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A few rainy-day bites | Arts&Appetite

 

Last updated 11/4/2021 at 5:23pm

Maria A. Montalvo

The tofu pho at Pho 99 in Shoreline.

The weather forecasters are telling us to prepare for a longer, cooler, and wetter fall and winter than we have experienced for the last few years. If the rain this week is any indication, we definitely need to seek out restaurants that warm us up.

Nothing tastes better to me on a blustery day than a big bowl of pho. I have written about pho before, the delicious Vietnamese soup traditionally made with broth, rice noodles, herbs, and beef.

People have been telling me about Pho 99 Authentic Vietnamese, a restaurant just south of the Home Depot on Highway 99, for a while, so this weather gave me the impetus to try it.

My mom joined us, and we decided to dine in since they maintain good COVID protocols (self-serve cutlery and napkins, menus posted instead of paper copies). The interior is pretty basic, but the room has many windows, so most of the wooden tables are pleasantly set in natural light.

You are greeted with a glass of lychee-sweetened water and a tough choice of what to order, since they feature far more than just pho on the menu – fried rice dishes, chicken and other soups, teriyaki, rice vermicelli dishes, and a number of vegetarian plates serviced with rice.

We started with the spring rolls because, well, they are always so yummy, with that rice paper roll and the thin vermicelli noodles along with Thai basil, shrimp, and herbs, and of course, the peanut sauce. A perfect way to start our lunch.

The pho comes out with all of the usual accouterments – bean sprouts, jalapenos, fresh basil, and a variety of chili sauces. My mom and I both tried the tofu, which was prepared with just the right texture, while my husband tried the special pho made with duck ($9.75 to $14.75, depending on size).

Both were so warm and satisfying, the noodles balanced well with broccoli, onions, carrots, cabbage, and fresh herbs. The duck special featured extra garnishes of crispy garlic, peanuts, and a divine sweet and spicy citrus chile sauce for the duck. Yum! Next time, I might try the stir fry lemongrass, unless it is raining again, and I will have to get the pho.

As we settle in for the November rains, I thought I would also mention two other options for comforting food this time of year, both located in Edmonds. (Most of the restaurants across Edmonds have been reviewed by this newspaper, but you can find updates in at edmondsbeacon.com with the "Return Visit" highlights.)

Last week, before enjoying the new exhibit at Cascadia Art Museum (which will be reviewed in two weeks), we stopped by Epulo Bistro next door for an early dinner. (Original review of Epulo, in its current location in September 2020.)

Everyone was very happy with their meals, especially my mom with her wonderful bowl of Local Manilla Clams served with a parsnip brodo, bacon, scallions, and perfectly crunchy toasted bread. But these cooler temperatures cry out for wonderful warm desserts, and the housemade apple bread pudding from Epulo is delectable.

The bread pudding is served hot with whipped cream and topped with ice cream ... lovely. It is almost cakelike in texture, somehow, and yet you can still taste the apple pieces. It is just really good and will definitely have you leaving happy!

My other rainy-day recommendation is from an old standard in Edmonds, Bar Dojo, and its Coconut Red Curry noodle bowl. I have written about this and other winter-wonderful dishes from Dojo before (original review of Bar Dojo in November 2017).

The coconut red curry broth always arrives steaming and is so rich and delicious, while the many wonderful tastes and textures (chicken, shrimp, cucumber, noodles, and that yummy squash tempura), make this dish about as close to perfect as any, especially in our Pacific Northwest winters.

Maria A. Montalvo

The duck pho at Pho 99 in Shoreline.

Pho 99 Authentic Vietnamese is at 19828 Aurora Ave N/Highway 99, Shoreline. It's open every day from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can find the bread pudding and much more at downtown Edmonds' Epulo Bistro, and Bar Dojo is still representing the restaurant beginnings of the ever-growing Feedme Hospitality (and all of us in Edmonds are so proud of them). Look up Pho 99 on Yelp on Google and for more information on Epulo and Bar Dojo, go to epulobistro.com/ and http://www.bardojo.com/.

Oh, and in grocery store news, the new Go Go International Groceries on 196th, just across Highway 99, is almost as good as going on an international journey. You can get a wide variety of international favorites (even my childhood favorite, CoCo Rico, a coconut soda), and learn a few new recipes along the way.

 

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