Ideas for Date Night #4: Culture, Community, and Comfort Food

One of the coolest things about the Phinney Ridge/Greenwood neighborhood in which 9 Cranes Inn is located is that you can walk for more than 30 blocks straight and find stuff to do. Eating is one activity, but so is shopping, beer tasting, and on the second Friday of the month, checking out local artists’ work displayed in businesses all along Phinney and Greenwood Avenues.

A bonus about the route any day of the week is that it’s flat. An added bonus is that on a clear day/evening, you get picture-perfect views of the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west, seeing as you are basically walking along a ridge top.

But back to the art walk. You don’t even have to like museums to enjoy Art Up, the neighborhood’s name for its art walk. While the displays are varied (from paintings to photography to sculpture and more), always interesting, and sometimes weird, at least half of the fun is seeing even more people than usual out and about, and visiting shops that you might not otherwise step foot into. For instance, I’m not in the market for a piano, so last month was my first time in the piano store because they had art….well, and wine and cheese. On the other hand, I didn’t even pretend to look for art at the vegan shoe and chocolate place (yes, these products are sold from the same shop). My foray there resulted in little art browsing but I snagged two terrific pairs of shoes!

All of that walking – not to mention bending over trying on shoes – had given me an appetite, and it was time to meet my husband for dinner. Because it was his night to “cook,” he got to choose, and he wanted meat. Well, he actually said “protein,” which often means following a well worn path to an unassuming little place that serves up plenty of protein. It’s called Ed’s Kort Haus. Described by others as alternately, a tavern, dive bar, and “Gee, I haven’t made it in there, yet (read: I’m kind of afraid to go in),” the place is completely devoid of pretense. Mike calls is “delightfully real.”

You have to look hard to find a real table, but they’re there – sort of. Cozied up against the back wall past the pool tables. We sit at the bar – not, as in other restaurants, so Mike can talk cocktails (although they have a perfectly selected, if not huge, liquor collection) – but to ogle the taps and take our chances on a new brew.  My Gospel IPA from the Skagit River Brewing Company was amber and hoppy enough for summer but not too spritzy. Good choice for me. Mike couldn’t resist Southern Tier’s choklat stout – literally dessert in a pint glass.

So you get beer, darts, sports on TV, and locals. As much or as little conversation as you want with whoever is tending bar – Ed himself, or tonight it was J.J.  Oh, and did I mention exotic meats? No, not exotic dancers, but meat – elk, kangaroo, bear, llama. Mike opted for Yak this evening, while I played it conservatively with the deluxe 1/3-lb hamburger.  Side of chips unless you upgrade to fries or tater tots. Yum. You don’t really need dessert after all of that, but Mike could’ve saved me a sip of his stout to finish off the meal. He didn’t, so I settled for one of the Tootsie Pops I keep stashed back home.

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