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Cafe Harlequin Arrives in Downtown Kirkland

Cafeharlequin_004 Cafe Harlequin at 107 Lake Street is ready for some discerning palates to pay them a visit.  I met with Larry Stepek, the General Manager, who has been looking for over four years for a place to open this restaurant (he moved here from CA).   They are aiming for great food and a great experience with hopes of commanding the Cafe Juanita type following.

The cuisine is Mediterranean and all of the recipes are authentic (with many local ingredients).  From France's subtle tastes to the heat of  Spain/Morocco, you should be ready to try new things.  One of Larry's faves is the abalone, a shallow water shellfish, that isn't easy to come by.  There will also be lots of duck dishes-fyi, the 'harlequin' is a duck in addition to an Italian drama.  They are open for lunch and dinner, both of which offer regular or prix fixe options ($28/lunch, $60/dinner).  Chef Michael Schibler has put together a nicely rounded menu ranging from $8 starters to the $39 Ellensburg lamb chops.

Cafeharlequin_001 The atmosphere is intended to be a friendly one that is welcoming whether you are there for dinner or just a drink, some jazz or espresso.  It's a large space (remember those lines of tables at Sentosa?), but they've done a nice job dividing it up into smaller cozier alcoves.  There's also a semi-private space for up to 28 people in addition to a lounge/bar area up front.  They are excited to be in Kirkland and to be active in our community.  Interestingly enough, after already having the name for the restaurant, Larry ran across the artwork which they now use for their menus/website from local artist that had a booth at a Kirkland event. 

They opened last weekend, so if you get a chance to try it out, please post comments about your experience here.  With our major remodel underway, our family is eating soup from a can these days.  But maybe since we also won't be going on vacation this year either, we could head to Cafe Harlequin to experience the flavors of France, Greece, Morocco, Italy, Lebanon and Spain all from a comfy seat in Kirkland.  ~j


Pace Race 2008

Pace_and_christmas_0521 It's here again!  Help fight prostate cancer by signing up for the Pace Race at Marina Park in Kirkland (photo left from last year).  The event is on Sunday, November 2nd at 9am.  There's a menu of 'paces' for everyone- run or walk the 5K, do the 1 mile Fitness Walk, or sign your kids up for the Kids Dash (8 and under).  Make a day of it- there are prizes, t-shirts, backpacks of goodies, survivor recognition and entertainment, and a post-race breakfast at Wilde Rover Irish Pub.  You can register online or at some local shops and it's $15-25 depending what you decide to do.  One in six men get diagnosed with prostate cancer- and this is one you need to run from, so get out there and hustle people....j


2CH Was Yummy in my Tummy

Bradyspecialday_009 My  mom is finally letting me give some input on this Kirkland website.  Since I'm the only three-year-old she knows that can finish an adult-sized cheeseburger, she thought I'd be qualified to write this post about 2CH.  My name is Brady.  And I love cheeseburgers.

2ch We went with some friends on Friday night after my sisters' soccer practice and it was pretty busy.  I was grumpy and hungry, which happens from time to time, but was glad to learn that I could fit in a booth with all the big kids.  Mom stood on line for the food and there was a boy and a girl working there that didn't look too much older than me.  They also didn't know the answers to questions or how to give change but they were super nice and I'm sure if they work on their listening ears they will get better at that.  They have 9 different kinds of burgers.  Mom wouldn't let me try the "Kirkland Monster Burger" (triple patty, cheddar and swiss, bacon, fried egg, lettuce, tomato, onion, house sauce).  She said something about a heart attack I didn't understand.  You'll also find a bunch of pastas, BBQ, wings, milkshakes, fries.  All of these choices were about seven to ten paper monies.  This is the only place I know that has a hot dog on their side order menu which is pretty sneaky.   

Our food came out to our table really fast which is good because I was starting to think about whining a bit since occasionally that will work in my favor.  I got a cheeseburger off of the kid's menu (where you can also find an omelet, chicken teriyaki, plain pasta and stir-fried bean paste noodles) and it was really big and came with a mountain of french fries that I dove into first.  All of my friends seemed to like their food too and it was fun dipping it all in ketchup.  The parents were all talking and telling us to keep quiet while they happily ate their burgers.  They also tasted the wings which were good too.  Mom was wishing they had a few salad choices so she wouldn't have to spend so much time at the gym across the street the next day.

2ch_001 Mommy took a picture of the dining room (on the right, oh no, that's the left).  It was basic and clean which is perfect for me and my friends.  I didn't have to go potty so I'm not sure where that is. Shoot-I was having so much fun I didn't want to leave!  But mom said we had to get home for bathtime- she's so bossy sometimes.  Never listens to me.  I'll bet our family will be back here when we're looking for a quick easy kid-friendly meal.  It makes sense to me that maybe the rumor is true that 2CH stands for "2 Complete Happiness"?  OK, back to preschool, love BRADY


Curtain Call for Oriel

Oriel_002 Literally! All the curtains are drawn and pink signs stuck on every window announcing the sale Oct 7-9 to get rid of everything.  Doesn't seem like so long ago the Triple J vacated that very spot.  When I popped into Oriel, I was told it was "time to move on to something else," so they sold the business and a new coffee shop will be opening there in the spring. 

I can't help but wonder (and worry) if tumbleweeds are going to start blowing through downtown Kirkland soon.  But there's a glimmer of hope still.  Sentosa's old location on Lake Street will be transforming into a wine spot with Mediterranean cuisine called Cafe Harlequin in the next 30 days.  Juanita must have more affordable rent as we get ready to check out some other openings in that direction: 2CH (burgers/chicken-opens 10/7), Padria (Mediterranean- Juanita Village), and JBay (Juanita Pub with some fresh lipstick).  I'm getting hungry already. ~j


CamWest Preserves the Nettleton Mansion

Nettletonmansion_001 If you've been curious about that wide expanse of land on State Street, expect to see construction starting shortly on 24 new CamWest Development homes.  That is, 24 new condominium-style homes and one grand white-columned mansion with plenty of Kirkland history.  The Nettleton Mansion was built in 1914 as a southern-colonial revival style home for Seattle Post-Intelligencer publisher, Clark Nettleton and his wife Jennie (later sold to Green's Funeral Home). 

The 3000 sf house was moved about 3 months ago from its original spot on the property to the News_205_20080623225458_kirk_500_stsouthwest corner of the lot where it is being restored.   CamWest will keep the historic home's charm and offer it for sale as a single-family home (the price is still undetermined) within the new development called appropriately enough, "Nettleton Commons."

Nettletonmansion_002 Nettleton Commons is nestled on over 2 acres and will offer 12 new home plans that are 3-4 bedroom/2 car garage dwellings with architectural variety, open floor plans, gourmet kitchens and many amenities.  There is also a big common area and the tree groves will remain.  It's just a hop-skip to the new Google campus and downtown Kirkland.   You can check out the site plan and other info on the budding community here.  Letters of intent are being accepted now so you can customize you future home (or mansion!).  A model for the $800-900K new homes is planned to be open by March.  You can contact Brian Nienaber with questions nienaber@windermere.com  ~j


Always a Bridesmaid? Not in Kirkland.....

Images4 Save yourself the flight to Vegas and get married right here in Kirkland this Valentine's Day! Heritage Hall on Market Street will be churning out some lovebirds when wedding ceremonies are held each hour for 24 hours on Saturday Feb 14, 2009.  Tie the knot or renew your vows in front of 30 of your guests for just $350.  Wow, that's only 2 weeks of gas money! And that includes decorations, floral arrangements, an officiant, music and a wedding coordinator that are all Kirkland-based businesses. For more info, go to www.kirklandweddings.com.   

Hey Steve, will you marry me again? .............hello?............... hello?    ~j