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The Heartbreak of Kindergarten

Isn't this the moment I've been waiting for? The day my youngest child goes off to kindergarten and my days will be mine again from the hours of 8:30-3:30?  I might actually be able to put a dent in my to-do list this year.  But I'm having second thoughts.  I feel like a nervous student the night before a big exam.  I'm really going to miss this little guy.

During the preschool years on his off days we had what we proudly proclaimed, "Mommy-Brady days." It might only be a trip to Costco and vacuuming the car out but it was our special time together where we just chatted and laughed and stuck together all day long.  I tried to weave in lessons of kindness, problem-solving, forgiveness and patience as we baubled about these everyday activities..but did I do enough?  Can his  warm innocence stand up to the 6th graders on the bus?  Will he remember his manners?  Will others appreciate his sweet demeanor and clever sense of humor?  Have I empowered him to believe in himself and make smart choices? 

Good grief.  Imagine what will happen when he goes off to college.  My favorite is when I ask him what he thinks Mommy might do all day while he's in school (this is when his sense of humor kicks in).  "You could sit on the couch and read magazines?"  "You could take a lot of naps?" "You could waterski?" The last one is probably true.  

So, this is the week he will be graduating into the world of big kids. Congrats to all of you Kirklanders with kindergarteners.  Many of you are going through the same thing-I see your Facebook posts- be strong! Because I know the moment Brady steps on the schoolbus my heart will be breaking on the inside, but there will be a giant smile across my face on the outside. ~j

Milagro Cantina Awaits Us

Pretty soon the sawdust will settle and Milagro Cantina will be opening right in the heart of downtown Kirkland.  Milagro, which means 'miracle,' is exactly that.  It's our little miracle on Lake Street which has perservered despite this recession, thanks to the vision of Stuart McLeod. 

Imagine 8000 square feet with plenty of heated outdoor seating.  The old stairwell has been taken out that used to be in front of Mixtura so you have unimpeded views of the bustle of town. There are some really cool fire/water features and wait until you see this rockin' decorative tree that you can ogle at from your barstool (similar concept, photo left).   The bar is in the area that used to be Tully's Coffee.  The whole place is wired and will have a Chef's table room in addition to their private event space that can hold up to 60 people.   The attention to detail in the custom-made barstools might not spoil us as much as the radiant heat in the floors (finally, my tootsies won't get cold).  And, yes, they are adding 85 public parking stalls behind Hector's very soon.

But enough layout talk- let's get to the FOOD.  My favorite. :-)

Executive Chef Chris Peterson, formerly of Bis on Main and Cafe Campagne, has been tirelessly and enthusiastically traveling, tasting and researching authentic Mexican cuisine in order to create the perfect menu for us. He is really excited to be part of a neighborhood project that he has helped from the ground up.  Many of you had a chance to sample some their fares at Kirkland Uncorked- I heard great feedback from you guys on the watermelon and cucumber salad!  Don't head to Milagro expecting TexMex or Southwest, we're talking about hand-made pressed tortillas and tacos that have been inspired by Mexican street food.  There will be plenty of options to please a broad pallette ranging from $5-25.  Some early favorites during taste tests? 

Sopes de Milagro- crisp corn masa cakes filled with tequila, bacon & chipotle black beans, queso fesco, key lime crema

Cazuela de Almejas en Michelada- cherrystone clams simmered in Mexican beer, lime, tomato juice and ground chiles

Salpicon de Langosta y Pulpo-Lobster, octopus, serrano chiles, mango & avocado on tostada

Chiles Rellenos de Camarones- Poblano chile stuffed with shrimp, crab & queso asadero

So, book your babysitter for the end of Sept/early October so you can come spend some time in the comfortable, open and warm environment of this new creation. If you simply and understandably cannot wait that long for a taste, be sure to preview their food at the Kirkland Grapestomp at the Wednesday Market on 9/15 from 4-7. Lunch and dinner hours are still TBD, and expect to hear about brunch on the weekends as well. Keep an eye on Milagro's facebook page here for the latest updates.

Happy Birthday to Livengood, Fitzgerald & Alskog!

Livengood, Fitzgerald & Alskog has racked up 75 years in Kirkland and is THE oldest law firm on the Eastside. Why do those names sound familiar?  Because you look at them every day when you're sitting at the traffic light on Lake Street waiting to turn onto Central.  First you glance at Ce Fiore because some frozen yogurt sounds good, then into Zoka to see if any friends are loitering, and then glancing into the air at the traffic light you see those names "Livengood, Fitzgerald & Alskog" floating on the building that towers high over the center of our downtown.

Maury Powell, one of the original founders back in 1935, was drawn to Kirkland "by the lake and the lovely ferry ride from Seattle," as well as the ability to walk to work.  So, a big shoutout to Livengood, Fitzferald & Alskog. We're glad your firm is here and still kicking! Happy Birthday! BTW, my photo above is taken from the other side of the building so I wouldn't get a ticket while driving (if you can't text or talk I figure you can't photograph w/your cell phone either). ~j

Local Artists Join Kirkland's 2nd Thursdays Downtown

Get ready for a special Thursday evening in town as local artists join up with downtown businesses to display their works. Kirkland’s Rebecca DeVere will be exhibiting at Merrill Gardens this week, along with other artists will also be on display throughout downtown.  To spot the artists, look for balloons along the streets. With great shopping, dining and browsing already in place, a fun-filled evening of art is just one more reason for Kirkland’s friends and families to venture out on Second Thursday.

Caffe Rococo will be Roasting on Park Lane

People kept telling me there's a sandwich shop coming to Park Lane where the laundromat used to be.  But after chatting with the new tenant, Adam Olsen of Caffe Rococo, he cleared things up for me.  He's actually a coffee roaster who used to roast for Kahili and currently does wholesale roasting all up and down the coast.  In his new place you'll be able to watch him work in his glassed-in roasting room and yes, there will also be some Boar's Head paninis and soups to enjoy in one of the 80 seats of his shop. Opening is targeted for August 30th.

I also have the scoop on Milagro Cantina which is targeted to open late Sept/early Oct in Mixtura's old spot.  The menu looks awesome, stay tuned!  ~j

Peach O Rama at Metropolitan Market

I just bought some AMAZING peaches yesterday at the Metropolitan Market. My kids are eating them like they are candy.  Now thru August 18th is Met Mkt's famous Peach O Rama event where they get in the sweetest, juiciest, most sun-ripened peaches of the season.  Their Brix count, which is a measurement of the natural sugar level,  is 13-18 (compared to 11 or less in other grocery stores).  They are $2.69/lb or $19.99 for a flat. So go get 'em while they last! ~j

Kirkland Triathlon- are YOU training?

The Kirkland Triathlon at Carillon Pointis just around the corner on Saturday Sept 18th. It's a sprint tri going on its 8th year. You get to tour Kirkland with a 1/2 mi swim, then 12 mi bike, then 3 mi run  (if I could only had some endurance!).  Have you signed up

Steve has decided he's going to give it a go!   He doesn't normally swim or bike or run but-why not??  He's been practicing each- and especially enjoying the biking.  His birthday arrived just in time for him to get a road bike.  And he's managed to recruit a handful of people to do it with him and everyone is amazing me with their enthusiasm and commitment.

So- I'm a little freaked out about him swimming in the lake solo while he builds up his stamina.  With the waves and drunken boaters it just doesn't seem ideal unless I can pile all of the kids in the kayak and cruise along with him.  After chatting with a friend who is a rower and swimmer, she had some of the same concerns and knew others that might like to swim together.  So- if you are training in Kirkland or looking for a group that might want to stick together for swimming practice, please email Kari and she will try to pull something together. Oh, and kudos to the early morning swimmer w/the orange cap by Juanita Bay.  While pulling a waterskiier one morning last week, I noticed a swimmer w/a bright cap that actually stopped swimming, made eye contact with me, we waved at each other, and then she kept on swimming.  SMART. Same goes for paddle-boarders, with the sun in boaters eyes, you look like a toothpick standing on a black sheet of paper.  Be careful out there! (I'm turning into my mother).

See you at the Kirkland Tri! ~j