My Edmonds Restaurant News: Salish Sea’s new food focus, plus eggs-tensive research

SalishSea-photo by Karen Heines
All Salish Sea photos by Karen Heines

Save Water, Drink Beer! A clever sign comprised of auto license plates on the wall at Salish Sea Brewing Co. is good advice as we head into April, with a focus on Earth Day and stewardship for our environment.

Salish Sea Brewing Co., 518 Dayton St. #104, Edmonds, has produced fine hand-crafted ales and lagers since they opened in November 2013. The expansion last year doubled the brewing capacity, and allowed owner Jeff Barnett to add a kitchen. Jeff invited me over to taste new food items, paired with Salish Sea libations. My job gets better every day.

There is a trend at Salish Sea — they hire guys named Ryan.

New Salish Sea brewer Ryan Downey with Kathy Passage.
New Salish Sea brewer Ryan Downey with Kathy Passage.

Jeff introduced Ryan Downey, new brewer at Salish. His credentials include education at the UC Davis Intensive Brewing Program and the Portland State University Business of The Craft Beer Industry Course. Ryan became a Level 2 Certified Cicerone in 2014. He is committed to quality and is fastidious about his operating process. The date that his first batch made at Salish Seas Brewing will be ready to taste is marked on my calendar.

Chef Ryan at Salish Sea.
Chef Ryan Carlson at Salish Sea.

The new kitchen is managed by a well seasoned cook — Ryan Carlson. Years of experience in upscale establishments are reflected in taste and presentation of every new item. Ryan shared his enthusiasm and hope for expansion of menu items. Ryan will create seasonal sandwiches and soups from ingredients gathered at the Edmonds Summer Market. Ryan likes to incorporate local sourced ingredients and wastes little in the process. He said he loves to experiment with Salish Seas beer and ale as recipe ingredients. I say, you can’t get more local than a walk to the tapper to start your batch of soup.

On the Chalkboard Menu:

Toasted Cheese: Slices of thick cut Coeur d’Alene sourdough bread are topped with American and Provolone cheese, and placed open face in the pizza oven. Bread crust is soft yet crisp, and toasted slices meant no extra oil on the outer bread. Tender slices ooze a golden blend of cheese with every bite. It’s perfect comfort food for a cold rainy day.

Tomato Bisque: Salish Sea Brewing Co’s Honey Ale is the base for this velvety, multi-textured soup of roasted tomatoes, roasted red peppers, crushed tomatoes and basil. Each bowl is drizzled with a balsamic reduction and topped with homemade croutons. BTW- Ryan makes his croutons from ends of bread not used for sandwiches.

Turkey Pesto Panini: Seattle Sourdough Ciabatta roll, spread with pesto and filled with thick slices of turkey, pepper jack cheese, red bell pepper, sliced red onion, and pepperoncini peppers. Pressed on the hot grill long enough to melt cheese, but lets the veggies retain their crispy crunch.

Black Forest Ham: Slices of Coeur d’Alene Sourdough are loaded with black forest ham, roasted red peppers and spicy spread, topped with Swiss cheese, and then melted to perfection.

Caprese: Fresh tomato and thick-cut mozzarella meld with pesto and combine to make each crispy bite of grilled Seattle Sourdough Ciabatta full of flavor.

House Made Spicy Onion Dip: Ryan’s take on French Onion Dip. This talented chef has raised the bar on this small-plate offering. Kettle chips are great accompaniment.

Jeff advised that food will evolve. Sorelli pizza will always be an option. New items are available for dinner, and plans for paninis at lunch are in the works. Check Facebook and website pages to keep current.

The photos make you salivate? Get over to Salish Sea Brewing Co. and taste them in person.

Did you know…the New Year was originally celebrated in March and early April, and anyone who didn’t realize it was considered an “April fool?”

Spring, it’s in the air and on menus in our local restaurants: Asparagus pops up in dishes; Rhubarb’s blush will grace dessert menus, restand eggs…

Long before the baskets of foiled chocolate bunnies, and sugary Peeps that dominate our modern retail shelves, eggs were the universal symbol of rebirth and found in all sorts of spring rituals. Cultures around the world celebrate new growth and fresh starts; many involve the oval shaped products of domestic poultry.

In ancient Persia, Greece, Egypt, and Rome, red eggs, representing life and rebirth, and were given as gifts during the spring. At Passover Seders, guests dipped eggs in salt water as a reminder of the sacrifices made in the ancient temples.

In the Greek Orthodox Church, guests sitting around the dinner table tap eggs with their neighbor, the way one would clink glasses when making a toast. If the egg didn’t crack, it was considered good luck for the coming year.

In southern Italy eggs are baked into cakes. In Sardinia the Easter bread was shaped into snakes, and wrapped around a bright red hard-boiled egg.

In our modern-day celebrations of Easter, children all over the world decorate eggs. Each year, Easter Eggs are hunted, rolled and later eaten in egg salads or served as deviled eggs.

The subject of eggs came up in a recent reader comment. Their post expressed hope for improved quality on scrambled eggs at a certain local restaurant, one that had new owners.

Visits to several Edmonds restaurants that serve breakfast, revealed that many use “liquid” eggs for scrambled eggs, omelets or other entrees when recipe ingredients call for beaten eggs.

What are liquid eggs? An answer was supplied by The American Egg Board states “Shell eggs, once cleaned and broken, are separated into whites and yolks. The whites and yolks are separately pasteurized. If whole liquid egg product is being made, pasteurized egg whites and egg yolks from the same production batch are blended together in their entirety, in natural proportions.”

I’ve been advised that hotels and buffet lines especially use pancake or waffle batter to thicken eggs (mixed or real)! But this practice is seen from Mom and Pop restaurants to large nationwide chains.

Best advice: Stick to sunny-side up, or over-easy fried eggs to get clear knowledge you have an unadulterated egg.

Colonial Pantry fluffy scramble.
Colonial Pantry fluffy scramble.

Egg-stensive research in Edmonds eateries confirmed the “liquid egg” statement. Furthermore there seem to be two distinctive styles of preparing scrambled eggs. At Colonial Pantry, 9627 Firdale Ave., scrambled eggs are fluffy and light, very lightly seasoned. One is able to add more salt or splash on flavorful sauce, like Tabasco, if desired. Claire’s Pantry, 301 Main St., offers a folded style. Eggs are spread thin on the griddle and folded over. The egg-stra contact with the griddle meant added flavor too. Red Twig Bakery and Café, 117 5th Ave. S., makes a point to inform customers on their menu, that they “steam” their scrambled eggs. Super healthy fare.

Claire's eggs, poached and scrambled.
Claire’s eggs, poached and scrambled.

Egg-cited? Just think about all the establishments in Edmonds that offer eggs on the menu. Traditional breakfast fare and more; eggs accent exotic Asian and Latin dishes are topped off with eggs. Readers, please share – what is your favorite egg dish? Which Edmonds restaurant does your eggs poached, scrambled or over easy, to your satisfaction?

Changes in Downtown Eatery: A visit to Claire’s Restaurant, to taste poached and scrambled eggs turned up more information than comparisons on breakfast cuisine. Seems the ownership has changed, once again.

Claire’s long time owners, Bob Gorman and his wife JoAnne, sold to Catherine Chong and her husband, Sean Te, purchased the Colonial Pantry about a year ago, and became the new owners, along with Joan Wan and Kin Ong, of Claire’s on Jan. 13.

Last week Claire’s Restaurant ownership changed again. Catherine and her husband decided to sell their portion of ownership to Joan and her family.

Catherine cited a desire to concentrate more on Colonial Pantry and its clientele.”It’s like a second home, even my kids work here.” She wants to refocus and plans to reopen for dinner again soon. Catherine feels a connection to the customers: “Colonial Pantry establishment is similar to Cheers, where everyone knows your name.” She shared a story of a customer who came in regularly with his wife, and then he came in alone. Turned out the wife had a stroke. Catherine sent the husband home with a “soup care package.” When the wife recovered, she came in to give Catherine a big hug and thank her for her kindness. Colonial Pantry recently hosted a school fundraiser, and on April 18 will be involved in a benefit called Relay for Life.

Joan Wan is a veteran of restaurants.” Food service is my life,” says Joan. She grew up in Hong Kong, got her education in Australia. She has 15 years at work in food service at Bellevue School District. Joan stated she still owns restaurants in Hong Kong, and Australia. Joan also values the customers who are regulars at Claire’s. Her outreach to two small boys, whom she supplied with French fries and drinks to keep them entertained while parents ordered, was noticed and appreciated by other customers. Joan sends soup to Claire’s customers who need some liquid love. A to-go order of chicken soup went home with a woman, for her sick husband. Joan commutes from Bellevue right now, but hopes to relocate in Edmonds when her son finishes school.

Both women are vested in our community and its people. Best wishes for success in both establishments.

— By Kathy Passage

Kathy Passage Hi ResA 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.

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