I've debated writing this post for a while now, since I have a number of shops and eateries that I frequent and LOVE - but love because they're kind of under-the-radar. They're not making the national Top this or Best that lists, but I think they are indeed - the best. Would writing about them and telling the world make it harder for me to get the service I have come to expect and love?
No. That's selfish thinking - and I quickly realized that the reasons some of these places aren't making big splashes are that they don't have huge marketing or PR budgets to help get the word out. Their charm is in their small, down-to-earth reliably great mentally.
So. Time to shout it from the rooftops! Here are my favorite under-the-radar places in the city; everything from where I eat, drink and get my nails done.
Night Light Nail Salon
One day several years ago, soon after I moved to Wallingford, I Yelp-ed what the nearest nail salon to my new home was and offhandedly went to Night Light Salon, on 45th. It doesn't take much to please me when it comes to getting my nails done - but similarly - I never really had any loyalty to any place before; they all really did the same job. But once Van and her team at Night Light get in your head (literally, a complimentary head and neck massage comes with every manicure), you'll never go anywhere else. They are efficient, polite, friendly, and do great work. A shellac manicure is $25, includes a paraffin wax treatment, arm/hand and neck/head massages, and lasts upwards of three weeks. Become a regular there and Van will quickly learn your name to welcome the moment you walk through the door (or so I've heard...)
Night Light Salon
250 NE 45th St
Seattle, WA 98105
Phone number: (206) 634-2557
Robert Ramsay Queen Anne Wine Room
Perched atop Queen Anne Hill, I love this wine bar as a simple, relaxing and low key place to get a drink with a friend and catch up. So many bars these days seem to be trying SO HARD: loud music, fancy food, so many stools and tables you can never find a seat - the list goes on. When I first visited Robert Ramsey I was struck by the absence of all that - the simplicity. It's quiet, small and cozy - focusing on serving each glass and each customer, with the person behind the bar always willing to give suggestions or a tasting. If I haven't caught up with a friend in a long time, this is where I go to do so.
Robert Ramsay Queen Anne Wine Room
1629 Queen Anne Ave N. #102
Seattle, WA 98109
I'll say it - sometimes I feel like I'm too old for Poquitos. Maybe it's because when I used to come home from college and visit friends, we'd always go out in the Pike/Pine neighborhood and end up at Poquitos. Now that I'm writing this I'm wondering if part of my love of the place is because it reminds me of a simpler time with less responsibilities.... Wow, deep right? I'll shrink that later. Regardless - I like what I like, and I love Poquitos (and not just because the margaritas are the best I've tasted in town). But actually that is a huge reason. Pro Tip: Try the jalapeno marg if you're feeling gutsy. I also love the vibe of the place (much different from Robert Ramsey) but perfect for those nights you want to go out, feel trendy, and have a little fun. Hopefully that's not just me.
1000 E Pike St.
Seattle, WA 98122
Deity Skin Care
I am pretty low maintenance when it comes to my skin. To be completely honest, and I have friends who will kill me for saying this, I really only wash my face with water - no fancy products (makeup remover doesn't count, right?) Every now and then when I'm feeling wild I'll apply an exfoliating mask, but probably not as often as I should. The nature of this job though has me trying out a lot of beauty treatments and facials for our Beauty section (rough life, I know) and I don't always love them. Most of the ones I've had feel like an endless series of "Apply lotion A on the face, massage around, wipe off. Apply lotion B, massage around, wipe off. Repeat endlessly." This is why when I tried the "Be Divine" facial at Deity Skin Care in Fremont, I instantly knew it was different. It's not just because they give 15% of every facial towards a local non-profit (this year it's the PNW chapter of the National Cervical Cancer Coalition, a personal cause for co-founder Heather Allison). It's also because this particular facial uses tuning forks - yes, you heard that right - during the process to "stimulate and balance your body's energy". I don't know about that particularly, but it feels amazing in a way that's hard to describe; kind of like a reverberation starting from the point where the forks hit and echoing throughout your body. Good stuff. They also start out with a back massage (included) which was heaven in and of itself. Like Heather said - "When was the last time you had a really great back massage?" Too long ago Heather, too long ago.
Deity Skin Care
403 N. 45th Street
Seattle, WA 98103
I have been going here since I was a little girl - and while it has recently changed owners - I still consider it my favorite pho spot in Seattle. Located on Rainier Ave. S. in Columbia City in a super unassuming little spot, this location has been quietly serving up the best Vietnamese noodle soup around. Another love of mine there are their fresh spring rolls - on hot days when I can't imagine gulping down a bowl of hot soup I'll order an order (or two!) of fresh rolls to go.
4732 Rainier Ave S.
Seattle, WA 98118