wouldn’t have to leave here, it has everything you would want or need. That’s how it stands. One day parking starts to become a hassle, you want your own garden, instead of squeezing into a studio you start imagining you’d like to spread out two miles south in Columbia City with some of the refugees you came up with back in the day on Capitol Hill.
You won’t admit to wanting this less pressurized life until you simply must. Maybe you’ll be one of the lucky few that never is overcome by this pressurized urbanity. Maybe you’ll be the one that becomes a curator at the Seattle Film Festival, maybe you get lucky, and your food blog takes off, there is a photo essay about where you live on Capitol Hill and how the thought of ever leaving the Hill is simply inconceivable. Your name and the Hill are synonymous, maybe the mayor or Seahawks quarterback are better known, but then those are personalities built by politics and sport, you have gained fame not just for a good eye for a good film but for a neighborhood you love too, and then there all those up and comers that want to grow up to be just like you, to live forever in one of Seattle’s finest corners, you become the Elaine Stritch of the Paris on the Puget Sound, you don’t spend five decades at New York’s Carlyle Hotel, instead you’re living life large on the top floor of a century old multi-unit building with floor to ceiling windows and the best damn view anyone could ever imagine having of the Space Needle.
You haven’t just made it, you are it, you are that rare odd dweller of never to leave Capitol Hill dwellers. You didn’t die and go to heaven, you lived life large and ended up on Capitol Hill—