You Can Sleep in the Fall

By Monica Fischer
Meydenbauer Beach Park by Merrill Images

The Pacific Northwest is known for its active inhabitants, hearty enough to brave any weather condition with a little Gortex and a lot of determination. But when the long, light days of summer finally arrive, even we sometimes surprise ourselves with our zest for getting out there!

We’re all too aware that shorter days will arrive before we know it, so we take advantage of every last minute of daylight— jogging, boating, dancing, biking, eating, drinking, golfing and cheering our favorite teams!

Bellevue Strawberry FestivalWe don’t have nearly enough space to mention all of the wonderful things taking place this summer, so be sure to check our events calendar for more fun.

If you’re the festive type, mark your calendar for the Main Street Choc Walk (May 30), the Bellevue Strawberry Festival (June 27-28), the Bellevue Arts Fair (July 24-26) and the Taste of Main (August 22). Music lovers should take note of Bellevue’s Live at Lunch performances, as well as outdoor concert series at Chateau Ste. Michelle and Marymoor Park.

Sports fans will head to the pitch for Seattle Sounders FC and Seattle Reign soccer matches, the ballpark for Seattle Mariners baseball games or Key Arena for Seattle Storm basketball games. And as summer stretches into fall, football fans by the carload—and boatload—will flock to Century Link Field for Seahawks games and Husky Stadium for UW football games.

For those who would rather participate than spectate, Bellevue offers the Lake to Lake Bike Ride (June 13) and nearby Kirkland introduces the Sounders Rave Green Run, a 9K at Juanita Beach Park.

Bellevue Outdoor Movies - Credit Bellevue Parks & Community Services - Colin WalkerYou still have free time?! In that case, we suggest tours at the Bellevue Botanical Garden, a visit to the farmers market, Movies in the Park, or an unforgettable Independence Day celebration with your kids—and your dogs—at Bellevue Family 4th and Four on the 4th Dog Jog and Walk.

And last but not least, raise a toast to your fabulous Northwest summer while you sample Washington’s award-winning wines at one of Woodinville’s many wineries, at Kirkland Uncorked (July 17-19) or the Auction of Washington Wines (Aug. 13-15). And if your brain is still buzzing with wonderful memories after you leave Bellevue, take heart: There will be plenty of time to sleep in October.

 

 Photo Credits: Girl eating shortcake courtesy Bellevue Strawberry Festival; Bellevue Outdoor Movies in the Park courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Colin Walker
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Dining with a Side of Sunshine

By Monica Fischer

Outdoor Dining in Bellevue, Washington - 520 Bar & Grill Patio

Photo Courtesy 520 Bar & Grill

It’s a sure sign that summer has arrived in Bellevue: chairs and tables start popping up on city sidewalks and patios—and diners in search of fabulous fare with a side of Vitamin D soon follow. We may not have reached Paris’ critical mass when it comes to outdoor dining, but we have certainly adopted that city’s love of gathering ‘round the table at twilight to share great cuisine and conversation.

In alphabetical order, here are 10 local eateries that feature al fresco dining—and just a brief little blurb about why we think the sun rises and sets over their friendly patios.

1. 520 Bar & Grill

10146 Main St. | 425.450.0520 | 520barandgrill.com

520 Bar & Grill Bellevue Front Patio Outdoor SeatingWhat we love: The pretty patio

There’s no better place in Bellevue to take a load off. 520 Bar & Grill might be better known for sports and spirits, but its serene, secluded patio is an even better antidote to the stress of the day.

 

 

2. 99 Park

99 102nd Ave. NE | 425.999.3991 | 99park-restaurant.com

99 Park Restaurant Bellevue Patio Outdoor Dining AreaWhat we love: Everything!

We have 99 problems, but the Park ain’t one. This recent arrival is a breath of fresh air, and from the delicious food to the friendly staff to the welcoming patio with a view of Bellevue Downtown Park, we can’t find a single thing wrong with it.

 

 

3. Bake’s Place

155 108th Ave. NE | 425.454.2776 | bakesplacebellevue.com

Bake's Place Bellevue Outdoor Dining Patio Area with Live BandWhat we love: Live music

Hey, what’s that sound? If you hear cool jazz wafting on the breeze of a hot night, follow the tune to Bake’s Place. It’s one of the region’s best-known venues for live music, and the spacious, festively lit patio means the more, the merrier.

 

 

4. The Crab Pot

2 Lake Bellevue Drive | 425.455.2244 | crabpotbellevue.com

Crab-Pot-Bellevue-Flickr-User-Michael-Kwan-cropWhat we love: Bellevue’s other lake

Lake Washington gets all the press, but Bellevue is home to its very own charming body of water. You need look no farther than downtown’s Crab Pot for outdoor dining next to the lapping, though admittedly smaller, waves of Lake Bellevue.

 

 

5. Daniel’s Broiler

10500 NE 8th St. | 425.462.4662 | schwartzbros.com

View across Lake Washington from Daniel's Broiler Outdoor Patio in BellevueWhat we love: The view

Daniel’s could serve stale leftovers and we’d be so awed by the spectacular view of Lake Washington, the Seattle skyline and the Olympic Mountains that we wouldn’t even notice. Fortunately, they serve stellar steaks, seafood and seasonal dishes, instead. We call that the icing on the cake.

 

 

6. Food Trucks

Barnes & Noble/Bellevue Galleria, 600 106th Ave. NE and various locations

What we love: Variety

We’ve sworn our sovereignty to the United Nations of food trucks parked without glitz in the middle of downtown Bellevue. Keep the peace in your group by letting everyone pick their favorite daily special, then head to Bellevue Downtown Park or one of the many small plazas scattered across downtown to enjoy the multi-cultural bounty. (Plan ahead with this handy locator.)

 7. Gilbert’s on Main

10024 Main Street | 425.455.5650 | gilbertsonmain.com

Gilberts-Eggs-Rodolfo-What we love: Breakfast

Bring your appetite, your kids and your shopping list, but please leave your impatience at home. Conveniently nestled among Main Street’s bustling shops, Gilbert’s is wildly popular on the weekends, so you’ll wait a bit for those delicious, perfectly prepared Eggs Rodolfo. Trust us, they’re worth it!

 

8. Local Burger

10134 Main Street | 425.454.8559 | localburger.org

LocalBurger_PatioWhat we love: Um, hello? The burgers!

“We believe in sustainability, not as an abstract concept, but as a conscious daily choice…” Oh, I’m sorry, Local Burger, were you saying something? I couldn’t hear you over my Peanut Butter Bacon Cheeseburger and side of fried pumpkin seeds. Props for your focus on local, sustainable food, though.

 

 9. Lot No. 3

460 106th Ave. NE | 425.440.0025 | lotno3.com

Lot No. 3 in Bellevue Outdoor Bar Seating AreaWhat we love: Sunset happy hour

Got a date? Or a pressing need to let off some steam with co-workers? Lot No. 3 is your go-to. Take a seat at the outdoor pub tables that face 106th Avenue NE—and the setting sun. It’s a casual, convivial joint where comfort food—like melty grilled cheese sandwiches—seems suddenly, superbly hip.

 

10. Suite

Hyatt Regency Hotel Wintergarden Plaza, 10500 NE 8th St., Suite 125 | 425.679.6951 |suitebellevue.com

Suite Restaurant / Lounge Bellevue Outdoor Patio AreaWhat we love: The scene

Jimmy Choo, Tory Burch and Alexander Wang walk into a bar… OK, that didn’t happen, but if it did, it would have happened at Suite, a posh lounge in perfect step with Bellevue’s fun-seeking fashionistas.

 

 

Of course, this list is just the tip of the iceberg! New opportunities to dine in the sun and under the stars pop up all the time in Bellevue. For more sidewalk seating, decks and patios, visit our outdoor dining guide.

 

Photo Credits: 1. Courtesy 520 Bar & Grill 2. Shilohanne Photography, Courtesy 99 Park 3. Courtesy Bake’s Place 4.  Michael-Kwan via Flickr 5.  Courtesy Daniel’s Broiler 6. Chris Dunham 7. Courtesy gilbertsonmain.com 8. Courtesy Local Burger 9. Courtesy Lot No. 3 10. Jajapuya Photography, Courtesy Suite Restaurant/Lounge.
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It’s Better on the Water

By Monica Fischer
A picturesque view of Mount Rainier from Lake Washington. Photo by Vectorbug via Flickr.

Three hundred and sixty five days a year, life in the Pacific Northwest revolves around water. From our ferry system and our active boating community to our fishing industry and trademark floating bridges, water defines our way of life.

But in summer, our seafaring kicks into high gear, and Lake Washington and Puget Sound become premier destinations for sailing, swimming and paddling. The mercury has barely nicked 60, and already we’re floating our boats and splashing our toes at local lakes, pool and beaches.

BOATINGBoating on Lake Washington - Credit Sharon Linton (5) & CRUISING

Have a boat? Pack a picnic and your sunscreen and head to one of Bellevue’s boat launches. You’ll need to grab a free permit from the kiosk at the Phantom Lake Non-Motorized Boat Launch; boating is allowed only during daylight hours. From the Sweyolocken Boat Launch, you can drag your non-motorized boat directly into the Mercer Slough, then paddle south to Lake Washington, or north through the peaceful, wildlife-filled 320-acre wetland park. You’ll need a permit to park and set off from the SE 40th Street Boat Launch, which features one lane for launching, one lane for retrieving, and about 65 parking spaces.

You’ll also find 14 slips of visitor moorage (8 a.m.-9 p.m. daily) located between piers 2 and 3 at the Bellevue Marina at Meydenbauer Bay, just a few blocks from Main Street. Four hours gives you plenty of time to explore Old Bellevue, shop at Bellevue Square or go for a stroll at Bellevue Downtown Park.

Need a boat? Enjoy all the fun and none of the hassle with a boat rental from Yarrow Bay Marina. As long as you’re at least 25-years-old, you can rent a boat for a few hours, or all day.

If you have just 90 minutes to take in the splendor of Lake Washington, spend them on the scenic and informative Argosy Cruises Lake Washington Cruise Tour (departs Kirkland City Dock May 23-Sept. 7). You’ll enjoy views of Mount Rainier, Husky Stadium and some of the most impressive homes in the region, along with tales of our local bridges and high-tech luminaries.

FISHING

Man Fishing Enatai Beach Park - Photo Courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services - Stuart Heath

Angling for a productive day on Lake Washington? Let our waterfront city parks lure you to their docks and beaches. Fishing—primarily for trout, bass and perch—is welcome at Chism Beach Park, Clyde Beach Park, Enatai Beach Park, Meydenbauer Beach Park,and Newcastle Beach Park.

Fishing is also allowed at Larsen Lake and Phantom Lake located at Lake Hills Greenbelt Park.

If you’re looking for a more instructional experience with your guppies, check out Fishing for an Experience, a local company offering guided trout-fishing trips for kids and their parents. Tours are available through September 30.

KAYAKING & SUP

LR-3713

There isn’t a better way to soak in the Puget Sound region than sitting in a kayak or canoe, or standing on a paddleboard, and Cascade Paddlesports at Enatai Beach Park is standing by May through September to outfit you for either activity. From Enatai, you can choose to paddle out around Lake Washington or up through the Mercer Slough canal.

On sparkling, 7-mile-long Lake Sammamish, about 9 miles east of downtown Bellevue, Issaquah Paddle Sports can also equip you with kayaks, stand-up paddleboards and pedal boats. Pack a picnic and explore the 512-acre park—which features a salmon-bearing creek and a great-blue-heron rookery—after your paddle.

If stand-up paddleboarding has you under its spell, be sure to plan a visit to Bellevue for September 12, when Round the Rock, the biggest SUP event in the Pacific Northwest, sets off from Newcastle Beach Park. Experienced competitors race 13 miles around Mercer Island, while less advanced paddlers race 3.5 miles off the shore of the park.

SWIMMING

Chism-Beach-Park---Photo-by-Stuart-Heath,-Courtesy-Bellevue-Parks-&-Community-Services-sm

Of course, the easiest and most carefree way to enjoy Lake Washington is to simply jump in! In summer, the lake warms up to the mid-60s, making it the perfect place to cool off. You’ll find family-friendly swimming at Chism Beach Park, Clyde Beach Park, Enatai Beach Park, Meydenbauer Beach Park and Newcastle Beach Park.

 SEAFAIR

Seafair-Hydroplane-Bellevue-Skyline---Credit-Gary-BabcockIMG_4450-sm

We love our seafaring lifestyle so much that we hold a huge festival every year to pay tribute to it. We call it Seafair, and it takes place all summer long, culminating in a glorious weekend (Aug. 1-2, 2015) of air shows and hydroplane races. There’s also a triathlon July 19, which offers swimmers another great opportunity to show off their strokes.

WHALE WATCHING

Whales 3 - Courtesy Puget Sound Express

Great news! While there are no whales to be found in Lake Washington, you can see them in Puget Sound, and the folks from Puget Sound Express would be happy to introduce you. Guaranteed (your next trip is free if you don’t spot any whales) 4.5-hour tours depart daily from Edmonds, a pretty seaside community just 22 miles northwest of Bellevue.

 

Photo Credits: Wake Boarding Lake Washington courtesy Sharon Linton; Enatai Fishing Dock courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Stuart Heath; Kayaking Mercer Slough courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Colin Walker; Chism Beach Park courtesy Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Stuart Heath; Seafair Hydroplane with Bellevue Skyline courtesy Seafair / Gary Babcock; Orca Whale courtesy Puget Sound Express Whale Watching
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Tee Time

By Andrew Collins | This article originally appeared in the 2015 Bellevue Visitor Guide.

The Golf Club at Newcastle. Photo by Jigar Brahmbhatt.

The local golf scene is abuzz this year, as Chambers Bay Golf Course, about 50 miles southwest of Bellevue, hosts the prestigious U.S. Open the week of June 15–21, 2015. This is just the third public course to play host and marks the first time the tournament has been held in the Pacific Northwest.

That’s right, you can actually test your mettle at this wavy, windswept “links” course that esteemed golf architect Robert Trent Jones Jr. designed in 2007. To play this stunning 950-plus-acre layout overlooking Puget Sound, call well in advance or check the online booking calendar. Greens fees are $115 on this walking-only course (motorized carts aren’t available), which is about a 75-minute drive from Bellevue via Interstate 5.

You’ll find several terrific public courses within a short drive of downtown. On the northeast side of town, the meticulously groomed Bellevue Golf Course has 18 holes. This municipal facility doesn’t play especially long (it’s just more than 6,000 yards from the blue tees), but the stately evergreens lining many of the fairways present plenty of challenges. You can hone your driving skills on the practice range, or finesse your short game at the nearby nine-hole executive layout, Crossroads Par 3.

Set high on a bluff 10 miles southeast of Bellevue, The Golf Club at Newcastle is famous for its grand 44,000-square-foot clubhouse, which affords guests commanding views of Lake Washington and Mount Rainier; its two first-class layouts, Coal Creek and China Creek; and its putting course. The on-site Calcutta Grill and its English-style pub rank among the celebrated dining venues of any golf course in the Pacific Northwest.

Just northeast of town in Redmond, Willows Run Golf Complex offers golfing experiences for every skill level, including an exacting 18-hole putting course, a kid-approved nine-hole par-3 course, and two full-length links-style tracks. Of the latter two layouts, Eagle’s Talon plays longer than adjacent Coyote Creek, but water comes into play frequently on both courses, rewarding both precision and steady nerves. An added bonus: you can often spot wildlife, ranging from coyotes to bald eagles, at this leafy complex. A little farther north, just outside the wine-country town of Woodinville, Echo Falls Golf Club has developed a charmed reputation for its tricky dogleg fairways and one of the most memorable 18th holes of any public course in the state. Bring your A game—this picturesque but treacherous par-3 requires a solid mid-iron to an undulating island green.

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Get Artsy in Bellevue

PublicArtMam-kiya by Julie Spiedel, Photo courtesy City of Bellevue.

Even if the last thing you made was a hand turkey in elementary school for Thanksgiving, these Bellevue activities are sure to inspire the artist inside everyone.

1.) Explore Bellevue’s Public Art Sculptures

PublicArt2

Bellevue’s Public Art Program believes that “art should be where the people are,” and it shows. With nearly 130 works of public art, downtown Bellevue bursts at the seams with creative beauty for everyone to enjoy. Feel free to plan your walk ahead of time or amble aimlessly through the town. When, where, and how you want to explore Bellevue’s public art sculptures is entirely up to you!

 

2.) Make a sand castle at Enatai

Enatai

Sometimes the best art comes in simple packages. Channel your inner-child and create the sand castle of your dreams at Enatai Beach Park. And when your masterpiece is finished, rinse off in Lake Washington with a beautiful view of Mount Rainier in the distance. With a boathouse, fishing dock, play area, and a designated swim area, Enatai has something for everyone.

 

3.) Instagram latte art at Cafe Cesura

Cesura

Hey, Instagram is art, too. Is your Instagram looking a little dull? Not a problem. Spice up your Instagram game with some exquisite latte art at Café Cesura. Your drink won’t just look good, it will taste good, too. If lattes aren’t your style but you still want something to fuel your own creativity, they’ve got a variety of specialty coffees and artisanal teas to enjoy.

 

 

 

4.) Design your own shoes at Nordstrom Shoes of Prey

ShoesOfPrey

Do you love shoes? Have you always had a design for the perfect shoe in your head but lacked the resources to make it? You now have a creative outlet at Nordstrom Shoes of Prey. Stop on by our very own Bellevue location and get to work. You choose the shape, color and height of your shoes, and Shoes of Prey makes them within five weeks.

 

 

 

5.) Watch an aerial arts show at Suite Restaurant/Lounge

AerialArts

Human bodies are capable of an extraordinary artistry of their own—see for yourself at Suite Restaurant/Lounge. Starting at 8:30pm every Friday and Saturday, they host choreographed aerial performances by Seattle Aerial Arts. Enjoy a spectacular showcase of strength, flexibility, and grace while dining on culinary cuisine from their chef created menu.

6.) Taste Artisan-quality Chocolate on the Main Street Choc Walk

If you’re a lover of chocolate, you know that a bite of perfectly-crafted chocolate can be an experience of high art. And when you pair local chocolate with local wine…it’s like the Sistine Chapel for your taste buds. On Saturday, May 30, nibble and sip your way down Main Street in Old Bellevue for one of the tastiest artistic experiences in Bellevue. Guests will also enjoy live music and a DJ at Veritables. Valet parking will be available for $5 in the parking lot between Belle Pastry and Veritables on Main Street. Click here to purchase tickets.

 

 

Photo of The Root by Dan Corson, courtesy of the City of Bellevue, all other photos from top to bottom courtesy of Café Cesura, Nordstrom Shoes of Prey, Suite Restaurant/Lounge, and Shavari via Flickr.
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Five Ways to Wet Your Palette in Bellevue

Week2

Tired of the same old drink at the same old bar? Shake things up at these local hotspots in Bellevue and nearby communities.

 

1. Have social hour by the fire at Scotty Browns

ScottyBrowns

Summer is coming—what better way to appreciate the warm weather than to have a few drinks on the large outdoor patio at Scotty Browns during social hour? Take a break, cozy up next to one of the fire pits with your favorite beverage and enjoy the sleek views of downtown Bellevue. Scotty Browns hosts social hour every day from 3 to 6pm and 10pm to close.

 

2. Half-Price Whiskey Wednesday at Bar Code

BarCode

For all the whiskey-lovers among us, Bar Code is the place to be on Wednesday night, when every single whiskey on their large menu is half the normal price. Whether you’re a serious whiskey aficionado or have never tasted a drop, Half-Price Whiskey Wednesday at Bar Code is the perfect time to indulge something new. And if you’re in the mood for a bold cocktail, they offer a tasty cocktail of the month.

 

3. Aged cocktails at Monsoon East

MonsoonEast

Pair some of Washington’s finest Vietnamese cuisine with an adventurous barrel-aged cocktail at Monsoon East—though the cocktails are special enough to come for alone. Crafted from fresh ingredients and aged in-house, you will never forget these perfectly blended, one-of-a-kind cocktails. Renowned for pushing boundaries in new and exciting ways, Monsoon East may surprise you with a new favorite drink. Not sure where to begin? Take it from Jon Christiansen, Beverage Manager at Monsoon East, and try one of his current top picks: Tea for the Swillerman—made with whiskey white dog, Brovo witty vermouth, and black tea aged in a honeyed rye barrel—or the Swirling Dirvish—made with whiskey white dog, Brovo 11 amaro, Dolin genepy, cocoa nib and coffee bean, aged in a rye whiskey barrel. Happy hour is Sunday through Thursday, 3pm to 6pm and 9pm to close.

 

4. Pair wine with bocce ball at Novelty Hill-Januik Winery in Woodinville

NoveltyHill

Certain wines may only go well with certain foods, but all wine goes well with bocce ball. Sip on a wine from Washington’s finest winemaker, play bocce ball by the shade of ash trees, and stroll the beautifully manicured grounds that blur the lines between nature and architecture. Open from 11am to 5pm daily, Novelty Hill-Januik Winery is as much an experience as it is a destination. Located in Woodinville, just under a half-an-hour from Bellevue, Novelty Hill-Januik Winery is well worth the trip.

 

5. Learn how to brew beer at Geaux Brewing

GeauxBrewery

Would you rather make your own drink? This is a class you won’t want to skip. If you’ve always dreamed of home-brewing but didn’t know how to start, Geaux Brewing offers brewing classes where you can get your hands dirty learning about the age-old craft of beer. Bring some friends along and let your creativity flow. Classes and prices are announced on their Twitter and Facebook feeds. Be prepared to get messy.

(Images from top to bottom courtesy of Novelty Hill-Januik Winery, Scotty Browns, Bar Code, Geoff Smith @ LookatLao, Novelty Hill-Januik Winery, and Geaux Brewing)

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Outdoor Adventures Around Bellevue

HummingbirdA hummingbird spotted at Mercer Slough Nature Park. Photo by Charles Higgins via Flickr.

Why not get outdoors and enjoy some fresh air? Take in all of the breathtaking views and adventures that Bellevue and its surrounding areas have to offer!

1.) Enjoy an Afternoon with the Pup At Robinswood Park

VBW 1Robinswood Park has something to offer everyone! Have a picnic and enjoy all of your favorite springtime activities from letting the dog run around the off-leash area to hiking one of the scenic trails. This park is also great for children as the playground allows for hours of fun, and not to mention the Robinswood pond area is a great place for little ones to explore various insects and plant life.

 

2.) Hike to a Waterfall at Cougar Mountain

VBW 2There is no better way to celebrate spring than by taking a short trip to Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park. Take in the fresh air and hike to Coal Creek Falls. This trail is perfect for anyone looking for an easy, family friendly adventure. The trail is home to many unique trees and wildflower species. Not only will you get to see the gorgeous waterfall but you will also be walking on a piece of history. As you make your way to the falls, you will get to see the remnants of Cougar Mountain’s busy mining times. The large “cave holes” that you will notice were formed by miners. Gorgeous views and intriguing history, what more could you ask for on an adventure?

3.) Spot a Blue Heron at Mercer Slough

VBW 3Enjoy a peaceful canoe or kayak ride through the slough at Mercer Slough Nature Park. You can launch your human-powered watercraft at the Sweyolocken Boat Launch located within the park. Don’t have a kayak or canoe? You can rent one from the boathouse at Enatai Beach Park on Saturdays and Sundays! If you aren’t up for the paddling, venture through the park on foot along one of the many trails and boardwalks. While gliding over the tranquil waters of the slough or walking the boardwalk, take in intriguing views of the various wildlife forms that reside there. See if you can spot blue Herons, bald eagles, beavers, otters, and so much more!

4.) Cycle on the I-90 Trail

VBW 4Soak up all of the great Pacific Northwest sunshine while cycling the I-90 trail. Grab a rental from Gregg’s Bellevue Cycle and go over the East Channel Bridge and the floating Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge. Bicyclists can navigate two parks and take in amazing views of Lake Washington. The trail will take bicyclists to Mercer Island but you can also continue on the trail to Seattle as well. Total mileage from Bellevue to Seattle is ten miles. Parking is available at several locations including Enatai Beach Park at SE Lake Road.

5.) Listen to Bagpipes at The Golf Club at Newcastle

VBW 5The Golf Club at Newcastle offers a 36- hole course with remarkable views of Lake Washington, Mt. Rainier, the Olympic and Cascade Mountains, and the Seattle skyline! What better way to end an eventful sunshine-filled day than to enjoy the mesmerizing sounds of Bagpiper Neil Hubbard at The Golf Club at Newcastle? Savor delicious eats and drinks at The Calcutta Grill as you take in the extraordinary tunes of Neil Hubbard! Not only can you get great eats, drinks, and wonderful music at the golf club but you can also take in the breathtaking view of a Seattle sunset. Catch Neil May 1st through August 23rd at 8:00 pm!

(Image courtesy of tuelekza at FreeDigitalPhotos.net, 2. Photo Courtesy of Khan Klatt via Flickr 3. Image Courtesy of Bellevue Parks & Community Services / Colin Walker, 4. Photo Courtesy of Gene Bisbee via Flickr)

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Burgers or Bust: Bellevue Burger Round-Up

The Pacific Northwest may be renowned for fresh seafood and ethnic eats, but Bellevue also knows how to dish up delicious burgers like nobody’s business. Whether you are looking for an extravagant experience or a quick bite to eat, Bellevue has a burger for every occasion. From the classics to over-the-top creations, here are a few can’t-miss picks from some of our dining spots around town.

1. Wagyu Burger

Pearl-Bar-Dining-Bellevue-Wagyu-Burger

Get it at: Pearl Bar & Dining

The deets: Half pound of char-grilled Custom-ground Wagyu chuck, toasted Macrina roll, Tillamook cheddar, crispy-fried onions, house-made aioli, lettuce and tomato. Served with house-cut fries.

Why we love it: Pearl’s Executive Chef, Bradley Dickinson, says it best, “You can’t find this combination of quality, local ingredients at this price anywhere else!”

2. The Morning After Burger

Morning-After-Burger-Tap-House-Grill

Get it at: Tap House Grill

The deets: A signature blended burger patty with beef and bacon ground together topped with Fireball bacon, Gruyere cheese, slow roasted cipollini onions and a fried egg with chipotle aioli.

Why we love it:  As if the name itself isn’t reason enough to order one up, this burger is made of 50% ground beef and 50% ground bacon. Plus, who doesn’t want to mix things up with a fresh grilled egg to top it off?  Oh, and did we mention there are always 160+ beers on tap. Can you say, “perfect pair”?

3. New York Burger

El-Gaucho---new-York-Burger-2

Get it at: El Gaucho

The deets: New York Steak Burger served with piquillo peppers, hazelnut aioli, Roquefort cheese and arugula.

Why we love it: It’s all in the experience. If there’s one thing we can be certain about it is that any and every dining experience at El Gaucho is sure to feature only the finest ingredients and dishes prepared to perfection. An evening of El Gaucho’s theater-like ambiance and attentive table side service are sure to make you feel like a star.

4. 520 Burger

520-burger---520-Bar-&-Grill-2

Get it at: 520 Bar & Grill

The deets: A juicy 1/2 lb beef patty served on an onion bun with cheddar or swiss cheese. Available toppings include: fresh onion, tomato, lettuce, avocado, bacon, ketchup, yellow mustard, mayo, chipotle mayo, and dijon mustard. Each burger is accompanied with thick cut steak fries or a caesar salad.

Why we love it: Every guest is sure to feel welcome and at home the minute they step into Bellevue’s favorite neighborhood bar, 520 Bar & Grill. When the sun comes out, 520’s outdoor garden patio is a great place to relax and unwind. Plus, we love that this burger comes with all toppings served on the side so you can build your burger just the way you like it.

5. James West Burger

Lunchbox-Laboratory-James-West-BurgerGet it at: Lunchbox Laboratory

The deets: Kobe beef blended patty seasoned with house blended cowboy steak rub, honey cured bacon, guajillo cream cheese, Papa’s BBQ sauce,  and fried onion rings, served on a lightly toasted organic bun.

Why we love it: Named after Will Smith’s character in the hilariously awful 1999 film “Wild Wild West” The James West Burger is the classic western burger taken to a whole new level of deliciousness. This mound of goodness will take you back to cooking out under the stars in the old west.

6. The Burger

Get it at: Skillet Street Food

The deets:  Grass fed beef, bacon jam, bleu/brie cheese, and arugula on a brioche bun.

Why we love it: This burger is balanced. The sweet balsamic brown sugar bacon jam and the creamy bleu and brie cheese bring out a blend of flavors that pair well with the grass fed beef patty.  The brioche bun is hardy enough to handle the juicy burger and the arugula gives a bit of a crunch to each bite.

7.  Kobe Burger

Suite-Restaurant-Kobe-Burger

Get it at: Suite Restaurant / Lounge

The deets: 8 oz. Kobe beef patty, Beecher’s Flagship cheddar cheese, Suite special sauce, lettuce, tomato, red onion, Macrina ciabatta bun with optional pepper bacon as an addition.

Why we love it: You’re sure to feel sleek and stylish when dining at Suite. The restaurant boasts a classy, swanky environment complete with chandeliers, white leather couches, and weekend aerial arts performances.  Plus, any burger topped with Beecher’s cheese is sure impress.

8. Juicy Lucy

juicy-lucy-1--john-howie-steakGet it at: John Howie Steak

The deets: The Juicy Lucy is available during lunch only and is a 60/40 blend of ground prime chuck mixed with kurobota bacon, stuffed with sharp New York cheddar and Monterey Jack cheeses and served on a house-made sweet roll. The 8-ounce patty is cooked over a mesquite and finished with caramelized onion jam mayonnaise and crispy fried onions.

Why we love it: This burger is just exploding with goodness. As if a patty made from gourmet kurobota bacon (from highly prized Japanese Berkshire pigs) wasn’t enough, the inside is stuffed with Grafton Village white cheddar and Monterey jack cheeses! We weren’t surprised for a second when we heard that msn.com and Thrillist both named the Juicy Lucy the best burger in Washington state.

9. Royale with Cheese

Earl's Kitchen & Bar - Royale Burger with Cheese

Get it at: Earls Kitchen & Bar

The deets: Hand smashed beef patty with house-made beer cheese melted over top. Premium house-made condiments, smoky bacon, sweet roasted onions and savory roasted Portobello mushrooms sandwiched in between a cheese crusted bun.

Why we love it: Ketchup and mustard are a thing of the past. We can’t get enough of Earl’s tempting house-made sauces that enhance every bite and create an original experience for your taste buds. Each of Earl’s burgers have their own unique personality from the classic Bacon-Cheddar and rich Royale with Cheese to the spicy Rodeo Blue and zesty Forager. Be sure to stop in and try one of the gourmet burgers available for a limited time as part of their Burger Promotion from April 22 – June 16.

10. Hillbilly Burger

Local-Burger-Hillbilly-Burger

Get it at: Local Burger

The deets: Half-ground beef, half-bacon patty, house-made BBQ sauce, fried red onion, baby greens, and aioli on a Local Burger bun.

Why we love it: If you’re looking for locally-sourced, real food, then Local Burger is the place for you. The restaurant sources more than 90% of their ingredients from within 360 miles and buys directly from farmers and organic whenever available. And vegetarians, Local Burger has you covered too, with a menu featuring a vegetarian option for every burger on the menu.

11.  American Wagyu Beef Mushroom Burger

Seastar-Restaurant-Wagyu-Mushroom-Burger

Get it at: Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar

The deets: ‘Kobe style’ beef complimented by sautéed Cremini mushrooms. The burger is topped with Fontina cheese, arugula, porcini mushroom spread and served on a soft brioche bun.

Why we love it: This decadent burger provides a delicious, meaty taste that is second to none. You’ll want to be sure to try this burger that has been recognized as Best Burger at the South Lake Union Block Party for four straight years!

12.  Baconmaster

burgermaster-baconburger

 Get it at: Burgermaster

The deets: Patty topped with three pieces of bacon, American cheese, fresh tomato, lettuce, and Burgermaster relish.

Why we love it:  There’s something that’s simply sentimental about pulling up to the locally owned Burgermaster drive-in chain and ordering old-fashioned burgers, fries, and shakes that are delivered right to you in your car. Because really, who doesn’t love a good a trip back in time to the ’50s?

13. Tavern Burger

Tavern-Hall-Tavern-Burger

 

 

Get it at: Tavern Hall

The deets: Smoked bacon, Mama Lil’s peppers, crispy fried onions, sweet onions, American cheese, iceberg lettuce, and Tavern Hall burger sauce, served on a potato bun.

Why we love it: The combination of sweet Mama Lil’s peppers, and the smoked bacon pair great with a custom blend of ground brisket and chuck to create a well-balanced burger that The Seattle Times called “the best burger in Bellevue.” Plus, have some fun while you’re at it by cheering on your sports team (Tavern Hall has you covered with 30 flat-screen TVs!) or starting a game of your own on one of the shuffleboard tables.

14. 21 Burger

Daniels-Broiler-21-Burger

Get it at: Daniel’s Broiler

The deets: Custom-ground USDA Prime Beef, cheddar cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, onions, house-made pickle, served on a brioche bun from Schwartz Brothers Bakery.

Why we love it: Daniel’s Broiler treats their 21 Burger just like they do their Prime Steaks. The burger is made with “USDA PRIME” Beef, the finest grade available in the U.S., specially selected from the top 2% of all corn-fed beef products in the U.S. This heavenly food combined with heavenly views from the 21st floor, make for an unbeatable combo!

 

 Photo Credits: 1. Courtesy of Pearl Bar & Dining 2. Courtesy of Tap House Grill 3. Courtesy of El Gaucho 4. Courtesy of 520 Bar & Grill 5. Courtesy of Lunchbox Laboratory 6. Courtesy of Skillet Street Food 7. Courtesy of Suite Restaurant/Lounge 8. Courtesy of John Howie Steak 9. Courtesy of Earl’s Kitchen & Bar 10. Courtesy of Local Burger 11. Courtesy of Seastar Restaurant & Raw Bar 12. Courtesy of Burgermaster 13. Photo by Geoffrey Smith, Courtesy of Tavern Hall 14. Courtesy of Daniel’s Broiler
Posted in Culinary and Wine, Downtown Bellevue, Insiders Tips | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

5 Bellevue Activities for Your Mind and Body

Photo Courtesy of Lucky Strike

Life tends to get a little hectic nowadays, so why not take some time for yourself? We’ve outlined 5 great activities to try right here in Bellevue that are sure to help you center your mind and relax the body.

1.) Experience the Healing Power of Salt Therapy

SaltRelaxation can be hard to come by sometimes, so stop by the Salt Mine Arium on Friday May, 1 for a unique Sound Bath & Salt Therapy event focused on healing and relaxation. Tiny salt crystals fill the air to heal your lungs and skin, while Daniella White creates an improvised meditative concert to help you reach deep states of relaxation. Space is limited, so click here to reserve your spot.

 

2.) Embrace Your Inner Child at Lucky Strike and Power Play

Power PlaySometimes the best way to re-energize yourself is to tap into that inner child and let loose. Lucky Strike and Power Play have you covered! Enjoy the full bars, great food, big screen TVs, bowling and over 150 game stations. Plus, there’s even a laser maze to really let your inner child run free!

 

 

 3.) Pamper Yourself at Yuan Spa

SpaWhat mind and body weekend would be complete without a little body pampering at Yuan Spa? Help stimulate circulation, eliminate toxins and smooth the skin with a Seaweed Detoxifying Body Wrap. Need to revitalize your skin after winter hibernation? Hydrate your skin with an Ultra-Nourishing Coconut Scrub.

 

 

 4.) Learn How to Salsa Dance at Blue Martini

Bellevue’s trendy and upscale lounge, Blue Martini, always has great events going on, but if you haven’t joined them for Noches Azul on Tuesday nights, then you’re missing out. Besides drink specials and $2 tacos all night, you can get your body moving at the free salsa lessons that start at 9:30pm! Trying something new is good for both the mind and body.

 

 

5.) Paint Pottery at Creatively Yours

PotteryWhat better way to refresh the mind than to get the creative juices flowing at Creatively Yours. They have a huge selection of unfinished ceramic for you to craft unique art. Spend an afternoon to yourself painting a one-of-a-kind serving platter or invite a group to a scheduled salsa night to paint a set of matching pots and enjoy chips and salsa. There’s plenty of options!

 

(Photo Credits: Blue Martini courtesy of Blue Martini, Artists Tools via Simon Howden / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

Posted in About Visit Bellevue, Downtown Bellevue, Events, Family, Spa, Things To Do, Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Take Your Taste Buds on a Tour of Bellevue

Chocolates by Vavako. Photo via VavakoChocolates by Vavako. Photo via Vavako

If you’re looking for something to do this weekend, then why not get out and taste some of the refreshing flavors of Bellevue? There’s a flavor out there for every taste bud!

1.) Create Your Own Juice at Evolution Fresh

What better way to cool off during a warm day than with a refreshing juice or smoothie? At Evolution Fresh, create your own concoction with their cold pressed juices, fresh fruit and veggies and add-ons like chia seeds and ginger. Also available bottled, it’s the perfect drink to take with you on your shopping spree at Bellevue Square.

 

 

 

 

 2.) Do an International Tasting Tour at Crossroads International Public Market

Crossroads Bellevue International Public Market Food CourtCrossroads Shopping Center is full of unique boutiques, but did you know it’s also home to dozens of international food options in the Crossroads International Public Market? Italian, Korean, Japanese, Vietnamese, Russian, Mediterranean, French, Indian, Mexican and more awaits you at the Public Market!

 

 

 

 3.) Try Octopus at 99 Park Restaurant

Octopus dish at 99 Park Restaurant in Bellevue99 Park is an independent restaurant that uses the freshest ingredients from neighboring farms. Whether stopping for a happy hour or a dining experience, 99 Park has something for everyone. Looking to try something new? Give the Octopus Ceviche a whirl!

 

 

 

 

 4.) Try one of Lot No. 3’s Housemade Cocktails

Bartender making cocktails at Lot No. 3 in BellevueLot No. 3 is great for comfort food, with dishes like Mac & Cheese, Chicken & Waffles and Fish & Chips, but if you haven’t tried one of their delicious cocktails, then you’re missing out! With great names like “Monday is for Lovers” and “Left Turn at Albuquerque” and even greater flavors, like white tea-infused rye, peanut butter washed bourbon and curry-infused blackstrap rum, you’ll want to try out each great concoction.

 

 

5.) Sample Homemade Chocolates of Vavako

Homemade chocolate's from Vavako in BellevueWhat day is complete without a sweet treat to end it? Stop by Vavako in Old Bellevue to try any of their delicious homemade chocolates. With their caramels, fruit, praline, cocktails, classic, tea time and even dairy free collections, there’s something for every sweet tooth.

 

 

 

 

(Photo credits: Carrot Juice Smoothie via FreeDigitalPhotos.net/Tiverylucky, Crossroads Food Court courtesy of Keith Brofsky and Crossroads Bellevue, Octopus courtesy of 99 Park, Drinks courtesy of Lot No. 3, Chocolate courtesy of Vavako)

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