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Pooor Easter Bunny

  IMG_6356          IMG_6355  <--at least the lonely guy has some flowers

A friend of mine was visiting from Atlanta last weekend and commented on the fun Easter decorations adorning our infamous Cow & Coyote in downtown Kirkland. Adorable! Then, as we were sitting at the intersection of Central/Lake she turned her head the other way and says, "but how come the poor bunny doesn't have any? It's Easter!"  Touchè my friend, touchè.

Happy Easter, cheers to spring! Hug the bunny when you see her. :-)


Everyday Athlete Moves Downtown

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Our local running store, Everyday Athlete,  sprinted from Juanita to downtown Kirkland on Feb 15th. Their lease was up and they felt like this spot at 264 Central gives them more visibility.  The square footage is about the same, and their hottest selling items are Hoka running shoes (renowned to be especially awesome for those with knee of ankle issues) and New Balance shoes, but there's plenty of apparel too. They are also starting to cater some of their offerings towards gym-goers.  Bonus: there are 5 free parking spots in the parking garage located between Everyday Athlete and the FOE. 

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Manager Len and new owner Emma (photo above) want to make sure you know about their free beginner running group every Weds night at 6pm.  Register on their website to join. There's also a Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting on 4/19 at 5pm if you'd like to welcome them to their new location! Store hours are Mon-Fri 10-7 and Sat/Sun 10-5. 425-821-4301

.....and in other news....

Stavros from Santorini called me back!  He promised  he won't close on us, and that he thinks he almost has his hiring issues sorted out (small businesses require reliable people). Fingers crossed for the upcoming week. 

Sounds like a few people heard Aura may have had some issues with the tax man? Another reader said Aura is in the back of a strip mall on 124th across from the Ford dealership.  It's like "Where's Waldo?" More sniffing required.

 


What is Happening????

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I'm in disarray.  My family eats at Santorini once a week.  You know this, I'm constantly raving about my favorite deliciously fresh casual Greek salad and even my kids have succumb to these cravings.  STAVROS- where are you????  My family is going to starve.  I've become accustomed to this family owned business having hand-written notes on the door when they go back to Greece for Dec and January.  I plan and ration accordingly.  So when I saw people a few days ago walking up to the door and then walking away, I was curious.  Note on the door (photo).  Lights off.  Don't you dare do this to me, Santorini.  The note says "We had to close today due to staffing problems," but it's been up for at least a week.  I called Stavros on my direct line batphone and left a message- nothing.  When I was in there about two weeks ago I know he was struggling to hire and find reliable employees.  Do you know anyone reliable that is looking for a restaurant/kitchen job? The high schoolers aren't out of school yet but pleeeeeease somebody must want to work the lamb carver and smile and get to know all of the locals.  This can't happen-Let's rally! 

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And in case that wasn't enough trauma for one week, then I realize that Aura Bakery a few doors down on Central is also dark and silent.  They have been there since 2013.  Those beautiful desserts, delicious coffee, fabulous lunch salads...what happened?  Last I spoke to Carlos they were planning to open an additional location in Bellevue but I can't find evidence that that ever happened.  

Anyone have stories to share before I need to seek some professional counseling for these situations?


Sharing our Favorites

Everyone has their favorite go-to foods around Kirkland-wouldn't it be fun if we shared them? 

I sent an email to a gaggle of friends and asked them to tell me ONE favorite food in Kirkland. And since they're my friends, of course they included drinks too. 

  • Cheese grits from Metropolitan Market
  • Lamb meatballs on spaghetti squash from Volterra
  • Baked spaghetti at George's
  • Turkey Grinder at Acropolis
  • Gluten-free chocolate chip cookie from DeRu
  • Boeuf Bourguignon at Le Grand Bistro
  • Brix Truffle fries
  • Kabocha (thai pumpkin) from La Thai 
  • Chopped salad from Hector's 
  • Bolognese w/zucchini squash from Volterra
  • Pesto Pasta at Cafe Veloce
  • THE Cookie at Met Market
  • Cinnamon Spice tea at Lizzy Kate
  • Sonoran Spa Chicken at Cactus
  • Albondigas (pork and lamb meatballs)- Bottle & Bull
  • Over Doin' It cocktail from Bottle & Bull
  • Dry rub wings at the Lodge
  • Chocolate milkshakes at Ben & Jerry's
  •  Any Pho Bowl from Pho House
  • Gyro plate from Padria or Bella Balducci
  • Salted peanut butter cookie from DeRu
  • Salmon Nigiri from Sushi Joa
  • Olympic Omelette at George's
  • Pow Wow Old Fashioned from Bottle & Bull

 

I'm excited to try some of the things on this list that haven't been on my radar before.  Add your faves in the comments below!


Cozy in at Park Lane Public House

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After a few friends have told me this is their new favorite place, I finally made my husband take me to the Park Lane Public House at 115 Park Lane. First, a thank you is in order for the work they did to improve this building because its former Mi Mexico days were a bit of an orange flavored eye sore.  Fast forward and now you enter through a big heavy door that boasts a wood/gray/brick cozy Seattle pub vibe inside.  Booths are splattered with plaid shirt-wearing locals enjoying specialty cocktails, beer, and comfort food.  TV's are on and the comfortable loudness is embracing as you start to notice the number of families and match.com dates that are enjoying themselves all around you.

 

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You'll discover lots of fun cocktails on the drink menu for $10. While Steve tried a Moss Bay Mule, I sipped a refreshing "Basic Becky" which has vodka, elderflower, aperal, grapefruit and bubbles.  For dinner, there were burgers, pulled pork sandwiches, wings and fantastic looking fries surrounded us, but we stayed strong and went for the roasted half chicken and seared king salmon (no fingerlings, add veg), both of which were earthy and delicious. A steak salad nearby also looked pretty good but we had both had a salad for lunch already that day, so protein was speaking to us.  And Steve sampled a random chicken wing cause he felt like it.  Our waitress< Kiana, was a buzz full of energy.  I didn't know anyone could be so happy to help us on our first visit in. She was on-point throughout the whole meal giving us cheer, suggestions and more smiles and  more cheer. Also noteworthy, if you are accustomed to dining in Europe or happen to be a cheap-o, you should know Public House includes a 20% tip for their staff on every check.  No matter how many people you have in your party. Which is fine with me because...why do math if you don't have to?  So this  little layout in the photos above was roughly $86 all in.  

So, I say...Go! I'm not a natural-born pub kind of girl but this one has a really good feel and great food, drinks, service and a nice crowd. There was a steady flow of people while we were there.  It seemed full the whole time but never a wait.  No reservations. They are open for lunch and dinner. Hours are: Mon-Weds 11am-10pm, Thurs-Fri 11am-11pm, Sat 10-11, Sun 10-10.  Happy hour is 3-6pm w/$2 off cocktails. 


Student Safety in Kirkland

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I think it's safe to say we are all thinking of things a little differently, and urgently, after the tragic event at Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland Florida two weeks ago.   Dick's Sporting Goods and WalMart are taking matters into their own hands and tightening up the reigns on their gun sales. Kroger just joined in and raised the age limit on their gun sales to 21.  I didn't even know Kroger sold guns?!    So you can run out for milk, bread and a gun all in one stop?   Kinda gives me a stomach ache.  Just today our President decided to surprise us with his newfound support of more stringent gun control laws.  I don't want to get into a political debate here, but at a local level, there was a "Moms Demand Action" meeting in Kirkland on Sunday that was standing room only at Kirkland Middle School (photo) so this is clearly front of mind for many in our community.  And don't mess with the mamas.  

I have friends that live in both Newtown and Parkland, both sought-after communities that will forever be changed.  Students are scared to go to school.  So of course this gets me thinking, how can we impact the bigger picture?  But also drilling down on the issue, what are we specifically doing here in Kirkland to keep our kids safe?  Our schools have ALICE training for staff and also students where appropriate. Which is good info for reacting to a situation, however,  I'd prefer to insure we are focusing enough efforts on prevention.  Many of our schools actively promote the concept of "see something say something." Our district has a Comprehensive Safety Plan and each school has a building-level plan that aligns to the district plan.  There is also a safety committee that regularly meets with law enforcement, first responders, safety experts, building admin and PTSA parents reps to review and enhance safety protocols. 

But here's the interesting thing that I learned.  Our city has one Kirkland Police SRO (School Resource Officer) assigned to each of our high schools that are 'available to assist' at the middle and elementary schools as needed.  This model is not consistent across the district, rather it depends on the jurisdiction of the school.  For example, Redmond (also in LWSD) has full time SRO's at Redmond HS, Redmond MS and Rose Hill Middle. Bellevue, which is not in our district but another Kirkland neighbor, also has SRO coverage at the high school and middle school level.  Funding and resources are required from both the school district and the jurisdiction to fund these SRO positions. LWSD Superintendent Dr. Traci Pierce said they are  currently looking into what would be required to implement standardized SRO support for our schools regardless of jurisdiction. They are working on putting together some upcoming community forums on the topic as well. Mayor Amy Walen responded to my inquiry stating "we are looking at what measures we can take at a local level and what we can do to coordinate with the schools. This is extremely important to all of us and at the top of our minds."

I encourage you to comment below, but let's focus on productive ideas to keep our kids as safe as possible in our schools. What ideas do you have? What have you seen other places? I think having an SRO stationed on site with vehicle presence on property at high school and middle school levels should be a minimum requirement. My sister lives in Texas and every person has to get 'buzzed' in during school hours at their elementary, although their school is much newer than some of ours.  Just for kicks I asked my step-mom (who works for a PD in NJ) what protocol was for their SRO headcount.  They have 2 SRO's in the (1) high school in addition to security staff, 2 in the (1) middle school and 1 in each of the (5) elementary schools.  Wow.   How about more headcount for counselors so that they have time to get to know the kids?  Anonymous reporting mechanism?  (is there an app for that?)  Looking forward to productive conversations on the subject so we can continue to keep our kiddos safe.