Opportunities abound both in town and not so far out of town, for dining al fresco. The shorter list would be establishments who do NOT have a spot to enjoy our wonderful sunny weather.
Sidewalks with sunshine have encouraged most local entrepreneurs to park a few tables where space permits, so diners can catch a few rays while enjoying the cuisine. I’ve included a few photos to encourage readers to grab a spot and enjoy our sun.
Here is a link to a list of Edmonds area restaurants with “outdoor seating.” Readers — if I missed your favorite spot, please share location in the comment section below my article.
Woodinville wineries: much closer than Napa or Sonoma California. Our Washington wine estates vintages are well represented in tasting rooms, just a short drive away. Save money on gas, spend it on bottles of vino.
Pack a picnic basket and taste some wine…or visit a spot in Woodinville called PicNicTable- They’ll pack your basket with delicious goodies sure to pair with any vintage you choose.
On a recent visit to PicNicTable, we opted to sit in the sun, on their newly opened deck. Our waitress informed my companion and I that we were, in fact, the first customers to dine alfresco at this location.
Wine choices were from Proletariat, a Pinot Grigio and a Bordeaux Red, chosen by owner and chef Danilo Amato, so their offerings would not compete with any of the local wineries’ products.
Fresh mussels — oh yes, please. My companion lived in Brussels for many years; this was a no-brainer…but what else? A chalkboard lists out choices — fresh every day.
Herbed perfume for the taste buds. Mussels in creamy dill were enjoyed with each breath. We dispensed with the bread and consumed the luscious liquor, using the empty shells as spoons. Mussels were fresh that morning and the end product was perfect, tender and absolutely divine.
Our waitperson said, “Ask chef Dani about his adventures on the boats.”
“So how did you wind up in the Seattle?” I asked Dani, who’d stopped by our table.
Born in Tuscany, his lifelong love of food preparation and hospitality began at this family’s restaurant, La Fontanina Di San Pietro. As a young person, in youth sports programs, Danilo traveled all over Europe. He lived in the UK long enough to learn English. Then on to France, and a culinary education at the Haute Cuisine school of the Hotel Crillon in Paris.
In 1992, Chef had a gig on a Puritan yacht and his boat boss suffered financial demise. A colleague recommended him as a cook for a New York City boat race crew. The only requirements were that he could cook and he could sail without becoming seasick. He got the post and long after the racing sloop crossed the finish line, he continued as a culinary crew member. Dani said, “I’ve sailed around the world at least three times.”
Chef Amato never had a desire to stay in the U.S. until he moved to Washington state.
In 1996 the McCaw family needed a chef aboard their day sailing boat, anchored in Oyster Bay. “Could he sail and cook at the same time?” The answer was yes and Danilo never went back to Europe.
“It rained for two weeks.” But his friends said “Don’t worry. Look at the scenery — especially the big mountain (Mount Rainier).” That view cinched the deal.
In 2003 he worked on private catering gigs and in late 2016 he opened PicNicTable.
Danilo still has ties to Europe; in fact he owns a home in Tuscany. “We stopped in for a glass of wine and six months later we bought the house,” he said. He conducted tours and cooking classes in Tuscany, until recently when work at the PicNicTable consumed all his time and energy.
Woodinville, he says, is a “geographical voyage through the wine world.” Spain to Germany and all wine regions in between are represented at the tasting bars located in the plethora of establishments.
Back to the food: As we finished the last mussel, other dishes arrived at the table and commanded our attention.
Arancini — think “risotto dumpling” with a spicy meat filling and lightly toasted, sautéed, then garnished with Parmesan basil and a savory red sauce. I’ve had smaller versions, as an appetizer, but this was one incredible dumpling and easy to share between the two of us.
Our last item was a pork pancetta sandwich. Pork shoulder, slow roasted and cut into thinly-sliced, Tuscan-style, juicy slices, sandwiched in fresh ciabatta. The side salad of pickled veggies paired well with the pork. Crispy cauliflower, carrots and celery decorated a bed of greens and accented with a slab of fresh goat cheese.
Coffee from Italy: Caffe Borbone espresso. To go with that coffee we shared a buttery tart filled with fresh rhubarb.
Book shelves on the wall filled with culinary volumes, meant to be shared with restaurant patrons. I perused “Plenty” by Yotam Ottolenghi. Vibrant veggies pictured in his recipes could convert any meat lover to a vegetarian diet. As the book’s title suggests, there is “Plenty” to eat without eating meat.
A wine dinner on a recent visit to PicNicTable offered additional entrees to recommend to Restaurant News readers:
- Perfect poached Alaskan halibut served over a bed of pea sprouts and fennel, in a white wine sauce that tasted like “early spring.”
- Anderson Ranch Lamb prepared two ways: A braised loin on a farro and spinach risotto, and sliced rare tenderloin atop a pile of arugula.
- Even vegetarians went home happy. Cauliflower, sliced into slabs and braised just like a steak, plated up with spinach farro risotto and anointed with a smoky Romesco sauce.
- Dessert. As if we had room…but an Almond Semifreddo with Dark Chocolate Sauce tempted. I am embarrassed to say my pinkie did wander across that plate to get every last drop of sauce and melted gelato.
Need to plan a longer vacation this year? Visit www.amatocatering.com and learn about tours of Tuscany and a visit to that farm house in Pitigliano, Italy.
MEALS on WHEELS
We’ve all heard the slogan Domino’s Pizza delivers, sung to a catchy tune. A reader recently posed the question: “Besides pizza delivery from Pagliacci, Portofino, Romeo’s, Kebella’s and other local pizzerias, what are local hungry folks to do?”
Phone your order, or better still download one of many apps on your smart phone and you are in business. Order from the comfort of your couch and open your door to a delivery of fresh, hot food.
Uber, the call-a-car-when-you-need-it folks, have branched into food delivery. Restaurants in Edmonds like Spuds Fish and Chips, and 190 Sunset have joined Uber EATS. Your favorite dishes are only a click away! Visit ubereats.com and order today.
But how is the food when it arrives? Experience has shown pizza to be portable. It arrives to your door hot and fragrant, delivered from the hot oven to your door, protected in an insulated pouch.
What about fish and chips? Are the fillets still crispy and hot? Do the long strips of fried potato still retain a crunch when you bite? A resounding YES is reported from locals who’ve ordered from our local Spud Fish and Chips.
Deliveries from restaurants a bit further away score satisfaction ratings in the high 80 percent bracket. Yelp’s delivery reviews average 4 1/2 stars.
Chinese take-out is legendary. A Seinfeld episode comes to mind. Elaine Benes lurks outside an apartment building to intercept a takeout from her favorite restaurant. Her own address was outside the restaurant’s delivery boundaries.
Here are some local locations to fulfill an Asian food fix: O’Yeah Tasty, Red Lantern. Szechuan Garden, Thai MaNa Restaurant (in Lynnwood). There are more… too many to list all, so check in with your favorite place to get details.
Two upcoming events at 190 Sunset
Starting Saturday, May 27: 190 Drinking School – “Lessons In Liquor”
190 Sunset in Edmonds invites you to experience a continued education like no other- 190 Drinking School Series. This particular class is a delicious and interactive tasting event loosely based on the concept of “speed dating,” though they’ve swapped out all of the usual anxiety with booze.
The event is Saturday, May 27 from 3-5 p.m. The cost is $75 per person, does not include tax or 20 percent service charge. Reservations can be made by emailing your name and phone number to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From 190’s announcement:
“Over the course of two hours, students will be introduced to four different spirits from four local distillers, acquainted with recipes and instruction on hand crafting cocktails, and educated on their significance in cocktail culture. You’ll try each recipe, while a member from each distillery tells you the story behind the spirit. Geeky, boozy and wallet friendly – what’s not to love?
After a welcome cocktail, you’ll be seated at your table (meaning yes – you can attend as a group and no, there’s no need for awkward chat). After the introduction by 190’s own Spirit Specialist, Niles Peacock, students will then begin their rounds of tasting through each distiller.
At the end of the tasting rounds, students will get to select their last cocktail to sip on and enjoy delectable bites, while you participate in your pop quiz! Upon the grading of papers, each student will receive their diploma of drinking.
Sure, you may not find your future spouse, but you’re bound to find a cocktail that’ll leave you warm and fuzzy.”
Last chance to take your dad out for a Black Angus steak on Father’s Day
Black Angus Steakhouse has announced “the imminent closure” of the Lynnwood location at 20102 44th Ave. W. Guests are able to visit the restaurant until it formally closes at the end of business on Monday, June 26, the announcement said.
The reason? The Sound Transit light rail project, which is scheduled to arrive in Lynnwood in 2023. “Due to the Lynnwood Link Extension, a new public transit project, Black Angus Steakhouse unfortunately will not be able to renew the lease at Lynnwood,” said Chris Ames, Chief Executive Officer, Black Angus Steakhouse. “We want to thank all of the loyal guests that have supported the Lynnwood restaurant throughout the years.”
Enjoy the lovely sunshine this weekend with family, friends and of course great food.