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Anybody Going to Winterfest?

So, I was web-browsing around, trying to find out more about the Holiday Bazaar this Friday and Saturday, and who the participating artisans are (and, more importantly, how to become one of them next year -- no luck on that btw), and I come to find that in addition to the bazaar, there's apparently this whole Downtown Kent Winterfest thing going on, with wandering carolers and Santa, and a food drive, and an all-you-can-eat pancake breakfast at Maggie's on Meeker, and horse-drawn freakin' carriage rides, and the carousel of course. Good golly. However did I miss all this? Anybody going?

Looking for Beef Marrow Bones

Post title pretty much says it -- I'm looking for a local grocer that sells sliced raw beef bones with the marrow still in them. We've got a new dog and she's just in the adolescent chewing phase, and I think some raw bones would keep her busy for a while. Win-Co and the East Hill Fred Meyer did not have them when I checked -- any other suggestions/ideas?

Gamesmanship at Public Hospital District

"Public Hospital District" is the kind of tame-sounding down-ballot position that people don't pay much attention to. I take voting seriously, though, and researching my ballot I found the following testimony from one of the professional staff of Valley Medical Center.

Executive Summary: One of the Board members has not been able to build consensus among his colleagues to his satisfaction. Rather than do his job and either compromise or try to be more persuasive, he's out to replace Board members to ones he feels he can work with more easily. My own course of action will be to vote for existing Board members Carolyn Parnell and Mike Miller, if for no other reason than to discourage this type of gamesmanship and shirking of public responsibilities.

The testimony:

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Mike Glenn (Senior Vice-President – Business Development) Remarks, Board of Commissioners Meeting - October 5, 2009 (note: Adobe .PDF file), Page 12
Public Hospital District No.1 of King County Valley Medical Center

Over the last several months, I have had a series of meetings and discussions with commissioner Hemstad. The purpose of our discussions was to identify the differences and reconcile the growing conflict between Anthony, his board colleagues and members of the administrative team. Because of the events of the last few weeks, I feel compelled to brief the entire board on the nature of the discussions, including what Anthony shared with me at our last meeting.

When I arrived at VMC, I was struck by the level of animosity between Anthony and his commissioner and administrative colleagues. I had worked at a public hospital district for 15 years yet had never before seen the political grandstanding and bare knuckle diplomacy that seemed to characterize many of those early board meetings.

Since I was new to Rich's administrative team and didn't have a relationship with Commissioner Hemstad--good or bad-- it was suggested that I meet with him to better understand his issues, and ideally identify those we could possibly resolve. I was happy to agree to this.

Anthony and I met 3 times in person, and spoke by phone a few times as well. Our initial discussion was pleasant, but not particularly productive. In later discussions, Anthony disclosed frustration with his board colleagues and a growing animosity for Rich and other members of his admin team.

At this point, it became clear to me that Anthony was not particularly interested in improving relationships or understanding differences with his colleagues. He was convinced that wholesale changes needed to occur at Valley, and they needed to begin at the top.

On May 26th, Anthony and I met for coffee in Tacoma. After an hour or so of replaying past board meetings I asked Anthony just what he was trying to accomplish as a commissioner. He asked what I meant by this. I said that from my perspective, his divisive, confrontational approach was ineffective in influencing policy or advancing his agenda. His board involvement must be terribly frustrating since most of his comments were viewed as confrontational and produced nothing more than opposition and ill will. Worse, it seemed that nearly all of his board motions and proposals died for lack of a second. I said he didn't appear to be interested in building consensus so how did he expect to get anything done.

His response surprised me. He said his end game was to orchestrate a change in leadership at Valley Medical Center. He was convinced that Valley was incapable of changing on its own, so his plan was to identify two solid candidates to run against Carolyn and Mike, assist them in their campaign and ultimately help them win the election. If this occurred, and he was quite convinced it would, he would become board chair, and along with the two new commissioners, create an adversarial work environment that Rich nor any CEO in his right mind could not or would not tolerate. He was fully aware of the supplemental retirement plan, and considered it a critical component in his plan to dispose of Rich.

He then asked how things were going for me. In an earlier discussion, I had made mention of how difficult it was for me to get to work because of a very challenging commute. He advised me to hang in there because there might be an opportunity for me when Rich is gone. While he made no promises, the implication of his remark was very clear.

So why am I bringing this up now. I realize that by doing so, I will be accused of the same political gamesmanship that several others in and around our community are engaged in. This is not my intent. Commissioner Hemstad put me in an impossible position, and I believe he is now actively working the plan that he alluded to at our meeting back in May.

Unfortunately, by doing so he is attacking the character of Rich and several honest and well meaning community leaders and smearing the reputation of Valley Medical Center in the process. Each day 2500 dedicated employees show up at Valley to take care of our patients with as much skill and compassion as possible. Every employee, from cafeteria worker to bedside nurse to neuro surgeon is focused on earning the trust of our community, one patient interaction at a time. To jeopardize this trust simply to further a political ambition is inexcusable.

The decision to share this with the board was not an easy one. I realize we were speaking confidentially when Commissioner Hemstad confided in me, and I am sure he is disappointed that I am breaking this trust. However, the consequences of staying quiet while he engages in this strategy of tearing down the hospital in order to save it are just too great.
While visiting Oregon last month we picked up some Tillamook Garlic White Cheddar cheese. It's lovely stuff but we haven't yet found a local market that carries it. If we have to we'll ask the local Fred Meyer or Top if they can get it in, but I was wondering if anyone here has seen it in the wild?

First Ave Block Party Friday night!

Lifers -

Just a reminder that the First Avenue Block Party is Friday night from 4P-9P (or beyond)! Food, drink, arts and crafts (and maybe ferrets) all crammed into one small block.

Perhaps we'll see you there!

D'Jung Thai in East Hill

Recently got around to trying D'Jung Thai up on 108th in the same plaza as the Wing Dome. The spouse has been a fan of their lunches for some time, but they really aren't near or on the way to any of our regular haunts, so we have to make a special trip, and somehow never did. Until this week. We'll definitely be going back. For my money, it's the best Thai food in Kent.

I had the pad ki mao, which is wide noodles with tomatoes, onions, sweet basil, bell peppers, and broccoli with the meat of your choice (mine was chicken). The noodles were excellent (they make them in house) there wasn't too much sauce and it was both a very nice variant and had just the right amount of spice (I find a lot of places/dishes seem to run hotter than my estimation of their star system, so I usually start with a 2-star dish just in case they run one or two stars high. D'jung doesn't, so next time I'll up the heat). All the veggies were fresh and the balance of noodles to meat to vegetables was perfect. A simple dish, executed brilliantly. I'm curious to work through the rest of the menu now.

Except that we may have to spend some time exploring the other bitty little strip mall restaurants in that plaza, too. It's a very international spot, with a hallal restaurant and grocery, and Indian restaurant and grocery, a Greek-and-Italian joint, the aforementioned Wing Dome, a Mexican grocery, and, of course, a teriyaki house. Because it wouldn't be Puget Sound without teriyaki.

But yeah, if you're in East Hill and like Thai food, definitely check out D'jung.

Shindig's birthday party is tonight

Citizens of Cocktail Nation: Tonight (Friday, 8/28) is the one-year birthday party for Shindig, Kent's premier (indeed only) martini bar. Free party favors, birthday cake, and the debut of a new drink, the Shindig Martini. They've also got a Mango Mojito going on that is pure summer in a glass, along with the always-delish Out of This World.

Not sure if we're going, but if so, perhaps we'll see you there!

Fusion Factory

2 out of 5 stars on Yelp

415 N Central Ave
Kent, WA 98032

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This was formerly an Indian restaurant, Clay Oven. Fusion Factory opened in August 2009.

The idea is interesting: Build a fast food restaurant that has two cuisines, Chinese and Italian.

The name is somewhat deceptive, though. By calling it "Fusion Factory," I was hoping for a true blend of the two. Something like a poor man's version of the Marco Polo Supper Club from Scottsdale, AZ about ten years ago, whose Chef, Scott Tompkins, described their approach as, "The menus are an infusion of Oriental sauces with Italian noodles and Chinese or Asian noodles with Italian sauces."

That's not what you get here, alas. What you get are Chinese and Italian dishes completely separated. "Combos" are available for $5, but the combinations are entirely within each sphere -- ie, chow mein, rice, and an entree on the Chinese side, and pasta of various stripes on the Italian side. They're also, at least so far, making things well in advance and then keeping them in steam trays.

I understand they're new; I understand they're lightly traveled so far; I understand they appear to be a couple owning and operating the place. But one point of comparison would be Gyros 2 Go in Redmond, which has a smaller kitchen, smaller seating area, the same "only" two people working the kitchen -- and yet manage to get things out fresh.

I wish them the best of luck.