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Trellis: New Enclosed Patio for Cozy Winter Dining

There is no doubt that patio dining in the northwest has its challenges.  But the Heathman Hotel has shown us they know how to adapt to their environment.  They have recently enclosed their outdoor dining area so you get the best of both worlds: feeling like you are outside and people-watching in downtown while heaters pinch your cheeks and the wind/rain stays on the sidewalk.  The tables are cleverly lined up against accordian windows that open up to the restaurant so you also feel connected to the inside of the restaurant while still having an outdoor experience.  When spring arrives (July perhaps?!?) they will just unzip the thick clear-as-glass panels and put them in storage so we can enjoy the open air again.

We loved sipping our perfectly chilled dirty martinis as we watched snow flurries swirling around in circles on Kirkland Ave.  As if that wasn't good enough, the food as always, was excellent.  Steve had the citrus avocado salad which had big chunks of deliciously ripened avocado nestled with greens and grapefruit slices.  A delightful combination! My prosciutto was perfectly paper thin and beautifully presented with dates, greens and skinny bread sticks.  When Steve's pan-roasted trout arrived, it looked and smelled so good with the fresh zucchini and oven-dried tomatoes that he almost didn't want to mess it up by eating it.  But it's a good thing he did, because he quickly declared that it was "the best trout he'd ever had." My seafood soup entree was brought out in a hot mini-cauldron that had shrimp, salmon, mussels and clams bubbling in the Chef's garden tomato saffron sauce w/ crispy crostini on the side.  Our server then placed some special sauce in the cauldron brew and served the seafood medley onto my plate, making me feel like the queen (that I am?).  The broth was delicious w/the seafood and there were so many shellfish I couldn't even finish them all.  Overall, Executive Chef Brian Scheehser does a fantastic job of utilizing super fresh locally farmed ingredients and making them stand out without being overdone. And you can compliment him personally as he often comes out to check on the guests.

So, if you're looking for an amazing seasonal meal, go cozy up on the heated enclosed patio at Trellis at The Heathman.  On Sundays and Mondays they do a three course menu for $29 and have featured half price bottles of wine. You can make reservations online here or call 425-284-5900. If you have a reservation and live within a 5 mile radius, they will provide complimentary transportation to and from the restaurant.  Doesn't get better than that! ~j



Paintings and Wine......Why Not!?

Here's the next new thing.  Are you ready?  (pay attention guys w/valentines who haven't come up with something creatively romatic yet) I've noticed a few wine/art concepts popping up around town and hear that this is a hot new phenomenon in other cities. They're all a little different.  I know you all like to stay ahead of the curve so here's the scoop:

Palettes and Pairings-Opening 2/14, 425-889-5100, 504 Park Place Center

This mother/daughter team is hustling to get Santa's old suit out of the corner spot in Kirkland Park Place (next to Rikki Rikki) and all of their painting supplies in for their big opening on Valentine's Day. Owner  Elizabeth Shriner was in Denver recently experiencing "paint & sip" bars and loved the idea so much she recruited her mom, Amanda Seward (photo), to open one up with her in Kirkland. For $40 per person (or $75/couple) you spend from 6-8:30 pm painting (with instruction) a featured work of art in acrylics on a 16x20 canvas that you take home at the end of the night. And all of this while enjoying wine paired with appetizers from Starry Nights Catering.  They will be open Thurs- Sat with a 6-8:30 class and also for a mimosa brunch on Sundays at 11:30.  Call now to reserve a space for their Valentine's Day event!

Gallery Wine & Art- Open NOW, 425-576-1462, 702 Market Street

This unique bottle shop displays the creations of local artists (also for sale) and strives to be a fun environment for tasting and hosting events. The owner, Marcke Lhyle (pronounced Mark, I think his mom might have had some wine when she decided how to spell his name) used to work for Franciscan so he knows his stuff. When you walk in the space that was formerly Blooming Home, you'll notice it's colorful for a wine shop, compliments of artists like Dan Engler, Russ Morgan, Kelly Rae Cunningham and Laura Hackley.  Even the lighting is art, much of it sea glass or colored bottles intricately strung together with wire.  There is a Feb 12th Valentine's event with chocolate wine and labels such as 'Menage a Trois' and 'The Naked Grape.'  Then on 2/23 Zero One Vintners out of Walla Walla will be there for a tasting event. Regular hours will be Mon-Sat 11-8 and Sun 12-4.

 Corks and Canvas Events-@ Vovina in Kirkland (and other locations), 425-867-9382

This concept is more like a traveling road show which, lucky for us, comes to Vovina in Kirkland.  No experience needed, you just make a reservation (there's a slick calendar complete with the art you'd be creating), show up early to taste some wine or martinis, slide on your red apron and let your creativity go wild.  Instruction and materials are provided - so anyone can do it! Looks like there is a cool butt, I mean 'piece', on the 22nd. :-)  Fees range from $45-55 depending on the supplies required.  You can register and prepay online or use cash at the door.  They also do events like team building, book clubs, birthdays and bridal showers.

I look forward to trying these out.  Drinking wine seems so boring when you can drink and paint and take in art. Let your inner artist loose! ~j

Peter Kirk Park: New Play Coming Soon!

PKPark <--Now   Early March-->PKParkrendition

I did a double-take driving past Peter Kirk Park today when I saw a cyclone fence surrounding the play area in shambles.  A quick call to the parks dept revealed that the playground is being refurbished.  Recycling started today and it is expected to take three weeks.  Since the previous structure was 14 years old and  consistently needed new parts to keep it safe, the Parks Board chose PK park as the recipient of  approx $60K from the CIP (Capital Improvements Plan) budget.  Each year CIP funds, which can only be used for infrastructure, go towards improving a local playground. Looks like the kids of Kirkland are in for some new fun this spring! ~j

Education: LWSD needs your support by 2/8

You still have a week left to get your ballots in for the 2011 Lake Washington School District Levy. Don't leave it sitting on that pile of papers on your desk (under all the bills)!  Our school district is experiencing some serious overcrowding and with state budget cuts underway there are not other viable options to address the issue.  Some schools are even looking at having to double-shift.  Could you imagine?!

There's lots of good info on the LWSD website to get you caught up on the measure. I also spoke with Chip Kimball, the Superintendent for LWSD, and asked him how this impacts all of us in Kirkland.  Here's what he had to say: "If the levy doesn't pass, there are three viable options for us. Double shifting of RHS and EHS, bussing students from east to west and probably double shifting as well, or stopping the construction in the west and apply the money to the east. We also may consider scaling back all optional elementary programs like all day Kindergarten to create additional space. All options are not good, as you might imagine."

He went on to say, "Probably the bigger issue is the long term impact on the district. No measure can pass in LWSD with only part of the district supporting it. The current work going on in the district is a result of the entire district (LWHS, Rose Hill JHS, Sandburg, Muir, ICS, Keller) supporting it. If we find ourselves failing levies, and subsequently having significant overcrowding, we will experience long term questions in quality and therefore negatively impacted home values. This really does impact everyone.
The question is whether or not we are willing to take that risk for a relateively moderate investment (.29 per $1000 AV). For a $500K house (average in LWSD) it pencils out to $13/month for 6 years. Ultimately something will have to be built and a measure passed, the question is how much pain will need to be felt before something gets done."