Are you going to the Georgetown Carnival tomorrow? You should. Along with being one of the city's most interesting and low-key neighborhoods, Georgetown is compact and easy to explore by foot. During the carnival, which is free and runs from noon until 10 p.m., it's main drag, Airport Way S, is shut down to vehicles, allowing people to take over the street. Also: the annual power tool drag races, during which modified belt sanders and circular saws decorated with demonic dolls, guitars, and elaborate metal work face off against each other, is one of the most strangely compelling things on earth to watch.
Georgetown is filled with great bars and restaurants. Here's a list of a few places to eat and drink at while you're down there:
• Everyone in Seattle already knows about the greatness of homestyle, family-friendly Mexican restaurant Fonda La Catrina, which is why there's almost always a wait. But last fall, Fonda owner Enrique Trejo quietly opened El Sirenito next door, a 21-and-over bar seeing cocktails, an extensive selection of tequila and mezcal, and light snacks such as ceviche and excellent fish tacos. Sirenito also has a terrific (and spacious) back patio.
• Newcomer Sisters and Brothers already has long waits—and with good reason. The signature dish, Nashville hot chicken (available in "mild," "hot," or "insane") is juicy on the inside, crackly on the outside, and lacquered in a complex, spicy sauce. But this place isn't just a one-trick pony. I recently had a fantastic iceberg wedge salad there, made with housesmoked bacon, lots of fresh tarragon, and two of spring's best items: sweet English peas and peppery radishes. Sisters and Brothers might look like a dive bar/fried chicken shack, but don't be fooled—the food is restaurant quality. Also, the beer is ice cold and comes in cans. If you don't want to squeeze yourself into its cramped quarters, order your chicken to go and eat it across the street in Ruby Chow park.
• Another good picnic option: pick up fresh and functional to-go sushi at the charming Maruta Shoten, a family-owned Japanese grocery. (And don't feel limited to sushi, the deli also has hot food such as chicken karaage, fried rice, and gyoza.) If you want a little sugar, grab some Pocky or red bean mochi. At 5 p.m., all the sushi is discounted by 50 percent (and it goes fast).
• Some of the neighborhood's best food can be found at Hithcock Deli, where all the meats and charcuterie—corned beef, porchetta, bacon, pate de campagne, pastrami—are smoked, cured, and roasted in house. Sandwiches here are a carefully constructed works of art, down to the housemade mustard and raw-fermented sauerkraut.
• If you're feeling fancy, go drink wine at the brand-new Charles Smith Jet City winery, a gorgeous Olson Kundig-designed building that offers incredible views of Mount Rainier. While the whole place looks a little shinier than the rest of its industrial surroundings, the vibe here is casual and wines are reasonably priced.
• Seattle is such a beer-obsessed city, but I don't understand we don't spend more time talking about Machine House Brewery, which is dedicated to making consistently excellent, English-style cask ales, poured at room temperature from traditional hand pumps. While the rest of the city drowns in a sea of IPAs, Machine House, whose huge, comfortable tasting room is open to outside food and people of all ages, rises to the top.
• While you're in Georgetown, you should take a peek at Ciudad, the not-quite-open restaurant from Marcus Lalario, with a menu created by chef Matt Dillon. Dillon told the Seattle Times that, at Ciudad, "“everything will be grilled—grilled seafood, grilled lamb, grilled vegetables." The restaurant will feature an enormous charcoal grill as well as a large mural by artist Stacey Rozich, a la both locations of Rachel's Ginger Beer. There will also be a large outdoor area for parties and concerts.
I asked Lalario if there was any chance Ciudad would be open in time/in any way for the Carnival tomorrow. His response: "Looks like we may do a little something. Maybe."
Ciudad is located at 6118 12th Avenue South, just a stone's throw from the power tool races. Who knows what will happen tomorrow, but no doubt it will be great scene there next year.