Our NEW Kirkland PCC Opened on 3/2 and it's Magical

PCC2022 (1)    PCC2022 (1)

I am not ashamed to admit that I got a little giddy when walking around this new PCC.  Our old familiar location in Houghton closed on Tues  3/1 and on  Weds 3/2 they opened their new doors at 430 Kirkland Way (just past the Kirkland Performance Center).  And yes, there is parking! I had a feeling that might be your first question.  There are a handful of quick-stop spots right out front and also a parking deck around the back.  I love the entry area that flows from the street to welcome you in, and I can already envision future sunny days with locals and kids snacking at the tables and tiered seating outside.  

PCC2022 (2)  PCC2022 (2)  PCC2022 (2)   PCC2022 (2) PCC2022 (8)

This 19,000 square foot store is 30% larger than the old one, so it's no wonder I was wide-eyed as I savored each aisle and methodically filled up my cart.  Check out my photos! Plenty of ready-made and grab/go foods, 6-8 fresh hot soups, salad bar, bulk items, beautiful bright produce, and a fabulous meat/seafood section too.  You'll find plenty of pre-marinated items also so you can just head home and throw things in the air fryer  (our new household routine). There are so many unique products throughout the store that piqued my curiosity. One big thing I always loved about PCC is that I feel like they have already done the work of vetting their products for me.  I know PCC also strives to support local farmers and producers and they have goals to inspire and advance the health and well-being of people, communities, and the planet.  This building was also built to the most rigorous green-building standard in the world.  Their history and values and how this co-op works are worth the read.

When I checked out, there are some of the same familiar faces we know from the old location, and also a self-checkout area.  Don't forget your free item if you're a co-op member, which was raspberries this week!  Pro-tip, there are some $5 coupons sitting on a table near the registers.  PCC also recently announced the results of the co-op’s 2021 community relations and giving efforts, which included donating nearly 2-million pounds of food and goods and contributing nearly $1 million through donations, in-kind assistance, and funds raised by its community to support local organizations.

I'm not sure if I'm just getting older and this is what makes grocery shopping more of an adventure, or perhaps the grocers just keep upping the experience.  I even called one of my 18-year-olds in college to let her know how much she will enjoy this store the next time she's home.  Oddly, she loves grocery shopping too, perhaps it's genetic? Get yourself there, it's worth the visit. Every day they're open from 6am-11pm.   Let me know your fave things! ~j


Stories from the Rumor Mill and Other Truths

Whisper Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

You know I love a little whisper of something that might be happening, and that I will unabashedly share these Kirkland gems with you fully realizing I may need to apologize for the false alarm at a later date.  These are the types of Kirkland things I may hear from bumping into someone's assistant outside a location or perhaps a friend was chatting with construction workers on a lunch break.  Lame, I know, but I'm not a reporter, and this is just a blog so you're stuck with me and my hearsay for now.  Here's what I know (sort of):

  • The Birdcage on Central Way will be transforming into a beautiful Luly Yang location in about a year, so get ready for a little couture along with 'Luleisure'. 
  • There may be a MOD Pizza opening in Kirkland Square where Umpqua Bank recently moved out.  That's pretty exciting if true.  Love their salads. 
  • This is a truth: The old PCC location is closing on 3/1 and the new location will open on 3/2 just east of the Kirkland Performance Center on the ground floor of The Boardwalk mixed-use building at 430 Kirkland Way
  • Seems to be true: The cool 'Boardwalk Beach Club' signs on the building at Marina Park is not a hip new bar or restaurant awaiting the general public's summertime arrival, but instead a lakefront perk with ready-to-frolick equipment for the "The Boardwalk" luxury apartment residents. #amenitiesmatter #waytogetourattention
  • Also a truth: If you want to get in on Austin's Community Salmon Mural Paint Day that is happening on April 2nd, you'd better hurry and sign up on the interest form to be one of the 160 volunteers!

That's it for now, I'll let you sit and digest that for a bit.  Comment away...

PS- it was really tough to not plant something super funny and untrue in there just to mess with you. 




Walking/Eating/Drinking around Kirkland

First and foremost, there is a Kirkland Wine, Beer, and Spirits Walk on April 1st. No April foolin' either. 5-9pm and tickets are on sale now ($30).  You must show your vaccine card upon arrival. Then the fun begins as you start at The Heathman Hotel and walk to the participating merchants for your tasty beverages.  I like how they are stepping it up from a 'wine walk' to a 'wine/beer/spirits' walk.  We are no longer messing around- you have been forewarned. Get your tickets early, these shenanigans always sell out.

Bobaeinterior Bobaedrinks

Another less-tipsy beverage option in downtown Kirkland on Lake St. S  is the new Bobae Coffee & Tea.  This family-owned boba shop focuses on quality ingredients by avoiding artificial powders and syrups and brewing only high-grade teas.  Their ceremonial matcha is from a family farm in Japan and each cup is hand-whisked.  The service was amazing because the person taking my order was super friendly and spent extra time helping me find the right drink.  Since my usual fave, the mango matcha, is not in season yet she convinced me to try their red, white & matcha drink which was delish (photo).    I'll admit I was a little worried when I watched them hand-pour the bright green matcha into my drink wondering if it might taste a little too 'earthy,' but it was spot-on with a nice little strawberry flavor mixed in too.  You can also order from their site here (complete with photos!).  Apparently, their boba doughnuts are pretty famous too, but I didn't get a chance to try them.  There's another great reason to go back! Take note of their days/hours- Open Weds thru Sun 1-8 pm When they are you'll know it by their fans starting to line up on the sidewalk.


Squashed by Sasquatch

Since COVID reared its hideous head a few years back, I've been working out with my usual awesome crew over Zoom from my garage gym.  It's just turned out to be easier over time. But you can imagine our delight to have the opportunity to try out a new fitness spot in Kirkland IN REAL LIFE.  Enter Sasquatch Strength at 126 Central Way in downtown Kirkland where we were invited in for an unexpected butt-kicking at this Crossfit-style gym.   Formerly the location of Bassline Fitness, the space is now filled with new equipment and sectioned off with blue tape on the floors to mark your circuit station (room for about 12 people total).     Upon arrival, you toss your things in a locker, pick your workout space, and then peer up at the digital screens that will deliver your exercise fate for the day.  After collecting up the appropriate equipment and weights you will need, a trainer walks you through a group warm-up of about 10 stretches with bands and varying movements.  We were still smiling and starting to unzip our hoodies at this point.


Then the REAL work began.  I noticed there were only four exercises in the circuit that we were to keep rotating through for 18 minutes.  No problem!  Until I read what they were.  Thirty deadlifts (135/95 lbs), followed by 15 pull-ups (or 5 muscle-ups or pendlay rows), then 16/12 calories on the assault bike or rower, and then another 15 pull-ups (or 5 muscle-ups or pendlay rows).  Ooooof!  Set this entire cycle on repeat for 18 minutes.  I am clearly not the ass-kicker I thought I was because, I can eek out 6-8 pull-ups, but in my entire (cough cough) 30+ years of fitness I could never sustain this series.  Even trying the Pendlay rows was making my back think we were at the deadlift station again. Perhaps this pandemic really did wear me down? Afterward, I was wondering if the other regulars in class did this with ease, and I just didn't see them b/c I was blinded by my own desperation to try to get it done.  Thanks goodness for Scott, the General Manager who was super helpful (in photo w/us), recognized my dilemma and came over with some other equipment to substitute for that killer station.  Alas, I survived.  But now we know why it's called Sasquatch.  Of course, as with any workout, you are in charge of your own destiny and how hard you do or don't push yourself.  Sasquatch welcomes everyone into their community, the staff was friendly and the regulars seemed to have a warm camaraderie. You can book a trial class for free on the Sasquatch website.  


Trending in Houghton

The hot topics this week seem to be trending in Houghton, starting with the tragic closure of Menchie's Froyo in Houghton Plaza.  They wrote a farewell note on Facebook and encouraged us all to come in one last time before they close this Thursday (open 11-8 each day until then).  I hope they have my fave coconut flavor and the little dark chocolate chips this week. 

A little further up the street, we have the controversial La Quinta Inn being purchased by King County and turned into permanent supportive housing.  Our City Manager, Kurt Triplett, has issued a letter to clarify the city's intent, which is to be a good neighbor in the continuum of care for people experiencing homelessness. There is also a page with more details about the project here.  And some colorful community debate in public forums along with a little protest planned for Weds.            

And if all of that stresses you out and you'd prefer to focus on some fun....families on the Eastside (and beyond) are invited to celebrate the Lunar New Year at Kirkland Urban!
Friday, Feb. 11 from 6-8 p.m, come by the Kirkland Urban Plaza to celebrate the Year of the Tiger.

This FREE Lunar New Year celebration will feature:

  • Lion and dragon dances at 6, 7 and 7:30 p.m., performed by Mak Fai Lion Dance
  • A traditional Vietnamese Fan dance at 6:30 p.m.
  • A whimsical lantern display designed by Top Knotch Events
  • Calligraphy by Mak Fai Lion Dance
  • The Year of the Tiger surprise ball giveaways by Wheelhouse promotions
  • Special moments captured by Passion In Movement Videography and Dakota Elizabeth


Wines and Valentine's

Natural Wine
When you put up a "Natural Wine" shop sign in Kirkland's downtown (200 Central Way) you are going to pique some curiosity.  Healthy, sustainable, chemical-free drinking is always a welcomed philosophy at our house! But they aren't ever open.  I think I've stopped by at least four times during posted open hours only to fog up the glass with my breath against the window wondering when they might let me in.  There appears to be wine in there (and ice cream too!?).  Am I being punk'd? Let me in!! Oh, and shoutout to The Grape Choice for being consistently awesome (and open) since the dawn of time. 

Here are some other fun ideas for your sweet February...

The Galentine’s Day Celebration is a special event on Feb 13 from 10-4 pm at the North Kirkland Community Center (tickets $5) that will bring together a group of local, women-owned businesses, to celebrate and support the women in our community. Along with shopping for a special gift from our local vendors, there will be demonstrations and competitions, local musical artists, goodie bags, and giveaways! Reserve your spot today at https://bit.ly/32X1DZE

The new improved and totally on-point Beach Cafe at Carillon Point has a fabulous dinner plan for Valentine's Day ($85/per person).  And they've just fired up their happy hour again from 4-5:30 too.

Hearth at The Heathman likes to spread the love of Valentine's out a bit with their magical menu being offered on Feb 11th, 12th, and 14th from 5-9.  But it fills up fast.  Menu and reservation link here.

Or how about a visit to this new Yuan Spa at The Village at Totem Lake?

You could always send something fun from Lady Yum for Valentine's too!

Feel free to add other events/specials I missed or some of your favorite Valentine's activities in the comments (keepin' in Rated G for all audiences) ~j


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Winners! Congrats to Monique K and Joyce W for commenting on recent social media posts and being selected as the winners of a 2022 'Kirkland Sunsets' desktop calendar created by...me.  I know, dreams do come true.  And...Chicken!  Yeon's Chicken is now OPEN at 214 Central Way where Lynn's Bistro former (next door) location used to be.  I was on a walk, so didn't have a chance to eat there yet, but when I popped my head in they were anxiously awaiting some hungry customers.  It looks super casual/simple/clean and their menu has photos that I find super helpful in my decision-making.  There are a variety of dumplings, rice cakes, noodle dishes, sides, and of course chicken (always wings and drumettes w/different preparations except for the boneless chicken dish) $10-20. Lunch boxes are $16-18 and you can even grab a beer ($6) or glass of wine ($5). I've seen a few Yeon's Chicken fans on social media already so go check them out. Also on Door Dash. Report back here! 425-242-0333, 11am-9pm each day, closed on Sunday.


Small Threads for Kids has Big Deals for Us

 SmallThreadclothes   SmallThreadclothes

Small Threads for Kids is a youth consignment store that opened in Totem Lake (12507 116th Ave NE) three months ago.  The former US Bank building is now bursting at the seams with every color of the rainbow in children's gently used clothes sizes newborn to 16, strollers, bouncy seats, car seats, books, games, stuffies, and more.  This is a great way to upcycle and keep usable items and dollars in our own community.  They are constantly getting new things in so check back often.  Some of the hottest items right now are outerwear, leggings, newborn items (Evergreen is just a skip jump away), and brands such as Janie & Jack, Hannah Andersson, and Mini Boden.  I was impressed that everything is so neat, organized, and well labeled.

SmallThreadclothes   SmallThreadclothes

Have you been staying inside and cleaning out your kids' closets on these rainy days? Excellent.  You can consign 6 items by popping in without an appointment or up to 35 items with an appointment. The split is 60 % (Small Threads)/ 40% (your wallet) and stays on the rack for up to 60 days at which time unsold items can be returned or donated.  Hours are Mon-Fri 9:30am-6 pm and Sat 10-5 (closed Sunday). There are also locations in Issaquah, Redmond, and soon-to-be Mill Creek. I'm a little sad that Small Threads didn't show up a few years ago when my kids were growing out of their clothes every three months.  For those of you in that phase, this will be a winner! 

What is a 'normal' year anymore?

Sunset calendar
Here it is...2022! What do you think so far? With all of the added snow/ice and an uptick in Omicron and shifting circumstances, I am relying on my hard-earned resilience as I strive to stay positive. So, let's start this post off with something fun!? A present! 

For the last two years, I have created a desk calendar of Kirkland sunsets (mostly from home or on my walks) because it was interesting to see how varying the same view could be on different days.  Find my sunset post on the Kirkland Blog's Facebook or Insta Account and share three things you are grateful for to be entered to win one of my special-made Kirkland Sunset Calendars! If you're in Kirkland I'll even hand-deliver it. Please respond by Friday....and don't forget to give me a follow! Social media is where you'll find the extra tidbits, like videos of all the local lunatics that jumped in Lake WA on Jan 1st that nobody should miss.

Also, if you're still looking for your COVID vax or booster, the new Bartell Drugs (and KBlog advertiser, woot!) in Kirkland has availability and you can make appointments here.  

Final cheers to 2022 for taking its thoughtful time to hold us upright, slow, and steady in getting back on track where everything isn't an extenuating circumstance, cancellation, or hair-on-fire emergency. #comebackyear #prettyplease

Polar Plunge on 1/22 + Extra Ice Please

Polar plunge2022
With all of our children on the same holiday break, our family escaped to the warm beaches of Waikiki for a little sunshine this Christmas.  Imagine our surprise when we returned to all of this snow! Brrr! We looked a little silly exiting SeaTac in our flip-flops and shorts in 20-degree weather.  This immediately made me dread the severity of the impending Polar Plunge 'cleansing' that typically takes place on January 1st each year in Marina Park.  Hundreds of crazy locals rush towards the frigid waters of Lake Washington to shock their systems into a reset for the new year.  This has always been an unsanctioned event that has taken on a life of its own, an unwritten yet beloved tradition of Kirklanders.   But then I found this!

Kirkland Patch has reported that Kirkland Parks & Community Services will host a "January Jump" on Jan 22nd at Houghton Beach Park, complete with trivia, prizes, games, contests, food trucks, and free clam chowder courtesy of Ivar's.  Despite the New Year's tardiness (as we've become generally accustomed to during this pandemic), it sounds like we are really elevating our game.   If you want in on the action, you will have to register online in advance for $5 or pay $10 on the event day,  and you can also receive a t-shirt ($15 advanced reg) to recognize your insanity bravery. Proceeds benefit the Recreation Scholarship Fund.  And in true 2020/2021/2022 (!!?) fashion, there will also be a virtual option ($10) that sounds cozy, albeit symbolically unfulfilling. Registration link is on the Kirkland Parks Website or you can call 425-587-3336.  

Can I get this body bathing suit ready by the 22nd? That's a tall order. Will the sun come out and warm up the lake so I don't have a heart attack that day?  Also doubtful.  But I could use a shock to the system.  A little wake up call of sorts.  Whichever day you decide (or not) to take the LEAP, let's make this a great, well ok I'd setttle for just 'better', 2022.  Love you Kirkland. xo