There are some exciting new reasons to stroll a little further east down Park Lane. First, I should tell you that when I went to Asia earlier this year I developed a little bubble tea habit that I've been trying to keep under wraps. So I definitely wasn't sad to hear that Lollicup Fresh was opening at 211 Park Lane. This is a franchise out of California and so far, Kirkland is their only location in WA. Owners Helen and Tri (photo) have been locals for three years and are so friendly and gracious. They offer bubble waffles ($8), ice cream, boba smoothies and fruit teas ($5-6). Our family has tried a milk tea and a matcha tea with boba and also a Hawaiian Dance tea lemonade- all delish and I prefer that you please don't tell me how many calories might be in them. You can customize your treats, of course, to have more or less ice or sugar or boba. What is boba, you ask? It's those chewy black blobs at the bottom of the drink that are really spheres from partially cooked tapioca powder, which is the refined starch of the cassava plant, a starchy root like taro that is indigenous to Latin America but now grown worldwide. The good news is that Lollicup Fresh also offers catering and fundraising help- just email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 425-307-1842. Hours are Sun-Thurs 11:30-8pm and Fri/Sat 11:30-10pm.
A skip step from Lollicup Fresh at 205 Park Lane, you'll find Eat Local Remarkable Frozen Meals. And they really are. They opened on 11/8. I wasn't expecting to walk in and feel like I was in a small grocery story with lines of coolers stocked with many many fantastically sorted thoughtfully prepared meals. Kirkland is their 5th location, with others in Queene Anne, Capitol Hill, Burien and Mercer Island. This company has been around for over ten years with the mission of serving convenient food with real ingredients and traditional cooking methods. Everything is created in their Burien kitchen and then blast chilled and frozen to lock in flavor and nutrients until it gets warmed in your oven or microwave. I was amazed at how everything is colored coded for easy selecting: Vegan, Keto, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Mediterranean, Whole 30, etc and best sellers and staff favorites are highlighted to help you narrow your choices. Their nutrition guide explains a lot of the different popular 'diets' and what they mean, and they even offer a free nutrition consultation with one of their Registered Dietitians. These are the same folks that carefully design the recipes to have intentional ingredients and high nutritional value. Yes, they ARE sneaking veggies in there like your mom did.
When we stopped by and chatted with the store manager, Lily (photo), she was warming up some samples of "Keto Creamy Chicken with Bacon & Chives" which my son decided we HAD to get for home. He practically licked his container clean and is still talking about it. I have to say it was pretty darn delicious, and Russell Wilson, their Brand Ambassador agrees with me. We also bought some chicken tikka-masala for my girls (who were impressed!) and a few others to stash in the freezer for another day. Of course, the more we bought the more we saved. Most items come in both a single or double-sized serving and range from $8.99- 10.49 per serving, depending on ingredients. For dessert they offer locally branded treats such as Acme Ice Cream, Pure Pies and Seattle Pops. Hours are 9am-8pm daily. They also have wine and you can dine in if you would like them to warm your food up for you. I like that they are making us healthy fast and convenient food that we can peruse and talk about and then take home. But if you prefer, you can also order online and they deliver (free on orders over $98 and also do Uber Eats and DoorDash. Let me know your faves! We will definitely be back.