The Guilt Trip You Can Look Forward to

GuiltTrip (5)      GuiltTrip (5)       GuiltTrip (5)

I know it sounds like I'm getting ready to tell you a deep dark secret, but The Guilt Trip is actually an Indian fusion restaurant that opened a few months ago in Kirkland Square (right near Nothing Bundt Cakes!).  I dropped in for dinner with a few friends and was delighted to see many of you have already discovered their tasty food.   The tables were filling up and smiling faces were gobbling up the unique flavors that are created in this family-owned business.  They started in 2013 in Redmond and are committed to fresh food, natural ingredients, no artificial coloring or preservatives, and they grind their own spices!  You will also find gluten-free and vegan options. 


GuiltTrip (5)  GuiltTrip (5)    GuiltTrip (5)
The space is larger than I expected with dark decor and white tablecloths in the open-style dining room with selfie-ring style lights around its perimeter.  The menu presents lots of tempting options, shareables/entrees/burgers/bowls/salad/soups,  that make it difficult to choose just one. The food was excellent. We tried a few different things to get a sampling of the menu. The Rangoli salad (I loved this, great crunch, and the dressing was soo good!), the vindaloo lamb sliders, the bacon butter chicken, and the chicken masala Tikki.  Each was different and delicious in its own way. I love the sauces and spices that really make the flavors compliment each other. Check out the photos. The waitstaff was plentiful, perhaps working through small newbie obstacles, but definitely helpful, pleasant, and eager to please.  The Guilt Trip also has some interesting signature cocktails that I'd like to try next time- hello tamarind date margarita!  Pricing ranges from $12-16ish for shareable plates, burgers around $20, and entrees around $24.  Definitely worth the visit at 238 Central Way.  You can call or email with questions: 425-608-8788 or contact@theguilttriprestaurant.com .  Reservations aren't required but still a pretty good idea in my opinion. 


Cloud Food Court for Fresh To-Go

CloudFoodCourt (4)   CloudFoodCourt (4)   CloudFoodCourt (4)  CloudFoodCourt (4)

I've been meaning to try Cloud Food Court for a while now, and I'm not sure what took me so long.  Perhaps I had to mentally work past the phrase 'food court' which, traditionally in my mind, is associated with a mall where a circle of fast-food restaurants competes for your attention and then you hurriedly eat your food in the middle of said corral and swarms of hangry people. Release this thought from your brain

Cloud Food Court resides in Marina Park (52 Lakeshore Plaza, where Wow Wow Lemonade was previously), and offers three different cuisines (hence the food court concept, all in one place).  There is no indoor dining, you just walk in and chat with the super friendly down-to-Earth owners (say hi to Ali)  while you order your food to-go or sit in one of their three cute little tables nestled on their patio overlooking Lake Wa and Marina Park.  The menu is short and sweet and everything we had was tasty and fresh.   There are a few Greek options (salad, shawarma, falafel), Italian (pizza), and American (chicken sandwiches).  I struggled to figure out what I wanted to order and decided to go for the shawarma plate (last photo, $15) since I didn't really know what that was and felt adventurous that day.  I'm so glad I did!  It was a lot of food and the tasty chicken was really fresh atop a bed of basmati rice, with a crisp side salad, and homemade hummus and pita too.  My friend was super happy with her Greek Salad ($12), although I'd probably want to throw some protein on there.  Drinks are all bottled or canned for easy to-go's.  And sometimes they slip you a dessert to try from Dolce Vita Desserts.  I've had their giant cookie fresh out of the oven which was Ahh-mazing, and some excellent baklava that is cylinder-shaped so I can eat it more efficiently without dropping little pieces on the ground.  Always a plus! They also have tiramisu, konafa, and panna cotta if you have a sweet tooth. 

At first glance, I was skeptical about such a short menu, but I like that Cloud Food Court focuses on doing fewer menu items to focus on high quality and pride in sharing their food with Kirklanders.  I'm definitely coming back for the shawarma.  I also heard the folks next to us raving about their chicken sandwich.  I'm excited about this option as we roll into summer (it's still coming, right? right?!) for a pickup after a stroll, eating outside, on a Duffy boat, or at the summer concerts in the park.  They are open 11 am- 8 pm every day but closed on Mondays.  425-242-1129.  Easy ordering online happens here, complete with photos of each menu item.

You could always drop by when you visit the Kirkland Weds Market opening day on Weds June 1st???? Check out this year's vendors.  All we need is a little SUNSHINE. ~j


Behind Google's Doors in Kirkland Urban

Google22urbanexterior  Google22urbanexterior
I was lucky enough to score an invite to tour Google's 'officially open' Phase 1 on the Kirkland Urban Campus.  Check out these photos that hopefully help demystify what is behind the doors of that fancy new building.  Not only did I witness an incredible sustainability-focused build and unmatched creativity on each floor, but I also hobnobbed (ie; shuffled around on the opposite side of the same big room where they had no idea I was there) with Governor Jay Inslee,  Congresswoman Suzan DelBene, Mayor Penny Sweet, local reps, and Google CEO Sundar Pichai who all praised Google's leadership, innovation, community partnerships, philanthropy, and investment in our region. Google plans to invest $100 M in WA state in 2022. Boom!
Google22airlineottoman  Google22Airlinefloor  <--the wall of playing cards  Google22AirlinefloorGoogle22airlineottoman                      Google22Airlinefloor

    
Facilities manager Frederico Olmedo walked me around the Central Building which I entered on the second floor of Kirkland Urban (near Evergreens). He has been working on this project for 4 years, and clearly, it is a labor of love with a laser focus on the details.  Each floor of the building has a different WA State theme.  On the 7th floor, the fishing industry is represented with a bright orange fishing net across the ceiling in central spaces.  There's also a full sound studio, so if you want to go jam on a guitar or sing in a soundproof room, why wouldn't you?  The 6th floor was a nod to the shipping industry and UPS, where you find 'brown' barcodes next to doorways and stacked moving blankets as chair ottomans.  My favorite was the 5th floor which recognizes flight/Boeing with a sitting area that feels like a retro airport lounge, and another room whose wallpaper is made completely out of real old playing cards that used to be handed out by airlines during flights, complete with an airline roller cart full of board games.  There's also an in-flight mini-theatre that can be utilized for games or movies.  On the 4th floor, you'll find a nod to REI/tourism/nature and the outdoors with backpacks on the walls in their stocked self-serve mini cafe where you can grab a handful of snacks before bringing your pooch to hang out at the doggie lounge with indoor and outdoor patio spaces. This would be an awesome #doglife.  


Google22BigroomGoogle22Airlinefloor   Google22Airlinefloor <-- furry friends welcome at work

I think I need to work here. It just feels like a fun place to be, especially once the office fills up with people again. But I'd never get anything done, I'd just eat free snacks and play with everyone's dogs all day while dreaming of being in a 1978 airport lounge.  And then after work, I'd be a fixture at the QFC bar and eat too many Plantiful Acai Bowls.  It could be problematic on second thought. But good news if you're looking...turns out you can job search Google roles out of Kirkland, WA and there appear to be  1104 open jobs here.  They currently have 7200 full-time employees in the Puget Sound region

The North Google Building is also complete and hosts wellness and fitness centers, but I didn't get to stroll that side of campus.  The South building is expected to open in 2023, and the East tower in 2025, which will bring the total of these four buildings of Google office space to 760,000 square feet.  But they aren't stopping there, Google is proceeding with development and design planning for its additional planned campus on the former site of the Lee Johnson Chevrolet dealership, whose acquisition deal is expected to close in phases over the next several years.  Kudos to Google for pushing the envelope in both coolness and investment in our city, all while being on track for LEED Gold Certification in sustainability. 

 


Escape Reality at Sandbox VR

SandboxExterior  SandboxExterior  SandboxExterior

I geared up for my Sandbox VR "Amber Sky" experience with a few friends, not knowing what to expect.  I haven't played video games or done virtual reality much before,  so I was excited to try something new in this interactive, fully immersive, 45 minutes where I would be riding a space elevator and fighting off aliens to save the universe.   

The new Sandbox location in The Village at Totem Lake is the first for WA State and you can choose from the 5 different experiences that they offer.  Simply book your time online, and then arrive a little early to get checked in and suited up in your futuristic vest, battery pack, wrist/ankle sensors, and of course headset/headphones. All of this gear gets thoroughly cleaned and sanitized in between sessions. Sandbox can take up to six people in each of their four rooms. I was a bit worried about all of my old lady ailments- would I be able to see clearly without my glasses?  Would I feel motion sickness like I do in cars sometimes? But these turned out to be non-issues.  Even my friends with occasional vertigo did just fine with this super realistic experience. The free-range camera allows you to move within the game while simultaneously interacting with and around the people you are playing with.  I was really glad I peeled my sweater off and wore just my tee shirt to play because fighting for the universe can be a bit stressful.  Take care to listen to the directions in the beginning so you know how to operate your weapons, re-load, and bring each other back to life.

  SandboxGroupShotSandboxGroupShotSandboxGroupShot

My friends and I all thought this was a blast and talked about what we learned this time that would change our strategy a bit for how we would play again in the future.  Most of us have teenage sons that would love this, if only they could afford it ($50-55 per person), therefore making it a great gift or birthday outing for that age group.  This would also be a fun date night or team-building exercise. Whether you are a gamer or not, this technology is a wonder to witness and command and it's right here in our backyard.  It was just the right amount of time to feel like you got a fair amount of playtime without being overloaded.  And BONUS, at the end you get a video that summarizes your game, both virtually and the correlating movements and sounds you were actually making in the room.  Those were some good belly laughs!   Sandbox VR is open during the week from 10 am-10 pm and weekends from 10 am- 11 pm.  Go check it out.  You too can save the universe whether it is from pirates, aliens, or zombies, I know you'll keep us safe. 


Cars, Tastes, the Earth, and Ca$h (what else is there?)

Here's a little lineup for your weekend and beyond!

Exotic Cars-

The Northwest Exotics Car Show at Carillon Point is this Sunday, April 24th from 9:30 am to 11:30 am at the top lot of the 2000 garage.  This free public event was created by a local high school student named Thomas Fathi that is a talented photographer with a passion for cars.  He and his friends have done a few shows over the past two years, and they hope to get to a regular Sunday show as things get back to normal.  

KirklandCa$h_Hdr3_2400x884 (002)
Kirkland Ca$h-

The City of Kirkland's new "Kirkland Ca$h" program is striving to uplift our hard-hit local hospitality industry and small business economy.  This dollar-for-dollar certificate program runs through June 30th where you can book a 2-night minimum stay through the KirklandCash.com site and receive $100 to spend at a local participating business.  Participating hotels include The Heathman Hotel, The Woodmark Hotel, Courtyard by Marriott Sattle-Kirkland, and Motel 6. You can spend your Kirkland Ca$h before 8/31/22 at an ever-growing list of retail shops, restaurants, service providers, activities, attractions, and more (some of my faves are on there).  Do you have visitors coming to town?  This sounds like a great way to point them to one of our local hotels while also encouraging more local spending.  Everyone wins. 

Smp-final-draft-for-adoption-dec-2020-cover
Earth Month 2022-

Keep an eye on the City of Kirkland's 'Earth Month' page to stay up to date on green tips and events throughout the month and ALWAYS.  You can also learn more about our city's Sustainability Master Plan and sign up for updates here.  Lately, Mother Earth seems to be messing with us (was that hail the other day?) so I'm all for taking the very best care of her.

KUEarthDay
Kirkland Urban is also celebrating spring and  Earth Day. On Fri 4/22 from 11 am to 1 pm community members are welcome to drop off electronics for recycling outside the 400 building. KU is also launching its #PlantwithKU campaign with the goal of planting 20,000 trees in Tanzania through a partnership with ForestNation.  Attendees can pick up a tree kit under the Generosi-tree at 400 Urban Plaza.  And, did you know that KU has rooftop beehives? These buzzzzzy workers will have honey, soap, and candles available for anyone who stops by the event, and will you also have the opportunity to enter the Queen Bee naming contest.

KUBeWell
Following this Kirkland Urban event, on Sat 4/23 from 10 am-1 pm they are hosting a "Be Well" Event. Everyone is invited to this interactive experience of the eight dimensions of wellness: emotional, mental, recreational, environmental, financial, social, physical, and spiritual.  That's a lot in 3 hours! And it is free and open to the public.  You'll encounter stretch yoga at 10 am, a soothing sound bath journey at 11:10 am, total HIIT workouts at 10:30 and 11:40, a bee workshop, mini-facials by Tru Allure Beauty boutique, an Aegis Living hydration station, and much more.  Family-friendly tunes and many local businesses will be showing up to share their purpose and make sure you are taking good care of yourself. 

 

Tasteoftheworld
Taste of the World-

The City of Kirkland will be hosting its first annual "Taste of the World" event on 5/21 at Juanita Beach Park to celebrate and experience our diverse heritage- so mark your calendars now! There will be food trucks, an international bazaar with artisan craft vendors, live cultural music and dance, photos stations, and a "small world" for children with global crafts and games.  They also really need VOLUNTEERS (24 to be exact) to help out with their 3 shifts- please contact Abbie (425-587-3312) if you are able to lend a hand for this awesome new community event.


Walla Walla Clothing Co Will Dress You Up... in Kirkland Urban

IMG_7544    IMG_7544  
Let's give a warm welcome to another woman-owned business in Kirkland! Local resident Teresa Ellison just opened her 6th location of the Walla Walla Clothing Co at Kirkland Urban and I'm a weeeee bit worried it's going to be a problem for me to control myself in there.  This company was established in 1995 and is known for service and quality.  Whether you are 18 or 80, she can style you up and have you ready to slay no matter what your body style. You'll find some favorite brands like Vince, AG, Eileen Fisher, Sanctuary, James Perse, Frame, Mother, Rails, and Donald Pliner.  There are plenty of clothes in her spacious storefront and also shoes, jewelry, and other accessories. And bonus-Walla Walla Clothing Co always offers free shipping and alterations. 

IMG_7544  IMG_7544
Too good to be true? How much you ask? It varies- you can find $39 tops all the way up to $300 on a Vince sweater, but there is sure to be something for every body, shape, and budget.  And honestly, I'm kind of lazy and don't know what things to put together. They will totally do that for you. #lifesaver  I perused in on my way to a Restore session and got sidetracked buying 3 pairs of pants (in my new post- Covid size) after my QFC happy hour. Brilliant, right?  Worth a visit. Let them do the work for you, You deserve it. Hours are Mon-Sat 10-6 and Sat 11-4.  Give them a follow on Instagram here.


Austin's Salmon Mural Comes to Life

AustinSalmonMural2022 (5)    AustinSalmonMural2022 (5)    Austinsalmon2

Despite the gray and rainy days we've had lately, on Saturday 4/2, the sun knew to beam through the skies onto Spud Fish & Chips where a very cool community project was underway.   Each hour a new shift of local volunteers of all ages grabbed their brushes and paint buckets and got to work on the east wall of the building where young Austin Picinich's salmon mural was outlined and color-coded.  I saw families, city council members, students, dogs, and toddlers slapping paint alongside elders (that were making me nervous on those ladders). Everyone pitched in, thanks to Austin who came up with this idea during a week-long leadership summit where he wanted to create "a public art project to brighten up the community."  And that he did! 

Austin teamed up with Urban Artworks on this project that helped raise awareness for our local salmon while bringing our friendly and artfully adventurous citizens together to work on a common goal.  Juanita Creek is nearby and classified as a salmon-spawning creek. While many of us think of the sockeye, chinook, and coho, the Kokanee salmon (depicted in the mural) were previously thought to be extinct in Lake Washington until recently.  This is a meaningful and timely reminder to reduce our pollution footprint, volunteer or donate to local organizations that are making a difference, or volunteer to become a SalmonWatcher yourself!

 

    AustinSalmonMural2022 (5)  <-Austin & his mom Kate (clearly an A+ parent)    AustinSalmonMural2022 (5) I heard there will be a time-lapse video of the mural's creation

The mural turned out fabulous- the colors really pop! And it was inspiring to see how 160+ volunteers each contributed their own brushstrokes to make this come to life.  I'm sure you can spot my sharp painting skills... I worked on the blue letters of the 'Spud Fish & Chips' logo on the food container. Very detailed. Laser focus.  Just kidding, I'm sure Austin had to go touch up my work afterward (thanks Austin!). 

Now with the Save Our Salmon mural complete, I'm thinking an " I Eat Trucks" mural for the truck-eating bridge on Kirkland Ave should be next??  Just sayin'.  

Austinalmostdone photo


4th of July in Kirkland 2022

Flag
The last two years have been a big disappointment to a city that LOVES celebrating the 4th of July.  But for 2022, we are back in business with our patriotic parade! Unfortunately, the fireworks show will not be back due to numerous challenges (100% price increase on fireworks, costly barge rental, and environmental and noise concerns).  But we will be TOGETHER AGAIN, lining the streets, laughing and dancing on floats in red white, and blue like it's 2019.  Some other fun activities are in the works, so stay tuned for more announcements on www.celebratekirkland.org .   

For more good fun, there is also a Celebrate Kirkland t-shirt design contest! All ages are encouraged to enter and the theme is "Celebrate Kirkland,  Together Again,"  Entries due by May 1st. Details are here- good luck! 


I'm at Hearth in my Solid Gold Puffer

HearthPuffyCoatMe
I threw on my biggest puffy coat for the "Puffy Jacket" Pop-Up Dining Series at Hearth in the Heathman Hotel on Wednesday night. Bonus! This is also one of their 1/2 price bottle of wine nights, so I was feeling like things were really going our way when a bottle of Abeja Cab was only $45.  Little did I know things were about to get even better.  For the record, you can 'puffy coat' anywhere you'd like, it doesn't have to be out on their patio, because this special limited-time menu is also offered indoors and is available through April 2nd.   


 HearthPuffyCoatMeals
HearthPuffyCoatMenu  HearthPuffyCoatShortRib

The menu is small but mighty.  It was clear from the start that I would be ordering the Dungeness Crab & Grapefruit salad ($20) because it includes many of my favorite things (beets- mmmm!) and since we aren't really oyster people, Steve wanted to try the cauliflower soup. My salad was fabulous, but let me tell you....DO NOT underestimate the cauliflower soup.  It was rich, flavorful, and hearty enough to warm your soul on a rainy evening. I kept stealing more spoonfuls under the guise of sampling the menu.  We could have easily been satisfied with these starters alone, but couldn't resist the temptation of the entrees. Upon their arrival, my short rib ($39, photo above) was meaty and bold and falling apart with just my fork saying hello. Despite gobbling up most of it, I was delighted to have enough to save for lunch the next day.  Steve's Pacific Northwest Seafood Stew ($36) was also very memorable.  Often stews are comprised of a few pieces of seafood and a thin broth, but this one was chunky and intentional with large pieces of fish and shrimp filling the personalized hot cast-iron bowl.  The harissa tomato broth had a uniquely addictive flavor that, again, made my husband keep wondering why I was still eating off of his plate.  No wonder we didn't have room for dessert, but if you pace yourself, there is a chocolate tort you can finish with!

Hearth Puffy Coat Outside
Definitely go catch this great menu of special treats at Hearth before it's too late.  Wear your puffy jacket or just let the food warm you from within. Weds- Saturdays 5-9 pm through April 2nd. Reservations recommended.  My vote is for a Weds or Thurs to snag the wine deals too ;-). Enjoy!


Pi Day, Spa Day, and Puffy Jacket Dining

Pi-day-jpg.jpg
Monday is Pi Day which seems like a perfectly good reason to celebrate! On March 14 from 3-5 p.m., families are invited to Kirkland Urban to participate in a π (pi) recitation competition (start practicing now, folks), an interactive scavenger hunt, giveaways from a variety of retailers at Kirkland Urban, a live DJ, and other kid-friendly activities.  This event is free and open to the public. Fun fact: Pi day is my son's birthday and he doesn't even like pie ( a crime).

StillSpaMarch HydraFacialHydraFacial photo cred: Woodmark Hotel/Still Spa
Never turn away a spa day.  The Still Spa at the Woodmark in Carillon Point has just launched 10 new spa treatments designed to relax and rejuvenate your body for summer. There's a HydraFacial that uses patented technology to cleanse, extract, and hydrate the skin.  Other newbies are the Himalayan Salt Body Treatment and the Herbal Cellulite Treatment (hmmmm..) and a Firming Vibrant-C Facial to get you glowing again.  Their full treatment menu found here. Tickets are also available for Still Spa's Quarterly Passport event on Tues 3/22 3-8 pm called 'Spring Into Relaxation' which is great to grab a friend and get pampered.

HearthPuffy Jacket2022 Puffy Jacket Pop-Up photo cred: Heathman Hotel/Hearth
Hearth at The Heathman
is running their infamous Puffy Jacket Pop-Up Dining Series Weds through Sat 5-9 pm through April 2nd. Throw on your puffer for this unique experience where you will enjoy cocktails, fresh rustic foods with local ingredients, and the heated patio's outdoor dining.  This limited-time menu really has me struggling to decide between the PNW Seafood Stew and the Red Wine Braised Short Rib.  I will be there next week, so expect a follow-up with more photos and tips!  You can call 425-284-5900 or visit OpenTable for a reservation.