While this is the restaurant news column, let’s face it — most of us cook at home, in some fashion. Our local markets offer great ways to enjoy healthy meals at home.
On a recent visit to the Edmonds PCC, I noticed the store format changes. New logo and signs adorn the building, fixtures and displays. Even the PCC tote bags sport bright and cheery graphics. Shoppers are invited to try offerings centered on local producers, organic foods and healthy eating.
Huge time savers for busy home cooks include the PCC Chop Shop. Skip a prep step and request any veggie or fruit chopped/sliced/prepared to order. Check out the PCC ready-to cook meal kits — mix and match pre-marinated/seasoned proteins and veggies.
NEW- Local Spirits Shop features only PNW-produced spirits.
PCC expanded its private-label products, which include the only local, organic, non-GMO, grass-fed, animal welfare-certified yogurt of its kind.
Visit PCC’s new website and view tons of resources. Learn about healthy eating. New, enhanced recipe search of PCC’s nearly 2,500 recipes will inspire cooks to try new menus at home. Peruse the list of classes offered. It’s time to update your culinary education.
There is a local web page for each store. https://www.pccmarkets.com/stores/edmonds/
Back to culinary school
Back to school isn’t just for the kids. PCC and others offer calendars loaded with culinary classes.
Here’s what’s cooking at A Chef’s Kitchen. After an extensive remodel, the kitchen — located at 16905 Talbot Road, in Edmonds — is now open for business.
Here’s a schedule of Chef-led classes. To register, visit www.a-chefs-kitchen.com
Tuesday, Oct. 10, Nick Musser-Icon Favorites
Tuesday, Nov.7, Bobby Moore-Thanksgiving and all the Sides
Thursday, Nov. 9, Erin Coopey-Cook it in Cast Iron!
Monday, Nov. 13, Erin Coopey-Holiday Sides
Monday, Dec. 4, Pranee Halvorsen-Thai Favorites
Tuesday, Dec. 5, Erin Coopey-Fabulous Holiday Appetizers
Take a little trip…but don’t board the ferry.
Admit it: A fun part about a visit to restaurants in Old Town Mukilteo is when your car zooms past all those folks in line to get on the ferry. Here are some treasures I found in Old Town and more on the way back home.
John’s Grill www.johnsgrillmukilteo.com, located at 649 5th St #100, in Mukilteo.
Happy hour menu, available daily from 4-6 p.m., allowed us to taste items like fried calamari, John’s crab cakes, beef kabobs, and grilled chicken satay. Small plates meant we ordered both a classic Caesar and John’s house salad. A real bonus: Happy hour wines are bargains. Our glasses filled with California Stone Cellars chardonnay and cabernet sauvignon paired beautifully with the array of items we’d ordered.
Salads: Both plates were heaped with crisp greens and garnished with attention to detail. Cute little scallops on the cucumbers and other preparation techniques prevailed. Everyday vinaigrette tasted tangy and fresh herbs provided variety of flavor. Classic Caesar is just that: classic recipe, light on croutons, plenty of creamy house-made dressing topped with Parmesan on crisp romaine.
John’s signature crab cake is dreamy — a cream puff. Texture is light, almost fluffy; it’s loaded with crab, no extra fillers inside the crisp golden crust. Delicious sauce topped with greens and decorated nicely with parsley and lemon. Friends recommended this item, above all others, and I agree, 100 percent.
Beef kabobs featured tender chunks of hand-butchered beef, (butchered by John) and were grilled to my ideal — still pink in the middle. The beef — skewered with roasted tomatoes and both red and white onions braised with a slightly sweet sauce — was delicious. Drizzled with a pesto comprised of cilantro, miso, jalapeno and mayonnaise, they were over-the-top yummy.
Chicken satay’s wooden sticks held tenderloins of lightly grilled chicken breast, covered with a spicy-sweet peanut sauce. Sprinkled with a bit of paprika and topped with black and white sesame seeds and fresh herbs, it made an attractive presentation.
John’s wife and partner at the restaurant, Lisa, stopped by our table to answer queries on ingredients and shared the history of the place. Lisa creates the sweet desserts offered on menu.
They use their own farm-raised eggs in the key lime pie, which is her specialty. I agreed with Lisa the taste of the eggs in that pie raised the level of flavor beyond other recipes I’ve enjoyed. Decorated with fresh seasonal berries and whipped cream, the plate was scrupulously clean when we finished our portion.
Chocolate mousse, John’s specialty dessert, is a black and white delight. Fresh berries on the plate accent both the dark chocolate and white mounds of mousse. The dark is light in contrast to dense white part, but both are absolutely delicious.
John’s hands — or spoon, or knife, whatever — are involved directly with all items on menu, with few exceptions. A brownie topped with his homemade caramel sauce demanded a taste, but given that we’d over ordered one dessert they were kind enough to give us a little container, and two spoons.
Sydney Bakery & Wine Bar. When I looked at the sign I wondered how a combination like that would work. Once I climbed the stairs and walked into the space, I got it. Tables invite patrons to sit and visit. Music events and local group meetings at the location draw community together.
The owner‘s son, Jack Snyder, manned the counter during my visit. He said his mom enjoyed living in Australia years ago; the bakery is named for her daughter Sydney.
Sydney Bakery & Wine Bar sits up hill from the ferry terminal to Whidbey, and one may sit at tables outside or at the bar to see an amazing view.
While the menu lists Australian-inspired dishes and desserts, the chief wine connoisseur and chief baker have added some fun items that combine both of the themes. Today’s item in the pastry case was a blackberry malbec pie. It was delicious — sweet and the savory — and notes of Malbec infused each bite of the warm pastry creation.
Special touches like warm lemon curd were served with the scones — house-made, of course.
Jack is a proficient host and barista. I enjoyed my warm pie with lush cream-topped cappuccino, from beans from a local Mukilteo coffee roaster.
Owner Judith Schneider Wallace experienced challenges, even tragedy, the biggest — her husband’s suicide. A plaque on the wall says Stars Can’t Shine without Darkness. Judith, now a single parent, managed to shift careers from teaching full-time to creating wonderful food in an inspired location at 613 5th St, in Mukilteo. Seasonal hours are Monday through Saturday — 8:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday — 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
A second visit to Mukilteo revealed great eateries, tucked into neighborhood spots, but so little room left in my tummy, I peeked into a few more… I recommend several visits to get a full sense of the cuisine offered in our near-by community..
Hani Hani Poke Ramen Grill — Just opened at 9999 Harbour Place, Ste 105, Mukilteo, tucked into a small strip mall just off the main drag to the ferry. A large assortment of choices: poke, ramen and more.
Next door, in Ste 100, is another interesting spot — Blu Burgers & Brew www.bluburgersandbrew.com– offers a Blu Burger with lots of fun sides like sweet potato fries and truffle fries. Open Monday-Saturday, 11 a.m.—9 p.m., and on Sunday noon-8 p.m.
Fall is here… and one of my favorite events starts next month- Seattle Restaurant Week! I’ll report back on my favorites and let readers know who’s offering the best plates in Edmonds.
– 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.