Too Many Fun Things

There are so many new places and events swirling in my head that I can no longer remember which ones I've told you about.  But I'm not complaining. This is a way better problem to have than this time last year when we were all locked down in our houses and I was scouring this city for any uplifting content at all.  This week someone flipped the switch on summer it seems- pumpkins everywhere, chilly mornings, colorful leaves, bring it on....here we go..

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Kirkland Harvest Festival
- Oct 16th 10 am-4 pm at Juanita Beach Park. This FREE event features food trucks, live music (music vendors still needed!), artisan food, crafts, apple cider pressing, tractor-pulled wagons, photo booths, outdoor games, contests (pie eating and corn shucking, sign me up!).  There is a Kid's Korral with faux cow milking and bull roping, ring toss, horseshoes, pumpkin bowling, cookie walk, crafts, and 4-H.   Don't forget your mask! Everyone is required to wear one regardless of vaccination status.  Parking is across the street.

Zombie

Zombie Wine Crawl- Oct 22nd @6pm Heathman Hotel- Ahhh, Kirklanders...we love our wine and local businesses and friends, so what better way to stumble around than to hit the beloved local Zombie Wine Crawl?  You need to think ahead for this one though, tickets typically sell out.  They are on sale now for guests 21+ years plus for $25-35, depending on your VIP preference.

Kirkland Fall Market- Oct 9, Nov 13, Dec 11 10am-2pm. Shop local goodies and gifts this fall at the monthly market at Park Lane East.

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Still Spa
October Specials- I attended the Woodmark's Still Spa Passport Event last week (their first in-person event they've had since  COVID) and it was PURE loveliness.  The Express treatments were a 30-minute teaser to let you know what a full treatment might be like.  It was like if someone pours you a 2oz taste of wine that is delicious and you're grateful but, man, you really just want the full pour. I may have fallen in love with Yasuko that did my facial. Their product lines include Eminence, Circadian, and also custom blends from The Bubblery in Leavenworth. Go check out their October Spa Specials where there are great deals on full treatments such as  Apple & Spice 2 hr package and a 60-minute Spiced Pumpkin Mocha Facial. 

And not necessarily fall-related but things you may want to know...

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I ate at Soi and it's a really cool space in there on the second floor of Kirkland Urban.  I was pleasantly surprised.  And I think they have some cool small event spaces. Good food too, check it out!

Hanoon
Totem Village just made another restaurant announcement that they are super excited about.  hanoon is part of the mama restaurant group (anar, mamnoon, mamnoon street and mbar). Construction begins soon with an opening set for late 2021/early 2022.  

 


Buzz on Over to Queen Bee

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I know you've seen those signature yellow and black awnings with the Queen Bee sign at the new Aegis Living on Lake WA Blvd and maybe wondered what it all means.  My friend told me she thought it was a hair salon where the elder residents got their beehives done.  Ha! Let me fill you in.

Queen Bee is a not-for-profit café that donates 100% of profits to a selected charity each year, and our Kirkland location's selection is the Boys & Girls Club of King County right now.   You can go enjoy food and drinks from local vendors such as Macrina or Schwartz Brothers for baked goods and Middle Fork Roasters for coffee.  They have friendly and helpful staff and the coffee smells great when you walk in the door.  My friends and I enjoyed selections such as the Lavender Vanilla latte and a Queen Bee latte (16oz $4.79).  Above you can see the photo of my simple but tasty avocado/egg toast($10.99) and the bagel/lox.  Queen Bee also has other breakfast/toast options along with crumpets, flatbreads, sandwiches, and salads.  I love their honeycomb tile backsplash and plenty of other fun bee-themed references throughout their shop.  Full menu is here.

There are 4 tables out on the patio and plenty of seating in the new and bright indoor setting. There's even an area for little kids to play! This would make a lovely quick little coffee/snack stop for all of those walkers on Lake WA Blvd.  I'm adding this to my 'come back list' because I love their sense of community and ability to give back in a unique way (and I want to try more of those coffees). Open every day from 7 am- 3 pm.    


I'm Drinking at "the Q"

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Wasn't this the best sunny summer we've had in a long time? Despite a few 115 degree days and an ongoing pandemic (booo), I was loving it.  My golf handicap even dropped 5 strokes.  But now reality is punching me in the face as we launch two freshmen off to college within weeks of each other.  I'm currently an advanced college shopping/packing/decorating pro and will be adding that to my resume while promptly heading to "the Q" for Happy Hour to celebrate my almost adult children and the idea of having way fewer dirty dishes and clothes around my house.  I wasn't comfortable telling you this secret earlier in the season, because honestly, I was worried you would head over there and take all the seats, and then there would be none for me.  But now I'm ready to tell you about Happy Hour at QFC in Kirkland Urban.  Technically it is the "Q20 Public House"  but it sounds way hipper if we call it "the Q".    When a friend asked if I ever do HH at "the Q", I laughed out loud thinking they were kidding.  But this is no joke, my friends.    

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This unassuming, tiny but mighty, open-air bar allows for amazing everyday burger eating/grocery shopping people-watching, coupled with a 3-6 pm daily happy hour that gets you $1 off their already very reasonably priced wine and beer.  They have lots of beers on tap starting at $5 (depending on size).  Wines are $5-8/glass before it's even happy hour and they're not slackers either. You'll find PNW faves such as Mark Ryan 'The Vincent' Blend for $8 or an Erath Pinot Gris for $6.  You can even order a Tutta Bella Pizza at their window.  This is a great little casual inexpensive option with underground parking. The only challenge is finding a seat at the bar! There are also indoor tables for thirsty folks in the winter. 

Other quick things I think you should know:

  • Tom Douglas is not kidding around. He's opening his first Eastside location with a Serious Pie in the Village at Totem Lake.  Construction is underway (right near Cinemark) their much-anticipated opening will be early next year. 
  • See Spot Splash is a City of Kirkland event at the Peter Kirk Pool and Park where your pooch can celebrate the end of the season with some extra fun and new fluffy friends. It is Saturday 9/11 10 am-3 pm, and there are 5 sessions to choose from for different sized dogs.  You'll find food, rescue groups, vendors, a cakewalk, and even best-trick contests. Proof of rabies vaccination req'd and pre-registration is highly recommended.  Register at kirklandparks.net or 425-587-3330.
  • Only a few days left for early bird pricing on tickets to Still Spa at The Woodmark's Pumpkin Spice & Pampering is Nice event 9/28.
  • Amazon 4 Star opened at The Village at Totem Lake just across from Athleta.  Instead of simply the impulse of clicking purchases, you can now be tempted by the universe's favorite 4 star + rated products right in front of your nose.  It's a great place to pick up a gift or even just a chuckle, as we did at the book "100 Tricks to Appear Smart in Meetings." Ok, I also succumbed to the temptation of a dryer/styler hair tool I've been curious to try. 

Enough for now. This should keep you busy for a while. 

 

 

 

 

 


The Blend by Chateau Ste. Michelle

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This cool little patio wine bar set-up at 15 Lake St that used to be Delille is now "The Blend" by Chateau Ste. Michelle.  Delille shifted focus to their new wine lounge in the old Red Hook Space in Woodinville post-pandemic and Chateau Ste. Michelle saw this as a ripe opportunity to showcase their Washington wines to the heart of downtown Kirkland (and arguably the best people-watching seats in town).  They have been open since the end of June. At first sight, you may not realize it's changed hands until you try to order a glass of D2 and get corrected.  That's ok, this is how we learn, Kirkland.

The Blend by Chateau Ste. Michelle has three highlighted flights for $20 each or you can enjoy a glass of white for $14 or $20 for a glass of red.  The staff was lovely and helpful and the relaxed view seats were unbeatable.  My friend and I had a welcome taste of rosé that has a citrusy pop to it.  After a few white tastes, we decided to have a glass of the 2018 Eroica Riesling which we really enjoyed.  We said hello to passing friends and a few strangers too (how can you not?). When you sit in the 'front' seats, you are supposed to order a snack (ranging $9-14). We had the cheese plate which was alright,  and I will look forward to trying the lox spread, sundried tomato pesto, or panna cotta next time.  The inside tables look great, with a slightly different layout than before.  The Blend flights change monthly to keep you on your toes.  I love Northstar out of Walla Walla so will be sure to taste that one soon.  You can book yourself a tasting online here or just meander in when the mood strikes you.  Or you can join their wine club and drink from home!

Hours are Weds-Thurs 11-7, Fri-Sat 12-8, and Sunday 12-7. 425-588-3830, info@theblendwa.com


Do Not Miss the 'New' Beach Café


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You need to hop on Open Table and make a reservation at The Beach Café PRONTO.  Their lakefront setting at Carillon Point has always been lovely, but now there is a new Chef, Brian Doherty (photo), who has elevated the dining experience.  I have not been shy in the past about sharing my disappointment in the mediocre food and service at this restaurant, which is why I'm elated to share this delicious NEW experience with you now.  It's a true turn-around, so I want you to enjoy this spot with a fresh set of eyes.  This is no longer an overcooked burger/fries or cobb salad-type experience.

BeachCafeoutside  BeachCafeChefBrianDoherty (Chef Brian Doherty, photo cred: Woodmark Hotel)

Since the Beach Café remained closed during most of the pandemic, Chef Brian had plenty of time to carefully plan their re-launch. Seafood abounds with a daily fresh sheet which currently includes items such as salmon, ahi tuna, halibut, and trout.  But fear not carnivores, you can also find steak, chicken, and lamb.  Steve and I sat under an umbrella on the patio with sweeping views. We started with the calamari ($15) which was perfectly crispy lightly fried and paired with lemon aioli (photo).  My very favorite taste of the evening was probably the jumbo prawn watermelon salad.  Not only was it beautifully presented with a skewer-sized shrimp, the lettuce, crisp watermelon, and feta all complimented each other for a showcase summer delight. Paired with the Erath Pinot Gris ($11) and some sunshine I was definitely in my happy place. 

My entree was the Woodmark Seafood Cioppino ($40) which was an explosion of fresh crab, prawns, scallops, salmon, clams, and mussels in a rich tomato broth with some fabulous bread so you don't leave any juice behind.  Steve had the salmon ($48) and selected asparagus and some ridiculously indulgent mashed potatoes as his sides. And then just when we thought we didn't have any room left for dessert, we decided to 'taste' the creme brulee.  As you can see from the photos, this is a generous portion and we somehow managed to still lick the bowl clean. Our waitress, Cornelia, was on-point every step of the way.

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The format of the inside of the restaurant is basically the same with some fresh paint and upholstery.  Take note that this new and improved Beach Café is currently open Weds thru Sat 5-9 pm for dinner and Sunday 10-2 for brunch (closed Mon/Tues). Be sure to make reservations on Open Table.  It was funny watching Steve's eyes light up with excitement as each course arrived and it was CLEARLY not the old Beach Café (perhaps they should have changed the name??).  It was making us reminisce about the Third Floor Fish Café a little bit. He even declared this was now one of his 'Top 5" in Kirkland. Kudos to the Woodmark and Chef Brian for elevating this dining experience.  And Open Table just gave them an award for making their "Best Overall Restaurant" list on the Eastside.  We are excited to have this Beach Café as a new addition to our lineup.   Dying to know what you all think! ~j

Woodmarkbikes <--Woodmark guests can check out these bikes for free to cruise Kirkland!

 


Vinason: You Need to Go Here

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Despite its unassuming exterior in Kirkland Urban (499 Urban Plaza), there are some magical and delicious things happening inside Vinason Pho & Grill. A few people told me it was really good so I'm not sure why I took my sweet time getting in, but luckily it is on my radar now.  Vinason has a nice new space and their Vietnamese fare is fresh and fast and 0h-so-good.  Super casual, you just order at the counter from their delightfully simple menu options of vermicelli, spring rolls, banh mi and pho.  Grab a seat and 5 minutes later your food awaits! Don't miss the self-serve beer wall that is also calling your name.  I don't really even like beer, but when I'm here I do! The fun of getting a key fob that activates the tap for whichever brews you'd like to taste is pretty enticing.  I really liked the 805 beer, but was comforted in knowing there are also hard cider and wine offerings on the 'wall.'  

The clincher for me with Vinason is that it's really reasonably priced too.  Vermicelli bowls are $10-12, spring rolls $6/ea (pork vermicelli and shrimp spring roll in photo).  You can also order online for pickup or delivery. Great new addition to Kirkland! For those of you that have been whining about the construction at Urban, I feel ya, but this is worth the dive into the parking garage. 

Phone is 425-896-8037 and hours are Mon-Sun 11am-9pm. 


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School, Sun and other Buzzworthy notes

My three teens ventured off to their first day of (in-person!) high school yesterday in over a year.  Hearing the snooze button go off 14 times and adult-sized people sprint out the door by 7:30 am was a welcome buzz at our house.  They came home from their 5 hour day mentally and physically exhausted, yet excited to see some forgotten friends and teary-eyed teachers.  And for those 5 hours, my house was quiet and there were zero dishes in the sink. Ahhhhhh.  Add in this amazing sunshine and a little slice of normal was feeling pretty darn good.   Speaking of goodness...here's some for you..

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I love the synergy of our local hotspots here.  Hearth at the Heathman and the Kirkland Performance Center have partnered up for the April 25th virtual show. Get ready for a Beatles-themed brunch menu (with cleverly named offerings) along with a live-stream performance of the Beatles tribute band Good Day Sunshine. Doors open at 12:30 with the live stream from 1-2:30.  Don't wait, though, because you need to purchase tickets in advance! $40 per person (socially distanced tables and max 6/table) get you a welcome mimosa/coffee/tea and a Hearth brunch entree.  Love the idea but want to do it from home? No problem. $35 for breakfast pickup and a link so you can listen in from your own space. Sign up here, Sgt. Pepper.

AnthonysCrabCakeBowl_Edited_SMCrab cake bowl? yes please! (photo cred: Anthony's)
Sunday brunch is back at Anthony's HomePort and just in time for Seattle Restaurant Week.  Reservations are best due to limited seating. Brunch is Sundays 10-2 and now through 4/30 you can enjoy a 3 course meal for $35. And apparently, rhubarb season is almost here too. Who knew!?

 

-->Has anyone been to Plantiful yet in Kirkland Urban? Opened 4/10. Suuuuper excited about this one, so stay tuned.

-->And rumor has it Lounge by TopGolf is open again with limited capacity and new seating arrangements.

-->Food Lifeline donation stations are at Kirkland Urban every Thursday from 10-4. Bring your shelf-stable and canned goods to help fight hunger.

-->Madison Reed's first local salon/retail space is now open at The Village at Totem Lake.  Well-known for their friendly-ingredient hair color products, they also take the mystery out of coloring your hair and finding your favorite shade.  Should my grays be the guinea pig for this service?  They don't go down without a fight.

 

 


Get Mooooovin' Down to Deja Moo

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Business openings make me happy these days.  Well, any day really, but especially now.  When the owners of Brix closed their Juanita Village wine bar (9749 NE 119th Way), they knew they wanted to re-purpose their space (when Covid allowed) to be more like their other restaurant concept, Tipsy Cow.  And now Deja Moo has arrived!  If you're a Tipsy fan, you'll recognize the multi-font menu and killer burgers in Tipsy's "more casual little sister."  The footprint is the same but you can find a big TV on the hamburger wallpapered wall, and the previous wine bar has transformed into a food line for ordering ala carte menu items.   When you're a business born in a pandemic, you have a separate take-out desk to keep online orders quick, easy and efficient (w/a pickup parking spot out front!).  You are also able to provide beer, wine, and canned cocktails, and of course, outdoor seating.  They are excited that almost all of their staff are coming back too.

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Go check out Deja Moo's new 'elevated fast casual' dining experience.  All of the food is delish, their signature Moo sauce has a little kick,  and burgers start around $9. I think you'll be glad to see a friendly, local family spot that has a little something for everybody that is open every day for lunch and dinner from 11-8.  Are you still sticking close to home? No problem, do a pickup order directly from their website

In case you needed even more good news, Brix will be opening in Woodinville in mid-May!


Lynn's Bistro Moves Next Door

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This lady has got some serious grit, and you know I love that!  Meet Lynn Tran who owns Lynn's Bistro and Lilac Cafe and has been a mainstay in Kirkland for 20 years.  She has one of a small handful of downtown restaurants that have been here longer than I have.   This pandemic has been tough on business, but she's still paying her full rent every month and relying heavily on take-out orders since Lynn's can only seat 6 people at 25% capacity. Still holding on and cooking up her delightful dishes, she has recently made the decision to move Lynn's Bistro into her Lilac Cafe space next door at 212 Central Way.  This will allow for more guests as things open up from 25% to 50% capacity and she will also have a few tables on the patio for outdoor dining.  You should expect the menu to be mainly Lynn's Bistro items with a few Lilac favorites mixed in, although the menu will remain abbreviated right now to prevent extra food waste.

She's currently OPEN, although the signs out front haven't changed yet.  Despite current struggles, I admire her determination and self-sacrifice in saying,"Be safe. We have been hanging around for one year already, let's just keep going a little while longer so we can all stay safe."  Dinner is Tues-Sat 5-9pm, and she will eventually add Sundays back in. For anyone that has been to Lynn's before, you know she is often multi-tasking and doing it all, so the preference is for you to call in your orders to 425-889-2808.  Her French Onion soup is pretty darn spectacular...and don't forget to bring her soup bowl back next time! You can't get that amazing melt-over on cardboard.   Be sure to visit this local woman-owned business in her new/consolidated location for your next take-out or dine-in meal. She'd really love to see you.


Good Things Like Kindness. And beer.

All good news here folks.  First, Wilde Rover is re-opening as of 3/6 and plans to be seeing your gorgeous masked faces on Wednesdays thru Sundays from 3-11 until they get fully re-staffed. Just in time for an outdoor socially distanced St. Patty's Day brew perhaps? Woot!

KirkUrbanKindnessBox Powerhourgift <-Kindness Mailbox & a Power Hour Gift Basket/photo cred: Kirkland Urban

Kirkland Urban has designated March as "KU Kindness Month." 

From paying for the person behind you in line to donating to local nonprofit Food Lifeline, this month is all about paying it forward and spreading kindness. On select Mondays, families can find a #MondayMotivation note near Fountain Court while supplies last. Every Wednesday, Kirkland Urban will be sharing the love and giving away a gift basket from a local business on its Instagram page. Each Thursday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Food Lifeline will have a donation station at Fountain Court near QFC.

Kirkland Urban is also asking folks to thank workers in the community who have been performing essential duties amidst the pandemic by writing a letter of appreciation. Families can drop off their letters in the Kindness mailbox located in front of 400 Urban Plaza (photo). Letters may be shared on Kirkland Urban’s social media pages.

Folks who participate in the month of kindness are encouraged to post about their experiences on social media using the hashtag #KUKindness.

Spread the love, Kirkland!