Café De Paris opened in August 1983. I’m always one to like to celebrate early and any reason to have lunch out is special. A friend’s birthday was a perfect excuse for lunch at Café de Paris, as they close in on their 35th Anniversary next year.
Here’s the scoop- Firmin Berclaz is the real deal, and he is a Frenchman who has also lived in Switzerland, hence the rumors around town that he is Swiss and not French.
Seated in the sunny porch area at Café de Paris, we had the best of both worlds – sunshine and fresh air, minus the insects.
We started with soup. The classic French onion served had fabulous beef broth. Stock simmered on the stove creates this intense flavor. Tender chunks of celery, onion in the plentiful rich liquor, with a perfect portion of toasted bread topped with broiled cheese to match the volume of liquid broth — nary a soggy crouton in sight.
Soup du jour was mushroom. Presented with a generous slice of a raw mushroom, each creamy spoonful contained bits of mushroom and sprinkles of parsley. No thickening agents detected on my tongue or on the spoon.
The special of the day was red snapper. Grilled and crisp, it tasted of butter, and was topped with capers and chunks of lemon. It was accompanied by verdant green steamed beans and steamed rice — a great palette for the fish and vegetables.
French onion soup whetted my appetite for beef, and I wanted to taste crepes. The menu provided a perfect solution: Crepes Beef Bourgeon. A savory galette with crispy edges was folded over huge chunks beef, which were so tender they fell apart with gentle pressure of the fork. Colorful orange carrots and mushrooms were coated in luscious stock. Time is spent in the kitchen to bring stock and sauce to the right proper consistency for each application and recipe.
A petite side salad came with the crepe. Fresh crispy greens dressed in classic vinaigrette with slices of tomato and carrots.
We’d ordered a small portion of the Avocado Surprise. And surprise — the small portion is a meal in itself. Half of a very ripe avocado, perfectly cooked medium-sized shrimp, hard-cooked egg, thin-sliced artichokes and tomatoes, shredded carrots and crisp greens, dressed with classic French vinaigrette.
And of course dessert. Substantial portions of lunch went home in boxes so there’d be room to sample at least one dessert. Chocolate mousse, in a stemmed glass, and two spoons — mounds of silky chocolate accented with a touch of cognac, and crowned with fluffy clouds of cream.
While many prefer local roasted coffee blends offered in restaurants and coffee houses, my cup of Farmers coffee was a flavorful finish to the meal.
Dog and cat lovers: listen up
Join like-minded folks and their furry friends at Gallaghers’ Where U Brew, on Sunday, July 30 for their third annual pub crawl, this year benefiting The Squeaky Toy. The non-profit provides pet supplies to disabled veterans, homeless and low-income families and individuals. The festivities start at 10 a.m., with the pub crawl starting at 1 p.m. Win prizes: Raffle items include great stuff from a variety of businesses who have contributed to the cause. The cost for the pub crawl is $10 with all the proceeds from the raffle and the pub crawl going to The Squeaky Toy. Gallaghers’ will donate a portion of the Paws and Pints sales as well.
“Good eats” in Mountlake Terrace and Lynnwood
Voula’s Good Eats has a history — a family-restaurant story. Voula’s opened in 2008, part of the Athan family restaurant ventures. Voula and Bill Athan emigrated from Greece almost 50 years ago and started in the restaurant business; Leena’s Cafe in Shoreline is named for Voula’s granddaughter. The family chose Mountlake Terrace because Mom and Dad live close by. And Dad made all the pies at that time.
Located at 4306 228th St. S.W. in Mountlake Terrace, Voula’s occupies a corner space in the small shopping center. The restaurant is bright with skylights, and a fireplace in the middle of the room breaks up the basic furnishings. There is an outdoor dining area too, pleasant and surrounded by raised planters filled with a variety of fresh herbs and the owner’s tomato plants.
The menu offers Greek and American comfort foods. Greek ingredients are sprinkled throughout the standard, three-meals-a-day fare. A breakfast wrap gyro and an Athenian omelet join pancakes, omelets and egg scrambles at breakfast. Chicken souvlaki (shish kabob) and veggie or chicken gyros are selections among a list of burgers and sandwiches for lunch. Appetizers include homemade tzatziki (Greek yogurt-cucumber dip). The dinner menu lists pasta, steaks, chicken, pork and veal — even liver and onions.
Vegetarians have two options at lunch and dinner: a salad or a veggie burger. While my vegetarian hubby loved the horiatiki (Traditional Greek Village Salad) and it was generous enough to be shared with me, I wanted to see more traditional Greek entree choices, like moussaka perhaps, on a daily basis. The website mentions “GREEK NIGHT-Last Thursday of Every Month, A traditional Greek Special for Dinner,” but there is no menu available on the website. www.voulasgoodeats.com
Taster’s Wok in Lynnwood
Foodie friends said: “Incredible Chinese cuisine, especially when owner John is cooking in the kitchen, great bar too.” They went on with praise, “Best happy hour ever! They have karaoke and yummy late night food specials too.”
Taster’s Wok’s story began in 1998 on the ground floor of an office building in downtown Edmonds. Taster’s, started by the Fong family, focused on Americanized Chinese cuisine. After 10 years, Taster’s became so popular it needed a more spacious location, and it moved to 15128 Highway 99, in Lynnwood.
I visited at lunch, and found a diverse menu that offered Chinese and other ethnic cuisines like Indian and Korean. Vegetarian choices were numerous; even faux meat is available.
Lunch specials are a bargain. The restaurant offers multiple options so one can taste many dishes, and not blow the budget or the waistline.
Soups: Hot and sour is chock full of mushrooms, veggies and slivers of pork. Egg drop had flavorful golden broth, enhanced by chunks of chicken.
Salad greens were dressed with slightly sweet, creamy sesame treatment and topped with crispy wonton slivers.
We ordered two prawn dishes, and were delighted by both versions. Snow pea prawns’ bright color — added to the crunch of tender/crisp peas, carrots and thin slices of water chestnuts — made it a delightful dish on all counts. Garlic prawns, plated on leaves of fresh baby spinach, were dressed with savory sauce, with just the right amount of garlic to please the palate. Both dishes included a side of fluffy and perfect pork-fried rice and wontons.
Hot tea arrived promptly when requested and service overall was friendly and courteous. Taster’s Wok, a great choice for Asian food in Lynnwood. www.tasterswokrestaurant.com
Edmonds locations have news…
Edmonds has a new bakery. Ganache Patisserie and Cafe, at 407 Main St. just west of the Edmonds Theater, is officially open after a few glitches. Owner is Nikolai Kulakevich, who originally opened the Crema de La Crema bakery on 66th Avenue West in Mountlake Terrace. Well worth the wait — it’s the same wonderful selection of premium pastries, cakes and croissants offered at his former location. Hours vary; currently open weekdays 10 a.m.-8 p.m., Saturday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., closed Sunday.
Ono Poke — purveyors of sustainable, fresh-never-frozen, seafood dishes — are now licensed to sell alcohol. They offer both beer and wine, and sake too.
Red Lantern Chinese Restaurant has new owners and a new name – Furi Chinese Restaurant. Phone is 425-673-9933. Here’s a link so you can see the menu. Delivery is free with minimum of $25 order. Good news: They don’t use MSG, and they do use all fresh ingredients including their own house-made chicken stock. Stay tuned for a review soon.
Coming up: The 35th annual A Taste of Edmonds
Dates are Aug. 11-13, 2017. Three days of food, music, vendors, rides, beer/wine and fun. Mark your calendars and get ready. Yours truly will be judging the Taste Off and will publish results in my column early Friday afternoon, so you’ll know before you go where the best “tastes” are offered this year.
FYI — this event is a fundraiser for the Edmonds Chamber of Commerce. Proceeds help fund community events like Edmonds 4th of July, the Classic Car Show, and downtown family events like Halloween and Tree Lighting. In addition, the chamber is able to give $24,572 each year to non-profits and service clubs.
— 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.