My Edmonds Restaurant News: Openings, closings, new finds and chili winners

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Now open: Panda Express next to Winco.

Things change quickly in our Edmonds restaurant scene.

Panda Express, a favorite Chinese restaurant for fresh and fast Chinese food for over 30 years, is now open in Edmonds in the WinCo Center at 220th and Hwy 99. I had a hungry young man at home and no time to cook. For less than $10, I brought him a satisfying meal.

Take a look:

His only complaint: There was no paper fortune inside his cookie.

Pho.com, a Vietnamese restaurant located at 22511 Hwy 99, # 10, is no more. In its place is Bite of China and the sign said “Open Monday.” Restaurant News went over to dine, but delays had prevented the actual event depicted on their large sign. I hope to post an updated review soon.

Tofu salad at Tofu House.

No worries — right next door was Kong Tofu House, another gastronomical gem hidden in the labyrinth of the Ranch Market complex. In the door, we spotted a sign that offered a special. Monday through Thursday: Order two entrees, get a tofu salad or flat fish at no extra cost. Always ready to jump on a bargain, we sat down and opened menus. We spotted our usual Korean favorite — bibimbap, plus hot tofu soups with myriad ingredients. Curious about that tofu salad, my companion ordered Seafood Soon Tofu. My Bibimbap entree came with a small bowl of soup and we scored a free salad.

A cheerful waitress took our order and poured tea. Small dishes of appetizers arrived immediately, with the items we enjoy like bean sprouts and Kimchi, even two small flat fish.

“Want seconds on the Kimchi?” she asked.

“Yes, please.” Our appetites were primed when hot boiling bowls arrived at the table. I tackled the tofu salad first. Tofu was lightly crisped and sat atop fresh dressed greens. A great start to the meal.

Once the boiling ceased, I dipped a spoon into the soup. “Wow,” said my companion, “these guys know what they’re doing in the kitchen.”

We’ve never had bad soup in any of the Korean restaurant locations here in Edmonds, but the broth in our bowls filled by this little establishment had more flavor and more variety of ingredients, which made for a superior soup.

Bibibap at Tofu House.

I felt the same way about the Bibimbap. Just the right amount vegetables, mushrooms, meat and seafood topped with my favorite — an over-easy egg. I didn’t even have to negotiate for a runny yolk — it came that way automatically. Their sauce was sweeter and spicier than the standard issue at most places. We’ll be back there again.

Perrinville restaurants thrive

Bistro 76 bar.

Restaurant News made visits to this hub of delicious destinations at 76th Avenue West and Olympic View Drive in Edmonds. Here’s what is offered at newly opened locations.

The last visit to Bistro 76 was a fast pass through the drive-up window and quick purchase from the cake and pastry case. A return visit was required to taste more of their everyday lunch and happy hour food. We chose to visit on a Sunday afternoon, for a late lunch of soup and salad.

Smoked salmon toast at Bistro 76.

Please note Bistro 76 serves a breakfast menu only on Sundays. But the salad we craved arrived as ingredients on my husband’s Smoked Salmon Toast. Silky, lightly smoked salmon, moist and tender, came on ultra-thin slices of toasted muffin with creamy cheese, topped with abundant arugula and capers and paper-thin slices of red onion. Refreshing.

Corned beef hash.

Corned beef hash included lemony hollandaise topped the perfect poached eggs, perfect potatoes, fork-tender chunks of house-cured beef. Crisp triangles of toast were dipped into the eggs, the sauce and the raspberry jam on the table.

Wine cork decor at Bistro 76.

Seattle roaster Victrola coffee is served at Bistro 76 —  “good to the last sip.” Our Northwest coffee industry sources great green coffees, roasts them to perfection, and an exquisite brew has become the standard. Victrola says, “We go beyond perfection in the cup.” See www.victrolacoffee.com for their story.

The Bistro 76 bar area décor is unique. They used wine corks both on the top border of the bar and to decorate the posts. Happy hour is from 4 to 8 p.m. I asked to see a menu and perused a sheet titled Tapas. Tapas, to me, mean little plates, but the dishes listed were robust entrees that I would call reasonably priced dinner. See www.bistro76.cafe for all menu choices. The flip side revealed a nice list of wines, craft and bottle beers, and at prices I would consider happy hour-worthy. Definitely be back for dinner, er… I mean happy hour.

The Hook Seafood Broiler and Spirits has added new items to its menu and boosted the variety at happy hour too. I personally loved the “fresh” seafood preparations.

Hook Steamers.

House Steamers featured clams and mussels steamed in a tasty light tomato broth. Every drop was soaked up by the contents of a generous basket of garlic bread.

Hook Seafood Salad was a delight — an assortment of fresh steamed seafood atop crisp romaine with basil vinaigrette. The Greek salad with a feta mayo dip for the pita pleased our palettes.

I noted that the happy hour menu lists these items as well. Would smaller portions allow room to try out the new desserts? I soldiered on.

Hook Lemonade Cake.

Hard choices on dessert: Salted Caramel Vanilla Crunch Cake or the Lemonade Cake, both “new” since my last visit. Lemon seemed a good finish to a meal of seafood. Between moist layers of white cake were tart Meyer lemon custard and rich cream. Decadent and delicious.

Christene and Anthony James

The winners… Our local Edmonds grilling folks (see previous column here) Anthony James and Christene James went to the World Food Championships that were held in Orange Beach Alabama.

After the first round – Anthony was in 8th place and Christene in 4th.

They both cooked the next day in the top-10 round.

The final results were: Christene (Deena’s Cantina Chili) 3rd place, Anthony (Raven’s Fyre Chili) 5th. It’s was great for our Washington Team of cooks! Their respective 3rd- and 5th-place finishes have qualified Christene and Anthony for next year’s World Food Championships. They will be taking lessons learned at the 2016 event and applying them to lots of practice to be ready for another shot at the title of World Chili Champion. Can’t wait to taste test next year’s entries. (Yes, I know, that was a bit blatant.)

As promised, here are recipes for their winning entries:

Christene’s chili.

WFC 3 bean Chili Recipe- Christene’s recipe won 3rd place!
3 slices of bacon (render in the bottom of the pot – remove before putting meat in pot)
1 lbs – mild Italian sausage (ground) brown meat
2 lbs – cubed tri-tip or Chili Grind (season meat with seasoning salt) brown meat then add
1 cup white onion sauté
1 tbsp chopped garlic
14 oz beef broth
3 oz chicken broth
1 tsp – beef bouillon
1 tsp – chicken base
1 can of tomato sauce
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can of tomato paste

Float in pot: 1 jalapeño and 1 Serrano pepper
Cut bacon and add to pot
Boil then add:
2 tsp – onion powder
1 tsp – garlic powder
1 tbsp – Ancho chili powder
2 tbsp – dark chili powder
½ tsp – white pepper
1 pkt – Sazon Goya

Cut back heat and simmer 1 hour – then add:

½ tsp – cumin
½ tsp – onion powder
½ tsp – garlic powder
1 tbsp – Mexene Ani powder seasoning
1 tbsp – light chili Powder
1 tbsp – chipotle chili powder
¼ tsp white pepper
¼ tsp cayenne
½ packet – Sazon Goya
1 tbsp paprika

Simmer 30 min
Squeeze peppers and discard

Add three cans of different beans – Black, pinto, red
1 tbsp – cumin
¼ tsp cayenne
½ packet – Sazon Goya

Cook 30 more minutes.

10 min before serving add:
1 ½ tsp – Cocoa Powder

Garnish with cilantro and cotijia cheese

Anthony measuring ingredients.

Bolder Blanco Tenderloin Chili- this is Anthony’s “WHITE” Chili entry which took a respectable 5th place.
6 strips bacon
1 white onion, finely diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
4 Anaheim peppers
3 jalapeño peppers
3 pounds pork tenderloin, cut into ½ inch cubes
2 to 3 cups chicken stock
4 cans cannelli (white pinto) beans
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons dried parsley
2 teaspoons Trilby’s Heavenly Hatch (optional)
1 cup Mexican crema
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
½ teaspoon white pepper
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
Cotija cheese
Fresh cilantro — cleaned, chopped and stems removed

In a Dutch Oven or stock pot, slowly cook the six pieces of bacon to render out the fat, being careful not to burn the bacon. Discard (or eat) the bacon once the fat is rendered.

While the bacon is rendering, roast the Anaheim and Jalapeño peppers over a gas flame, on a gas grill, or under the broiler on a sheet pan, turning occasionally to completely char the skins.

Once the bacon is rendered, sauté the onion and garlic in the bacon fat until translucent. Add the pork tenderloin, season with salt and black pepper, and cook until grayed.

While the pork is cooking, puree one can of drained beans with one cup of chicken broth.

Remove the stems and seeds from the roasted peppers and dice.

After the pork is grayed, add the diced peppers, bean puree, cumin, oregano, parsley, and Heavenly Hatch. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, and simmer –- stirring occasionally -– until the meat gets close to tender, approximately 20 minutes.

Add the remaining three cans of drained beans, 1 cup chicken broth, and Mexican Crema and continue to cook until the meat and beans are tender, 15 to 20 minutes.

If the chili is too thick, add some additional broth to thin.

A few minutes before serving stir in the cayenne pepper, white pepper, granulated onion, and granulated garlic. Adjust seasonings to taste.

Serve topped with crumbled cotija cheese and chopped cilantro.

Pepper Trio Tenderloin Chili Verde – a bonus recipe they shared
2 pounds tomatillos, husks removed, cleaned and halved
10 cloves garlic, unpeeled
3 to 4 Jalapeño peppers
2 Poblano peppers
3 Anaheim peppers
1 white onion, peeled and cut into large chunks
½ bunch cilantro, cleaned and stems removed
6 strips bacon
3 pounds pork tenderloin cut into ½-inch cubes *
Salt and pepper to taste
4 Tablespoons Goya Salsita “Plenty Hot Jalapeño Chiles” or other breen Jalapeño hot sauce
3.5 cups chicken broth
1 Tablespoon ground cumin
½ Tablespoon dried oregano
½ Tablespoon granulated garlic
½ Tablespoon granulated onion
½ Teaspoon MSG (Accent)
½ Teaspoon white pepper
1 Tablespoon Trilby’s Heavenly Hatch (Optional)
Dried parsley
Tortilla strips

Preheat oven on broil.

In a Dutch Oven or stock pot slowly cook the 6 pieces of bacon to render out the fat, being careful not to burn the bacon. Discard (or eat) the bacon once the fat is rendered.

While the bacon fat is rendering, on a large sheet pan with edges roast the tomatillos skin side up along with the garlic cloves, chunked white onion, and peppers under the broiler. Turn the peppers occasionally to evenly char their skins.

Gray the pork tenderloin in the rendered bacon fat, seasoning with salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the Goya Salsita.

Once the vegetables are roasted – the tomatillos soft and the peppers charred – remove the stems and seeds from the peppers and remove the skins from the garlic. Puree the vegetables and any juices in the pan along with the cilantro in a blender. Pour the puree over the pork.

Add the chicken broth, cumin, oregano, granulated garlic, granulated onion, MSG, and white pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Simmer, stirring occasionally, until the pork is tender, approximately 40 minutes.

Once the pork is tender add 2 more tablespoons Goya Salsita, the Trilby’s Heavenly Hatch, and – if necessary – salt and pepper to taste.

Serve garnished with dried parsley and tortilla strips.
* Note: Pork shoulder or country-style ribs can also be used. Lengthen the cooking time appropriately (approximately 3 hours)

Holidays are upon us
Check out the new holiday menu offerings. Slurp up a peppermint bark or peanut butter milkshake at Spud Fish and Chips. Check off some “gift list items” at the same time: Black and white SPUD zip-up hoodies are available. The one-size-fits-all Gift Card …for every $20 purchase, receive $5 extra.

Been naughty or nice? Tell Santa all about it this coming Saturday, Dec. 17 at 190 Sunset. 9 a.m. – 12:30 p.m. Complimentary photos with Santa, gingerbread decorating, Santa’s Elves and more! Brunch will be served until 3 p.m.

Happy Holidays,

Kathy Passage

Kathy Passage Lo Res

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.

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