Restaurant News: P is for pizza and perfect takeout, plus Irish favorites in Lynnwood

P is for pandemic… It’s also the first letter of pizza. Circles of dough covered with sauce, cheese and assorted toppings, the food that gives us comfort during these pandemic times.

The business model for a pizza parlor goes hand-in-hand with the measures created during periods when patrons cannot dine “inside” the restaurants. Listen to any ad for almost any pizzeria, and the message will include the words, “We deliver.” And they do just that.

Takeout pizza: A comfortable (and delicious) meal decision made by humans all over this planet. We have expectations, validated for decades, with no hesitation as we hit the phone number, preprogrammed into our cell phones or bookmarked on our web browser.

A favorite pizza joint, Pagliacci at 10200 Edmonds Way (and also with a location in Shoreline at 20059 Ballinger Way), offers drive-up and pick-up options, or they will deliver our pie, in an insulated box, right to our front door. Reliable, to a fault: We phone in and are recognized.  Repeat Pagliacci customers are greeted by name, which creates a warm fuzzy vibe.

Pagliacci’s Pear Primo pizza

No boredom here: Seasonal pies offered up keep consumer interest piqued, and gelato options are refreshed every month as well.

Peppermint gelato

Fun vibes are created with gift ideas… not just a gift card, but how about a  a pizza mask for that pie lover on your list?

Beyond the triangles of dough topped bliss, comfort is offered in calzones, wings, lasagna, and desserts range from cookies to cannelloni. Even simple cinnamon-anointed pizza crusts are twisted into an exotic dessert.

We are fortunate to have, in our immediate area, several stellar pizza pie makers.

Epulo’s recent move down to their new Sunset location (link to Epulo article), left a stone pizza oven, in a space quickly occupied by the fellows at Feed Me Hospitality for The Fire and the Feast. This in effect doubled our accessibility right here, within walking distance for many, to access amazing pies

Local pizzeria Portofino has stepped up their game to offer Bake at Home Pizza.

Portofino offers up choices from their top-selling pies, and other meal choices too. They make almost everything in-house, from homemade dough to the sauces, salad dressings and meatballs.

La Cosa Nostra: Roasted garlic, tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella, onions, diced prosciutto, Italian pancetta and mozzarella, and extra fresh basil to add after the bake. Ours came out of the oven sizzling and golden, looking just as good as the picture of the one baked at Portofino’s. (pics of LaCostaNostra – Before and After)

La Cosa Nostra before baking

Meat Lover Special: topped with pepperoni, Canadian bacon, Italian salami, Italian sausage, Italian pancetta, oregano andmozzarella. A short time in our oven yielded a tasty pie that rivals any pizza delivered to our door. Certainly was a hit with our resident meat lover.

Cooking Instructions were straightforward: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Place pizza directly with the baking tray provided on the center oven rack. Bake for 15-20 minutes till golden brown. Enjoy piping hot pizza right at your own home.

Not in the mood for pizza? Portofino has bake at home offerings of lasagna, rigatoni, spaghetti, and fettuccini dishes for individuals or to feed the whole family during the busy holiday season. Open a bottle of your favorite Italian red and cue up Buon Natale.

Margarita pizza from East Coast Enzo’s

Witness the bravery of our local entrepreneurs, the latest entry into the group of folks who fling savory topped circles of dough into their ovens is East Coast Enzo’s Pizza.

A local, family-owned operation, they opened their first location five years ago in Everett — and just opened in Mountlake Terrace, at 22805 44th Ave. W.  So new that I have to phone in my order; they expect to be “live” with online ordering next week.

Enzo’s is very community oriented, and offers up fundraising specials and party packages — even coupons.

The pies:

Manhattan Meat pizza

Manhattan Meat: Carnivores delight! Pepperoni, Canadian bacon, sausage, beef, real bacon, Wisconsin whole milk mozzarella, and traditional pizza sauce

Central Park Veggie: Green pepper, onion, black olive, mushroom, diced tomato, Wisconsin whole milk mozzarella, and traditional pizza sauce

And more:

Calzone

Colossal calzones come with two toppings of your choice; additional toppings offered at nominal cost.

Desserts? Cannoli please…and yeah, a slice of New York cheesecake- research purposes, you understand.

Some history on the types of pies…

East Coast-style pizza vs. West Coast-style pizza: Everyone has their favorite style of pizza. Discussion among pizza lovers about which is better elicits strong opinions. Let’s take a moment to discuss these distinct styles.

East Coast pizza is traditionally thought of as New York- and New Haven-style, which are both very similar. They’re both made up of relatively thin crispy crust that is charred, large slices, and high-quality mozzarella cheese. Pizza in America originated on the East Coast, as Italian immigrants introduced the food to the United States. East Coast pizza tends to be more traditional, made with marinara sauce, mozzarella, and toppings such as meat and vegetables. It’s a classic, and usually what comes to mind when one thinks of pizza.

West Coast pies tend to be less traditional than the East Coast counterpart: Thin crusts, maybe not as chewy as an East Coast’s crust, but focused more on the sauce and toppings. West Coast-style pizza toppings don’t rest just on marinara; they incorporate variety of sauces such as barbecue, Alfredo, pesto or simply EVOO. Toppings are usually inspired by California cuisine like lobster, avocado, and goat cheese. West Coast pizza- you can really put anything on it. The slices are smaller than East Coast pizza and pizzas often come in “personal size” servings.

Which pizza is better is really up to you.., but you don’t have to choose one. Don’t pick a side and enjoy both styles, because life is short and you can never have enough pizza.

Whatever your decision — Restaurant News’ decision is that she has to swim on a daily basis, and fend off potential pounds… as she samples all of this wonderful pizza.

Irish food in Lynnwood

St. James Gate: This new opening on Highway 99 specializes in cuisine from the Emerald Isle. I had questions for the owner, Mac Torres — Did he have an Irish grandma, for example?

Irish stew at St. James Gate.

The Irish menu and pub concept came from being married to wife Lorraine, who is originally from Belfast. During their time together, married for 24 years, “I have come to embrace the Irish culture,” Mac says. “I’ve been to Ireland on a few different occasions and truly love the country and its people.”  At St. James Gate, he wants to create a warm and inviting environment for all to come and enjoy.

Opening this year presented challenges: “We’d originally planned to open the restaurant right around St. Patrick’s Day of this year,” he says. The famed luck of the Irish didn’t hold. The initial COVID-19 lockdown happened and along with a few other minor issues, the opening was delayed.  “When the issues were addressed, we opened in late October and then the second lockdown happened,” he says.

And here they are: Open for takeout only, until restrictions are eased, and folks can quaff an Irish brew to go with their delicious fare.

Reuben sandwich

The restaurant strives to make as much as they can in house but will only introduce items when they have perfected it. Tartar sauce that accompanies the fish and chips is house-made, as is the dressing used for the Rueben sandwich. Food products from Ireland are a challenge to get; however Mac did find a butcher on the East Coast — a source for Irish bangers.

Lorraine and Mac are long-time residents of the Edmonds community, since 2001. They were looking for a place to settle down and raise a family — and all three of their children graduated from Edmonds-Woodway High School.

St. James Gate is their second restaurant — the first is in Kent, and is called the Harp Bar and Restaurant

“We are very excited to have an opportunity to service the community that we have grown very fond of over these 20 years,” Mac says.

He looks forward to the time when people can come and enjoy the inside of the restaurant. Visit Stjamesgateirishpub.com to see photographs of the inside or place take-away orders.

Secret door at Brigid’s Bottleshop unveiled

Mystery door revealed at Brigid’s.

Edmonds’ Brigid’s Bottleshop finally got a mystery “cellar door” together and ready for customers. It features a collection of vintage beers they’ve have been collecting over the past five years,  including bourbon, tequila and scotch barrel-aged beers as well as a few fun sour and lambic beers.

Artwork at Brigid’s

In addition, Brigids is hosting a group art show with affordable prices from all local artists for the holidays.

A reminder to readers:

Going forward into the holiday, take time to reflect on the food at your tables- whether delivered to your door, and eaten right out of the “to-go” boxes, or cooked in your kitchen and served up on your best china- let’s enjoy the comfort it offers.

— 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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