La Boutique Jolie Blends Style and Comfort

La Boutique Jolie Issaquah Grand Ridge Plaza Fashion

La Boutique JolieWhen you walk in the door of the new La Boutique Jolie at Grand Ridge Plaza, there’s a sense of vibrancy and energy that sets it apart.

The brainchild of local entrepreneurs Robin Sofola and Andrea Pohle, La Boutique Jolie – French for the lovely boutique – is a women’s fashion haven. The first-of-its-kind boutique features fashions manufactured in North America or Europe, with an emphasis on designers known for both high quality and inclusive sizing, such as Joseph Ribkoff. It’s the philosophy behind the boutique’s concept.

“Shopping as an experience has changed dramatically in the past 10 years and today, it needs to be aLa Boutique Jolie Owners 1 worthwhile experience; our goal is to help women find the best looks while offering sensitive advice in a relaxing setting,” explains Pohle. “Above all else, we want La Boutique Jolie to make women feel great and love themselves as they are in the moment.”

From the stunning, hand-blown glass chandelier to the butterfly motif throughout the boutique, Sofola and Pohle have created an environment that’s closer to a spa or coffee shop. They encourage everyone to browse, and are eager to hear feedback about the challenges women face in getting the right fit and style, as well as fabric.

“Many of the lines we carry are ideal for travel: lightweight fabric, very comfortable, and wrinkle-resistant,” explains Sofola. “Comfort is vital and every piece in the boutique has great energy, whether it’s a formal dress for a summer wedding or casual linens for hot summer days.”

La Boutique Jolie Owners 3The partners conceived the concept for La Boutique Jolie while their children were at dance classes, making the most of time between drop-off and pick-up. They piloted the concept at private fashion parties to gather advice from women about what they love – and what they have difficulty finding either online or in brick and mortar shops. They heard that women find it challenging to get good advice, that sizing is a perennial problem, and that the origins of the items they buy are important.

“As Andrea and I developed the concept for the boutique, we set a firm goal to be inclusive in sizing,”La Boutique Jolie Exterior adds Sofola. “We seek out designers that have mastered silhouettes that flatter all sizes. The concept of Plus Sizes is a thing of the past and our clothing lines reflect this new approach, offering a full range of sizes – each with its own fit and tailoring. We also emphasize clothing lines with excellent manufacturing working conditions: fair wages, sustainable practices and the greatest respect for safety. So, the majority of what we carry is manufactured in North America. Our goal is to lift up and support other women, and we’re delighted that we can partner with designers who feel the same.”

In addition to women’s clothing, La Boutique Jolie showcases handmade jewelry, shoes, soaps and lotions, and much more. Open seven days a week, Sofola and Pohle invite the community to drop by at any time. La Boutique Jolie is located at 927 NE Park Drive.

Photos by Shubha Tirumale Photography LLC


Harborstone Credit Union Opens at Grand Ridge Plaza

Harborstone Credit Union Issaquah

Harborstone StaffHarborstone Credit Union proudly opened the doors of its new branch at Grand Ridge Plaza in late May.  With branch locations in King, Pierce and Thurston counties, Harborstone is a community credit union open to all Washington State residents.

From its roots as McChord Credit Union (founded in 1955 on McChord Air Force Base) and Prevail Credit Union (founded in 1940 as King County Employees Credit Union), Harborstone is a member-owned, not-for-profit alternative to banking. A name change and 60 years later, Harborstone is still serving members with the same member-owned approach—in person, over the phone and on digital devices.

Harborstone offers financial services such as home and auto loans, business banking, investments,IMG_1162 insurance and home equity lines of credit. Harborstone members have access to their accounts 24/7 with multiple ATM locations, mobile banking and online banking. At Grand Ridge Plaza, the ATM is located at the corner of High Street and 10th Avenue, and is available 24/7. The branch is open Monday thru Friday from 9 am to 6 pm.

As a credit union, Harborstone’s philosophy leads it to support charitable and social causes and to work with other credit unions. In addition to its participation in local community events, Harborstone is involved in several Chambers of Commerce to help promote community growth and involvement.

Harborstone Habitat BuildIt’s important to the Harborstone team to support the communities it serves—not just with banking needs, but also through volunteerism and sponsorships. In addition to its support of military organizations and causes, Harborstone supports such organizations as Relay For Life, YMCA, American Red Cross, and Habitat for Humanity.

Pictured here, Harborstone staff members work on a Habitat for Humanity build in Renton in October 2015.


Chinoise Sushi Bar & Asian Grill Expands to Bothell

Chef Thoa NguyenTwo years after opening Chinoise Sushi Bar & Asian Grill Issaquah at Grand Ridge Plaza, Chef Thoa Nguyen has expanded to nearby Bothell. Her new Chinoise location opened in March at Bothell’s Beardslee Crossing development. Known as Sushi Chinoise – Asian Grill & Sushi Bar, it features many of the Pan-Asian dishes that made the Grand Ridge Plaza restaurant a success.

Chef Nguyen, who gained national recognition on the Beat Bobby Flay Food Network show when she beat the star chef, is known for her menus that range from sushi to pho and from wok dishes to summer salad rolls. On any given night, you can find her cooking at Grand Ridge Plaza, where she perfected her winning dish – a Korean rice bowl she named the “Beat Bobby Flay Bi Bim Bap.”

Since opening at Grand Ridge Plaza, Chinoise has become a local favorite forSushi Role Chinoise authentic Asian cuisine and its casual, family-friendly ambiance. The sushi bar is one of the busiest on the Eastside, with fast service for anyone heading next door to Regal Cinemas for a movie.

Both restaurants share the same menu and interior decor theme that is light, bright and open. Chef Nguyen chose the Bothell location in part due to its similarities to Grand Ridge Plaza, including the close-knit neighborhood feeling.

“One of the aspects that I enjoy most about Grand Ridge Plaza is its welcoming setting that’s community-oriented,” explains Nguyen. “People are friendly and proud to support local businesses. That’s one of the intangible aspects of the location, and something we sought out when developing the concept for another restaurant.”

Chef Thoa's Bi Bim BapSushi Chinoise Bothell is Chef Nguyen’s seventh restaurant since her first location opened in 1996 on Queen Anne in Seattle. You can enjoy her “Beat Bobby Flay Bi Bim Bap” in both Issaquah and Bothell, or make your own at home. Here’s her recipe:

Chef Thoa Nguyen’s Ahi Poke Bi Bim Bap
Serves 6
To get started, you’ll need cooked rice. We recommend that you start your rice first.

To Cook Rice:
Cook 2 cups of uncooked short grain rice. This will yield 6 cups of cooked rice.

To Make Ahi Poke:
3 lbs. ahi
¼ cup sesame seed oil
1 ½ tbsp. black sesame seeds
1 ½ tbsp. minced garlic
¾ tsp minced ginger
1 cup soy sauce
¼ cup sugar
Toss all ingredients in a mixing bowl; set aside.

To Make Lettuce Cucumber Radish Sprouts Slaw:
2 English cucumbers (thinly sliced)
1 package of kaware radish sprouts
1 head of red leaf lettuce shredded
1 white daikon thinly shredded
1 hand full wakame (soak in warm water for 5 mins, drained)
Toss all salad in a mixing bowl; set aside.

To Make Sweet Egg Omelet:
12 eggs
¼ cup mirin
½ cup of water
3 teaspoons soy sauce
3 teaspoons sugar
Pinch of salt and pepper

Crack the eggs into a mixing bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper, mirin, soy sauce, and sugar. Beat well with a fork. Put a small frying pan on low heat and let it get hot. Add a small amount of oil. Ladle some of the egg mixture and move the pan around to spread it out evenly. When the omelet turns golden brown, flip it onto the plate. Then, thinly slice the egg omelets into strips. Set aside.

To Make Radish Kimchi:
1 whole Asian radish (daikon), thinly shredded
2 tbsp. vinegar
1 tsp minced garlic
Dash of chili peppers
Salt & sugar, to taste
Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl; set aside.

To Make Onigiri (Pan-Fried Seasoned Rice):
In a mixing bowl, add the cooked rice. Add 3 cups of bonito flakes, salt, and ¼ cup of sliced green onions. Form in a ball, pan-fried on heated, greased pan. Remove when crispy on both sides, set aside.

To Make the Spicy Sauce:
1 cup gochujang (Korean spicy soybean paste)
½ cup sugar
1 cup pineapple juice
3 tbsp. sesame oil
3 tbsp. minced garlic
4 tbsp. rice vinegar
2 tsp sesame seeds
Mix all ingredients together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.

To Make the Garnish:
4 oz. of tobiko – flying fish roe (orange)
1/4 cup white sesame seeds (toasted)

To Make the Fried Green Onions:
1 bunch of fresh green onions, shredded thinly

Drop the green onions into a hot fryer at 350 degrees. When the green onions float, whisk out of hot oil to let the oil drain. Add ¼ cup white sesame seeds, toasted.

To Serve:
Place the lettuce cucumber radish sprouts slaw at the bottom of shallow bowls. Place 1 seasoned onigiri rice ball on top, do this 5 more times. Place ahi poke tuna and radish kimchi around the rice. Ladle in 3 tbsp. of the spicy sauce on the plate to form a circle shape. On rice, arrange egg mixture, tobiko, fried onions and sesame seeds.


Donate Diapers: Help babies in-need

Carter's Issaquah Diaper Derby

Carter's Issaquah Diaper DerbyDid you know that Eastside Baby Corner distributes more than 860,000 diapers to help babies and toddlers each year? The Issaquah-based charity is raising awareness about the need for diaper donations with its second annual Diaper Derby, a donation drive to help local families in-need.

Now through June 10, you can drop donations at the Carter’s children’s wear shop at Grand Ridge Plaza. The Carter’s team will deliver all donations to Eastside Baby Corner’s warehouse.

What sizes and brands are in-demand? All brands of diapers, pull-ups and overnights – including open packages – are accepted. Sizes 4, 5, and 6 are the most in-demand. If your little one has outgrown a size, Eastside Baby Corner is happy to accept the extra diapers your family can’t use.

Why are diaper donations important? Currently, no program at the federal or state level helps with buying diapers, which can cost $100 per month or more. While some families receive help for food through programs such as Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP, previously known as Food Stamps), these assistance programs can’t be used for diapers.

More about Eastside Baby Corner: Eastside Baby Corner is a major source of baby food, formula, diapers, cribs and car seats for 11 local food banks. Volunteers and staff at Eastside Baby Corner collect community donations, and purchase and distribute children’s and maternity items to families in collaboration with organizations helping families in our area. Serving a broad area across King County that extends to the Cascade foothills and from south of Renton into south Snohomish County, Eastside Baby Corner serves as a diaper bank, a clothing bank, and a food source for more than 500 kids each week.

Carter's Issaquah StoreCarter’s of Grand Ridge Plaza is located at 1416 Highlands Drive NE. To reach the store, call (425) 392-0532. Free parking is available in the adjacent parking lot.


5 Awesome Teacher’s Gifts

BevMo WineTeaching can be a thankless job, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the end of the school year around the corner, it’s time to think about thank you gifts. We asked local teachers about their all-time favorite gifts, and the results from our survey might surprise you:

#1 Wine: Teachers are grown-ups, too. The experts at BevMo! can point you to great wines that cost between $5 and $10. We love the Challis Lane Cabernet Sauvignon – with their 2 For 1 deal, it’s $5 a bottle. (If a teacher doesn’t drink alcohol, it’s easily re-gifted.)

Starbucks Gift Cards#2 Gift Cards: Starbucks, SUBWAY, Safeway… the possibilities are endless. A $5 gift card could mean a great sub or an indulgent Frappuccino. Safeway gift cards can be used to gas up for a road trip. Consider joining forces with other families to buy one gift card with a higher value.

#3 Trip to the Movies: A gift card for Regal Cinemas can be used for both movies and concessions. Coincidentally, the big summer movie releases are timed for the last day of school. Independence Day: Resurgence, The Legend of Tarzan, Ghostbusters… which non-kids movie is on your teacher’s must-see list?

Francesca's Necklaces#4 Earrings or a Bracelet: First, ascertain that the teacher enjoys jewelry. Then, take the kids on a shopping trip to the Francesca’s boutique to select a little bling. You’ll find earrings for less than $10. Their BOGO 50% off rack is also a great way to save (Buy One Get One 50% off).

#5 Thoughtful Notes: Stock up on cards and stationary at HomeGoods and ask the kids to write a personal thank you. Resist the temptation to edit the note.

Don’t forget the specialist teachers that make our schools some of the best in the country. Did a Music, Art, P.E. or Library teacher make your child’s year a great one? Recognize their dedication with something special. You’ll find everything on this list at Grand Ridge Plaza.

Photos by Shubha Tirumale Photography.