My Edmonds Restaurant News: Holiday market, plus bakery delights and Mediterranean fare nearby

Signs of life at Panda Express.
Signs of life at Panda Express.

First, some quick notes:

The Edmonds Holiday Market will return: It’s scheduled for 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturdays Nov. 12 through Dec. 17. It will be held on Fifth Avenue North.

Coming soon update: Edmonds has several sites slated for future food establishments, but delays, endless holding patterns and rumors roil our tummies.

Panda Express, reported to open in the retail complex going up next to Edmonds WinCo, is now confirmed as evidenced by the wide red “open soon” banners that decorate each side of the entrance. Edmonds folks will soon be able to feast at Panda Express, the restaurant that serves fresh and fast American Chinese cuisine.

Lovers of the Top Pot Pumpkin Old Fashioned Doughnuts will have to wait a bit longer. Mark Klebeck, co-Founder of Top Pot, says “We are finally making progress.” The Edmonds Top Pot location at Salish Crossing is official: It’s on the Top Pot official website as COMING SOON.

A Napolean and coffee at Crema de la Crema
A Napolean and coffee at Crema de la Crema

Crema de la Crema

My Edmonds News did an announcement when this lovely treasure opened in nearby Mountlake Terrace this summer, and readers may be acquainted with the owner Nikolai Kulakevich and his desire to serve his community the best possible pastry and baked goods.

This article will focus on the tasty baked goods. “We did pastries and cakes for a few years as wholesale only,” Nikolai said, “and then decided to open the bakery to the retail community this July.”

Crema de la Crema pastry products are unique, made beautiful with decorations of natural ingredients like fruit and, much to my preference not too sweet or smothered with extra icing.

An unusual pastry on the bottom shelf of the case generated requests from customers and Nikolai responded with generous samples. Flaky, crumbly and creamy all at once, it was the decadent French dessert known as millefeuille — which translates as “a thousand leaves”—Crema de la Crema version is sweet, not overly sugary, complex, both light and rich at the same time. Un-iced or otherwise decorated, rolled in crumbs of pastry base, the cream filling commanded center stage and called to mind the phrase “melt-in-your-mouth.” We bought every last one in the case.

The day we stopped by, a windstorm of monumental proportions was predicted on the news. Shoppers’ reactions were simple: Stock up on comfort food.

Coppery coils of yeast dough commanded attention on the top shelf. A minimal glaze of icing showcased the swirls of sweet, spiced dough. We might not have electricity for our coffeemakers, but we would have cinnamon rolls for breakfast.

I scored the last two chocolate chip macadamia cookies. Butter, chocolate and rich nuts, every bite was delicious.

Not everything in the pastry case at Crema de La Crema is sweet.

A fresh croissant.
A fresh croissant.

Croissants choices include plain pastry and allow the purchaser to add their own sweet finish to the layers of buttery pastry, or simply enjoy sans jam.

A basket on the counter contained loaves of the day’s bread, its crispy crust decorated with sunflower and other seeds. Sliced at home, the interior was hearty and moist like a rye loaf. Wonderful toasted, just a bit of butter and dab of jam.

Multi-grain bread.
Multi-grain bread.

And there’s coffee. An Americano is my favorite way to taste coffee, and I ordered up one to sip while my purchases were boxed up. The coffee beans at Crema de la Crema are from Fonté, a Seattle coffee roaster whose philosophy is similar to a winemaker’s in that they select beans based on varietal character. Fonté roasts to order, and delivers fresh product directly to the shop. My Americano was exquisite.

The pastry case contained works of art that masquerade as desserts: mango and raspberry cakes, a molten volcano cake, all decadent and rich desserts. Nikolai seeks suggestions from his customers. Mine was simple. Make more panna cotta next week so that I can purchase before it’s all sold out.

Crema de la Crema Bakery is located at 21709 66th Ave. W. in Mountlake Terrace. Hours are Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. They are closed on Sunday.

Fork Mediterranean Grill.
Fork Mediterranean Grill.

Mountlake Terrace has more restaurant news to report: Just up the block from the bakery, at 21919 66 Ave, W. (in Melody Hill Village on corner of 220th and 66th), is Fork Mediterranean Grill. It just opened this week, so Restaurant News stopped by for a quick bite and an education.

Restaurant News is no stranger to Mediterranean cuisine, but I saw new names and items on the paper menus at their register. Research is the best part of my job, next to a taste of the food, of course.

The centerpiece of this and many Mediterranean establishments is the spit of succulent, sizzling meat. It has many names, and at Fork Grill it is called Shawarma.

Shawarma is an Arab and Israeli meat preparation. Lamb, chicken, turkey, beef, veal, buffalo meat, or mixed meats are placed on a spit (commonly a vertical spit in restaurants). Shavings are cut off the block of meat for serving, and the remainder of the block of meat is kept heated on the rotating spit. Shawarma can be served on a plate (with accompaniments), or as a sandwich or wrap. Shawarma is usually eaten with salads like tabbouleh, or fattoush, and served with taboon bread (think of thicker, stretchy type pita bread or tortillas) tomato, and cucumber. Toppings include tahini, hummus, pickled turnips, and a tangy mango pickle condiment called Amba.

Beef and lamb gyro.
Beef and lamb gyro.

The beef and lamb gyro I ordered came as a wrap. Loaded with slices of succulent meat, fresh cucumbers, greens and tasty pickled ingredients, the sturdy taboon bread held together just fine.

Whole wheat pita is an option and the perfect holder for the grilled cauliflower, eggplant, falafel and fresh veggies that filled my hubby’s vegetarian sandwich.

Fork Mediterranean Grill offers combo plates, kabobs, salads, soup and sides that include rice, hummus and falafel, and of course, Greek fries. Dolmades, hummus and baba ghanoush are all offered as Sides to Go.

Desserts listed on the to-go menu, are “yet to come.” Baklava — rich, sweet pastry made of layers of filo filled with chopped nuts, sweetened and held together honey — is my favorite dessert, but an exotic dish called Liyali Lebnan intrigued me, so I looked online: a Middle Eastern pudding dessert whose name translates to “Lebanese Nights.” Photos of cold semolina pudding, dripping in caramel syrup, pistachio nuts… I will be back to Fork Mediterranean, and soon…for dessert.

Restaurant News Readers: Thanks to all for your suggestions on new eateries to review in future columns. I have a list and am always delighted to add more.

Dining in Edmonds this weekend? Lots of fall fare on the menus- I recently enjoyed a velvet-textured Parsnip Soup and Pumpkin panna cotta for dessert.

Remember to take a look at the fabulous scarecrow displays and vote for your favorites.

Happy Halloween.

Kathy Passage Hi Res— 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.

  1. If you live across the street, as we do, from the proposed Top Pot you really wonder what is progress. The sign “Coming soon” has been up for at least 2 months and the ugly torn canvas has been blowing it the wind for two weeks. Some of the wall under-cladding is being removed by winds. Many days go by with little activity at the site. If this is an example of “progress” I’m not impressed with Top Pot’s approach.

    1. I’m sure everyone is frustrated with the snails pace of many food establishment openings. When those donuts are finally available I know I’ll enjoy the treat, and hope others agree it will be worth the wait.

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