<-Best homemade ornament of the season
To plunge or not to plunge? Normally in this last week of December, I'd have a jovial post about our invigorating Kirkland Polar Plunge tradition that would take place on January 1st in Marina Park. But this year has been NO FRIGGIN' JOKE. And clearly, sadly, we still can't gather. So, it's up to you Kirkland, the way you start 2021 is in your hands. Water temp in Lake Washington looks like it's about 47 degrees, plenty cold enough to pair with a good scouring brush to cleanse our souls of the heart wrench that the last 12 months delivered for so many. If you and your family are holding true to a plunge, please be wise and go during daytime hours and with supervision in case of any shock, hypothermia, heart attacks, or tsunamis that may still be remnants of 2020. Let's stay Kirkland Strong together and look forward with high hopes for our new year. Best wishes to all of you for a joyful holiday. ~j
<-Best homemade ornament of the season
Are you tired of cooking? Do you wish a holiday meal would just magically appear this year? No kidding. I've got your back! Hearth at The Heathman Hotel is on-the-ready to help you make this year's Christmas delicious and festive at your home with their four-course feast that is packaged and ready for you to simply heat and eat. Stress-free sounds pretty perfect. But don't procrastinate, because your pre-order needs to be called into 425-284-5900 by this Fri 12/18. You'll start with wild mushroom bisque, then onto gem lettuce and roasted beet salad, followed by an entree choice of honey glazed natural ham OR braised beef short trib medallions, and finish it all off with an apple crisp. This delicious spread is $55/per person, and there are also some festive fave kids' meals, extra sides, charcuterie, and wine pairings available to elevate your experience. Supporting local business and not cooking for the holiday never sounded so good. Pickup is available on December 23rd, 24th, or 25th. Even if you are cooking, what a thoughtful gift for Grandma, Uncle Fred, or other family members you may not be able to share your meal with in-person this year.
<--Yummy brunch shot: croissant bfast sandwich and the farm egg soft scramble
It's worth noting that Hearth also has the perfect pandemic-ready patio with plentiful heaters, widely spread tables, and gloved/masked staff. I feel safe there. The building's architect must be patting him or herself on the back about now because nobody saw Coronavirus coming, but their design is keenly equipped for our current restrictions. Steve and I were in for brunch and nestled ourselves in the outside corner fireside table humming along to the blissfully upbeat holiday music while wishing we could get waited on every day. Check out our delish food photo from brunch (above, Sun 9-2). We also had a chance to chat with Executive Chef David Mitchell about the Christmas pick-up menu and he shared, "I want to make sure it's a good amount of food. I really want people to be WOW-ed." So if you're ready to be wowed with a stress-free holiday dinner, call 425-284-5900 with your questions and pre-order by Friday 12/18. Of course, Hearth To-Go and their Pie on the Fly program are also still available Weds-Sat 3-8pm. And there's no shame in ordering a Hearth pizza for the holidays too, it is 2020 after all. Note days of operation are Weds-Sat, reservations are recommended (and are required for the Christmas meal). Enjoy!
Perhaps we are not completely trapped this holiday season??? What if there was a Christmas miracle that allowed you to escape your home in a safe and special sort of way? Duffy Electric Boats to the rescue! There are six of these tricked-out little rides docked right at the Kirkland Marina decorated with holiday lights so you can be part of your very own lighted holiday boat parade. Bah-humbug to the pandemic, THIS we can do-grab your family and masks and go. It's a one-hour ride for $149 plus insurance/tax and your household has a boat all to yourselves. You are your own captain (or you can pay extra for one) and since they are electric, powered by 16 golf cart batteries, they are quiet and zero-emission. You don't even need a boater's license since your max speed will be 7mph. This special 1hr rental with holiday pricing is available through January 3rd.
When I asked my kids if they would like to do a holiday boat ride on our own Duffy boat, you would have thought I asked them if they'd like to go to the Caribbean. "All of us?! On a boat ride? Where? When? This Saturday!!?" they shrieked. We don't get out much anymore so putting on our big coats and holiday cheer and hopping in the car together for a mile ride to the marina for a new adventure was quite the novel experience. We checked in at the tent on the south end of Marina Park and headed to the dock where the masked staff welcomed us and told us some super simple instructions about how to operate the boat. The minimum rental age is 21. Each boat has a different color holiday-themed light trim and when it was time to go, we all launched off in a straight line to follow the lead yacht with blue lights. My kids were not sad to discover a sealed container of iced holiday cookies that await the guests of each Duffy boat. The clear canvas sides of the 21' vessel zip up or down and there's even a little heater which keeps the adorable holiday-themed interior quite comfortable. Onward! Our mini-parade headed south past Carillon's fabulous light display and continued on into Cozy Cove where we could oooh-and-ahhh at the homes and their displays also. Staff is there to catch your boat and tie it up when you dock in the same area where you started.
If you haven't heard of Duffy Boats, it's an interesting story how Marshall "Duffy" Duffield designed the Duffy boats over 45 years ago and they became an integral part of the lifestyle in his city of Newport Beach, CA where he also later became mayor. The City of Kirkland did an RFP back in 2019 for tourism at the marina, which sparked hoteliers Troy Longwith (former GM of our Heathman) and Tanner Eriksen, who lives in Newport, to pitch the Duffy idea for Kirkland. And so here we are, and the Kirkland Duffies have seen many marriage proposals, memorials, and even a wedding! There are different themed boats too- Seahawks, Cougs, and Huskies are all represented in these cleverly named boats such as Duff'n Hawks, Duff'n Around, Duff'n Good Times, to name a few. The Duff'n Hawks boat was featured twice on the intro to Sunday Night Football on NBC and features the work of street artist Kelsey Montague, who is known for her collaboration with Taylor Swift and the Wings of Nashville. I appreciate that Troy and Tanner have an enthusiasm for Kirkland and also that they bring their hotel expertise to their Duffy boats. There are four scheduled bookings for each Duffy in an evening, and the boats are cleaned, sanitized, and disinfected between each session. They also use a cold-fogging solution that is similar to the one hotels use to keep their guests extra safe.
So, are YOU going to "Do the Duffy?" (<-- weird watching pre-COVID videos sometimes, right?) You can book your Winterfest Light Cruise online here or email email@example.com or call/text 425-588-1716. Enjoy!
The Kirkland Kiwanis Tree Lot is open at Juanita Beach Park! It's all lit up and loaded with inventory and fresh evergreen smells, but you know it won't be for long. Spread your cheer! Your purchase and donations benefit local children's programs such as the Kirkland Teen Union, Special Olympics, Nourishing Networks, Student Scholarships, Attain Housing, Eastside Baby Corner, and Camp Casey. You'll find trees 3-15 feet tall priced $40-190, wreaths, garlands and even candy treats. They are staffed by Kiwanis volunteers and local Key Club teens will help you load up your vehicle. And of course, you are distanced, masked, and outside! Hours are (pay attention they are tricky): Mon/Tues/Thur 12-7, Weds CLOSED, Fri/Sat/Sun 10-7. This lot blows out of inventory every year so get in while the getting is good.
What's the brilliant idea? That's why you really clicked through, isn't it? With all of the clicking and shopping and Black Friday and Shop Local Saturday and Cyber Monday I couldn't help but think about our local businesses and how we can help them. Of course, you don't want to forget the new ShopLocalKirkland site, but I also remembered something I did recently that could maybe be applied more broadly. A few months ago, when we were also up to our eyeballs in COVID cases, I called The Grape Choice and told them I'd like a case of wine, as any sane person would do when in the midst of a pandemic. I told them my budget and that we love Cabernet Sauvignons and Viogniers, but always avoid Sauvignon Blancs. "Surprise me!" I said. And they sure did- they even delivered! It has been a pleasure and delight discovering new wines since that delivery- tonight's was a Hightower Cab from Red Mountain that was excellent. My point being-- what if we called or emailed our favorite local businesses and gave them some creative leeway. I'll bet they'd love to hear from us and put together some surprise gifts for our family and friends. Pick up the phone. I know they miss us, and we could all benefit from a little personal acknowledgment from our fellow sheltered community members. Athina for your holiday floral arrangement? She's a creative wizard. How about a guy's gift from Seattle Thread Co or Asher Goods (they helped me with some awesome Yeti gifts last year). Perhaps some artwork- Gunnar would love to find for you? Or Vince at Lake St. Diamond can help you find your daughter her first pair of diamond studs. Blingy masks from Via Lago? A beautifully delish array of macarons from Lady Yum?
Remember your local retailers. Reach out and maybe something magical will happen. ~j