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Do you Remember Kindergarten?

Schoolbus It's time!  School is back in session for Lake Washington schools next week. Summer is winding to a close (in case you couldn't tell by looking out your window) and routine will set back in.  This year is special for us, though, as our 5 year old twins will be heading to Peter Kirk Elementary School for kindergarten.  Attending the parent orientation last night and the kids' meet/greet this morning just blasts me back to those feelings of curiousity and anxiety that starting a new school can bring.  As my girls each clenched onto my hands and carefully took in every picture on the wall, the bathroom sinks their own height and the fifth graders breezing past them on the monkey bars, I couldn't help but wonder, "Are they ready?"  They are kind, thoughtful, capable little people, and I have to hope we've done our best to prepare them for this adventure.

I'll never forget my kindergarten teacher.  Of course, this was back at Woodbrook Elementary School in NJ where you could find me hopping off the big yellow bus in my cable-knit knee socks and bowl hair cut circa 1977.  Mrs. Sostack had a big cube with zippers and buttons and snaps all over it that was a favorite (left).    She had a special song that I loved about spring that we all sang together.  I still remember all of the words and have taught it proudly to my children, despite the opening lines 'the air is warm and the sky is blue' not really fitting spring in Seattle.  When I say Mrs. Sostack's name it just gives me a good feeling.  And that's really is what it's all about in kindergarten-- she made me feel good about myself.  I thought I was the sharpest kid in that class, but all of my classmates probably thought they were too.   She did her job well.

School Back then, we didn't learn our letters until first grade.  There was a mid-day milk delivery and a short nap-time where we'd all lay down and try not to giggle at each other.  My Linda Rondstadt-loving mom always offered to do my hair, but I insisted that I did it best- two plastic barrettes placed about an inch from my forehead (and each other).   I had a necklace with feathers on it that I treasured.  And I couldn't wait to learn to roller-skate like the bigger kids.   I felt safe and confident and looked forward to each day at school.  I'm sure I had no idea that my mom probably had a lump in her throat, just as I do, watching me go off on my own into the world of big kids for the very first time.  I'm pretty sure I can hold it together, but if you see my sobbing by the cyclone fence next week, you'll understand why. ~j   

Kirkland's Jason Mesnick: Ready for Love Again

Tb4jasonfinale1 The chatter is all around us-in January 2009's 13th season, Jason is slated to be ABC's next "Bachelor."  This is no big surprise- he was clearly a favorite with the fans as he took the runner-up spot for bachelorette DeAnna Pappas's heart.  So, if you've been casing Kirkland neighborhoods trying to find his house it's time to give it up- he's headed Hollywood again.  But I wonder if they have selected his eligible ladies yet?  There might still be time for you.   And even more concerning- can they please do the home visit in Kirkland this time?!  Show us some love, Jason! Bring her for a stroll in Marina Park or windsurf in Juanita Bay or catch a game at Peter Kirk baseball field.   We'll be watching !!  ~j

What's Next for this Corner?

Casualdining There's a new banner over the Sushiya sign on the corner of 98th and Juanita Drive that says, mysteriously enough,  "Casual Dining."  My three year old son noticed it first because he saw the picture on the sign and shrieked, "Cheeseburgers!  Cheeseburgers!"   Actually, I think he may be right. 

After a little digging on the kirklandpermits site, it appears that the same owner as before applied for Images6a permit on Aug 6th for a new sign for "2Ch Burger".    If I remember correctly, the Sushiya owners had also owned some burger joints in Seattle, so this could be their new direction.  I have yet to confirm their plans.  Kind of ironic for that building to start out as a Jack in the Box and then come full circle.  My son will be very pleased. ~j

Prostitution Ring Reaches Kirkland

Prostitutionhouse_002 A friend of mine lives not far from the house at 1942 Market Street (photo left) that got raided on Friday night.  She said she had been noticing more traffic in and out of the house, along with some unfamiliar cars parked at odd hours.  It appears  "Lisa Thai Massage" was merely a front for prostitution and was also linked to 3 other locations in Bellevue and SeaTac with common owners, managers and workers.  Maybe when they saw the graffiti a few doors down, they thought this was their kind of neighborhood.  No arrests were made at the Kirkland location, but detectives from King County Sheriff's Dept will be checking records and receipts (who knew those kinda joints were so organized?).~j

Forward my calls to bin vivant.....

......because I'll be sitting at their bar tasting some fabulous wines.  The Woodmark just opened a new restaurant, bin vivant, that should not be missed.  This is a spot where wine was born first and the fBinvivant_002ood, created by Chef Lisa Nakamura, was made to compliment it.  You'll notice this when you check out the 80 climate-controlled bottles of wine behind the bar, each pressurized and hooked up to serve the perfect-sized pour (see photo left, behind Manager Anders Litzen w/Woodmark GM Marc Nowak).  Some favorites like Caymus, Betz, and Leonetti are suddenly made accessible when you can buy a glass instead of a bottle.   I told Steve we should add some of these amazing wine teats to our upcoming home remodel.

We were delighted to attend their opening party on 7/24 (photo right, I spy Edgar!) where we Binvivant_008_2 witnessed first hand the marriages they have created between wines and delectable dishes.  I told Mark that with the heavenly spot they have right on the water at the private end of the building, he could serve buttered toast and it would probably taste good.  But he has not!  Everything has been thoroughly thought out and taste-tested, so the menu offers many options from small plates ($7-13 range) like pigs in a blanket,  a prosciutto fig open-faced sandwich, or grilled caesar with house smoked duck breast to big plates ($13-28 range) such as halibut or tenderloin or grilled wild troll salmon.    The experience is meant to be fun---one that includes sharing and tasting and learning. 

Binvivant_001 The interior of the restaurant has been totally re-vamped from its former self, Waters Lakeside Bistro.  Architect Vassos Demetriou worked closely with Marc to make sure the new space took full advantage of outside dining (bonus-they have heaters and blankets!), while also creating a focal point aside from the breathtaking water view, which is a unique fireplace surrounded with giant panes of creme brulee looking glass.   It was also important to have the ability to transform into a space that could accommodate business functions and private dining.

Definitely check this place out and share your thoughts.   We're looking forward to enjoying this great new find.  I asked Dave Zimmerman, one of the owners of Brix and wine connoisseur, for his thoughts and he raved too, " I think they have a great wine program. Bin is a great experience for anyone looking to taste some of the top shelf wines from around the world."  But don't go thinking it's all fancy schmancy either! The service is warm and inviting and and there's no dress code, you can walk in off your boat in your flip flops if you want.  Lunch is from 11-2:30 and dinner is 5-10pm (stay tuned for a happy hour soon!) Reservations are recommended but not required.  And valet is free, so now you have no reason not to keep on driving the next time you can't find a parking spot in Kirkland Park Place.    See you there?   ~j