Why an Investment Property Should Be Your First Real Estate Purchase

Not ready to buy a home for yourself but want to take advantage of great market conditions? Consider buying an investment property! It’s a trend that’s taking over real estate, as savvy investors look to put their money in an appreciating asset. Here are five reasons to consider it.
For Rent
1. Rates are crazy low. Lower rates mean more affordable lending, or more for your money if you choose to reach higher.

2. Because it will appreciate. According to CoreLogic, “The overall home price index (HPI) has increased on a year-over-year basis every month for seven years.” The long-term price appreciation of real estate can provide one of the safest investments out there.

3. Because passive income is good. Yes, it’s nice to know there will likely be appreciation over time, but the real key to success with investment properties is passive income.

“The best part about rental properties is that they provide a stable income,” said Mashvisor. “What would be better than having a check sent to you every month? In order to have positive cash flow, you have to make sure you invest in a profitable rental property.

4. To turn it into a short-term rental. The short-term rental market has opened up a new world of opportunity for investors. By buying in the right location—by the beach, near a ski resort, or in close proximity to a popular annual event like Coachella, you have the potential of making a significant return in a short period of time. Just be sure to check the local laws, as lots of cities have been cracking down on Airbnb and other services.

5. Because it can help you buy the home of your dreams down the line. “Buying an investment property before your first home does not imply that you won’t have the funds to purchase your actual home at some point,” said Mashvisor. “In fact, investment properties that have been purchased wisely and have grown in value can offer you a sizeable amount of wealth and equity.”

Floor Cleaning Tips & Tricks

Regardless of how tidy you are, your floors, rugs, and carpets get dirty. Between the dirt you track in on your shoes, the accidental spills, and the inevitable accumulation of dust, your floors can get quite grimy. Here are a few cleaning tips and tricks for all types of flooring.

Cleaning Supplies

Natural Stone Floors
One of the most important rules when it comes to cleaning natural stone, is to steer clear of acidic products like vinegar, ammonia, or bleach, as they can ruin the stone. Your best bet is to use a pH-neutral cleaner that won’t react with the minerals in your stone floor.

Tile Floors
Tile is easy to clean. Simply combine ¼ cup of vinegar and one drop of dish soap in a spray bottle. Fill the rest with water and mix well. Spritz the mixture onto your tile surface and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth or mop. Steaming the tiles and grout will provide a deep cleaning.

Carpets
Unlike other flooring surfaces, carpets have their own set of rules. For a deep clean, it’s best to steam clean your carpets. For regular cleaning, using a vacuum should suffice.

Hardwood Floors
Wood floors need a lot of attention. Start by determining whether your floor is sealed or not. If it’s unsealed, avoid using water and instead try mineral oil and periodic coats of wax. If the floor is sealed, a simple mix of hot water and soap is a safe bet.

Linoleum
Start by sweeping or vacuuming the floor to get rid of dust, hair, and dirt. Then add about six drops of mild detergent or dish soap to a gallon of warm or hot water. Dampen a mop with the mixture and use it to clean the floor in sections. Avoid getting the mop too wet, and make sure to dry the floors with a towel when you’re done. Standing water can damage linoleum.

The Markets in a Minute

For the Week Ending August 2, 2019

  • The Fed meeting ended on Wednesday with a 0.25% cut to its policy rate for the first time since 2008. Mortgage rates were stable on the news.
  • Stocks declined after the Fed announcement as many traders were expecting a drop of 0.50%. Falling stock prices can be good for mortgage rates.
  • Comments from the Fed Chairman make future rate cuts less certain. Prior expectations were for continued cuts through the end of the year.

  • A Realtor.com survey found 42% of spring home shoppers were first-time buyers. Those who hadn’t yet purchased most commonly cited affordability as an issue.
  • Pending home sales rose in June, compared both to the previous month and last year. Economists credit favorable economic conditions and low rates.
  • According to Case-Shiller, May’s national home prices realized a 3.4% monthly increase. Rising prices and low rates should continue to motivate buyers.

“Another day, a whole ‘nother set of possibilities.” – MacGyver

How to Ramp up your Credit Score

Credit scores are a BIG DEAL when purchasing a home. I work with many clients, all over Seattle, analyzing their scores, and helping them bump things up a bit. The more you can improve your score, the better interest rate a lender can offer you. The good news is, if you are already at 760 or above, you are in the best rate bracket already!

Here’s an example of how your interest rate is affected by credit scores in each tier.

This example is for a borrower needing a home loan of $600,000 on a 30-year fixed program.  As you can see, someone who has a score of 640 vs. someone with a score of 760+ is paying an extra 1%! This credit score difference would add $360 more in interest per month vs. the person with the 760+ score. (Rates on July, 30th 2019)

600

Here are some quick, helpful tips to BOOST your SCORE

1. On-time payments are KEY – This is your track record for paying bills on time. It has the most impact on your score.

2. Credit Usage – This is how much of your credit card limits you’re using. It has a big impact on your score. Make sure to use 30% OR LESS of your credit limit per card. If you need more money, use another credit card, but don’t charge more than 30% of your limit on any one card. Example – If your credit limit is $25,000 on your Alaska credit card – don’t charge over $7,500.

3. Average Age of Credit – This is the average age of all your open credit cards and loans. If you don’t have existing lines of credit – car payments, online bill pay, credit card payments, your credit score is determined to be light, weak, or non-existent.  Stop paying in cash and get 2-3 credit cards. Be sure to make your payments on time.

4. Total Accounts – The more credit cards and loans you’ve had, the more lenders trust you.

5. Credit Inquiries – Stay away from multiple “hard” inquiries. A hard inquiry is when a lender checks your credit report. Checking your score with sites like CreditKarma.com or Mint.com doesn’t count.

6. Don’t close unused Credit Cards – Credit cards that are open that are not in use can stay open. Closing a line of credit docks your score.

7. Stay out of collections – You’ll get a ding on your report if one of your accounts goes into collections or bankruptcy.

8. Check online – Check to see if you have any inaccuracies in your report – sites like mint.com and creditkarma.com are great and don’t count as a dock against your credit! If you do have inaccuracies, contact any of the bureaus that report this inaccuracy and get it cleared. Example – I owned a Hyundai before I purchased my Mazda. Transunion had an outstanding balance in their system for a missed car payment on my Hyundai but the others did not. I called Transunion, proved I had no outstanding debt, and my score jumped up immediately.

  • Transunion Phone number – 800-916-8800
  • Equifax Phone number – 866-349-5191
  • Experian – 888-397-3742

With these simple tips – you should see a vast improvement!

 

The 40 Best Music Shows in Seattle This Week: July 22-28, 2019

Hibou, Talib Kweli, and More Music Critics’ Picks

Seattle bedroom-pop project Hibou will bring shimmery ethereal tunes to Chop Suey on Wednesday. GEORGE BAKER

This week, our music critics have picked everything from the cumbia rhythms of Orquestra Pacifico Tropical to the bedroom pop of Hibou to the top-tier lyricism of Talib Kweli. Follow the links below for ticket links and music clips for all of their picks, and find even more shows on our complete music calendar.


MONDAY

ROCK/POP
Corespondents, the Sheen, Shitty Person
Seattle band Corespondents (Olie Eshleman, Doug Arney, Kieran Harrison-Buhlinger, and Todd Arney) have been around a while, though I am only now discovering their high-quality brand of trippy music. They mix all the elements I love, from psych, surf, experimental, and lo-fi alt rock, infusing generous dashes of vintage-vibing world music (cumbia, West African rock, East Asian folk, Italo-Western music) and using instruments ranging from bouzouki to dan bao to achieve their intriguing sonic textures. LEILANI POLK

MONDAY, WEDNESDAY & FRIDAY

CLASSICAL
2019 Seattle Chamber Music Society Summer Festival
The Seattle Chamber Music Society is, once again, throwing its Summer Festival, with free informal recitals and full orchestral performances for all ages throughout the month of July. The cabal of esteemed artists involved this year will include Andrew Wan, Jonathan Vinocour, Jeewon Park, Tessa Lark, Yura Lee, and many more. Plus, don’t miss the Music Under the Stars series, during which a student ensemble sets up in a park and plays to whoever shows up, often folks with picnic blankets in tow and maybe a surreptitious bottle of wine, after which Benaroya Hall pipes in whatever festival performance is happening that night.

TUESDAY

HIP-HOP/RAP
Beast Coast, Joey Bada$$, Flatbush Zombies, the Underachievers, Kirk Knight, Nyck Caution, Powers Pleasant, CJ Fly
To be real, this lineup has a lot of people on it. A lot. Headliner Beast Coast are a Brooklyn-based supergroup composed of everyone already on the lineup. Of particular note is Joey Bada$$—who you might recognize from his role in Mr. Robot—with his solid flow and ear for the golden era of hip-hop. I’d also keep an eye out for Flatbush Zombies, whose brand of psychedelic, hallucinogenic, and confrontational rap is a bit frightening, but a compelling listen. “Regular and Complex (GNB),” a cut off their 2013 mixtape BetterOffDEAD, was so good, it forced me to watch John Singleton’s classic film Baby Boy (the song samples a character’s monologue from the film). JASMYNE KEIMIG

Nappy Roots, Grandmasters, Gifted Youngstaz
Kentucky-brewed alt-hip-hop group Nappy Roots are longtime purveyors of greasy, Southern-drawling rap that has a faster pace and more easygoing upbeat-ness than others in the same regional sonic realms. They will just as soon offer up lyrical musings on poverty (“Po’ Folks”) as bouncing, laid-back bravado (“Awnaw”) or appreciation for the simple things in life (see “Good Day,” its optimistic hook delivered by a chorus of chipper children and somehow not annoying). They’ve released seven LPs over 16 years, though their latest output is a new single, “Spinach Dip,” full of modern ganja references (sample line: “Used to roll blunts, now I pack vape pipes”) and backup singers cooing, “So high, so high, so high.” LEILANI POLK

ROCK/POP
School of Rock All-Stars
If you love seeing Seattle School of Rock students shred, you won’t want to miss this showcase of School of Rock bands from across the country as they play classic and contemporary rock hits.

WEDNESDAY

DJ
Obscenely Obscure
Alright, this one’s for the capital-n Nerds of the music world. DJs Dad (Eli Anderson), Average Rooms (Norm Chambers), and Veins (The Stranger‘s own Dave Segal) have dug real deep into the wild world of library music (a.k.a. production music) to present for y’all an evening of the “scariest, funkiest, catchiest, and craziest tracks you’ve never heard before… until now.” Aubrey Nehring will be providing the surrealistic visuals to cap it all off.

HIP-HOP/RAP
$UICIDEBOY$, Shoreline Mafia, City Morgue, GERM, Night Lovell, Trash Talk
Sink into a night of critically thinking about the point of your existence, to the tune of southern trap, thanks to New Orleans-based hiphop group $uicideboy$, currently on their Grey Day Tour with support from Shoreline Mafia, City Morgue, GERM, Night Lovell, and Trash Talk.

ROCK/POP
Ariana and the Rose, Glitterfox
Ariana DiLorenzo fronts New York City-based pop band Ariana and the Rose, which has gained quite a following for synth-driven tracks like “You Were Never My Boyfriend.” They’ll be joined by Portland “glam folk” group Glitterfox.

Hibou, Sleeping Lessons, Beverly Crusher
Seattle-based musician Peter Michel is the creative fuel powering Hibou, a bedroom-pop project that he started after extensive tours as a live member of Craft Spells. This hometown date kicks off a short tour celebrating the release of Hibou’s third LP and Barsuk Records outing, Halve, a blend of shimmery ethereal pop and dreamy new-wave-influenced dance tunes built on sticky layered melodies, with Michel’s whispery sweet vocals floating over top. According to press materials, his wistful, swooning record addresses “the dichotomies confronting every young adult in the 21st century: the division between childhood and adulthood, self and society, authenticity and superficiality.” LEILANI POLK

THURSDAY

BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK
Great Women of Country Tribute Series: Loretta Lynn & Tammy Wynette
Seattle musicians Stephanie Anne Johnson, Darci Carlson, Julia Francis, and others will reimagine the songs of country music legends Loretta Lynn and Tammy Wynette.

Martina McBride
Country-pop star Martina McBride began her career in the early ’90s with RCA Records and hasn’t stopped gigging and sharing her neo-traditionalist hits with the world since.

Scott Yoder, TERMINATor, Госкино, Booty EP
Burger Records’ glitter-folk balladeer Scott Yoder, who used to back local DIY legend Kimya Dawson, will headline with support from TERMINATor, Госкино, and Booty EP.

HIP-HOP/RAP
21 Savage, Young Nudy, Calboy
Former Stranger music critic Nick Zurko wrote, “While featuring beats similar to Future’s muddled yet airy trap anthems, 21 Savage’s flow is far more animated and dexterous.” The hip-hop artist will pass through town on his I Am > I Was Tour with support from Young Nudy and Calboy.

JAZZ
Earshot: Jeremy’s Pyramid Scheme + Xavier Lecouturier 4tet
This installment of Earshot’s Jazz: The Second Century“>juried jazz series will feature Jeremey’s Pyramid Scheme—a seven-piece ensemble led by saxophonist and composer Jeremy Shaskus—and the Xavier Lecouturier Quartet.

ROCK/POP
The Mekons, Sun Foot
The Mekons are old enough and cool enough to have an album bearing liner notes written by Lester Bangs. Let that sink in. Beginning in the Leeds, England, punk/post-punk scene, the Mekons avoided dogmas associated with those genres and created some of the most interesting songs of that most interesting time/place, coming off like a more idiosyncratic, less funky version of Leeds mates Gang of Four. I haven’t followed the Mekons’ productive career since the mid 1980s, when they relocated to Chicago and embraced roots rock with gusto while putting a politically conscious British spin on it. But many respected critics have loved them for decades, and who are you to dispute respected critics? The Mekons are on tour supporting Deserted, a gush of ambitious, inspirational rock. DAVE SEGAL

SOUL/R&B
Michael McDonald & Chaka Khan
Smooth rock and blues king Michael McDonald and soul queen Chaka Khan will stack a double headliner bill.

THURSDAY-SUNDAY

JAZZ
Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band
Playing six shows over four nights at Jazz Alley, the Poncho Sanchez Latin Jazz Band offer plenty of chances for you to shimmy and shake to their warm, slinky, percussive-fueled rhythms. Mexican American namesake Sanchez has been rapping, tapping, and slapping congas for crowds since he played his first ever set in the mid-1970s with renowned vibraphonist Cal Tjader, with whom he played until Tjader’s death in 1982. Sanchez went on to release more than 30 albums as a solo conguero (backed by a full band that currently includes players on timbales, bass, trumpet, sax, trombone, bongos, and piano), and has built on his Latin-jazzy sound with elements of R&B, soul, cha-cha, and salsa music.LEILANI POLK

FRIDAY

BLUES/COUNTRY/FOLK
A. A. Bondy, Guests
Skilled Alabama-based folk songwriter A. A. (aka Auguste Arthur) Bondy gives us lots of haunted organ and trippy reverb on his latest album, Enderness, which NPR says “channels his eternal weariness into evocative blurs of languid, hypnotic sound that help form a kind of ambient blues music.” Catch him in Ballard.

Bradford Loomis, Naomi Wachira, Katie Costello
Seattle Americana songwriter Bradford Loomis will be joined by Kenyan-born folk artist Naomi Wachira and Brooklyn pop artist Katie Costello.

Painting the Town Red: The Music of Billie Holiday Featuring Stephanie Anne Johnson & Simon Nabatov
Local singer-songwriter Stephanie Johnson and a big band-style sextet will revisit the classic Billie Holiday recordings featured on Painting the Town Red.

DJ
Dancing on My Own 3.0
At this rambunctious dance party, dance on your own or with your friends and lovers as resident venue DJs play the best tracks from Swedish pop star Robyn’s 2018 album Honey, as well as her classic hits like “Call Your Girlfriend,” “With Every Heart Beat,” “Hang with Me,” and the titular smash “Dancing on My Own.”

QDA: Love House with Bronquito, Toya B, & Reverend Dollars
Join DJs Bronquito, Toya B, and Reverand Dollars for a queer-centric dance party featuring a custom art installation by Adda Lee and Emma Roffey on the patio.

JAZZ
Marina Christopher
Seattle jazz bassist and vocalist Marina Christopher will perform live.

METAL/PUNK
Sumac, Thrones, Cascades, Blightmaker
How many American rock groups possess the intensity and gravity to collaborate with Japanese experimental-noise-rock legend Keiji Haino? Not many, but Northwest trio Sumac earned that honor with 2018’s American Dollar Bill… and this year’s Even for just the briefest moment…. What these releases reveal is Sumac’s ability to create an exquisite tension in the context of minimalist metal and sculptural noise rock. These musicians traffic in heady realms, reconfiguring metal to a severe degree not heard since Caspar Brötzmann Massaker dropped those stealth-bomb-like records in the 1980s and ’90s. The last Sumac album proper, 2018’s Love in Shadow, is brutal yet brainy death metal distinguished by Aaron Turner’s more-guttural-than-thou vocals and epic, labyrinthine song structures. DAVE SEGAL

ROCK/POP
Dot Comet, i///u, Lovely Colours
Hear the lush sounds of local foursome Dot Comet, who will be joined by fellow indie rockers Lovely Colours and i///u.

Miyavi
Unconventional Japanese guitarist Miyavi, widely presented as an artist who represents a new wave of Asian music, will showcase his “slap style” on the North American leg of this world tour.

Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo
Women’s-lib-dance-rock superstar Pat Benatar and her partner and guitarist Neil Giraldo will once again grace the Northwest with their dual presence for an evening of ’80s classics.

Summer Circus: Razor Clam, Fruit Juice, Heather Edgley, Actionesse
Enter a mystical circus tent filled with acrobats, aerialists, and live music from local indie-rock bands Razor Clam, Fruit Juice, Heather Edgley, and Actionesse.

Tal Wilkenfeld
Australian electric bassist and singer Tal Wilkenfeld, who played with jazz giants Chick Corea and Herbie Hancock—not to mention Prince, Mick Jagger, and Jeff Beck—before branching out on her own, will come to town on the heels of her debut solo album, Love Remains.

WORLD/LATIN
Orquestra Pacifico Tropical, Terror/Cactus, DJ Chilly
Composed of 11 members, Portland’s Orquestra Pacifico Tropical bring the happy noise. With trumpets, maracas, guitars, drums, and accordions in hand, the group pays respect to cumbia beats and rhythms from across Latin America. Seattle’s Terror/Cactus are like cumbia on acid. Psychedelic and electrified, their music reinterprets the genre, compelling you to move, but like maybe some trippers might be fun too? The two bands will be joined by DJ Chilly, the producer and host of El Sonido, KEXP’s “modern Latin mixshow” that airs on Monday nights and which you should absolutely be listening to. JASMYNE KEIMIG

SATURDAY

DJ
Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen Inspired Dance Party
Shake your hips to ’70s and ’80s music all night long with DJs spinning the best of Queen, Fleetwood Mac, David Bowie, Prince, New Order, Journey, Hall & Oates, and much more.

CLASSICAL
Chamber Music in the Park
For this year’s Chamber Music in the Park performance, members of the Seattle Chamber Music Society will play Zoltán Kodály’s Duo for Violin and Cello, Op. 7 and Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello (Divertimento) in E-flat Major, K. 563.

HIP-HOP/RAP
Talib Kweli, Niko IS, Mostafa, DJ Indica Jones
Ok, I’ll admit it—whenever I hear or see Talib Kweli, I think of that part from Kanye’s “Get ’Em High” he was featured on. “And bring a friend for my friend, his name Kweli / (You mean Talib? Lyrics sticks to your rib) / I mean (That’s my favorite CD that I play at my crib) / I mean (You don’t really know him, why is you lying?)” The Brooklyn-based MC has enjoyed an illustrious career, from releasing solid solo material (“Never Been in Love,” anyone?) to forming one half of hip-hop duo Black Star (along with Yasiin Bey, fka Mos Def). Kweli’s lyricism, flow, and top-tier performances make him unmissable. JASMYNE KEIMIG

JAZZ
Norah Jones
Husky-toned Shankar daughter Norah Jones takes on a myriad of genres, notably jazz and blues, in her latest album, Day Breaks.

METAL/PUNK
FEA, Bruiser Queen, Jaguar Paw
Kickass Chicana punk band Fea, featuring members of Girl in A Coma, will headline a noisy show with support from Missouri garage-pop group Bruiser Queen and Seattle’s Jaguar Paw.

ROCK/POP
Lynyrd Skynyrd, Bad Company, Austin Jenckes
Still going strong despite retaining only one original member, Lynyrd Skynyrd will bust out decades of the Southern rock experience with a nine-member band on this Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour with support sets by Bad Company and Austin Jenckes.

VARIOUS
Hoodstock 2019 — A New Beginning!
Riz Rollins, Mike Illvester, and MIXX America will DJ, MC Korvus Blackbird will perform, and acts like Holy Pistola, B-boy Fidget, Planet Fly, Tukwila Moon, and Rachaels Children will also give sets at this festival founded by the late, great all-black-female punk band NighTraiN. Former Stranger critic Angela Garbes called it “simply the best small music festival/big ol’ house party around.”

Othello Block Party
Celebrate the vibrancy and international diversity of the Othello community with this big street fest filled with arts and music performances from stand-out Seattleites like DoNormaal, Porter Ray, Abyssinian Creole (Gabriel Teodros and Khingz), Rogue Pinay, Blksknn, Nic Masangkay, and many more.

SUNDAY

DANCE
Yalla Yeehaw
DJs Mansaf Mama, Cardamami, and Kaabe Emoji will bring the “desi bedouin cowboy vibes” to town with a night of Arab pop, Bhangra, and more.

FUNK/REGGAE
Anuhea, Spawnbreezie
Hawaiian singer-songwriter Anuhea, the winner of two Na Hoku Hanohano Awards and Billboard Hot 100 hitter, will perform her pop, R&B, and reggae in Seattle with reggae artist Spawnbreezie.

The Markets in a minute

Last month’s Fed meeting minutes show officials are in no hurry to move interest rates up or down, though investors are looking for a rate cut by year’s end.

Recent escalation in the trade war with China has helped keep rates low and could cause more slowdown in the global economy, also helpful for low rates.

Consumers seem bullish on the economy, as sentiment reached a 15-year high. However, the reading was taken before recent trade tensions with China.

Existing home sales fell in April, likely due to high prices and tight supply at the low end of the market. Recent rate drops should counter high prices moving forward.

New single-family home size increased roughly 8% at the start of 2019, now an average of 2,551 square feet. Median home size also increased 11% to 2,335.

More baby boomers are choosing to age in place, contributing to low inventory across the country. Almost 52% of boomers say they’ll never move.

“There’s nothing I know for sure because I know for sure that things change.”
Ellen DeGeneres

The Best Restaurants in the Central District Right Now

Fried chicken. Vietnamese street food. Fresh poke. Find it all at these 20 spots that make up the neighborhood’s emerging food scene.

By Seattle Met Staff  5/6/2019 at 9:00am

Ba Bar

This vibrant restaurant—as great a spot for early breakfast as it is post-dinner nightcaps—is Eric and Sophie Banh’s love song to the street food they ate as children in Saigon and therefore hews to a more traditionalist standard than we’ve seen in their Monsoon restaurants. Where those represent bright fusion, Ba Bar serves up street-style classics: noodle bowls topped with grilled chicken or charry prawns or duck leg confit, with peanuts and caramelized shallots, greens and nuoc cham; or big, loaded bowls of pho, heady with basil and onions and mint and sprouts and fork-tender sheets of flank steak. Ingredients are scrupulously sourced and lovingly handled; beverages, coffee to cocktails, are bright and free flowing.

Central Pizza

The neighborhood’s go-to pizza parlor brings the basic thin-crust pizza of our youth into twenty-first century Seattle with combos like the Kale-Zer Soze, which tops bechamel sauce with bacon, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, and slivers of the city’s favorite fibrous green. The menu devotes an entire section to vegetarian combos like the Morrissey (roasted eggplant, cherry tomatoes, olives, and pomodoro sauce, sans cheese) plus the standard 12- and 18-inch pies topped with various combos of meatball, pepperoni, and housemade sausage. Central Pizza retains the weird layout of its past life as All-Purpose Pizza, welcomes kids by day, then morphs into more of a bar vibe by night. Both constituencies appreciate the handful of pizzas sold by the enormous slice.

Central Smoke

Reconcepts can be dicey, but Eric Banh turned his upscale Vietnamese steak house, Seven Beef, into a more rugged space where smoke pervades everything from cocktails to brisket to the chicken in the fried rice. To do this, he brought in chef Mike Whisenhunt, a man whose gift is finding nuanced flavor in a piece of bacon thick as a deck of cards (he offsets the usual maple flavor with nuoc cham). His tenure at Revel and Brimmer and Heeltap makes Whisenhunt the rare chef who can pull off a menu that’s a little bit Southern, more overtly Asian, and sometimes just straight-up beefy.

Chuck’s Hop Shop

Both Chuck’s locations became neighborhood institutions pretty much the minute they opened, magical utopias where dogs, babies, parents, and twentysomethings in crocheted beanies coexist harmoniously around mismatched tables. The source of all this bonhomie: dozens of taps of excellent craft beer, plus a vast wall of coolers full of bottles and cans, and one the city’s newest, coolest, or best food trucks parked out front.

Ezell’s Famous Chicken

Several family-owned chicken shacks across the region prove that you don’t need fancy digs—heck, you don’t even need tables—to dazzle the High Priestess of Comfort Food, Oprah Winfrey. (Yup, there’s her portrait with Ezell up on the wall.) The crunchy fried chicken is dazzling enough—moist, not greasy (okay…maybe a little greasy)—especially when you order it spicy, along with a few fried livers and gizzards, throw in some cole slaw…and how about just one slice of sweet potato pie? Best to make sure it’s all there, as friendly servers invariably miss something. “Honey,” replied one, double-checking an order, “there’s a whole lotta love in that bag.”

Fat’s Chicken and Waffles

A thread of Catfish Corner’s Southern legacy continues on at this storied Central District corner via fried chicken atop old-fashioned thin waffles, the kind with tiny squares. Chef Patrick Dours coaxes heroic amounts of personality from boneless, skinless chicken breasts; his tricks include a combo buttermilk–pickle juice brine and an elaborate dredge-and-chill process to keep the crust from falling off the minute it encounters your knife. Seasoning is sufficient for grown-ups and mellow enough for the many kids in the room. Replacing a landmark of a neighborhood’s African American heritage is a tricky business. Sure, owner Marcus Lalario—of Li’l Woody’s and Ciudad—brought in some hip midcentury benches and a busy brunch service. But you can eat well for $15, and Erika White, originally the general manager, now co-owner, ensures service is incredibly hospitable. A lot has changed at this address, but its status as a neighborhood institution lives on.

Feed Co. Burgers

Scott Staples’s family-friendly burger chainlet wields big flavors (caramelized onions, blue cheese and watercress, a turkey burger with surprising personality) with skill, but the classic Feed burger borrows its special sauce from sibling gastropub Quinn’s, and is a steal at just $5. Fries aren’t included with the burgers, but that gives you license to choose from sides like sweet potato fries, tempura seasonal vegetables, or fried cheese curds. In the past few years, it’s become a quiet staple for Central District residents, thanks to an easy, inviting space and small but solid beer list.

Happy Grillmore

The same husband-and-wife duo behind Central District Ice Cream Company and Nate’s Wings and Waffles parlayed their original food truck, Happy Grillmore, into a burger joint with Pacific overtones. Think third-pound patties topped with spicy chorizo, teriyaki, or kalua pork, truffle french fries, salted caramel shakes, and more. An ode to a beloved Filipino morning meal—garlic fried rice, longanisa sausage, runny egg—the longsilog burger at Happy Grillmore layers the magical umami properties of Maggi mayo with a beef patty, flattened longanisa, and finally an egg—a gut-busting “breakfast” of champions.

L’Oursin

A legit hit of Paris in the Central District, L’Oursin glows with pendant lights and Parisian signs, in an unfussy room whose populated bar and open kitchen crook an alluring finger from the street. Chef and co-owner J. J. Proville grew up mostly in France and knows its subtleties, in dishes like a fathomless bouillabaisse with Northwest shellfish under a pastry crust or a tartine of house-smoked bacon with greens on charred brioche. The list of natural wines gets much attention, thanks to Kathryn Olson’s saucy tasting notes (not to mention her abilities picking these marvelous bottles in the first place) but the cocktail list is an equal star. The Monday night–only burger and $5 “wine roulette” are worth a trip, and happen only at the bar.

Meskel

Among several good choices along Cherry Street’s Little Ethiopia, Meskel is the best-looking: a warm, modern split-level space, close-packed with tables of people all cheerily eating with their hands and sopping with injera bread. It’s all served in the usual Ethiopian style: varied vegetables, stews, and legumes mounded upon an injera platter, plus a meat dish (and pepper level) of your choosing. Meskel serves more lamb dishes than many of its neighborhood counterparts, but the sauces—20 or so spices, from cloves to cumin to chili, deeply infused with slow simmering—have that familiar, slow-burning, fragrant warmth.

The Neighbor Lady

The story of the Central District is happening inside the Neighbor Lady. The diverse crowd of thirty- and fortysomethings gathered around the three-sided bar all seem to know one another: the white-haired couple, the grad student, the Larry Wilmore look-alike, the bartender who works as a bike messenger by day. The Neighbor Lady’s owners originally envisioned the toile wallpaper and dim amber glow imparting an “urban bordello” vibe. But a neighborhood has a way of making a bar into whatever it needs. Apparently this one needed a place where new neighbors and old ones could establish a rapport over reliable cocktails, basic local beers, and sweet potato fries or shrimp and grits.

Flowering-garden cafe fare hides inside a bike shop at Peloton. IMAGE: SARA MARIE D’EUGENIO

Peloton

It’s a bike shop, after all, with a tire pump bolted to the sidewalk and a mechanic across from the espresso machine. But Peloton’s tucked-in cafe is a genuine destination, thanks to co-owner McKenzie Hart, whose roasted veg hash might be a full-flowering garden of leeks, purple potatoes, cauliflower, and herbs over pine nut aioli, delicately sautéed and dotted with creamy chevre. Breakfast sandwiches on sweet whole wheat bread spill out bacon and egg yolk and arugula; densely flavorful chorizo breakfast burritos hold a city in thrall. The menu is short, smart, and maintained as carefully as the bike chains, with Slate Roasters coffee and local craft beers for waiting out a tuneup. All with a heaping side of Peloton’s most cutting-edge specialty: excellence, unexpected.

Raised Doughnuts

Baker Mi Kim and biz partner I-Miun Liu (East Trading Co., Oasis Tea Zone) have transformed a former Central District minimart into a cozy home base for Kim’s massively adored doughnuts. Regular favorites such as apple fritter, raspberry holes, and gluten-free mochi make appearances alongside flavors that change monthly, like a caramel crunch bar, honey ginger, or Fruity Pebble–topped version. But take heed: Raised Doughnuts occasionally sells out before close. Work can wait, doughnuts are fleeting.

Reckless Noodle House

Name notwithstanding, this Central District spot (yes, date night ready; yes, slightly casual) erupts with Vietnamese herbs and fiery spices in precisely the way chef Kenny Lee—formerly of Jerry Traunfeld’s Chinese-inspired Lionhead restaurant and Din Tai Fung—intends. From a scorching wok, Lee builds heat in dishes like braised beef cheek noodle with sharp pickled mustard greens in Sichuan chili oil, but even the green papaya salad with bird’s eye chiles packs a punch that could make you flush bright pink. Solid cocktails, courtesy of co-owners Bryce Sweeney and Mario Eckert, help put out any fires.

San Fernando Roasted Chicken

Nothing here is fancy—not the dining room with its magenta walls and acoustic tile ceiling. Not the signature dish, Peru’s charcoal-roasted rotisserie poultry and golden fries. But man, that chicken is good. It’s hard to bypass that superbly seasoned pollo a la brasa, but the menu of Peruvian staples like ceviche and lomo saltado is endlessly great—and has remained a rocking value over the years.

Seattle Fish Guys

Some seriously delightful expats from Mutual Fish and City Fish opened a seafood market in a nondescript building at 23rd and Jackson that is so much more than just a seafood market. The deli counter serves up multiple iterations of absurdly fresh poke, a mac salad made with smoked salmon, fresh uni and oysters, smoked salmon belly, shrimp cocktail, and the perfect handful of beers to wash it all down. One of the Central District’s favorite destinations for a convivial lunch is also an after-work godsend for picking up dinner.

Standard Brewing

An expansion transformed Standard Brewing from a minuscule brewery into one that’s merely small, but sour, funky dimensions loom large in its excellent beer. Drinkers who don’t dig these barnyard notes can lean into the light lagers, roasty stouts, and other impeccable ales. That expansion also turned the tiny Central District taproom into a brewpub, complete with cocktails, noodle bowls, fun food specials like char siu burritos, and unexpectedly refined sandwiches (thank goodness Standard retained the heated, covered patio).

Tacos Chukís

Tacos Chukís drags eaters by the taste buds on a tour of Mexico City. Yes there are $3.50 baby burritos and $4 quesadillas, but your first order of business has to be the tacos, swaddled in their corn cradles with plenty of cilantro, onion, salsa, and guacamole. And meat, like the deeply marinated adobada pork—sheared off a vertical spit and served with a slice of caramelized pineapple. If there is a single more compelling taco in this city—bring it. The original location is hidden in the upstairs warrens of the Broadway Alley building, and a second outpost feeds the Amazon lunch hordes. A third graces Beacon Hill, and oh you better believe it, a fourth and largest spot recently opened in the Central District.

Twilight Exit

Its name sounds like a street drug in an ’80s action flick, the hallucinatory effects of which could produce the building’s trippy mural. Inside Twilight Exit is just as much a riot—take the color scheme of gum stuck under a bar booth and then build around that. There are more surprises too, like the robust food menu (burgers, sandwiches, specials like gumbo and braised beef stroganoff), a pocket of arcade games, and a frat house–worthy back porch that turns the Cherry Street hideaway into a lively summertime spot.

Wood Shop BBQ

A popular barbecue food truck is now a popular restaurant on Jackson, with a bar full of local beer and cocktails with house-smoked ingredients. The lineup of pulled pork, brisket, and mac and cheese bowls is the work of unabashed barbecue geek Matt Davis, a former furniture maker with a degree in wood technology. His geekery comes through in tender, reliably great barbecue. The space is small (and does plenty of takeout) so the sprawling patio is a definite bonus.

BUY NOW! Interest rates are down….

For the Week Ending March 29, 2019

Check out the latest forecasts!

Global economic concerns have sent bond prices soaring this week as investors move to safety. Improved bond prices have helped bring mortgage rates lower.

The 4th quarter GDP number was reduced from 2.6% to 2.2%, signaling economic growth slowed even more than was initially reported.

Consumer confidence slumped in March, missing forecasts. This was the 4th decline in 5 months and could contribute to slowing the economy.

Housing starts fell 8.7% in February, the most in 8 months. Construction of single-family homes dropped to more than a 1-1/2-year low.

Home prices, however, continued to rise in January. Nationally, prices rose 4.3% year-over-year, which is near the long-term average pace.

Despite lower mortgage rates, pending home sales dropped 1% in February compared with January. Further rate drops in March could bring more sales.