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Dog Days in Kirkland: June 3rd & 4th

Chateauchiendog Here we go, Kirkland dog lovers, this weekend is all about you.   Seems there's a  bad rap when it comes to dogs in this town b/c all of our parks require them to be leashed.  There's still no local dog park (sorry, head to Marymoor for that), however, Kirkland has decided to treat our local pooches to a weekend of fun. 

Saturday June 3rd from 10-7 and Sunday June 4th 10-5 will be the Puget Sound Dock Dogs Big Air Challenge at Carillon Point.  If your dog loves the water and wants show off some jumps, sign up for one of the Big Air waves ($20/wave).  Register and get all the details here. There's also some open air time ($5/dog) on Sunday 6/4 from 12-3:30.  This could be some serious stuff, handlers from around the northwest are hoping to win some cash, but I'm sure this would be entertaining. 

Then on Sunday from 12-5 you can scoop up Fluffy and bring him down to the Kirkland Mutt Strut for a 2.5 mile walk from Marina Park to Carillon Point and back.   This is also where you can find anything and everything for your beloved pet: water safety instruction, adoptions, sports, games, supplies and accessories.    From 1-3 you can enter your dog into a category such as 'best dressed' or 'most talented' but don't forget to pre-register online or by calling 425-587-3330.

Dooleysmartichuckluna We thought you should also know about some of the other doggie hotspots in Kirkland.  Dooley's Doghouse at 1421 Market St. (889-2200) is locally owned and operated by Chuck and Marti Bartlett (pictured at left with Luna the cat).  They are only going to let me use the "I don't have any pets, I have 3 children" excuse for so long before I give in to temptation. It's a great friendly little health food store for dogs that has supplies and also helps run adoption events to find homes for older pets. Hours are M-f 10-7, Sat 10-6, Sun 12-5.   Pasado Safehaven brings in dogs for adoption every third Sat from 12-4 and Purrfect Pals has cats on the second Saturdays.  There may be rabbit adoptions soon too! Stop in with your pet to say hello- also keep your eyes peeled for these guys at the Fourth of July Parade-lots of laughs!

There's also a new doggie daycare in Kirkland.  Check out Diana Dorfman's Chateauchiendiana Chateau Chien (827-6018) in Totem Lake (11516 124th Ave NE).  That's Diana and a client pictured right. She just opened in January and has a great place where your dog can frolic and have fun while you are working.  There are NO cages, just open space for your dog to play and, of course, a special room for nap-time.  I wish I had a nap room at my house-sigh-.  A couple extra bucks and your furry friend can get shampooed too.  The rates are really reasonable: $25/full day, $15/half day, $110/weekly package.  This is daycare, not boarding, so you can't leave 'em overnight, but you will be happy going off to work knowing that your dog is playing hard and getting lots of love while you're gone.  Diana is TOTALLY into these dogs- I've never seen anything like it.  She says she just loves the dogs, their spit and slobber, the dog-hair, all of it!  Her customer Christine Lukasik says, "We've been taking our pooch there and it's the best place!" I had my sister take her Dobie, Shaymus (aka Shay), to try it out and he gave it a big thumbs up.  And, by the way, it's not too easy to find- hidden around the back of the Jack-In-The-Box shopping center on the corner of 116th/124th (it's not visible from the front). 

Scrufftofluff From Scruff to Fluff is the new groomer in town (formerly Heads & Tails) at 222 Central Way since December.   They use organic shampoos and give your dog or cat the individualized attention he deserves.  Jamie Sparlin is one of the groomers that enlightened me that you can also get your pet's nails painted!  That's pretty stylin'.  Who knew?  Grooms range from $35- $90 depending on the size and breed of your animal.  There's free parking out front or in the lot behind the building.  $5 off for new customers- you can schedule on appt online or call 425-827-3144.  They are open Mon-Sat from 9-4. ~Janis

Sushiya-More Sushi in Kirkland!

Sushiyaoutside Sushiya, which means 'House of Sushi' at 11451 98th Ave NE,  must realize they are the third sushi place on that block to open in the last six months, because they are eager to please when you walk in the door.  Kudos to these guys because they have the most visible location of the three, so winning over drive-by business is a smart strategy to keep people coming back for more.

It smells like fresh paint when you walk in since they have totally re-vamped the tired old Orexi building.  It's simple and contemporary inside, and we sat at the sushi bar to get a spot front and center.  There's lots of staff on hand which is great.  Our waitress handed us about 4 pages of menus-sushi, hot food, specials, songs, a dictionary, I dunno.  So many choices my little pea brain went into overload.  I can't miss out on anything, you know, so I had to read it all.  A lovely pot of tea in my own personal press put my mind at ease.  No warm towel for my hands, but I was clean that day anyway so no worries.

To the food- a lovely vegetable root salad started us off with some edamame served cold, just the way I like it!  The sushi was fresh, beautifully cut and melt in your mouth.  Thanks to Sang and Sushiyainside Peter, pictured right. Tuna, salmon, albacore, shrimp, mmmmmmmm.  We skipped the crab as it appeared through the glass to be pre-packaged sticks.  Our volcano roll had quite a kick- Steve loved it, I thought it was good but over-powered the light/delicateness of the rest of our meal.   There were some gorgeous rolls going out to tables (spider, caterpillar) that I was wishing we had ordered instead.  For dessert, Sang insisted we try the mango mochi, which is like a sorbet rice cake, and was a perfect finish to our meal.

Our waitress was very kind and attentive.  And we were pleasantly surprised by the number of people in there. One of the owners, Andrew Im, said they are already exceeding expectations for the first month.  Almost half of the tables were full and others kept dropping in for take-out orders, so people are catching on already.  Pricing was reasonable (about $3-5 for 2 pieces of nigiri, ie: comparable to Rikki Rikki). We'll definitely be here again.  Especially with Juanita Bay Club across the street, I can see us playing some squash and then wandering over to Sushiya for a healthy meal afterwards. 

Sushiya, which originally had a sign on it saying Lakeview Restaurant (you're not going crazy), is taking reservations or you can just walk in.  425-281-3958.  Hours are 11-2:30 and 5-9:30 seven days a week. ~Janis

Lee Johnson's Kirkland Expansion

Leejohnson1_2 I'm nosy.  If you've driven by the Lee Johnson Chevrolet-Mazda dealership at 11845 NE 85th (just east of the 405) you've probably noticed a lot of changes and demolition going on.  What the heck are they doing??  I gave their President, Tod Johnson, a jingle to get to the bottom of it.

The Johnson family has been around in Kirkland for a long time.  There's an interesting history behind the dealership, which you can click here to learn more about.  Tod's dad began buying up property behind the dealership site and accumulated 10 acres of land over the years.  So, now they are making some changes so they can utilize all of that land and fulfill Lee Jr.'s vision (he passed away in 2002).

There will be separate showrooms for Chevy, Mazda and their newly acquired Kia (off of 116th)with plenty of room for inventory out front.  They used to hold anywhere between 600-800 cars and can now house up to 1000 at the new digs where they have over 100 employees.  Interestingly enough, the auto manufacturers offer financial incentives to the dealers when they have exclusive facilities for their brand.  Good thing Lee Jr. was thinking ahead, eh?  The new service dept is in the back and has a line dividing the brands.

They're still open for business during the transition, and Tod says everyone is excited to show off their new facility, so feel free to stop by anytime.  The general number is 888-214-4824. ~Janis

Where to find Kirkland's cheapest gas...

Traffic Planning a big driving trip for Memorial Weekend?   If you are you might want to fill up at the cheapest pumps in Kirkland before you take to the nation's highways!   We found this cool site that gives you up to date gas prices (prices are no more than 48 hours old) for any city, including Kirkland of course.   The great thing about this site is that users like yourself can help keep the data current by visiting gas stations and then entering in the price you paid here.

The site is called www.seattlegasprices.com.  So what is the lowest price you might pay for a gallon of gas in Kirkland right now?   Is it  one of these Shell, Chevron, or Texaco stations in Kirkland? Gaspump I would tell you, but it's better that you click on the links so you can get the latest and most accurate prices--they change daily. You will also see that Kirkland gas is priced way over the country average.  I wonder why that is?   Anyway, thought y'all would enjoy the site and hopefully it can save you a few bucks on your next fill up.   

Kirkland's Downtown Hotel: The Heathman

We're really excited about the idea of a hotel in downtown Kirkland.  Steve and I have been saying for years that there's a need for one.  When people come to town the choices are pretty much The Woodmark, the Totem Lake strand or the south edge of Kirkland.  This idea is nothing less than a stroke of brilliance.

Heathmanhole2 Don Holt and business partner Bill Corbett of Corbett Holt Properties will not take the credit, though.   They have owned the property at 220 Kirkland Avenue since 1981 (where businesses such as The Grape Choice previously resided).  Don said, "About 5 years ago, big hotel chains started approaching us about buying the property.   You don't have to hit me over the head with a stick to realize they might be onto something."  Don willingly admits that he is not a hotel guy.  So, they brought in folks like the Heathman Investment Group that have lots of hotel experience and own The Heathman in Portland.  The manager of that Heathman, Jeff Jobe, will be re-locating his family to manage the new hotel here.  So, although he considers himself a customer and not a hotelier, Don has done a good job surrounding himself with top notch hotel folks.

On to the vision.  Don's passionate about creating a hotel that will enhance downtown Kirkland, not compete with it.   I was impressed to learn that he went to some of the neighborhood groups to ask what is important to them.  Brilliant again- ask the people!  He's hoping that by incorporating some of their thoughts and ideas, that the citizens of Kirkland will embrace The Heathman as OUR hotel. 

The thought is for it to have a  "Kirkland feel" so you can be comfortable walking in with a tie orHeathmanhole1 jeans (I'm hoping not at the same time, that look went out in the 80's). He wants to employ local people and use local vendors when possible.  And the focus will be on what he calls "high touch."  Imagine pulling up your car and the valet takes you and your luggage straight to your room-there's no front desk or lines to bother with.  And he knows what temperature you like your room and that you prefer a firm mattress and extra pillows-just like the ones you loved on your last visit.  Because they remember your preferences and focus on personalized service.  This same person can make your dinner reservations or spa appointment or check on which of the 5 meeting rooms you're supposed to be in.  Kind of like that personal assistant you never had.

The hotel itself will have 91 rooms on four floors.  You can click here for some sketches of what the hotel will look like, and there is also a live webcam on the construction site.  Sketches are also posted at the Kirkland Hotel Group's office at 121 Lake St.  Some of the hotel suites will have views and hot tubs on the deck where you could even view a baseball game at Lee Johnson Field.    There will be 121 underground parking spots, some of which will be used for public parking (approx $1/hr).  Pricing for rooms is still TBD and we can expect to see The Heathman opening in the Spring of 2007.  I think this hotel will fit in nicely with our little downtown.  Yet another perk- its customers will create more foot traffic for our downtown businesses.   Everyone wins.     ~Janis

Kirkland has a Flickr Site

Wedsmarket Thought you guys should know that Kirkland has a Flickr site which is a great repository for local photos.  It's relatively new, but content is growing every day- so start posting your Kirkland photos there to share with others (amateurs or professionals welcome). Here's the link: http://www.flickr.com/groups/kirklandwa/pool/

WedsmarketmusicI just put some pics from the Wednesday Market.  I'll put them here too.  Loved the live music that was there today.  The kids were quietly mesmerized so I had the chance to buy some of that fresh salmon (now you know what's for dinner tonight).   ~Janis

Kirkland Half Marathon/5K photos

5k10thst2006 Here a few shots from the 2006 Kirkland Half Marathon & 5K Sunday.  The 5K Halfmar06finishline went right by our house, hence the shot that looks like we're hiding in the bushes (we're not, just still in our pj's).  Then there's the finish line at Juanita Beach Park.  There is also Lee_wilma_parker a photo of Lee Parker, 69 & Wilma Parker, 72,  of Auburn- good job on a strong finish you guys!  If you want to check your results (or somebody elses), you can click here.   ~Janis

Wilde Rover Grand Opening...not impressed!

Wilderoveropensign I was excited to see Wilde Rover, a new Irish pub/restaurant, going into the old Waimea Brewing  location (the old Roasters spot) on Central Way.   I was so excited I called the owners a few times to get an early story about them prior to their opening--thinking I could help get the word out a bit with a nice post on the blog.  They just didn't want to talk to me and wouldn't give me the time of day.  They said they would call me back, but never did.  Strike one! Janis even called and tried to get me in the door to their grand opening party (invite only).  Strike two!

This left us with only one option.  Wait until they open and just go check it out for ourselves.   So we did--twice.   We went in with high hopes and really wanting to like the place.  Janis and I love a good Irish pub, like Fado down by Pioneer Square

Here is the opening report card:

  • Outside look and feel, including signage = A (they did a nice job here)
  • Inside look and feel = C+ (most Irish bars feel cozy, and have lots of little private areas and an Irish pub feel.  They added some dark wood, but it's still a bunch of big rooms just like Roasters was)
  • Food = D- (It's just bland and heavy, but the Irish were never known for their food.  We ordered Bangers and Mash and Lamb Stew.  Both  dishes were over $12 and didn't impress)
  • Service = C+ (a few mistakes were made, but I am giving them a C+ because as the mistakes were being made everyone was very nice and trying to be helpful. Besides, it's new so they're just getting the hang of it).
  • Music= B- (lots of fun Irish tunes that make you want to River Dance. Then there's a random American 80's song thrown in to keep you guessing. One night it was so loud I had to holler to be heard)
  • Entertainment = Grade TBD (we were there for an early dinner and didn't get to see any of the live music which will be a feature of the pub. It looked cool driving by on other nights, and to their credit, the place seems to stay crowded.)

Wilderoverinside OK, don't get me wrong.  I want to see them do great.   At this point I would definitely say it's a good place to meet a lot of friends (plenty of space), shoot some pool, listen to some live  music, and drink a Guinness!  With that said, I am not giving them a strike three just yet.  I am going to go back one more time and encourage a few of my buddies to meet me there for a cold one.   Hopefully things will improve and our experience will be positive.   

Anyone else been there yet and have an opinion?  Please comment here.    Steve 

Mother's Day: It's Not too Late

It's the eleventh hour and you just realized that Mother's Day is this weekend.  First let me say that if your name is Steve Rabuchin, you are in BIG trouble.  But if you are anybody else with a special mom that you want to spend some time with in Kirkland this weekend, I've got you covered. 

Bad news first: Anthony's Home Port and The Woodmark are already pretty much booked for brunch.  Good news: There are a few places that can still take you or just get creative yourself.  Anthony's can take brunch reservations for parties of 2 people or there are some openings for dinner.  Marina Park Grill is now open for brunch on weekends and they still have a small handful of spaces left (as of this writing).   Hector's has  some limited brunch availability as well.  I'm sure Pancake House would have a hefty line, unless she is a super early bird. Or-you can always hit Trader Joe's and buy some quiche, fruit, oj/champagne and do it yourself. 

I'm going to clue you in on a little something too.  Here is what the mama's care about most-just be thoughtful.  Buy a card and don't just sign your name, fill it up with sweet thoughts in your nicest handwriting.   Let her sleep in- there's a treat no mom would turn down!  Tulips are in every grocery store right now- QFC has them 3 bunches for $10.  Go crazy- spend the $20 and get six bunches.  Don't just hand them to her in the cellophane, put all of them in a big vase together with some water.  You don't need a brain to arrange tulips. 

Then you can go hit the Kirkland Artist Studio Tour that's going on Saturday and Sunday from 10am-6pm.   She'll be really surprised that you picked something so cultured to do.  There are over 30 local artists participating that are opening up their home studios for you to get a glimpse of how and where they create their masterpieces.  It's free and you can stop by as many or as few as you'd like on this self-guided tour.  Buy the special mother in your life a piece of art that she fancies- there will probably be some good deals as you'll avoid the gallery's cut.  And if you've got the kids in tow, they'd probably be entertained by some of the glass bead blowing or ceramic demonstrations.

OK- now hurry and get planning.  Don't waste another minute.  Let us know how it goes. ~Janis