Restaurant News: Checking out Chè at Bambu, local nominees for Best of Western Washington

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Now open, Bambu on Highway 99.

Patience is a virtue, and while it is hard to see the brown paper in the windows at Edmonds restaurant locations under renovation- Amata Thai, Barkada and Thai by Day…not to mention the clear inside views of the still not open Top Pot location, I rejoiced when I drove by Ranch Market’s complex and spied the red neon sign that declared Bambu officially “OPEN.”

Bambu interior

Bambu’s soft opening was at the end of September, the 4th location here in Washington. www.drinkbambu.com

Chè is Vietnamese sweet dessert soup, usually served in a glass over ice and eaten with a spoon. It’s gloppy and gelatinous and perfect for warmer days, but refreshes no matter what the temperature outside.

 

Bambu Che

Bambu’s Chè is both dairy- and gluten-free, and 14 of the ingredients used in the desserts are prepared daily. Time is spent in the kitchen cutting dozens of young coconuts to capture the fresh coconut water and meat, which ensures customers are served only the freshest and most nutrient-rich coconut water. Bambu prepare fresh batches of one-of-a-kind Pandan Jelly and Red Tapioca.

Bambu Chè items can be personalized, as their slogan states: “Just the Way You Love It.” There are literally thousands of refreshing, healthy and enjoyable dessert drink combinations, but the woman at the counter recommend these drinks as “favorite” or most popular.

#1 Bambu Special

#2 Bambu Combo- Red, white, mung bean; taro, pearls, pandan jelly, combo jelly, coconut milk.

#3 Awesome Trio-Red, white, mung bean; taro, pandan jelly, coconut milk.

#4 Summer Delight-Red tapioca, mung bean, coconut milk, jello, grass jelly and pandan jelly.

#6 Fruit Addict- Lychee, longan, red tapioca, jackfruit, palm seed, jello, pandan jelly, coconut and coconut milk.

Bambu #10

So many choices, I opted for #10 Bambu Favorite-Red tapioca, grass jelly, pandan jelly, and coconut milk. There is a reason the straw is ½ inch in diameter — I slurped and stirred and slurped more. The variety of textures and tastes, all in one cup, delighted. Crunchy red beans, chewy slivers of tapioca and jelly, and the nice aftertaste of coconut. Yum.

The manager handed me a baggie of crushed ice with my drink. “Most people like to keep adding ice to their drink,” she said, adding it made ingredients stay fresh tasting. I took her advice and I have to agree the refreshment of ice made my drink enjoyable to the last swig on that big straw.

The menu includes smoothies, coffees and teas — both hot and iced — and yogurt combinations. I noted waffles were another treat available at this location. Coming soon — shaved ice.

Warm waffles’ aroma tempted me to try this dessert, along with some of their Vietnamese-style coffee.

Bambu’s waffles

Bambu’s waffles are made with pandan. My fork broke the golden brown crust to reveal an emerald green interior with a gelatinous texture. The crispy waffle had unique flavor, hard to describe. I tasted roses when I exhaled after each bite of the waffle.

I asked the store manager about ingredients and she replied that the recipe was proprietary. “A rich, egg-waffle batter, prepared with coconut milk, boiled with pandan leaves.” She said the color is from the pandan.

Pandan? Time for research…

Pandan leaves

Pandanus is a genus of plant covering some 750 or so species but the one of interest for the cook is Pandanus amaryllifolius. It’s the spiky, slender, deep-green leaves of the plant that are used, both for the color and the fragrance they impart to a whole raft of dishes.

Pandan is also made into a paste that is used in cakes and desserts, much the way we use vanilla flavoring in the Western baking. In addition to flavor, pandan paste also imbues foods with a bright green color.

Visit Bambu at Ranch Market- 22511 Hwy 99, Unit 106, Edmonds. Hours are 11 a.m.-9 p.m. daily.

Fall events

Pumpkin carving at Salt & Iron Sunday.

Pumpkin carving for the kids! Hosted by Salt & Iron: Oysters and Steak 321 Main St, Edmonds on Sunday, Oct. 29 from 2-4 p.m.

Applebee’s invites guests to buy a vet a beer this Veteran’s Day

Washington and Idaho Applebee’s locations will treat retired and active duty military members to a free beer courtesy of their customers. Now through Nov. 11, guests can purchase a Budweiser, Bud Light or O’Douls beer at their local Applebee’s to be given to a deserving veteran in-restaurant on Veterans Day free of charge as a way to honor and thank them for their service. Participating guests will also have the opportunity to create an original label with a personal message, which will be put on the bottle before it is served to the veteran.

Guests must be 21 years old to purchase and redeem. The closest Applebee’s is at 4626 196th St. S.W. in Lynnwood.

Local eateries in BEST of the Best in Western Washington: Voting ends Sunday, Oct. 29

Attention Snohomish Pie Company fans: This wonderful pie shop with locations in Mountlake Terrace and Snohomish, is currently in first place for Best Pie in KING 5’s Best of Western Washington contestSnohomish Pie Co. urges fans of their pies, cookies and other delights like the giant gooey cinnamon rolls, to vote for them in Best Pie shop and Best Bakery categories. Just in time to inspire customers, Snohomish Pie has a new “frequent pie purchaser program”. It is tracked on your phone number at the checkout register. Speaking of frequent purchases — Snohomish Pie says Thanksgiving Pre-Orders are ready now… and it’s not too early. For in-store pick-up only.

Other local eateries in the contest – check the site for all your favorites…

– Asian Fusion: Bar Dojo is a melting pot of Asian comfort foods with Northwest ingredients, focusing on all-natural, organic and sustainable fare.

– Best Burger: Bar Dojo, in Edmonds and B3 Breakfast & Burger Bar in Lynnwood

Ono Poke

– Ono Authentic Hawaiian Poke: yes, there is a category for Best Poke and we do have the contender for this title, and also Best New Restaurant, right here in our back yard.

– Waterfront Coffee– in the running for Best Coffeehouse, and Scratch Distillery – you guessed it Best Distillery.

– Best Brew Pub category may divide up loyalties a bit: Edmonds’ own Salish Sea Brewing Co. is in the group and so is Diamond Knot Craft Brewing, with locations in Mukilteo and Mountlake Terrace.

Mel and Mia’s

– Cakes, not wedding: Mel and Mia’s bakery in Perrinville -unique French pastries, fine coffees and one-of-a-kind specialty cakes.

– Donuts? Mountlake Terrace location Countryside Donut House has my vote, how about yours?

– Best Breakfasts are right down the street: local Edmonds restaurant Rusty Pelican serves breakfast all day.

Salt & Iron steak.

– Salt & Iron is nominated for Best Steakhouse, and you can’t beat the seafood either, just sayin’.

– Best in Fine Dining’s category is crowded with our locals — too bad we can only vote once. Choose your favorite – 190 Sunset, Anthony’s Home Port or Epulo Bistro.

– Craft Cocktails: Vote for our local mixologist, 190 Sunset’s Niles Peacock .

Happy Halloween to all,

— By Kathy Passage

A specialty gourmet food broker for over 30 years, Kathy Passage has in-depth knowledge on food and the special qualities of ingredients used in the exquisite products she helped bring to market. Kathy brings this unique perspective from the “other side of the plate” to writing about the local food and restaurant scene.

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