The Original Cupcake Royale: Madrona

Cupcake RoyaleNow a days, a cupcake shop is not hard to find.  Google “Cupcake Seattle” and you will see a map covered with little balloons pointing to various cupcake stores: Trophy Cupcakes, The Yellow Leaf Cupcake, Wink Cupcakes, and of course Cupcake Royale.  To think eight years ago, none would have been there.  It was 2003, when Jody Hall wrote her business plan for Cupcake Royale and Verite Coffee and it changed the cupcake landscape in Seattle forever.  Cupcake Royale was the first and it all started in Madrona in the new (at the time) mixed used building on 34th and Spring.  The store is perfectly located on the corner across from the wide stairs leading down from the Madrona Playground.  The first things the kids see when leaving the swings, slides, and climbing area are CUPCAKES!  But is it a cupcake shop?  Verite Coffee is prominently displayed and the cupcakes are almost an afterthought.  I once asked an employee when ordering a double chocolate cupcake, “Why is Verite so prominent and so little signage for the cupcakes.”  She told me that this was the first location (which I did not know at the time) and originally coffee was more of a focus than the cupcakes.  I do not know if that story is 100% right, but if I was Trophy, Yellow Leaf, Wink, Cupcake Royale, or just a cupcake lover in Seattle, I would thank those Madrona kids who yearned for cupcakes – they, with Judy Hall’s vision, really started something.

Madrona Elementary – But Which One?

Madrona ElementaryI came across an article saying Madrona Elementary was going to work with the City of SeaTac to find safe ways to walk to school.  I thought that is weird….but then the hamsters started running in my head and I realized they were talking about Madrona Elementary in SeaTac.   So that got me thinking: How many schools named “Madrona” are there around here?  Well, from the article I now knew there were our Madrona Elementary here in Seattle and the Madrona Elementary in SeaTac, but then I looked further.

The Madrona K-8 calls themselves the Bears in Edmonds.  Test: Try to figure out the mascot of Seattle’s Madrona or SeaTac’s Madrona.  Half Answer: Panthers and some kind of bird.  Let me know when you figure out what that bird is.

The Madrona grade school in Bainbridge is private school associated with Waldorf Schools of North America which sounds exclusive.

The Madrona School in Bellingham is a preschool and full day childcare.

Madrona School Society is up north and across the border in Vancouver B.C.  It is “a school for bright and gifted children.”  Their website says they accept grades 4 through 7 and that they instruct at ability level, not grade level – which sounds good to me.

I am not sure if I missed any Madrona schools.  I am sure if I expanded the search geographically then I would find a lot more.  But just for the record, if I say Madrona School, I am talking about Madrona Elementary right here in Seattle between 33rd and 32nd off of Union.

Madrona’s Glassybaby Seconds Sale – Tomorrow!

glassybabyTomorrow, January 22nd starting at 10 am, Seattle’s Glassybaby is hosting their semi-annual “seconds sale” at their headquarters in Madrona (located just east of 34th on Union).  The sale that starts at 10 am and ends at 6 pm features their famous “glassybaby” candle holders/vase and “drinkers” both for about a 35% discount.  The glassybaby that normally sells for $40 will be available for $26 and the drinkers normally $50 will be $32.

The sale is to clear out the inventory of imperfect inventory.  The glassybaby and drinkers are not damaged, merely just slightly too tall, too short, or the color is just off a touch – most likely something you would not notice unless you studied it closely or were a glassybaby guru.

If you plan on going to the sale in Madrona you might want to do a few things.  One, get there early, people are known to line up before it opens to get first pick.  Two, bring your own box or bag and maybe something to wrap what you buy since the glassybaby and drinkers do not come in their standard box.  Three, possibly bring something to illuminate the glassbaby (like a flashlight) to test the color so once you light a candle the glassybaby looks how you visioned it.

Location 3406 East Union Street
What Seconds Sale
When Saturday, January 22nd
Time 10:00 am – 6:00 pm

Madrona Drivers Beware: Sinkhole on 32nd and Harrison

Seattle Pothole?  I think not;  I have seen potholes on the Seattle streets and this is much more: a sinkhole.  If you have been driving to or from Madrona or Denny Blaine the last month or so, I know you have seen the sinkhole on 32nd and Harrison.  There has been a barrier covering the hole for at least a month, but no action was taken until earlier this week.  Blacktop has been added to smooth the street, but the work is not done.  I am not an engineer, but I imagine the City of Seattle has to pour a lot of gravel in the hole that remains to support the street.

So hopefully the next time you head to Denny Blaine or Madrona, the street will be repaired.  But if this past month is an indicator, I would not hold your breath.

Proposed Change to Madrona K-8 District

Madrona School District

Proposed Madrona K-8 School District Map

UPDATE – The proposal has been withdrawn.  Read the email on Central District News from Kay Smith-Blum, Board of Directors, Seattle Public Schools.

There is a proposal in front of the Seattle Public Schools to take away from Stevens’ district and add it to Madrona K-8.  The affected area looks to be between Madison and Cherry and 14th and 23rd.  Those students already attending Stevens Elementary would not be affected, but if they have younger siblings that have not started school, those siblings would be affected (and so would the parents who would have to split the time between the two schools).  From reading the School Board Action Report (worth the read, not very long), it seems the main reason for the proposal is to save $18,000 in transportation costs – although also cited is capacity and safety issues as reasons for the change.  I am not necessarily arguing that saving $18,000 is not a good reason for the change, but I could see the Seattle School Board wanting to justify it with a word like “capacity” or one of the most powerful words for change around “safety.”  For example, one reason I do not believe safety is the main issue is the report says children have to pass over the busy streets of Madison and Union to reach Capitol Hill’s Stevens Elementry.  But if you change the district to Madrona K-8, children still have to cross Union and instead of crossing Madison now they have to cross 23rd which is also very busy.

If you feel strongly either way, you should contact the Seattle School Board: or attend the meeting TONIGHT, January 19th at 6 pm at 2445 3rd Avenue South, Seattle.

Madrona: What to do MLK Weekend?

King CountyThere are a ton of Martin Luther King events this MLK holiday weekend.  Check out the link to Seattle Times for more details, but following are a sample of events that are going on this weekend.  On Saturday early afternoon, there will be a teen march from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Park in the Mt Baker area to Garfield.  Also on Saturday, there will be a Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Award at the base of Queen Anne at the Seattle Center.  On both Saturday and Monday, the King Holiday Hoopfest will highlight many of the top high school basketball teams at both Seattle University Connolly Center near First Hill / Central Area and Hec Edmundson Pavilion in Montlake.  And on Monday morning, a breakfast hosted by charity, the Millionair Club, will feature former Sonic James Donaldson and musician Laura Piece Kelley in Belltown / Downtown Seattle (check address before going – Seattle Times address says 251 Western, but Millionair Club address is 2515 Western).

Madrona Break In

policeman-cartoonI was forwarded an email today that went through several chains before me, but it looks like the original email was sent just yesterday (Thursday,  Jan. 13th).  The email is from a Madrona resident near 29th and Denny regarding someone breaking into their house and taking a computer and possibly other possessions while the homeowner was gone for lunch.   The description of the possible thief is quite descriptive, so I am passing the information along to other Madrona / Seattle residents:

The police felt pretty certain the same thief was doing today’s robberies, and they think he probably works alone.  They also think he’s responsible for many more of the robberies that have been happening in our district.  They got a good description of him earlier today from either eyewitness or video:
He’s a very tall and thin African American, late teens or early 20’s
has cornrows and distinctive gold “grillwork” on his teeth
he was dressed in red from head to toe. Seriously.  Even his shoes.  He left his red bandana at my back door, presumably to use over his fist when he broke the glass.  (The police were quite excited about it and took it for DNA evidence in case they could pull a hair from it.)   Somehow the police think this guy ususally wears read, so he’s not someone who is trying to blend in to the scenery.
He has big feet, as evidenced by the footprints he left behind my house
He tends to hit houses that are off of alleys, because his exit is always out the back, and the alley gives him easy egress.

The email goes on to say:

The police think he’s concentrating on an area between 23rd Avenue up the hill to 40th Avenue in Madison Park, and plans in advance the houses he wants to hit.
I was told to spread the word describing him, and if anyone sees someone of that description, to just phone 911, even if you don’t see him doing anything wrong.

Madrona Restaurants: Naam and their predecessor Coupage

Naam Thai SeattleNaam is a great Thai restaurant in Madrona just a couple doors north of 34th and Union (obviously in Seattle).  From all accounts (they have terrific scores on popular restaurant feedback websites) they have excellent Thai food and you can either order as a sit down restaurant or call previously and get it to go.  One complaint I had when they first opened was the service was slow but in my experience that has greatly improved since then.  If you feel like Thai food, then I would not hesitate to recommend Naam, but if you are in a hurry then order it to go just to be safe.  Otherwise enjoy all Madrona has to offer by eating at the restaurant, it has a cool atmosphere (older building, yet nice and clean) and you can order a drink from their full bar.

Another verification of Naam’s quality is their ability to survive.  Before Naam there was a handful of Madrona restaurants in that space: one of which was Coupage.  The only reason I bring up Coupage is because I came across an article about its previous chef and owner: Tom Hurley.  The article caught my attention because the headline and description spoke of a Portland firefighter and Seattle restaurateur.   I liked Coupage, so I knew a little of the background, but not as much as the article revealed.  Click the link on Tom Hurley’s name.  It is an interesting article about disability benefits, opening and closing restaurants, and lawsuits.  In the end, Mr. Hurley is now back working for the Portland Fire Bureau 17 years after he left – this time in a different capacity.

Madrona’s Snow Flurry 2011

The snow probably was not there for more than 24 hours, but it came down this past Tuesday night and covered the Seattle and Madrona streets quickly.  By the mid-morning or early afternoon on Wednesday there was little to no evidence of the snow.  Our first snow of 2011, but maybe not our last if the last couple years are any indication.