Restaurant News: Tasty treats at Lynnwood’s Sweethoney Dessert, plus Edmonds restaurateur opens Seattle spot

Milk puddings with toppings at Sweethoney Desserts.

The trend continues: More Asian-based franchises are opening locations in Snohomish County.

Local foodies have enjoyed the prestige of being in the spotlight: Who can forget the lines around the 85 Degrees Bakery Cafe Alderwood location during the Lynnwood grand opening in September 2017?

The crowd waiting for the opening of 85 Degrees Bakery Cafe in Lynnwood in 2017.

The purveyor of premium yet affordable coffee drinks and baked goods followed this success with a second location in Edmonds in the Ranch Market complex.

Next came Katsu Burger: Outrageously named sandwiches — Godzilla and Mt. Fuji burgers — fill many a happy belly at locations in Edmonds and Lynnwood, and more openings throughout the Puget Sound.

Wabi Wasabi Burger at Katsu.

Now Sweethoney Dessert has launched its very first spot in Washington, at Lynnwood’s James Village, 19520 Hwy 99 #100, in a remodeled portion of former Trader Joe’s.

The exterior of Sweethoney Desserts.

Established in 1995, the company has over 600 stores in China, Southeast Asia and Australia, and in 2015 they became a Sweethoney Dessert franchise developer throughout the U.S. and Canada.

Sweethoney Dessert says it strives to create a new dessert culture, and build a reputation as the top brand of authentic Hong Kong desserts. Recipes use high-quality natural ingredients and fresh fruits that are available locally when possible.

An extensive menu holds a tempting array of categories and I foresee several visits to take it all in…

The company statement — “hand crafting the freshest and finest authentic Hong Kong desserts with consistency and integrity” — is exemplified by staff. All items are manufactured on location, and they do not rush the process, but stick to the standards of preparation set out by the parent company.

The interior is well appointed, and I look forward to an actual sit-down and spooning my sweets from the cute yellow serveware that is exclusive to the all Sweethoney Dessert shops. Even to-go orders are packed up in bright yellow bags. Too cute!

Sweethoney Dessert interior

(Confession: I used the company’s photos in many cases as they show way better than my to-go boxes.)

On my first visit, I was shorted an item — the Mango Pancake. Glitches happen, it’s a new place, I get that. Since I had a text confirmation of the order, I reported back about the shortage.

Management sent a text response immediately: “Happy to issue credit.” They went further with an offer of a free additional item. Totally  smoothed over the situation.

An understandable error:  the popular item was sold out and my “to-go” order had eight items, easy to miss this one little box. The process of preparing ingredients for a fresh batch meant a wait of about 30 minutes. But excellent customer service prevailed and readers — it was worth the return trip.

Mango Pancake

The amount of fresh mango and cream tucked into the delicate crepe is perfection. There are two of these tender pillows in each order, so you can share with a friend.

My other seven items were equally yummy, and here is my advice: Pace yourselves!

So many choices on menu meant hard decisions on what to taste first and keep my palette fresh in the process.

Simple items began the series:

Classic Milk Pudding: The texture was perfect, not overly sweet and simplicity itself. One could add toppings, but each spoonful stood on its own without further enhancement.

Tofu is also a rich base for puddings and my choice from the myriad was the Ginger Tofu Pudding. The creamy non-dairy base was so silky and the ginger subtly enhanced the sweet and kept it from overwhelming the dish.

Vanilla frosts are a “must taste” when one visits Sweethoney Desserts. We selected two, knowing they’d keep in the freezer if our eyes were bigger than our stomachs.

Durian and Matcha Ice Cream with Vanilla Frost: This may sound exotic to those who’ve never tried Durian fruit before, but the sweet, custardy taste — with a texture similar to a creamy cheesecake — paired well with the green tea ice cream. Vanilla Frost is sort of like shaved ice, it has a nice crunch. Be careful how quickly you spoon this into your mouth, as brain freeze can occur.

Thai Black Glutinous Rice and Mango is also served up on Vanilla Frost. The mango fruit is super ripe and a great foil to the black sticky rice. Brain freeze warning applies here too.

With all the sweet items on menu, you’ll want to balance out with a few savories.

House Chicken Wings fit the bill as a spicy counter to all that cold sweet. Tender and well-seasoned, our mild spice was just the perfect level of hot, and we soon had a tiny pile of bones on the plate.

Japanese-style Shumai: A tasty dim sum recipe made with ginger and garlic shrimp, water chestnuts and a soy sauce mixture, but served as dumplings. A generous portion meant our non-meat eater had a few to share too.

Crispy Gyoza: While similar to dumplings, the thinner wrapper and more finely chopped stuffing made these treats a standout.  Accented by a gingery dipping sauce, they went so quickly. Next time we’ll get two orders.

A few words of caution: This is a brand-new location, and first one to open here in Washington. All items shown on menu are not in production just yet. That being said, there is a huge assortment, so I suggest several visits to get a good sense of all they offer. A phone is not installed just yet — like many services, they’re “on the list.” Messages on Facebook get fairly quick responses.

The lack of phone and online ordering is certainly not deterring patrons. Most evenings, and all day on weekends, there is a bit of a wait, but as I say above, it’s so worth it.

Location is open from 10 a.m.  to midnight, every day.

~ ~ ~ ~

I recently mentioned a plan to board the light rail at Northgate, and ride downtown. A Monet exhibit called to me. I hoped to dine at Edmonds’ restaurateur Shubert Ho’s Mar-ket location due to open at the Seattle Art Museum Café.

Well, I did just that — boarded the light rail and detrained at downtown Seattle’s University exit. A short walk, downhill, to arrive at the Seattle Art Museum, to be dazzled by works of Monet I’d not viewed at past exhibits. After a stroll through the gift shop, we landed in the newly opened Mar-ket location.

Here’s the scoop on the food offerings. Many are tried and true favorites from the Edmonds location, but then I spotted dishes at the SAM that do not appear on the Mar-ket menu in Edmonds. Quick to order up, I chose the Cioppino, a Grilled Salmon Banh Mi and Pakora.

Mar-ket at SAM-Cioppino

The cioppino broth, accented by red pepper and lemon grass, hearty in texture, held a treasure trove of seafood — shrimp, clams and rock fish. Extra liquor was sopped up with fresh rolls that accompanied. One caveat: an overly large prawn proved challenging to disassemble into bites I could get on a spoon and not wear on the front of my sweater.

Crisp, thin pieces of fennel were a nice foil to the sauce, and the rest of the seafood was very tender and easily consumed. Small whole tomatoes in the dish also daunted a bit; they were flavorful, but skins on made them not as pleasant in the mouth.

Mar-ket at SAM Pakora

Pakora, a traditional Indian street food, is a great dish to have in an informal setting. Our order — fish and onions in a chickpea batter –simply delighted our taste buds. Chutney dipping sauce was spot on with spice variety and levels. The crisp exterior spoke of a quick time in the fryer; the interior very moist and soft. Daikon salad provided a tasty accompaniment.

Mar-ket at SAM Salmon Bahn Mi

The winner in our selections clearly was the Salmon Banh Mi. Generous pieces of grilled Pacific Northwest salmon, kewpie mayo, dill pickles, red radish, fresh basil and a generous application of  soy seasonings are piled into a very-crisp-outside, tender-inside bun, accompanied by audacious fries and a delicious dipping sauce. We’d meant to take that home, but changed the plan and noshed away.

Here is a link to the entire menu: marketfreshfish.com/seattle. Open Wednesday through Sunday, 11 a.m.-8 p.m., and the coffee bar opens early at 9 a.m.

— 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 food and restaurant scene in Edmonds, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.

 

 

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