The food business is a tough one, but that doesn’t mean the folks who are behind the counter, or cook in the kitchens, are in it for the cash. Owners have to make a profit or ultimately they’ll be unable to sustain their business. I recently visited at a few local spots that have great stories to share with My Edmonds News readers.
The smoker just outside the door at Fat Pig BBQ, 7533 Olympic View Drive in Perrinville sends a message that “yummy fare is just inside.”
Owner Bao Van and his sister Amy tell me of their desire for Fat Pig BBQ to be affordable and provide healthy food for their community- Affordable for families, even for the kids who populate the skate park right up the street. At $3.50 the pulled pork sandwich certainly fits the bill.
Fat Pig BBQ prices are a value. Each full sized entrée costs about $12. And if you’re not quite hungry enough to devour a quarter of a chicken, or a half-rack of ribs, smaller portions are available for even less.
We spoke about what an adventure it is to taste a sauce and pick apart the recipe, name the herbs, spices, etc. When I pose a question about the recipe for his barbecue, he says he uses a barbecue base, and he adds with a smile, his own “secret spices.” Take my word on this — his sauce is delicious, the meat is juicy, and so tender it falls off the bone. Sides of coleslaw, corn on the cob, and baked beans are flavorful and fresh.
The sign underneath his counter sums up his philosophy: Gather and Eat.
Bao owns his building, so he is “not a greedy man,” he says. Rather one who sees his restaurant as a Gathering Place, not just to eat, but a hub of social activity and camaraderie.
Bao and his sister Amy are the only two workers in the restaurant just now. His sister lives right up the street, and he’s pleased to have family on the job.
Born in Vietnam, Bao has been in the United States for over 35 years. He has worked in restaurants in Bellingham, but this is his first endeavor as the owner/operator of a restaurant.
Bao is testing a new ordering system. He demonstrated how he could add my first name as part of the order process. “This way when we get busy, we can call out a person’s name to signal their order is ready,” he grinned.
I guarantee you they will be busier, very soon.
The owners of Edmonds Thai restaurant Noodle Hut are observant Buddhists, and are closed Sundays for worship. They begin each day at their temple with prayer and meditation as well. They are closed on Mondays for excursions to the Asian markets in downtown Seattle. The chefs are particular. Owner Sinisone Sinhbandith says they “hand pick the fresh and most authentic ingredients for their entrees each week.”
These ladies come to their little space at 8418 Bowdoin Way, Five Corners, and prepare fresh and delicious fare for all of us Thai food lovers in Edmonds and beyond.
They open around 11 a.m. on Tuesday through Saturday. Regulars know this is a bit flexible, and patiently wait to give their order, when the phone call is answered. The restaurant closes from 3-4 p.m. each afternoon. The ladies meditate and refresh themselves before the dinner rush. Phone calls to request orders of evening meals resume at 4:01 pm.
Many times I’ve entered their tiny space, surveyed empty tables and think “OK, I can get my lunch and be back at my desk in less than an hour.” But a glance at the wall behind the counter reveals otherwise. I’ll have a bit of a wait. Order slips are clustered on clips, other folks’ food-to go, will be prepared and boxed before my order of Pineapple Fried Rice hits the wok.
Even though there’s a wait, hospitality rules the space. I am offered a cup of their hot tea, brewed each day from Sinhbandith’s special blend of green teas — Jasmine and Pandu. Refills too — my cup is never neglected before my food is packaged to go home.
New dishes are advertised on hand-lettered signs in many cases — I adore the little chicken drawn on this first one: Khao Soy Gai. A soup of chicken and egg noodles in a citrusy coconut broth, with a mild curry taste which provides a diversity of spice. Pickled mustard greens, cilantro, shallots and fresh lime really bring the dish to life. The boiled egg tops the dish — an attractive feature.
Goy See Mee is another dish that is excellent for chilly weather. This dish it comes with chicken and plenty of mushrooms in gravy over crispy noodles. Chewy shiitakes, long slender white Enoki, and oyster mushrooms add dimensions of texture and interest, along with the bamboo Sprouts. Vinegar adds an extra punch to the dish well.
Both of these new dishes are plentiful portions and could be shared. This is true of most Noodle Hut entrees, generous in flavor and in quantity.
“Dessert?” They know about my sweet tooth. I adore their sticky green rice, dressed with coconut cream and a topping of fresh mangoes.
“So sorry,” owner says with a smile. “So busy today, no time to peel mangos right now… but soon.” Rather than use short cuts of already processed fruit, they will simply not serve desserts. They have principles, high standards to uphold, even if it means no sales of dessert that day.
If this attitude seems a bit different, just remember that last winter these ladies closed up for several weeks and traveled to Thailand to visit family. They have their priorities; they won’t skimp on quality of ingredients, or quality of life.
Now open in Bothell
One of downtown Seattle’s most popular happy hours spots on the Pike/Pine has opened a second location, in Bothell Poquitos Mexican restaurant.
Poquitos expanded with an even bigger bar (5,000 square feet) at the Junction (18505 Bothell Way N.E.) Dinner is served right downstairs.
It’s a trend: Dine where you live — steps away or even an elevator ride, in some cases. Enjoy Happy Hour or late night noshing without worry about driving home. Check Poquitos happy-hour items ($3-$10) including fried grasshoppers ($3) and guacamole made-to-order ($5). Margaritas are $2 off too.
Yes, those exotic foods from Oxaca… Grasshoppers, known as Chapulines in Mexico and Central America. They went viral once served at Safeco Field, home of the Seattle Mariners, at the beginning of the 2017 baseball season. Fans got a kick out of trying the crunchy snack so Poquitos added Chapulines to the happy hour menu too. They became an instant hit, with visitors intrigued to try a chili-lime toasted grasshopper.
Chapulines are a popular bar snack in Oaxaca, Mexico, where they are harvested in the wild each October. If you aren’t planning a visit to Oaxaca anytime soon, you can try them at Poquitos. They go especially well with a Mexican cervesa or scratch margarita.
Just the highlights of Happy Hour, plus an extensive menu for both lunch and dinner and, of course, lush desserts, should encourage readers to get into the car and take a drive to nearby Bothell.
The excitement continues to build for new businesses
We have several local restaurants and two (yes-TWO) fish mongers…all on the verge of opening this month
Thai by Day: Opening soon on Sunset in Edmonds… I LOVE Thai food, so… I’m one of the Edmond locals who’s awaiting the opening of yet another Thai place — can’t wait. Day says: “check in or share the page on your profile Facebook or Twitter get 10 percent discount.”
Banh Mi Bites: This eatery is located at 23601-56th Ave. W. #600, in Mountlake Terrace is set to open next week. They will feature Vietnamese street food and specialty tea and smoothies. banhmibites.com.
Mar·ket: Edmonds Fishmonger & Eatery opening “soon”…at 508 Main St., next to Starbucks. Shubert Ho and Andrew Leckie have been making Facebook friends drool as they test recipes and share photos with us.
Ken Hewitt will open Kuzma’s Fish Market at 21107 70th Ave. W., in Edmonds (former location of Celtic Cowboy BBQ.) Ken knows his seafood — he is a veteran, with 18 years as the head of Seattle’s Uwajimaya seafood department.
— 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.