Jak's Grill with Jim and Lynne Zeller: Drove out to Issaquah on Sunday night with the idea of having dinner with Jim and Lynne at Sushiman on Gilman Blvd (more on Sushiman later in the post). But they were closed for Easter, so we met at Jak's on Front Street instead, which turned out to be a great choice. Started in Issaquah in 1996 they now have 3 locations (Laurelhurst and West Seattle). They serve wet or dry aged beef at reasonable prices. They have a good wine list with excellent wines by the glass. The room has a good buzz/hum without being impossible to have a conversation with the person across the table from you. We had a great dinner (I had the steak salad which was very good) with good conversations getting caught up on the news of mutual friends and offspring. As much as storefronts on Front Street in Issaquah have turned over in the last 10 years it was great to see a survivor doing well (or as well as can be in this economic climate)
Las Margaritas with Jim and Sharon Hoel: Another Front Street survivor, our old favorite for Mexican food in the area. They've spruced up the interior, put in a "cantina" side, installed some great murals, and expanded their menu with good results. As always very good food with good portion sizes (speaking of portion sizes, my margarita was HUGE).
12th Avenue Cafe
Had breakfast/lunch at the 12th Avenue Cafe a long standing favorite for Issaquah diners seeking a great breakfast for a reasonable price and good comfort food for lunch and dinner. We originally went to the 12th Avenue cafe when it was actually on 12th Avenue in a peculiar round building with a pointy top. Its decor (then and now) was accented with photos and memorabilia of aviation, a nod to the time when there was an airport in old Issaquah at 148th street. Their pancakes and bacon are divine. Yaric's clam chowder was very good and his chili hamburger was...well...he had to eat it with a fork and knife...excellent. The 12th Avenue Cafe is now located in the shopping center off of Gilman that houses the Target.
Sushiman with Randy Holeman
We finally got to Sushiman (on Gilman in Issaquah) when we had lunch with Sensei Randy Holeman (our karate instructor when we attended the Karate West school of Shudokan style karate). We had a delightful time with Randy getting caught up on news from the dojo and his families life. The sushi was good but not as good as we remembered from our years in Issaquah. The California Roll was excellent. But the crunch roll was way to0 salty. The eel was a little over cooked. The yellowtail was tasty but bizarrely cut. And there was virtually no one there for lunch..no one. I know times are hard and sushi is expensive but I was surprised.
Back in Time (for School) - Arbor
We drove out on Friday to visit Jason's elementary school (Arbor Montessori Schools) which he attended from 1st to through 4th grades. We met with mary o'brien who started the school and although semi-retired is still quite a presence there. Evan Flay (one of Jason's classmates) joined us too. It was quite the walk down memory lane as they've made many improvements and expansions over the years. But the core and the spirit of the place remains the same. Such lovely memories. Mary's oldest son Sean (who was a few years ahead of Jason) is back doing his student teaching. That was an amazing experience...we hadn't seen Sean in 10 probably...he was 15 then...now he's teaching!
Walk around Mirror Lakes
Drove out one day to Tiger Mountain and Maple Valley to drive by our old houses and visit neighbors and our very favorite dentist of all times (Dr. Danny Rude, Maple Valley). We were in luck and both Peggy W and Mo R (some of our old neighbors were home). We visited and once again admired the beauty of the MirrorLake Pond. Took a walk around the pond and went by our old house (where once again more trees have gotten taken down, must admit it does let in more sun...but I loved those trees by the lake).
Black Diamond Bakery (donuts and other good stuff)
When we discovered that the old bakery and donut shop in Maple Valley is no more, we drove out to Black Diamond to the Black Diamond Bakery for donuts, muffins, and cookies. The historic bakery (established in 1902 in a building that is still part of the modern day bakery/restaurant) was and is famous for its bread baked in a brick kiln. We often went there for breakfasts (which they are famous for and has caused more than one expansion over the years). The donuts are still perfection...truly homemade...cake (not raised) with delicious rich frostings (not too sweet).
Fischer Bros Meats in Issaquah. Established in 1910 and owned and operated by experienced butchers this has always been the best place for quality meats. They have, hands down/no questions asked, THE BEST jerky (beef and turkey) anywhere on the planet. We always have to go by and get some when we are in town. Our friend Kim, swears by the bacon burger meat (with the bacon ground up in the ground round) yummm... We went by and got jerky enjoying the smoky wonderful smell of the shop and grateful to see "bear" still sitting on a seat near the window where it has sat for at least 15 years...Jason used to love to play with bear whenever we visit when he was younger.