Edmonds Restaurant News: Breakfast delights, fresh juice at Jaiiya Cafe, plus updates on Pancake Haus and Chef Dane

Staff members Nadine, left, and Mo.

Wow — another new spot opens in Edmonds: Jaiiya Café.

Staff members Nadine and Mo greeted me with smiling eyes… and crinkles around those eyes implied grins hidden behind their masks, very happy greetings.  My visit coincided with a chance to meet the owner, Chee Wong.

Chee Wong, far right, and his family cut the ribbon for Jaiiya Café.

Wong and his wife have owned Waterfront Coffee Company, for about six years now. He says he and his wife jumped at the opportunity to open a coffee/café enterprise in the new multi-family building located at 10032 Edmonds Way. Their logo even reflects the wooden art in the apartment complex plaza.

“We always knew that we wanted to expand what we offer at Waterfront,” he said. “Jaiiya Café’s the perfect place to try out these new ideas. We knew that we wanted to bring to Edmonds a new way of thinking about coffee — amazing coffee, but also on healthier food and drink. Our vision for this cafe is to not only have amazing quality food and drink but to always think outside of the box.”

He adds: “The root of Jaiiya Cafe is the coffee. We do not simply pour coffee but we understand the science of coffee, and love to educate the public about coffee.”

A list of beverages begins with juice — not just plastic bottles filled with the usual morning orange juice, but cold-pressed juices made with fresh, local produce and packed with nutrients. Cold press is not only delicious, but good for you, too. Three types are bottled and ready to go, but Wong assured me that any combination of fruit I’d desire could be cold-pressed to order — in their Goodnature M-1 hydraulic juicer — right in front of me. Wow! Juices are in 100% recyclable glass bottles.

Gotta get in some greens in the morning, right? I chose “Vitality Juice,” which combines the antioxidants of ginger and nutrient-dense kale with the light sweetness of oranges and pineapple for a perfect way to jump start the day!

So readers… what exactly is cold-pressed juice and what are the benefits of drinking it? When making cold-pressed juice, fresh produce is channeled into a hydraulic press that applies even pressure to the fruits and vegetables. This process gently extracts the maximum amount of juice, preserving all the natural nutrients while leaving behind the pulpy, indigestible bits. Cold-pressed juice is praised for its health benefits, including immune-boosting vitamin C, anti-inflammatory properties, improved skin quality and eye health, and increased energy.

We live close by, so I requested “to-go” on my whole order. These dishes all traveled well. I was a little concerned about the ones with eggs but the poached eggs in both the breakfast sandwich and the Turkish egg dish were still warm when we opened the boxes  Golden yolks still creamy, sopped up by crispy triangles of Walnut toast. All three of us flipped over the Turkish eggs. Thank goodness there was plenty of that toast to go around so we could each have a go at the luscious yogurty, creamy sauce.

Turkish Eggs

I love to try out new breakfast items, and Turkish Eggs fit the bill. Staff says it’s one of their most-loved menu items. Customers had had told them that it needs “just a little more bread” to sop up all the eggy goodness. Now every order of Turkish Eggs includes two crispy pieces of walnut bread from the Cottage at Blue Ridge so none of the yogurt and sauce at the bottom of your bowl goes to waste! Not only fabulous customer service, but I was thrilled to see support for Conor O’Neill’s locally produced walnut bread.

Jaiiya Café met requests for a breakfast sandwich option by creating The Proscuitt of Happiness!

The Proscuitt of Happiness.

Love the name and absolutely loved the fresh and flaky croissant toasted with Swiss cheese, and topped with a garlic aioli, heirloom tomato, arugula, thin slices of prosciutto, and a poached egg. Happiness is having all of my favorite items on one plate. This item is so generous it is easily a “breakfast for two.”

The cucumber toast featured cream cheese with mint, tart lemon, cucumber and sweetness of apple, also served on Conor’s walnut bread —  this could almost be a dessert item.

Cucumber toast

Hubby checked in with high praise for the lush peanut sauce that accompanied the Buckwheat Noodle Bowl. Two containers! Both were empty when he finished his bowl. He loved the presentation — colorful, crisp veggies, greens were just picked fresh, and noodles were fork tender. This item is vegetarian, but chicken can be added, if desired.

Buckwheat Noodle Bowl

Matcha Salad’s greens are topped with a generous portion of creamy feta cheese, cucumbers, tomatoes and at least half an avocado. It’s offered with a Matcha green dressing so tasty that I will persist in getting the recipe. It’s that good.

Matcha Salad with chicken.

What style of food is this? My family was trying to put a finger on the cuisine offered by Jaiiya.

Breakfast fare yes, but not exclusively — there are lunch items too. Healthy, freshly-prepared, local ingredients, items that you will not normally see at a cafe.

The cafe logo

The owner proudly states “Our menu is based on different cultures from around the world. Dalgona Coffee from Korea, buckwheat noodles salad that is Thai inspired, acai bowls with the super fruit from Brazil and of course our Turkish Eggs. This is the core of what our logo means. The circles in our logo represent wholeness and balance in life. Not only are we inspired by cultures from around the world, we would like to incorporate a balance of healthy food in our lives.”

I spotted a favorite coffee — Umbria — and happily ordered a “wet” cappuccino to sip as I waited for the crew to assemble all of my meal components and bag them up to go.

There are many coffee offerings.

No airpots here! Fresh Umbria coffee is offered in Chemex glass pots. Chee stated: “The pour over is one of the purest forms of extractions of coffee from a coffee bean. For people who are not familiar with pour over, it takes a good five minutes from start to finish but the taste is amazing.”  With pour-over coffees, he explained, “We can manually control temperature, weight, and time to correctly extract coffee from a coffee bean.”

All of their baristas have gone through many hours of training. One can order espressos, lattes and everything in between. Just ask the friendly barista. Whiteners include soy, almond, hemp and oat milk, in addition to cow’s milk.

Rishi Teas are brewed in press pots as well. Special drinks are on menu as well — check out the chalk board at the counter for the latest.

My husband and I love Umbria coffee, which we first tasted on a mini vacation in Canada. Jaiiya Cafe reminds me of a little café, located behind a hotel we used to frequent in Vancouver, B.C. Each morning we walked out the front door of the hotel, directly across the street to the business complex to order our coffee and work our way through the breakfast menu during our stay. While the borders to Canada closed, we can re-create that lovely experience, a short stroll from home.

A full pastry case at Jaiiya.

Tempted as I was by the fully-stocked pastry case, I reined in my impulse and purchased a couple of cookies …and the last almond croissant. Ahem…snacks for later in the evening.

Coffee plus croissant

I am envious of the residents in the newly constructed complex that surrounds this little café. Just a few steps out the front door and they can order up Turkish Eggs for breakfast every morning!

~ ~ ~ ~

How are some of our entrepreneurs adapting to the “New Normal?” I checked in with a few.

Downtown Edmonds’ Pancake Haus has weathered a few “storms” in the 50-plus years of operation, but nothing like this year. The restaurant’s Brandon Meyer talked about the establishment’s connection to our community.

“The best thing about being in business for all these years are the relationships we’ve built with our customers,” Meyer said.  “We’ve been to weddings, birthdays and unfortunately funerals; our customers feel like our family. Without our customers we wouldn’t have lasted for this long and I hope they realize how much we value them.”

Pancake Hause reopened June 22 for a short time, but announced in August it would be closed for a month. It set to reopen Monday, Sept. 14

Pancake Haus closed due to COVID-19 restrictions, as many of our local restaurants did this spring. It reopened on June 22, and new procedures were in place, including masks, gloves, hand sanitizers,and temperature checks for employees.

Meyer said they used the down time to update and renovate, adding:“Money was tight but it was long overdue.”

Parking space in front of the restaurant is dedicated for handicapped drivers, so outdoor dining just isn’t possible. However, “we spread out all the tables in the front and instead of solely banquets we have put spaced-out tables in the backroom,” Meyer said.

Menus are digital. I love the note next to the scan code, which says: “Help us save some trees. Look for this image on the front door and other places and scan for our digital menu.”

After the June 22 reopening, the next few weeks went well — but then the walk-in fridge up and quit and they had to closed until they could get it fixed. The restaurant had hoped be open the following weekend. But on July 24, Meyer posted on Facebook: “Want to hear a funny joke? Our brand-new cooling system on our walk-in malfunctioned and ruined all the food. We won’t be opening today.”

Got to admire their gumption — they are keeping a sense of humor through all of this trouble.

Finally a post revealed a decision to close for the month of August.

Fortunately, if you’re hungry for pancakes, you don’t have long to wait. Pancake Haus will be open again on Monday, Sept 14.

Pancake Haus spread

Next up I’d like to share recent conversation with Carol Anne Lee, co-owner of Chef Dane Catering and Food Truck.

While I knew Chef Dane and his crew are experienced hands with the catering end of the business, I wondered — “How is the food truck doing this year?” Chef Dane Catering acquired the truck in 2018 from the previous owner, Julie Malcolm.

“Our team has felt the challenges of our food truck business,” said Lee. She shared that — in addition to the normal adjustments of a new business concept — they had mechanical challenges “that were not only costly, but closed the business for sometimes several days at a time. I think that hurt any momentum and loyalty that we were establishing.”

COVID-19 changed all of that. The bright orange truck became the backbone of their business.

Chef Dane with the familiar orange food truck

“It’s been two years since we’ve owned the truck and despite the challenges, it’s helping us stay in business right now and for that, we are grateful for the communities’ support,” Lee said.

By the end of March, they started taking the truck into neighborhoods. “The combination of fresh meals plus the take ‘n bake menu was fantastic,” Lee said. “Online pre-ordering allowed us to determine staffing, food production and what to load on the truck. Plus, that minimized interactions and how much time people spent at the truck to really support social distancing.”

Another bright spot is the sale of meals to go, in the absence of traditional catering events, Lee said.

Ready-to-cook options — “Meals to heat and eat, in the safety of your own home” — are available to pick up in Lynnwood or at any food truck locations, as well as deliveries.

Short ribs to go from Chef Dane.

Another plus: “We’ve connected with many new people who hadn’t had an opportunity to try our food in the past but now that they can purchase a meal or two instead of for a full event, we’ve connected with some new regulars,” Lee said.  The company now offers individually packaged meals for small company meetings as well as teacher and employee appreciation lunches.

As food business purveyors, restaurant and catering company owners as well as their staff members have become de facto educators on the COVID-19 guidelines. From mask regulations to social distancing, they are on the front lines — literally — at the door of their restaurants, and require compliance, as part of the “welcome” to their guests.

Challenges abound, including providing for weddings and celebrations that would have been catered events.

“It’s a gentle balance of maintaining clients but following the guidelines that gatherings aren’t allowed,” Lee said. “One thing is for certain, we’re all eager for events to return but keeping communities safe is the priority. “

Lee said she sees “creativity” as the solution to how we can all adapt and find joyous ways to come together. Virtual events, entertainment provided by socially spaced, masked band members, performing before few — if any — attendees, beyond the staff and sound production folk. A drive-through breakfast or dinner pick-up is one of the current trends for fundraisers.

For this husband-and-wife-owned catering business, during COVID-19, it’s hard. “My sons both work for us,” Lee said. “Our small team is very much family. The future is unknown. The stress is real.”

I applaud Carol Anne — Chef Dane’s team leader — for sharing honestly about the state of business and the struggles they face, rather than masking the reality.

“All businesses face difficulties every day,” Lee said.  “Some days, it’s easier to find the positive and opportunities. The power of our network keeps us strong. Stay tuned for what’s to come!”

This comment is a great way to close my column, and to salute all of our Edmonds area entrepreneurs, as they carry on feeding our community.

— 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, Lynnwood and Mountlake Terrace.




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