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Kathakali Fills the House

You know the spot.  It's some sort of jinx I think, where every time you drive by the corner on 98th Ave and 116th it's either closed or trying to re-open as something different.  The building that is still shaped like it's original Jack-In-the-Box can't seem to catch a break on that congested intersection.  Fast food, sushi, burgers, coffee, you name it--- gone.  Then Kathakali strides in with South Indian cuisine that packs the house every night for the last 6 weeks since they opened.  Who knew?!   Still unassuming from the exterior, and a little bit tricky with the "opening soon" on their temporary sign, you should know that they are OPEN for biz and it would be smart to call ahead for reservations (425-821-8188).  

You'll soon discover a cozy and re-decorated interior (enter through the double doors) that is dimly lit and deliciously fragrant.  Our whole family decided to go after a baseball game on a Tuesday night at 8pm and had to wait 15 minutes for a table.  Every seat was full, and mostly with South Indians, which is a good sign... because when the ethnicity of the food matches the ethnicity of the clientele you're in for an authentic meal.  We started with the basil spinach dosa.  Dosas are a signature item at Kathakali and I am going to insist you try one.  It looks a lot like a giant crepe burrito (but it's really a lentil and rice crepe stuffed with spinach basil pesto and spiced potatoes) with three amazing chutneys on the side.  Our family hoovered this dish in 18 seconds flat. The naan bread was thicker and fluffer than previous ones i have had, the fresh garlic on top was a nice touch.  For our entrees we ordered Tikka Misala, Lamb Vindaloo and Butter Chicken.  Our waiter was a friendly guy but I sure wish he had told us that everything comes out 'medium' spicy which translated to Rabuchin family standards felt like a five alarm fire.  He later explained that the heat is not from chilies, but from the pepper and garlic and spices.  Clearly we are in the little leagues because a good number of people have told me this is the best Indian food they have ever had.  And also good to know, South Indian cuisine is different from North Indian food  (ie Royal India across the street).   Steve and I were able to finish our meals, although it was so spicy it was difficult to differentiate the dishes after a while.  I should have ordered another dosa for the kids because my starving tweens were tortured by staring at food their sensitive palates wouldn't tolerate.  

Kathakalihotfood  He's laughing b/c they gave him a tiny tot kid cup/straw.

If you are an Indian food connoisseur, you're going to love this place.  Everyone is raving about it.  I heard the mutton is excellent (baa-aaa-aah).  Prices were really reasonable; dosas  are $9 and entrees/curries were $14-18 on average. Hours are listed here.  Steve and I got a nice cleanse out of the experience and learned we should maybe ask for some yogurt sauce to help cool things down next time.  But we will be back. Even my kids want to go back to try something new.  Let me know what your faves are. The jinx could finally be broken at 11451 98th Ave NE.   

Thank You Sunshine

Suddenly overnight my closet full of boots and black/gray sweaters has become obsolete.  In a panic, I have pulled out the summer bins to locate short-sleeved shirts and flip flops and made sure that our SPF is not all expired.   The moment is here, Kirkland,  finally after a long and cruel winter, we are to be rewarded with an amazing Memorial weekend with temps hitting the 80's.   Enjoy it  and be safe.  I'll share my Kathakali review with you next.

Special thanks to mother nature for the weather and also a shout-out to our awesome Kirkland Weblog sponsors:

CAC_KW ad Impact StudioJan2017     DanaVadams_125x125   DrNeal   Ambrosia_LOGO_125x125

Columbia Athletic Club, Dana Adams Realty , Neal Smiles Orthodontics, and Ambrosia MedSpa


Zeitoon: A Yummy $10 lunch

ZeitoonExt  ZeitoonInterior

I had the good fortune of dining with a friend at Zeitoon Grill this week for lunch.  You'll find  some similarities to previous versions of this 21 Central address- it still feels like the dark-wooded steakhouse from years yonder, and I could have sworn it was Persian food not too long ago, but it hit the spot nonetheless.  Our waiter was helpful, friendly and unafraid to share his big smile frequently.  We nestled into our booth with the view of the Lake WA and honed in on the kebab lunch specials.  Ten dollars gets you a nice sized kebab (which they so kindly have the skewer pulled off for you already), rice and salad.  My chicken fillet kebab was a little more delish than my friend's sirloin kebab but we were both pleased with our nutritious and flavorful meal.   The salad had a nice little vinaigrette on it.  There's plenty of room for you to go and bring all of your friends-they do catering too. Zeitoon Grill is open Sun-Thurs 11:30a-8:30p and Fri/Sat 11:30a-9:30p. ~j

ZeitoonSirlionkebab <-top sirloin kebab  ZeitoonChickenFiletKebab <chicken fillet kebab (no rice/dbl salad)

Let's Get Creative this Mother's Day

I was thinking about Mother's Day (yes, it's this Sunday, you knew that) and how there are probably some nice brunches being offered around town that I should look into.  And then when I read THIS, I was buckled over laughing in recognition that I really don't want brunch at all.  And luckily my kids are older than the author's, so I'm past those throws of chaos, yet I can still appreciate and remember the moment she is in.  Her brutal honesty was a fantastic kick in the pants and offers an opportunity for us to ponder, mothers...what do we really wish for on Mother's Day?   

Let's get the PC stuff out of the way.  I'm grateful.  I love my children very much and appreciate the health and happiness and awesomeness of our family. I'm glad I am a mother.  Glad I have one.  I don't need anything because I am loved, blah blah blah. Onto the bitchy portion...  I struggle each year with the internal pull that comes from being a mother and having a mother, so we have to share the day.  While my mom's dream is to spend some quality alone time with me and review and reminisce about how she believes this (rapidly aging) human she created is the most fantastical person on Earth, this drives me bat$*it crazy and is exactly how I do not want to spend any moments of my spare time on any given Sunday, let alone Mother's Day.  I cannot walk arm in arm with her whispering girlish secrets and cackling in contented laughter.   So I save a sliver of family time on Sunday to include my mom and promise myself I won't curse at her (outloud, c'mon we're from Jersey) or roll my eyes (when she's looking at me).  I'm definitely saving some time for kiddos- they will scamper around making me cards that very morning and writing what jobs they will do for me to celebrate my big day.  If the weather cooperates it would be fun to do a hike or bike ride or family walk together.  They want to spend the entire time together, not realizing that we already spend every single day together, mostly driving in carpool circles that give me vertigo. 

But then there's the rest of the time that Sunday- this is the preciousness of Mother's Day.  Be brave.  Take that time and make it your very own.  I know seasoned moms that make plans with each other- golf with girlfriends, go on an adventure, go to the spa, walk mindlessly around the mall, get a make-over at Sephora, hide in an empty room and drink some champagne or read a book.  Something that your normal mommy days don't ever account for.   Take a nap- that'd be crazy!  What does the important mother in your life like to do most? Give her the time to go do it.  

I need to jump start my "motherly-ness" on Mother's Day and run that day like every other- an organized and productive machine.  Don't waste a minute, between this day and one birthday a year we can't be frivolous with our allotted moments.  I was thinking of maybe putting together an itinerary that looks something like this for Mother's Day this year:

9am- don't disturb mom until at least 9.  Darkness and quiet house prevail

9:15- wake me up with head-pets and soft face tickles.  cheek kisses are ok too (pls brush your teeth first)

9:30 -coffee to mom, start cooking her 2 over easy eggs with a side of sausage, and seasonal fresh fruit (blueberries are lovely right now!)

10- family bike ride. tires already topped off with air. I'm sure the sun will be shining.

11:30-3:30 Husband/kids clean the entire house and all laundry while Mommy goes and plays 9 holes of golf w/girlfriends.  Perhaps you pack me some snacks and a some wine for the cart.

3:30 Mom and Grandma go for pedicures together while Dad/kids prep for dinner, some kids perhaps plant some flowers in outdoor pots as a fun surprise 

5  Mom and Grandma return to clean house, flowers, music, sunshine and smiling family faces.  Slow rush for hugs and mother's day cards.  A crisp Viognier and cushioned patio chair would really hit the spot.  

6 healthy dinner made with family teamwork is enjoyed by all, convo consists of funny stories from kids childhood that we all always enjoy

7:30 everyone that is not a mother cleans up.

8 No gifts necessary, but kid art is always welcomed. Well, I suppose so are spa gift cards or vouchers to get my gross crumb and baseball cleat encrusted car detailed. 

9:30 everyone goes to bed early without being asked 28 times.


Well at least this is my own warped dream of a perfect Mother's Day. What's yours? 



Kirkland 4th of July Needs You

First, because I am a nosy nelly and love this kind of stuff. Did you see this article in the Seattle Time Pacific NW Magazine? Stuart McLeod, Kirkland local and owner of Hector's and Milagro Cantina, has a home that many of us check out and admire while on Lake WA Blvd while sitting in traffic or jogging down the boulevard.  I love that he shared a sneak peek inside for this article.

Celebrate Kirkland 4th of July 2017 needs our help. They're still $14K away from being able to pay the bills for this year's event. And who doesn't love a good party in honor of 'Merica?  Every bit counts, please send what you can to support this great Kirkland tradition: www.celebratekirkland.org or you can mail to Celebrate Kirkland/KDA at 440 Central Way, Kirkland, WA 98033 or drop off a check at The Grape Choice or Hallmark Realty. 

MelodyLynneVineyard  <-- I spy wine on Kirkland Ave. Melody Lynne Vineyard Tasting Room & Wine Bar opening soon.


Casa Ricardo's Family Mexican Restaurant

Sometimes. I don't. Know. What. To Say.

CasaRicardoExterior   CasaRicardoInterior  CasaRicardoHat

It doesn't happen often though, does it?  Well today is the day.

I met my friend for lunch last week at Kirkland's newest Mexican restaurant, Casa Ricardo's, ironically a spot that was previously occupied by Mexican (Qdoba next to The Lodge, 107 Lake St.), opened about 3 weeks ago.   I'm a bit stumped.   It's fine, don't get me wrong, but there was  no compelling differentiator that would make my brain remember to go rushing back.  Chips/salsa/guac.. meh! our meals...meh! ambiance...meh!  It appears Yelpers are feeling similar emotions right now.

CasaRicardoLunch <--their brothy chunky tortilla soup was pretty good

First, I should say that I love that this is a family owned restaurant and that they have chosen Kirkland to share themselves.   It sounds like the parents of the owners have a restaurant in the Factoria area and this is their first one on their own, so kudos to them!  Hopefully you will visit Casa Ricardo's Family Restaurant and say hello and let them know how they can continue to improve as they get to know us all.  But I will tell you why I was confused. Let's start with decor -for me I couldn't decide if they were trying to be trendy with faux wood tiles on the wall and hanging lanterns or traditional with clunky booths and blue tiles.  Where am I?  Seems mostly like traditional Mexican fare on the menu, quite a lot of choices, but then there would be a random chicken nugget or hamburger offering in the mix.  What is happening? For the record, I usually avoid cheese, rice, tortillas and beans which happen to be mainstay ingredients in Mexican food,  therefore making me a fairly unqualified judge in this realm.  But that's why I brought a friend along and asked others, all which had tried seemed to have the same blank stare of confusion and ....meh.   The pricing seemed a bit $$ for what you get,  but maybe good happy hour deals make up for it? Lots of $5 options so I would think this would attract the after work crowd, and there's plenty of room and a big bar to accomodate- margaritas, taquitos ,nachos, wings, dips.  We sampled the fresh homemade margarita mix they have ready-to-go on the bar....it was okay. We did notice a lot of their menu prices ring up differently on the bill so they must still be working out some of the wrinkles in their POS system. 

Be patient though, it's tough being the new kid on the block.  Let' rally to support Casa Ricardo's! (425) 285-9160, 107 Lake St. #200, They do take reservations and are open every day at 11am and close at 10pm Sun-Thurs and 11pm Fri and Sat.