During his time in Seattle, Nathan Quiroga has made some noise, left some marks, hung a gold record on his wall, and changed his life top to bottom in order to hit the ambitious goals he set for himself.
As he prepares to make another drastic change, uprooting his life (and his current band, a melodic, meditative, ’60s psychedelia-tinged power duo called Iska Dhaaf) in order to take a leap of faith in New York City, we caught up with the songwriter / stage-climber / rapper / author / multi-instrumentalist for a Q&A in his Seattle apartment—which had already begun to fill up with moving boxes.
Keep reading for some wise words about hard work, being yourself, and the dedication it takes to follow your instincts (whether it makes practical sense to do so or not).
Today is Earth Day—and it’s no joke. Proposed by peace activists and sanctioned at the United Nations in 1970, it was the idea that spawned the modern-day environmentalism movement as we know it. Now purportedly the largest secular holiday in the world, Earth Day gives hundreds of millions of people around the globe a good reason to take a moment and assess how they interact with their surroundings.
In honor of this momentous occasion, we pulled five eco-friendly items that will help you do your part year-round—and juxtaposed them with photos taken over the weekend in and around Olympic National Forest, one of North America’s largest temperate rain forests and just a stone’s throw from our hometown of Seattle.
Keep reading to learn about recycled-bottle board shorts, headphones that actually improve hearing, and more.
For Episode One of THE SNEAKER PROJECT: SNEAKERS IN YOUR CITY, we asked Seattle hip-hop legends Thig Nat and Prometheus Brown (aka Geo Quibuyen) to show us the best that their hometown (which happens to be Nordstrom’s hometown, too) has to offer.
Get a ground-level glimpse of the Emerald City in the short video above, and keep reading for a Q&A with Thig and Geo, behind-the-scenes photos, and a closer look at their favorite spots around town (as well as those sneakers they’re sporting).
As we may have mentioned before, the exclusive clothing brands our very own, in-house design teams create are nothing short of fantastic. We recently tried some items on for size from Nordstrom-exclusive brand Wallin & Bros.—and found timeless menswear staples boasting quality fabrics, an ideal fit (trim but not tight), and appealing price tags, to boot.
We decided Wallin & Bros. could easily outfit you for a full week at work, so continue reading for five days of office-ready looks featuring our own exclusive brand.
Our study in Fall contrast continues with clean-cut prep, worn-in leather, streamlined stripes, and woodsy plaid from some of our favorite Designer Collections. Photographed at Kubota Garden, a 20-acre sanctum of lush pines nestled amongst the stark pavement of south Seattle. [See part 1 of this series.]
Style Profiles. In honor of our twice-a-year Men’s Shop Catalog dropping this month, we decided to profile 6 real men of style and substance. Here, cool-under-pressure chef Shaun McCrain.
Every man should know his way around the kitchen: how to take over the tongs at a friend’s barbecue, pull off your grandma’s family-secret marinara, whip up a chivalrous morning-after omelette…you know—the basics.
Professional chefs like Shaun McCrain, on the other hand, can turn the simple act of eating food into a mind-altering experience. Visit McCrain’s Seattle restaurant, Book Bindery, and although the humble maestro insists his MO is simplicity, the five-way flavor combinations in his modern twists on comfort food are enough to induce a quadruple take—and general feelings of astonished well-being.
We spoke to chef McCrain about paying dues in Paris and New York, design principles as applied to plating, and real-life kitchen tips that every man can use.
FARM TO TABLE. “I grew up in the Pacific Northwest. We lived on a small farm, raised our own meat, had a lot of vegetables. I was always around food without realizing it. My dad doesn’t cook. He was like, ‘I’ll just let Shaun do it, and if he messes up, we have more we can go pick.’”
TRIAL & ERROR. “Book smarts help you understand what you’re doing. Street smarts get your hands and body moving in the right direction. It’s hard to be able to physically do what you’ve read. You’ve gotta burn some things before you figure out how to cook them right.”
AMERICAN IN PARIS. “I sent my résumé to what I thought were the top 20 restaurants in Paris and got four responses. Three of them being, ‘Sorry, we don’t have room,’ and one being, ‘Sure, show up, work for free.’ That was my foot in the door.”
LIVE AND LEARN. “I left Seattle thinking I knew everything. I was 19 or 20 years old. I went to a bigger city, a nicer restaurant, and realized how much I didn’t know. It was very humbling…but I decided that if I really want to progress and learn, that I need to constantly be humbled—so I can learn from the best.”
FIRST IMPRESSIONS. “Plating and presentation are important, because they’re the first thing a person sees. I like to do bright colors, clean lines, something that’s very appealing to the eye. And then, when you do take that first bite—it should taste even better than it looks.”
CONTRAST AND COMPLEMENT. “I think items should complement each other. It’s a lot about textures, so if you have one thing that’s soft, then I want something else that’s gonna bring some crunch…a little burst of pickled onion, or a crispy crouton.”
WHY I LOVE MY JOB. “The craziness of it. Every day is different. You don’t know if the truck carrying your lamb up from Oregon broke down, and you’re scrambling to find a replacement, or your dishwasher breaks, or you have a high-profile guest coming in who you know likes to eat certain things. So it sparks that fuel, that drive of always keeping busy, always trying to stay on top. It’s easy to fall behind in the kitchen unless you have that ‘stay on top of it’ kind of attitude.”
THE BEST THING I EVER ATE. “It was at a Japanese restaurant in New York, called Masa. Simple sushi rice, rolled in shaved Italian white truffle, with just a pinch of fresh-grated yuzu and a little salt. Just simplicity at its best, but the ingredients were prepared perfectly.”
MY MORNING ROUTINE. “A cup of coffee…and maybe a Pop-Tart. Strawberry. Frosted. I spend all day walking around tasting things; it kind of curbs your appetite. [The staff and I] don’t sit down and eat a family meal until about 4:00. So in the morning, I just need to put something in me, whether it’s sugar or coffee or whatnot.”
WHAT TO PACK FOR LUNCH. “When I think of lunch, I always think of sandwiches. They don’t need to be boring. Go to the store, and buy some great charcuterie and good bread. Most of the time, those items are sold in portions that are more than one sandwich worth, so you’ll have enough for a couple days—or a very large sandwich.”
THE SECRET TO A GOOD SANDWICH. “The bread. The crust…whether it’s more of a rustic style with pieces of grain, or if it’s just a nice, crisp baguette that kind of snaps in your mouth when you eat it.”
HOW TO IMPRESS A DINNER DATE. “First, find out what they like. Nowadays, there are so many dietary restrictions, food allergies. Subtly figure out. Ask questions. Have an idea, rather than going in like, ‘Hey, I like steak, so I’m gonna cook steak’—and then finding out she’s pescatarian. That’s a date that’s not gonna end well.”
AND IF YOU BLOW IT… “Part of learning and growing with someone is making those mistakes. It could be the best meal they’ve ever had, or it could be terrible—but the whole experience of going through the process of doing something for someone is what it should be about.”
— — —
Next time you’re in Seattle, be sure to sample Shaun’s work at Book Bindery.
(We recommend the steak. And the duck.
And definitely the Stumptown-coffee semifreddo.)
We can all agree that traditional film photography is a near-lost art that must be preserved. However, it’s only through the wonder of cell phones and Instagram that we’re able to bring you a glimpse of our latest Men’s Shop video as it unfolds.
Yin and yang. Light and shade. Concrete and jungle. Life is a study in contrasts—and your Fall wardrobe should be, too.
To fully meditate on Fall’s dense tweeds, intricate knits, revved-up leather, and sturdy workwear, we took our favorite Designer Collections to Seattle’s historical, 20-acre wooded oasis, Kubota Garden—as well as the surrounding urban sprawl. The conclusion is clear: Fall’s best clothes feel calm, cool and collected, whether you’re in nature’s domain or the wilds of the city.
Last night outside our flagship store in Downtown Seattle, retired speed skater Apolo Ohno—the most decorated US Winter Olympian of all time—joined the likes of Jimi Hendrix, Quincy Jones, Ken Griffey, Jr., Bill Gates, and other highly esteemed Northwest natives, receiving his own plaque on our ‘Seattle Walk of Fame.’
While other plaques on the sidewalk surrounding our store depict imprints of our Walk-of-Famers’ shoes (a nod to Nordstrom’s origins as a shoe store), Ohno’s captures the motion of his ice-slicing skates:
Having won eight medals over the course of three Olympics, Ohno’s no stranger to high honors—nor avid fans, as was apparent from his easy demeanor in greeting an adoring public following the brief induction ceremony (which was hosted by none other than Pete Nordstrom, pictured up top on the left).
Before reading our exclusive Q&A below, check out a video of Ohno in action, gliding for Gold in a 1000-meter showdown decided by milliseconds. Come February, you can catch him in action again at the 2014 Winter Olympics in Russia—this time as an analyst with NBC Sports.
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Having grown up here in Seattle, do you have memories of Nordstrom? APOLO OHNO: “I have many memories of Nordstrom. My dad used to take me here shopping growing up, back-to-school stuff—and I shop at Nordstrom now. So it’s always been a part of my life. To know that it’s a Seattle-based company is awesome.”
MSD: What does it mean to be immortalized outside our flagship Seattle store? APOLO OHNO: “It’s an honor, it really is. We have so many international tourists come through our great city all the time, and they see these people, and these footsteps. Some really amazing people have been cemented forever in history here, so for me to be named next to them—it’s an honor.”
[Ohno mingled with fans young and old after the unveiling.
Cool Quiksilver shirt, kid.]
MSD: You’ve accomplished a lot of amazing things in your life. What would you say has been your proudest moment? APOLO OHNO: “The Olympic space, for me, is one that has always touched my heart, because it was the one single focus of my life for 15 years straight. It’d have to be the Olympic Games.”
MSD: As far as fitness and exercise—what training advice do you have for average guys at home? APOLO OHNO: “Stick to the circuit training. Leave the slow cardio alone. We all don’t have a lot of time—I’d say on average, most of us have an hour or less in the gym. So just hit it hard. Always change up your routine, keep it fresh, keep it fun—and always challenge yourself.”
[How dapper is Ohno's dad (center)?]
MSD: What are some of your personal style essentials (besides a skin-tight bodysuit)? APOLO OHNO: “You always have to have a good jacket—a sports jacket, that fits—no matter what. You have to have a nice pair of shoes. Jeans and pants for me are always difficult, because my legs are so big—so they’re tight, even when they’re supposed to be baggy.” [Shop special sizes: Big & Tall]
MSD: You look sharp today. What are you wearing? APOLO OHNO: “Let’s see…I’m wearing Armani. Zegna pants, Louis shoes.”
[One of many surprised passersby.]
MSD: What’s your favorite thing about hosting the GSN game show Minute to Win It? APOLO OHNO: “On Minute to Win It, the number-one thing is, I get to see people win real money. And the excitement you see, and the stories you hear about how that money’s going to change their life, or what they’re going to put it towards, are pretty amazing. We’ve seen people get married, we’ve had people want to put money towards a charity in memory of their brother, we’ve had ex-military people who served our country—there’s really an incredible array of stories on the show. So I’ve gotten to meet some really amazing people.
MSD: What are you most looking forward to at the 2014 Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia—where you’ll be breaking down the action as a member of NBC’s broadcast team? APOLO OHNO: “In 2014, I’m looking forward to short-track [skating]. All the speed skating events, that’s my favorite. I mean, I also love downhill events and skiing, but short-track, to me, is the ultimate. I’ll be there, every single day.”
[Our blog editor, asking the tough questions.]
MSD: You’re the most decorated Winter Olympian in US history. What advice do you have on being a gracious winner—and on your approach to life and work in general? APOLO OHNO: “I definitely haven’t won every single race—so I know what it feels like when you don’t win, and I know what it feels like when you do. And I think you appreciate it that much more. I lived in a sport where you’re not guaranteed to win every single time, no matter how good you are. So when you do, and those medals get hung around your neck, it feels pretty amazing. And towards life? I’d say: Work hard, play hard, and just enjoy every single step of the way.”
[A plaque on the wall outside our flagship store, shedding light
on the 'Seattle Walk of Fame' installation.]
[A few of Ohno's fellow Seattle Walk of Fame alums. Clockwise from top left:
Jimi Hendrix, Mariners legend Ken Griffey, Jr., Microsoft's Paul Allen and Bill Gates, NBA great and former SuperSonic Lenny Wilkens.]
Special thanks to Apolo Ohno.
Follow him on Twitter here.
[Photos by Jeff Powell. Interview and first photo by Justin Abbott.]
Back in 2007, Seattle’s Sub Pop Records started Hardly Art Records, a label within itself, with lower financial stakes and a pop-rock fixation. The two labels reside in the same building in Seattle’s Belltown neighborhood on 4th Avenue. Rock duo Deep Time is a fairly recent addition to the Hardly Art roster—an outlier from Austin, Texas, whereas most other Hardly Art bands are from Seattle, the Bay Area, or New York City. Their oddly-shaped songs are worth a listen. They charm, puzzle, and then are gone.
Deep Time played the Hardly Art showcase at the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee. Band leader Jennifer Moore was kind enough to grant us a quick interview.
MEN’S SHOP DAILY: Being from Austin, how do you feel about SXSW? Does it feel musically important to you, or is it one big Doritos ad? DEEP TIME’S JENNIFER MOORE: “Big ol’ Doritos ad, with close-ups of the chips, and canned music playing very quietly in background.”
MSD: Austin seems to have a lot of ‘meat-and-potatoes’ rock bands. Does it feel like you are way out on a limb down there, with your left-field approach? JENNIFER MOORE: “Austin is pretty rock-heavy, especially the garage variety. But there are tons of little scenes in Austin, and they do mix a bit. There’s a group of ten or so local bands we play with regularly. So we get a lot of support from that group, even if it’s tiny.”
MSD:How much pressure does Hardly Art put on you to make money? JENNIFER MOORE: “Zero. It’s been really nice working with Hardly Art. They mostly just seem excited about putting out music they like.”
[Deep time drummer Adam Jones]
MSD:What was your favorite thing you experienced at the Sub Pop Silver Jubilee? JENNIFER MOORE: “People watching was pretty satisfying! The concertgoers were all over the place, age-wise, with lots of weirdos, and parents, and teens that looked like maybe they were at their first concert. But everyone seemed especially pumped to be there.”
MSD:Please recommend some restaurants in Austin. Have you been to Paul Qui’s place, qui? What about tacos and Tex-Mex? JENNIFER MOORE: “We have not been yet. We are saving our pennies, but we have been to Uchi, which is kind of an epic eating experience. Chapala off Cesar Chavez Street is our favorite taco/Tex-Mex place. It’s also very affordable. One meal at qui equals 70 at Chapala.”