Eat. Drink. Shop. Local.
I spotted these four words on the header of the menu at The Cheesemonger’s Table on a recent visit. Good words, which remind Edmonds diners to support our local restaurants, so they can support the local suppliers. The farmers who grow the greens and vegetables in the salads, the dairy whose animals produced the milk to make the cheeses, ranchers whose livestock become the protein in the main entrée, and well… you get the idea.
When consumers support local products, dollars stay in the community, provide wages for restaurant workers, sales taxes go into the local city coffers, which may ultimately pave the road to the restaurant or possibly increase parking downtown. OK, I will get off my soapbox.
Long overdue for a visit to The Cheesemongers Table, I tried out the specials, which were a Red Pepper Gouda soup and a Raclette Grill. My partner in culinary adventures, son Nick Baker, tried the Turkey Reuben and a bowl of their classic tomato soup.
Many Edmonds restaurants list a signature tomato soup on menu; Cheesemonger’s Table is no exception. The soup was deep ruby red, with shreds of Parmesan and accented with smoked paprika, which lent a bit of earthy taste — or umami — to this lovely liquor. Delicious by the spoonful, but it coaxed dips of our sandwiches to heighten the dining experience.
My bowl held creamy, tawny-colored Red Pepper soup. Gouda cheese brought a nice bite to the broth. A great way to warm the tummy, and treat your taste buds.
The Famous Turkey Reuben featured Zoe’s Turkey topped with a slaw of colorful purple cabbage and melted Swiss. Cheesemonger’s expertise with the panini grill made this a delight to munch– crisp toasted outside but interior the bread remain moist, soft and easy to bite.
I saved the best for last. My choice was the Raclette Grill. This type of sandwich is not on the regular menu, so it was a special treat for me! For those who are not familiar with raclette, it is a cheese lover’s bliss. The name raclette is derived from the French word “racler,” a verb meaning “to scrape.” And, indeed, at its core, raclette is nothing more than portions of cheese warmed and scraped off a larger chunk and onto bread or directly onto the plate of the diner. Here is a picture:
See how the individual portions of the melted cheese are kept warm until the point of assembling the sandwich? This guarantees dairy products served to the consumer are creamy, at a perfect temperature to meld with additional ingredients that may be grilled on the top portion.
The cheese most often used in raclette dining is a semi-firm cow’s milk variety; the Cheesemonger uses Chevre, and have for sale the Boska brand raclette equipment if you’d like to host a raclette party at your home.
Back to my lunch: Two halves of a ciabatta roll, slathered with garlic aioli and whole grain mustard, held peppadew peppers, thin slices of Zoe’s all-natural wine-soaked salami and a liberal application of the aforementioned goat cheese racelette. Absolute bliss.
Restaurant News offers this advice: The only way to have room for dessert is to share entrees and then take half home in a box. Nick and I swapped back and forth on soup and sammies, so my photos are the opposite of our initial order, and we still brought home half our order in a box.
Believe me, with a dessert like the Black and Blue cake on the menu, one wants to have room!
Rich and dark, this cake is one of a kind and a great fit for the Cheesemonger. Gorgonzola Dolce (aka bleu cheese) whipped into a butter crème frosting, a dessert I didn’t want to share. Fortunately my dining partner loves cookies, and happily munched his way through a giant chocolate chip after a small taste of my cake.
Local desserts in the case: While you await your order, I invite you to browse the refrigerated cases a bit — lots of local goodies. My favorite is the Chuckanut Cheesecakes. Individual portions help those of us who’d be weak enough to consume several slices of a whole cake — in the privacy of our own homes, of course.
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Epulo Bistro offers reasons to get out and dine midweek.
Can’t wait till the weekend? Try out “Tuesday Tasting” at Epulo Bistro www.epulobistro.com. The four-course menu changes each week, and wine pairing can be added. The dinner is $32 and generous pours of wine offered with each course are a bargain at $28.
Course 1-Salad of fresh greens with tangy tarragon vinaigrette, topped with toasty walnuts, a creamy chevre and pickled kumquats, played nicely on the taste buds with fruity citrus flavors of the Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc that accompanied this first course.
Course 2-Cotechino Sausage Flatbread. Plentiful layer of creamy Fontina supported caramelized onions and rounds of sausage. Pendulum Red Blend’s oaky flavors work with red meats and grilled vegetables, so matched well the sausage and onion. A nice surprise — I would have chosen a white wine.
Course 3-Bucatini ala Tomato. Al dente tubes of pasta topped off with simple, but rich tomato sauce. Fresh pecorino cheese turns the tomato base sauce to cream and coated each strand of Bucatini. Flavor from garlic, shallots, basil add complexity, and paired with Freakshow Cabernet Sauvignon- a good match.
Course 4-A dessert of Carrot Cake presented as ribbons of moist, dense, sweet cake, separated by tiny stripes of cream cheese icing, and not upstaged by the Averna Amaro, an Italian dessert wine. In fact, the bitter-spiciness of this liquor brought out the spice in the cake.
Coffee is from Fonte, local Seattle roaster — mellow with some notes of chocolate in the blend. Great way to end the meal.
Restaurant News was recently made aware of the effort that Tim Morris at Epulo Bistro is helping former employee Juan Castellon, well know to diners as he’s been there for over five years. Juan’s wife Paula is in need of a kidney transplant. They have done remarkable work in raising funds in a short period of time. Currently they are within $10,000 of the goal. https://www.gofundme.com/medical-support-for-paula-castellon
Tim’s message for those who visit the Go Fund Me site inspired me to share with Restaurant News readers.
“If you have a job with health benefits, chances are you’ve never felt the burden of not being able to pay medical bills. You’ve never had to make a choice between paying rent or getting a life saving procedure. For Juan Castellon and his wife Paula this is the burden they are feeling right now. Paula is currently suffering from IgA nephropathy, also known as Berger’s Disease. Her kidneys are working at 15% and she needs a transplant to save her life. Juan has left his job to find one that offers medical benefits because it’s the only way for Paula to get on the kidney replacement list unless they can come up with $25,000. Juan and Paula need your help, there is no way for them to continue to pay bills, feed their children, and sustain their life while also paying these medical bills. Paula won’t survive without the procedure. Please donate as little or as much as you can. Every dollar helps this family stay a family. Thank you for your support.”
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Happening this Sunday, Jan. 28, noon-4 p.m. at , 180 W. Dayton, Ste. 105:
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Restaurant News reminds readers that it is never too early to book those tables for a romantic dinner on Feb 14. Ahem, yes… that means YOU!
— 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.