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!


Kirkland Pho House Moving Downtown

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The Kirkland Pho House, on 85th near Petco, is a reliable go-to on a chilly day to grab a big bowl of brothy deliciousness that can warm you from the inside out.  I always start with a fresh spring roll and then work my way to the chicken pho, delighting in the ritual of throwing in my own squirt of lime, bean sprouts, and sprigs of basil.  New store signs that go up in these times can create a panic, but never fear.  The Pho House is just gearing up to move to downtown Kirkland (110 Central Way) since their current shopping center is slated to be torn down.  They are currently still open in their location on 85th, but looking forward to continuing to see our (covered) faces downtown in their new spot in March or April. 


How Does Cupid Work During Covid?

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Don't let a pandemic drag down your Valentine's Day! Shop Local for your sweetie and remember that a fabulous meal can be the gateway to winning over a heart.  Looking for a Valentine's Meal in Kirkland? Check these options out, whether you prefer indoor, outdoor or take-out, don't procrastinate.

Hearth- Valentine's Dinner at Hearth ($75/pp) short rib/scallops/oysters 5-9pm 2/13 and 14. Or Pie on the Fly Valentine special ($65 for two) takeout available with salad side and chocolate strawberry truffle. Submit by 2/11 for 13 or 14 pickup.

Le Grand Bistro @Carillon Point-another great outdoor patio! And of course, a special Valentine's take-out menu that is a 4-course meal for 2 ($150) on 2/12, 13, 14. Get your order in by 2/9 @ 8pm unless it sells out before then.

Cafe Juanita- Well some of you were clearly thinking ahead because they are already booked for 2/12-13 with a rest for their team afterward and a continuation of amazing pickup options moving forward.

DeRU- Order by 2/8, pickup 2/13 after 12 pm.  A la carte menu and, of course, don't forget their AMAZING slices of cake.

Lynn's- Order 24 hrs in advance, pick up on Sunday 12-5, 3 courses $45 or a $35 prix fixe menu (a fantastic value!)

Volterra- $60 per person limited indoor seating on 2/14 with a very temptingly delicious looking menu.

Lizzy Kate Teas- Valentine's Tea & Truffle Pairing Set- 4 favorite teas to pair with four different flavored chocolate truffles. Pickup, drop on a doorstep or chip locally or nationally. 

Lady Yum- Valentine's Day Gift Packs. These will bring a smile to any human's face. 

Feast and Bottle & Bull are still working on their Valentine's Menu, so check back on their website in the next few days! 

Sweet Cloud Gifts- special chocolates for your special person starting at $8. Hello heart-shaped truffles!

The BeachHouse Bar & Grill- planning to offer some Valentine dinner special that wkend along with their regular menu.

Ristorante Paradiso- regular menu with some extra Valentine's specials that are still in the works.


Darn It, Momoya

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Our family is mourning the loss of our go-to sushi pickup spot that was hidden in a strip mall in Rose Hill. Where else can you get a 'sushi plate' for $20 and it's delightfully all of the items you like to order anyway? Momoya Sushi & Sake House will be greatly missed, pre-COVID it always had a steady flow of loyalists that flocked to their fresh rolls and chilled sake which paired perfectly with the casual atmosphere and friendly familiar service.  Even in the past year there always seemed to be an hour wait for pickup orders if you didn't call before 5pm. This closure has been coming for a few months now, but it doesn't make it hurt any less. RIP Mo.


BobaLust Opens in Bridle Trails

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It sounds kind of naughty, but it's actually sweet. This new boba tea shop, called BobaLust,  opened a few weeks ago next to Ace Hardware. The lobby is the size of a large dancefloor, which may come in handy later, but for now, is plenty of room for your socially-distanced pickup.  I got my kids a strawberry smoothie, a mango slushie, and myself a Thai tea (all +boba). Their boba is fresh and sweet, and I was intent on not losing any in the crushed ice.  Another alluring fact would be their pricing, which is $4.50 -5.50 per drink including tax, which definitely beats other places. 

I didn't really discover the joy of boba tea until my trip to Asia (remember when we used to travel?) where these shops are commonplace and there is usually a long line.  At first, those funny little gelatinous balls made me squeamish, but now I treasure poking my wide straw through the taught plastic and enjoying the delightful drink (always ask for 50% sweetness, it's still sweet) with chewy boba surprises along the way. What is Boba you ask? It is tapioca starch from the cassava root. You're thinking about trying it, aren't' you? It's only weird the first few times and then it's strangely addicting. 

Bobalust has four other Seattle-area locations. Their current hours at the Kirkland shop are Saturday-Thurs 1-9 pm and Fri/Sat 1-10 pm. Follow them on FB and Insta. Comment back here with your favorite drink discovery!

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