Restaurant News: Help wanted a sign of the times, plus more delicious food truck fare

An old song by the Five Man Electrical Band comes to mind and the lyrics are so appropriate:“Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs…”

Posted in business windows, on their Facebook pages, even online: Here’s one I spotted on craigslist.

Restaurants are pleading for help. I heard through the grapevine that one of our local spots is so anxious to fill their roster; they are offering a very generous signing bonus.

Restaurant News has heard from many of our troubled business owners on multiple subjects — they are caught between the proverbial rock and the hard spot.

Patrons, thrilled with options like the ability to dine inside and not wear masks, are booking reservations in abundance. Tables are scarce at  popular time slots on most days.

One hundred percent occupancy means the owners and their workers have shouldered additional burdens.

And it’s not just the lack of personnel to cook, serve and clean up in their various establishments, but the costs of the ingredients.

One local food truck, which displayed their menu with crossed-out pricing, had a hand-lettered sign in the window- citing the reason for the increase. “Cost of seafood has risen over 35%, so we have to raise our menu prices too”

Even the price of the containers to serve it up and the paper bags to carry it home makes the costs for to-go orders astronomical.

No one is immune: Food trucks are hard hit because in addition to help shortages and skyrocketing prices, the cost of the gasoline that powers them to the various locations has risen sharply.

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Speaking about food trucks: Another new one has landed at the curb outside Mountlake Terrace’s Hemlock State Brewing, 23601 56th Ave. W.


Uzbek, halal-style comfort food is offered up at the new food truck at Hemlock State Brewing this week. Tabassum brings affordable, authentic Central Asian Uzbek food to the Pacific Northwest. In addition to being halal, Tabassum offers vegan/vegetarian options too.

Tabassum means “smile,” and I did when I tucked into their delicious fare.

They offer two salads: Carrot Salad featuring shredded carrots tossed in zesty vinaigrette, and Beet Salad, a tangy, sweet salad showcasing freshly shredded beets dressed with a tangy sauce.

The main star on menu are the “Samsa.” These are a  savory pastry offered in  Central Asian cuisine, in Uzbekistan  and a myriad of countries whose names also end in “stan.” The bun is stuffed with meat and sometimes with vegetables. All are brushed with egg and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Here’s the list:

Chicken Curry Samsa: Halal chicken with curry and green peas fill this puff pastry hand pie.

Beef Samsa: Halal beef and onion with cumin, tucked in a puff pastry hand pie. Brushed with egg and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

Butternut Squash Samsa: The most traditional filling for a Samsa hand pie is this one. They roast butternut squash and add garlic and cumin.

Plov: For those who want to just enjoy the filling sans a bun, this features halal beef over rice with garbanzo beans, carrots, onions, raisins, garlic and cumin

Veggie Samsa: Soft potatoes, onions and spinach cooked in ghee (clarified butter) tucked in a puff pastry hand pie. Brushed with egg and sprinkled with sesame seeds. (There’s also a vegan version minus the egg.)

Cheesy Beef Samsa: a cheeseburger-inspired hand pie with halal beef, Colby jack cheese, cumin and onion.

Nutella Pastry: A decadent dessert hand pie with a Nutella filling and sprinkled with almonds.

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And coming up in the next weeks at Hemlock is another newcomer to this locale, but certainly not new to Seattle area:

Famous Dave’s barbecue

They have been winning awards for their authentic barbecue in the Pacific Northwest for over 15 years and now you can skip the drive to Tukwila and taste it closer to home. Their truck will be at Hemlock State Brewing from 5-8 p.m. this Friday, April 30 and again next Saturday, May 7.

Hemlock State Brewing offers a nice ice brew like Helles Lager —  light and crisp, and a perfect foil to the spicy sauce on the meats.

Barbecue sandwiches areoffered with your choice of one side

Barbecue bowls offer a choice of one protein and this is served over house-made mac and cheese (with jalapenos) or garlic red skin mashed potatoes. A classic cornbread muffin is served on the side.

They also offer meat barbecue platters: Select one meat, one side and enjoy with a cornbread muffin. Or if you are truly hungry, a larger platter has two meats, a side and the muffin.

Dave’s barbecue ribs and sides.

Those protein choices are St. Louis style spareribs, country-roasted chicken, Texas beef brisket or Georgia chopped pork.

Sides include creamy coleslaw, garlic red skin mashed potatoes, and all orders have cornbread muffins.

Dessert is a chocolate chip cookie, a simple and a tasty finish to the meal.

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Happy Anniversary to Brier-based Moon Rabbit Pastry.

Moon Rabbit Pastry has been “popping up” at local spots for over a year now, and wants everyone to join in the fun as they celebrate the occasion at their anniversary popup Saturday, April 30, beginning at 11:30 a.m. outside of Ono Poke’s Edmonds location — 10016 Edmonds Way, Ste E.

All proceeds from the Smores and Brier Cookie sales during the anniversary pop up will be donated to the Edmonds Food Bank and Brier Helping Brier.

Owner Zoe Sonoda says: “Both are important organizations which help to eliminate food insecurity, offer resources, and/or provide financial support in their respective communities.”

Be sure to bring a non-perishable food item to donate and receive 10% off your purchase.

Note: You must be diligent and arrive at the start of the event, because these treats sell out very quickly.

— 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.



  1. I think until we get new leadership and cut off Covid funds, in this state, we will see help wanted signs.

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