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Originally published Tuesday, May 27, 2008 at 12:00 AM

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A marriage proposal, fries and a milkshake

You'd think choosing a location for a marriage proposal would be a no-brainer for the owner of one of Seattle's most romantic restaurants...

Seattle Times columnist

You'd think choosing a location for a marriage proposal would be a no-brainer for the owner of one of Seattle's most romantic restaurants. But you would be wrong.

When Brian Canlis got down on one knee with a ring for girlfriend Rebecca Merriam, he was surrounded by about 400 candles on every surface of ... Zak's in Ballard. The couple frequent the burger joint once a week, so Merriam didn't suspect a thing when they strolled up on a recent Friday to find the restaurant's windows lined with butcher paper and the lights turned off.

"She barged right in and the place was completely empty," Canlis said. "She was completely confused. She turned around, and I was on my knees."

Her reply: Yes, please.

They cried, then sat in a booth and ate french fries and a strawberry milkshake while their favorite band — The Swell Season, best known from the movie "Once" — played over the speakers.

"The owner loved being involved," Canlis said. "He loved the idea of Canlis restaurant coming to a burger place to get engaged." ...

SINGLE DADS ARE THE NEW hot bachelors, as seen on TV: Kirkland resident Jason Mesnick, a former golf pro at Inglewood Golf Club in Kenmore, appears to be an early front-runner on ABC's "The Bachelorette." Mesnick kept mum about his son in the premiere episode, but the revelation will undoubtedly go down in Bachelorette history as one of the Most Shocking Moments Ever! How do you not love Chris Harrison? Seriously. I don't know how he keeps a straight face. Anyway, if it doesn't work out for Jason and DeAnna, how about Jason as the first-ever Bachelor Dad? You read it here first. ...

WHO NEEDS CHEERLEADERS when you've got a marching band? Drew Carey is seeking musicians for full brass and percussion sections to play at home games during the Seattle Sounders FC inaugural season. Auditions start at 9 a.m. Sunday at Qwest Field (www.soundersfc.com). You must be 21 and be willing to get paid in soccer balls. Oh, and they're also looking for more cowbells, so if anyone sees Christopher Walken around, let him know. ...

LATE NIGHT PINGPONG at Boom Noodle on Capitol Hill, 11 p.m. Fridays. I rule at pingpong, in case you didn't know. ...

THE SEATTLE STORM is hosting a "Girls Night Out" on Friday, with free massages and hair styling on the concourse at KeyArena before they take on the San Antonio Silver Stars. Twenty bucks gets you a lower-level seat, live music and a free beer or soda. It's about how much you'd pay to see "Sex and the City: The Movie," and as far as girls nights go, it's probably more original. Which raises the question: Isn't every night Girls Night Out at the Seattle Storm?

Pamela Sitt: 206-464-2376

or psitt@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2008 The Seattle Times Company

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