All You Can Eat
Seattle Times food writer Nancy Leson serves up the best info and tips on Northwest food, cooking, dining and restaurants.
September 5, 2008 1:00 AM
Posted by Nancy Leson
As an equal opportunity enjoyer, I shop at supermarkets all over Edmonds where I've lived for a dozen years. I'm as likely to stop at QFC (one of the few places I can find Product 19 and a quality meat department) as Petosa's (for deli fare and kind service). I'm absolutely addicted to 99 Ranch Market (roast duck! cheap pea vines! aisles of "exotic" condiments!) and ever-impressed with Top Food (with its prodigious produce department and some of the best fresh rye bread in town). You'll find me buying fancy cheeses and Salumi's salami (sliced!) at Resident Cheesemonger, and panchan and other Korean specialties at the supermarket in Boohan Plaza.
But you should have seen me dancing around last year when I heard the news that PCC planned to open its ninth -- and largest -- store in Edmonds. Even better, it was going into the creepy old Albertson's space: the one that stood too long as a vacant eyesore next to "Robin Hoo" Lanes. (That's what my family calls the adjacent bowling alley, whose neon "d" burns out on a regular basis.):
So, like everyone within miles of downtown Edmonds, I stopped into PCC on opening day to see what's cooking. The answer: lots. It was a mob scene by the time I got there at the dinner hour on Wednesday:
And it had been that way since long before the doors opened at 9 a.m. Word has it there were 200 (soon-to-be) PCC-card-carrying locals waiting to come in that front door -- many of them waving generous dollars-off coupons from a direct-mail blanket to neighboring zip codes. And while I missed seeing Mayor Gary Haakenson at the official ribbon-cutting ceremony, I did run into him the next day during the lunch hour, dressed for success as he made his way into the city's new muni-building:
"Have you been to The Loft yet?" he asked, after posing for a photo. "No, but I'm on my way to lunch at Olives," I told him. Lunch was pleasant, by the way, but nowhere near as memorable as the dinner I had at chef Michael Young's newly expanded Olives last month, where I ordered a wine flight and shared this heirloom tomato and mozzarella salad, a stunner of a scallop dish, and this creative presentation of prime rib and potatoes:
"Well, check out The Loft. It's great!" said the mayor, referencing the "Cafe & Social Lounge" all my friends and neighbors are blabbing about. The one with a bitty bar and elegant courtyard that recently replaced ZuKafe. The very one I parked in front of just before I ran into the mayor:
The Loft (yes, it has one) is almost as cute as Daphnes, the tiny two-year-old wine bar down the street, now open nightly since owner Brian Taylor left for Ireland. Brian -- bless 'is 'eart -- left his little charmer in the managerial hands of this friendly fellow, Jeff Rose, who pours a mean raspberry lambic:
Anyway, back to PCC. It's amazing what they've done with the space both inside and out, as my foodified colleague (and neighbor) Rebekah Denn discusses at length on her blog. And I'm certain it'll be a frequent stop on my regular culinary itinerary. While there, I bought some fresh figs (perfectly ripe and on sale at $3/pint), a baby cabbage (which I sauteed with beef and served over buckwheat noodles) and some sushi (Hey! L.H. from Ballard, they've got your brown rice):
In addition to all their organic produce, much of it local, aisles of good-for-you goodies and a brand-new venue for their vaunted cooking classes, they're even scooping Procopio gelato (my condolences to Mr. and Mrs. Kim, owners of the Edmonds Baskin-Robbins, who will likely be seeing less of us as a result.):
But with all the hullabaloo (to say nothing of parking problems) the new store has generated, how come no one's talking about the even more exciting news -- at least as far as I'm concerned: Seattle Deli, my favorite Vietnamese take-out shop in Seattle's Little Saigon, is branching out to Edmonds, too, moving in to the Boohan Plaza on Highway 99, across from 99 Ranch:
Sure, PCC has organics out the gazotchka, and a fancy pizza oven and soup-to-go counter in its ready made-meals department. But once Seattle Deli opens (its set to do so within a few weeks according to the guy who answered the phone at the Little Saigon original), I'll be able to go over there and for the price of a PCC pizza, buy enough Vietnamese take-out to feed a family of four -- for a week! You're right. I'm exaggerating. But not by much.
Can you stand it? First the old K Mart becomes a 99 Ranch, so I don't have to drive all the way to Kent. Then the old Albertson's gets transformed into a honkin'-big PCC. And now Seattle Deli is moving into the same stripmall complex that houses a Than Brothers pho house? I almost had a heart attack when that went in, I was so thrilled -- and I've eaten there about 100 times since.
Slap me, I'm dreaming! What next? Wait, wait, don't tell me: Harvest Vine is moving in next to Claire's Pantry. No: Cafe Besalu's moving in across from John the barber. No, wait: Serious Pie's going into the vacant Old Milltown Pizza space. Don't I wish.
So, my life's complete. Now I feel compelled to ask: if you had your way, which supermarkets, food shops, wine bars and restaurants do you wish would move into your neighborhood?
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Listen to Nancy at 5:30 a.m. and 7:30 a.m. during Morning Edition, at 4:40 p.m. during All Things Considered and again the following Saturday at 8:30 a.m. during Weekend Edition on KPLU 88.5.