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Market Street Cafe -- Officially Open!

We bloged about the Market Street Cafe previously--before they opened.  Since that last post the MSC quietly opened and have been serving patrons for a few weeks now.  The staff is hired and all systems are go!  I have yet to eat there (for full disclosure), but have met Chef Sasha and got a tour of the new state of the art kitchen as well.   

Sasha was born in Moscow and began cooking at age 14.   He received his formal culinary training in Moscow before spending several years as Executive Chef at two very trendy New York restaurants.  Sasha has been covered in the NY Times previously.   Prior to opening the MSC, Sasha was the Executive Chef for a Russian restaurant in Calgary.

Sasha and some relatives opened the MSC in Kirkland to offer food choices and an experience unlike any other on the east-side.    Where else can you find dishes such as Beef-Stroganoff, Forrest Quail, and Wild Boar?  But don't worry--if you are not so adventurous other menu options include: Sea Bass, Wild Salmon, and Fillet Mignon (prepared three different ways).    The menu is filled with unique dishes in the accordance of ancient recipes (both Russian and French) from the 17th-19th centuries.   

The Market Street Cafe is open, so try it out.  I plan to dine there in the coming weeks and will add a quick review once I have done so.  If you are looking for a place to hold your group/office holiday dinner they are now accepting reservations.     If you have tried it out let us know what you think...


Lucia Opens this Week

Luciaopening_007I had a chance to go to the soft opening of Lucia  (222 ParkPlace Center) on Saturday night and let me tell you--you're in for a treat!  The old 'Mama Lucia' has gone through a serious face-lift.

We started with the crab cakes, which were delicious and full of crab meat drizzled with creamy wasabi sauce.  Then onto the caesar salad-they use that same zingy garlicky caesar dressing as before which I've always loved- I even drop by just to buy that dressing sometimes.  For the main course, I had the Braised Kobe Beef with Pappardelle.  The tasty red wine sauce perfectly complimented tender strips of kobe meat, red peppers and mushrooms not to mention my glass of wine.  The portion was plenty for me to take home and enjoy again for lunch the next day (minus the wine, that I finished ;-). 

Luciaopening_002 When you walk in the decor is rich, contemporary and inviting while the tune of a funky beat plays in the background.  You'd never guess you're in a strip mall in Kirkland- it got more of a downtown swanky feel-maybe even LA looking at the lounge area kissed with some bright overstuffed pillows.  Owner Mike Halter (photo right- and yes, his sweater did match the restaurant decor) did all of the interior design himself.  There's great lighting and fun features like a cozy fireplace and a back-lit wine wall.

Luciaopening_001 Mike's mom, Cathy Shyne (photo left), also owns other successful restaurants in LA and Hawaii and carefully creates all of the menu selections.  She is this gorgeous petite Italian woman that makes you feel like part of the family when you stick your head in the kitchen to say hi. I love the feel of this family owned business because they all have a true passion for what they do.  You can find Lucia's full menu here

They open their doors on Monday November 12th 2007 from 11am on.  In addition to the restaurant, I think this place has great potential for being a late night lounge for the in crowd.  Anyway-I'd definitely recommend getting in there-it's a transformation that you will need to witness for yourself.  The menu looks fabulous- there are lots more things on there I want to try- and they are all priced reasonably too.  Appetizers and salads run between $8-12 and most entrees are under $20.  You can make reservations on Open Table.  See you there!  ~j

Steer Clear of Public Storage

Brace yourself.  I'm gonna rip these guys a new one.

Publicstorage_001 Renting storage space seems like a pretty simple business to me.  There's not too much you'd think you could mess up, right?  All you need is space, access to it, some security, maybe a little temperature control, and of course a billing/invoice system to manage all of these simple and happy customers.  Our family is practically exploding out of our little house, so we have a small storage unit which we began renting about 5 years ago at Shurgard on 116th, which has subsequently been bought out by Public Storage.

Once the switch took place it was all downhill from there.   They had some sort of electrical glitch this summer that went on for weeks.  The gates and doors were wide open and the elevators weren't functioning properly.  Signs were posted to 'use the stairs' but after peering around a few unfamiliar corners, I wasn't feeling comfortable enough to go searching for them.  Besides, if I did get to our 2nd floor unit, then I'd have to haul my load down the stairs on my back like some Peruvian sherpa, I presume (bless their hearts).  This was the same week that it was unbearably hot and I learned that it's not really temperature controlled either, but that doesn't stop them from raising the rent every 6 months.  Right in the middle of all this chaos, I get a not-so-nice letter from Public Storage letting me know that my credit card, that automatically gets billed each month, is about to expire.  Despite being a customer for years, they couldn't just ask me for the new date- I had to physically go in to the office, show them my new card, and sign a form (which I did promptly). 

01frustrated1 Three months later, I get the SAME letter demanding that I come in the office and update my credit card's expiration date.  I just did this!  ARGH- this place is driving me nuts!  I march in there and go through the exact same process of showing them my card/exp date and signing the same form again.   When I express my frustrations, the girl at the counter feels bad for me but can do nothing so we decide to have Jim, the manager call to follow up.   Poor Jim. He is powerless.  He understands my concerns which many other people have too, yet tells me there's nobody that cares about complaints.  Even if he wants to waive someone's $10 late fee, he needs to call the Regional VP to get it done.  Ok, I'm glad to call someone else then- onto the District Manager, whom I left a message with and never heard back.  Same lack of response to my online feedback. Jim warned me that  Public Storage's attitude is one where they know they own 4 of the 5 storage places in Kirkland, so if you're not happy go somewhere else.   OK then.  Anybody know where the 5th one is?  Wherever it is, that's where I'd recommend going-storage space should be way simpler than this.  I can't think of one more thing that Public Storage could do poorly that they aren't already underachieving in.  Steer Clear!  ~Janis