Restaurant News: The tech behind the takeout, plus tasty Korean fare in Lynnwood and Yummy Box delights in MLT

Apps rule our lives these days. There are apps for booking a yoga class or a swimming lane at my local health club, apps that tell me if I’m exercising enough, how I am sleeping at night; my whole existence could be organized via an app, on my iPhone.

Since COVID-19 entered our lives last spring, we found ways to reduce contact with our fellow humans, and still carry on with our activities, like feeding ourselves. Apps play a big part.

One can order up meals and pay for food before arriving at the restaurant to take boxes home. And of course apps will allow us to stay home to receive our daily sustenance from various delivery options.

I’ll list a few here and my experiences with ordering, online payments, the pick up of meals, and utilizing delivery of food to my door.

Uber Eats, the extension of Uber‘s cars for hire, seemed like a natural progression. My first experience was enjoying a box of still-warm cookies from our local Midnight Cookie Company in Edmonds.

Uber is oriented to repeat customer business, and so will send out via email “coupons” for dollars off or sometimes “free” delivery. Others occasionally follow suit.

There are so many — DoorDash, GrubHub, Instacart… a long list. Most launch from the restaurant’s website and link the order with the payment process. When one picks up at the restaurant, it saves a step and eliminates extra contact on premise. I appreciate those who actually list out the details of individual items ordered –much easier to catch errors.

Almost all of these companies offer an app for a smart phone. We download it for free. But there is a cost, to someone — usually the restaurant that we are trying to support in our local community.

For many of us hopping in the car to drive five, 10 or even 15 minutes to pick up our meal, not a big deal. For those who are not able, these online ordering and delivery services are a boon.

Noteworthy in the group is Chow Now. While there is a cost for the individual restaurant to set up the app, if patrons utilize the app tied directly to a particular establishment, Chow Now doesn’t charge the restaurant a commission.

The Pancake Haus app

I recently ordered breakfast from Pancake Haus, in Edmonds:

I installed and used their customized app from Chow Now, and received confirmation and timely communication on my order status.

A separate email arrived from Chris Webb, the CEO of Chow Now, congratulating me on using Pancake Haus restaurant’s app. He stated:

What you may not know is that your order made an impact. By ordering directly from the Pancake Haus – Edmonds website, all proceeds went directly to the restaurant. Believe it or not, most third party online ordering companies take a hefty percentage from each order (even for repeat customers). Those savings can be used on things that make your experience even better – like quality ingredients and stellar service.

Our breakfast arrived in perfect order: Eggs Benedict were still warm and yolks soft, waffles still crunched and ingredients were assembled at home to match the quality of the plated item, well almost… whipped cream is hard to do in a to-go box. (Spoiler alert- waffle berry is photo from Yelp!)

Berry waffle from Pancake Haus

A tasty breakfast and a terrific app to minimize the process.

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Featured on the Lynnwood Showcase: Taste of Korea

Taste of Korea Lynnwood is featured on the Lynnwood Restaurant Showcase. We’d yet to dine at this location at 3411 184th St. S.W. — in fact, we haven’t ordered any Korean takeout to date… so we were way overdue. I chose to pick up, as I had other errands to run in that same location.

An impressive assortment of Korean dishes are offered both for lunch and dinner. We found our favorite hot pot, and my personal favorite and weakness — the seafood pancake. I have to admit we were curious, and we ordered dishes normally served in stone bowls, and crossed our fingers.

Although I had utilized the online ordering, I’d selected an item that was seasonal, and not currently available. I received a phone call from owner Kija Kim, to see if I’d like to choose a substitute, or just delete the item. Very grateful for the personal touch, I conversed with her about options.

One of our favorite parts of dining at Korean restaurants are the small dishes that arrive to the table ahead of the actual meal. My hubby was concerned about missing out on the pre-meal noshing. While on the phone for the substitution issue, I decided to ask.

I described the little dishes and their contents, and inquired if these would somehow accompany the order. My description and questions “suffered in translation,” and Kim  quickly got her daughter Annie Lee in on the conversation.  I soon learned a new word — banchan!

Banchan or bansang is a collective name for small side dishes served along with cooked rice in Korean cuisine. As the Korean language does not distinguish between singular and plural grammatically, the word is used for either — one such dish or all of them combined.

Taste of Korea appetizers, as they appear in restaurant

Annie assured me there would be a box of the items we desired and also let me know that banchan can be purchased from Taste of Korea in larger quantities, if desired. She also advised that each day the assortment changes, as they are always prepared fresh from ingredients on hand.

Sure enough, a square container — which contained nine paper cups of delightful tasty treats — accompanied our order. Kimchi is always in the mix, buckwheat noodles, sprouts and something new to us — thin slices of apple in vinegary treatment, which made them sweet and tart at the same time.

Banchan appetizers to go

Since I had her ear, I asked how our Bibimbap would be prepared. She assured me the rice and other ingredients would be packed separately, so that we could combine in a manner similar to the restaurant presentation.

Ms. Lee provided excellent instruction on how best to recreate the stone hot bowl experience, using my cast iron skillet. Following her directions, my hubby and I were able to have the crispy rice we craved and enjoyed our Bibimbap, almost as if we were dining in!

Our replacement for seasonal Kimchi radish dish — Jap Chae — was delicious. A savory-sweet dish of stir-fried glass noodles included sautéed tender strips of beef and colorful vegetables. Such a generous portion — everyone got a taste.

Jap Chae

Our Kimchi pancake traveled well and everyone got to enjoy a few triangles of the scallion-laced savory pastry.

Kimchi pancake

Hurray for the extra communication effort, high marks for customer service all around at Taste of Korea.

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Yummy Box returns March 3 to Hemlock State in MLT

Yummy Box will be back at Hemlock State Brewing in Mountlake Terrace Wednesday, March 3. Here’s a review of our food truck purchases there last week:

Orange chicken

Orange chicken with rice: Huge chunks of tender white meat, minimal crispy coating, tangy semi-sweet sauce, was accompanied by a little side salad of shredded cabbage. Serving more than enough for two people.

Chicken pot stickers

Appetizers: Chicken pot stickers, these were fried rather than steamed. Spring rolls vegetarian version is full of crispy ingredients, and is also the fried version, not fresh. It’s difficult to tell when online photos and menu descriptions are not easy to decipher. Stating this not as a negative, but for those who prefer fresh, be aware. Each portion was accompanied by plastic containers of sweet chili sauce.

Veggie stir fry noodles

Veggie stir-fry noodles contained large pieces of colorful veggies: broccoli, carrots and greens that made it attractive to the eye, as well as tasty.

Japanese chicken Katsu curry, also enough to be shared by two people: Chicken lightly breaded decent-size chunks of white meat, very tasty, but clearly had been prepared ahead of time, the only way I can explain the soggy box and not completely warm food. I will chalk this up to a possible mix-up, but feel that on a walk-up order, food should be prepared at that time. Communication with the owners, via Facebook Chat, elicited apologies, and promises to look into the situation.

A bonus for in-person ordering is more choices. Although the online menu only lists about eight items, the truck actually had a second menu posted on the outside and there were more items available.

As always the Hemlock Brewery has great offering of beer, and the suggestion of staff to try Pollen Nation Honey Pale Ale was perfect. The honey taste of this Pale Ale was a great foil to the spicy curry in the Katsu dish especially.

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Last but not  least… there’s a loaf of bread at stake here

How do you toast?

Edmonds-based The Cottage Community Bakery introduced a toast recipe submission contest via Facebook and Instagram. They invite everyone to share a picture and their toast recipe using the hash tag #cottagecommunitymakes for a chance to win a free loaf of bread.

They’ll select a winner each week and share the photo on their social media accounts.

They say they are excited to see the various recipes that the community has to offer. I am excited at the prospect of winning a loaf of Conor O’Neill’s amazing bread.

— 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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