Diamonds and Departures

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I've lived in Kirkland since 1998 and Vince from Lake Street Diamond (106 Lake St) is one of a handful of merchants that I remember being around since my Day 1 as a steadfast and reliable community member.  But after 37 years of helping locals design and select beautiful jewelry pieces, it is time for some well-deserved rest.  He was reminiscing that when he opened in 1984, Kirkland was a sleepy little town even though, he chuckles, "there was no parking then either."   

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Our beloved Vince and his wife Lu are throwing a giant retirement sale with up to 70% off to clear out their merchandise before they close their doors in mid-January.  And I know you love things that sparkle (or someone that does!), so hurry on in for the best selection and wish them well in their next phase of life.  Not surprisingly, I was canvassing each case, and there's both casual and fancy along with a variety of price points for some early holiday shopping.  I may or may not have purchased something depending on who is reading this ;-)  


Bartell Drugs Opens on Central Way

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I will sleep better at night knowing there is a convenient location in downtown Kirkland (312 Central Way) where I can grab a charcuterie plate, a greeting card, a prescription, lipgloss, band-aids,a flu shot, and a bottle of vodka all in one stop. Bartell Drugs , owned by Rite Aid, has been a local family business and is now in its 131st year in the Seattle area.  They pride themselves on knowing their customers and being a trusted wellness destination to the communities they serve.  To celebrate their official opening day this Saturday 11/13 from 7 am-12 pm, they will have gift basket giveaways, caricature drawings (always entertaining!),  and the first 200 customers in the door will receive a limited edition coffee mug with a surprise $5-250 gift card inside. 

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At the ribbon cutting on Monday, my OCD tendencies were satiated by all of Bartell's straight lines and beautifully fully stocked shelves.  I felt I had found my people.  It's also handy that there is a line of sight over the tops of the aisles to easily orient yourself and find your next item easily.   They love partnering with local vendors, so you will see many familiar brands that you already enjoy like Beecher's cheese and hellooooo Theo Chocolate, free with an in-store purchase of $10 or more 11/13. Don't forget there is also a photo center AND a key maker machine, which I need every-so-often and never remember where I have seen them when I actually need one. Filing this info away in my foggy for later. 

Remember there is some street parking and also underground parking (entrance on Central Way), in addition to delivery services or curbside pickup.  Store hours are Mon-Fri 7am-10pm and Sat/Sun 7am-9pm.  And since I know you are curious, yes, the apartments above are open and people are already moved in. Grab your raincoat and go give them a warm welcome on Saturday so you can get some swag and mess up all of their straight lined shelves. 

 


Everybody Fan Tang Tonight

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Have you been to Fan Tang Asian Café in Houghton next to Met Market yet? The Northwest-inspired Hunan style food is really fresh and delicious. You can chat and ask questions of a friendly helper at the counter, or there are also digital kiosks where you can self-order (similar to Shake Shack).   Photos on the electronic menu really help a girl out.  I went with the ginger chicken noodle bowl ($13.25) and it made me super happy on a cold rainy day (photo below)

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There's plenty of seating in their modern dining room, and I was glad to see a good handful of other locals had already discovered this little hotspot of generational family recipes.  And friends have been raving to me about the food they tried, the depth of flavors in the soup, and also the customer service when the owner goes out of his way to make sure you are happy with your selection.  Add this to your list!

Tues-Sunday 11 am-8:30 pm. 10615 NE 68th St, 425-298-4597, info@fantang.com 

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Making Magic Happen in our Parks

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Has anyone else been wondering what's been going on at David Brink park and its waterfront construction? This shoreline renovation is slated to be done in January of 2022 with the goal of increasing accessibility and making improvements to the pier and shoreline that the fish and Mother Earth will appreciate. The project overview and timeline are here. 

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Kirkland Parks is trying to rally our citizens to participate in a survey so they can take into account your recreation wishes for the community.  This is an opportunity to give your feedback.  The survey says it takes "10 minutes" but I am calling BS on the time estimate. But....that shouldn't matter if this is something you care about, good feedback takes a little thought and time.  The survey is here and available in multiple languages until it closes on Nov 11th. There are some fun ideas on there!

 


Get your Tricks & Treats Ready

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Time for a sugar buzz! Get your spooky selves ready for Saturday October 30th, because it is going to be the perfect little kid Halloween pre-funk day.  Start off with strolling your kids in costume down for Pumpkins in the (Marina) Park where there will be carnival games, vendors, sweet treats, a dog costume contest, and professional pumpkin carving.   Then participating downtown merchants will welcome trick-or-treaters at 1pm.  

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If your festive stamina is in its prime, keep on rolling down to the amazing Treat Street at Kirkland Urban from 3-7pm. This free family-friendly event includes:

  • Kid-friendly games and treats provided by local Kirkland businesses, a giant candy shoot and larger than life, light-up Halloween character displays. 
  • Balloon and glitter artists, a popcorn station and a pumpkin craft, courtesy of Clown Buggie Entertainment
  • Enchanting acrobatic performances by costumed characters from Down to Earth Aerials
  • Family-friendly Halloween tunes provided by DJ Carlos Valencia from Energia Events
  • Complimentary festive light up toys provided by Wheelhouse Promotions & Events
  • An “Instagram-able” fall/harvest installation, designed by Top Knotch Events, Twinkle Treesand Seattle Giant Letters. 

Kirkland Urban is an inclusive and accessible open-air shopping center, and to support children and adults of all abilities, sensory sensitive toolkits will be available onsite during this event, as well as all future Kirkland Urban events. These toolkits include noise-canceling headphones, sensory/fidget toys, earplugs, and an identifier sticker/badge. Sensory-sensitive toolkits can be picked up upon arrival.  

That's a pretty solid warm-up for Halloween! Have a scary- good time.

 


Check Out Scoop Marketplace for Zero Waste Groceries

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When I was a young girl many ions ago, one of my favorite shows was "Little House on the Prairie" which featured a family and community set on a small farm in the 1800s.  When I walked into Scoop Marketplace in Juanita Village (9743 NE 119th Way), it hinted at a modern-day version of the Little House General Store. Luckily Mr. and Mrs. Olson were not there, but perhaps they were onto something back then? Food items such as flour, beans, nuts, and spices are stored in large jars so that you can take only what you need and avoid wasteful packaging.  Bring your own jar or buy a clean/inexpensive recycled one to take your goods home and then refill each time.  There is a weighing station that calculates the cost product you've selected.   

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It's not just food, though, there are also cleaning and personal products such as laundry detergent, Epsom salt, brushes, soaps, and even tree-free toxin-free toilet paper! Scoop's vision is to build a sustainable future for all and they have opened their second shop right here in Kirkland to help us embrace 'walking more gently on the planet.' Memberships are available with added perks.  Hours are 10-6 every day. You can also order online and pick up at the shop.  

Scoop Marketplace just kicked off a Crowdfunding campaign to help them grow and be able to expand offerings with purchases such as refrigerators for produce and fresh bulk foods, a tap system for bulk oils and beverages, nut butter grinders, a coffee grinder, over for fresh baked goods, and an upgraded scale system.  They are striving to bring in $32K by November 1st from those that are also passionate about embracing sustainable living and sourcing that supports ethical, small, local, and minority-owned businesses.  Link to help donate to Scoop Marketplace and their mission is here.  Suddenly our planet feels very small, doesn't it?  Thank you for caring, Scoop. 


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.

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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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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!

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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.    


Pop Open the Bubbles at Pop Culture Champagne Bar

I have launched two daughters off to different colleges in the past few weeks so I'm feeling excited for them, a bit exhausted, and shamefully delighted by the lack of dishes, papers, and shoes all over my house.  In between my moments of chaos, I did manage to sneak in some bubbles at Pop Culture Champagne Bar, which I figured you might be curious about as well...

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Pop Culture Champagne Bar- 42 Lakeshore Plaza (previously Athina Flora)  This new hotspot makes the most of their small space by popping with eclectic girly decor, indoor and outdoor tables, and of course plenty of bottles of bubbly.  You can order up a flight to sample different varietals or choose from a lineup of champagnes, other sparkling wines/proseccos ranging from $7-21/glass ($25-375/bottle).  There are also a few wine and beer options so that every Kirklanders' palate can be satiated.  If your love of bubbles runs deep, your savior may very well be their Culture Club Wine Club, with three different options that have varying levels of perks and imbibing. I also love their clever and whimsy play-on-words in everything they do (menu, website, marketing).  Owner Carolyn Holt is often there to answer your questions and share her love of this new Pop Culture Champagne Bar.  She has been patiently waiting, amid many obstacles, to open her dream champagne bar to share with our Kirkland community, so let's go show her the love.  "Pop" on by for a taste, hours are Weds & Thurs 2-8pm, Fri & Sat 12-9pm, and Sun 12-5.  206-300-4495. Cheers!

 

 

 


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.