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All You Can Eat

Trend-setting restaurants, Northwest cookbooks, local food news and the people who make them happen.

November 24, 2009 at 8:52 AM

Epulo: Edmonds boasts new bistro. You boast about . . .?

When I moved to Edmonds from Seattle in the late ’90s I wasn’t thrilled with the spectrum of dining options — no offense to local favorites like Chanterelle, Anthony’s Beach Cafe and “Claire’s Panty” (as the city’s downtown diner is known in my house). But as the years passed (as I’ve mentioned before), my adopted hometown has come into its own culinarily speaking. That notion was reinforced by my colleague Lynn Thompson in a recent NW Weekend cover story, where she singled out a number of eat-and-drinkeries I adore. And now we’ve got another winner to add to the growing list: Epulo.

Edmonds street scene: it’s a beautiful day in my neighborhood.

Open early this month, Epulo takes over where the late Shell Creek left off, with a remodel that kept the basic setup but tones down the fine-dining aesthetic of its former incarnation.

The view from my banquette seat last Thursday.

There’s a big TV in the bar, heaven-forbid you miss the game, and a reasonably priced and decidedly trendiferous world-ranging menu. Yes, they’ve got duck confit sliders, as well as something for the kids.

Had you been brunching with a Bloody Mary and hangtown fry on Saturday, you could have sat at the big communal table adjacent to the storefront and watched Carol Schillios descend from the roof of her import shop Fabric of Life with an assist from the Edmonds Fire Department and done what so many Edmonds locals (and others) have done: made a contribution to her cause. (She’s been living in her rooftop tent since July in an effort to raise money for her foundation.)

Carol’s blue-tarped tent is a reflection of her generosity.

And had you been at Epulo on Thursday at lunchtime, I’d have shared my pizza with you. It was tough choosing between the “fig & blue” pizza (with caramelized onion) and the wild mushroom rosemary version, but I’d come back for this one, topped with prosciutto, Grana Padano, garlic, arugula and truffle oil.

Pizza from Epulo’s wood-fired oven.

I’d also have offered you a big forkful of the smoked chicken leg seen below, which tasted almost exactly like the chicken Mac regularly smokes at home. That said, he never serves his with Brussels sprouts because he can’t stand those “bitter little pills” — much to my distress, since I love them and they’re not bitter when bought fresh in season and prepared correctly.

Chef Taylor Park’s smoked chicken leg with Brussels sprout leaves and sweet potatoes.

My pal Karen, the Incredible Chef, who also lives in Edmonds, shared her short-rib sandwich and at $7 it was an absolute bargain.

Chips — and dip, at Epulo.

She also shared this no-degrees-of-separation story: When she was walking past Epulo a couple/few weeks ago, she poked her head inside and immediately recognized Tim Morris, whom she hadn’t seen in eons, from their days at Ingraham High School. Tim, she says, was a football jock, student council VP and the guy voted “Most Service to School” 30 years ago. Turns out you may know him too — as the local real estate agent who lost out to another contestant last spring on Rachael Ray’s “Hey, Can you Cook?” (watch Tim try to win over Rach right here).

That’s Tim, sandwiched between his chef Taylor Park (left) and GM Shubert Ho.

Hey, Tim! Pass me one of those short-rib sammies and the E.V.O.O. [Photo/ courtesy Rachael Ray Show]

So, Edmonds Eaters, let’s hear it for the hometown: What’s your favorite place to eat around here? Me? Walking distance from my house: this one. Short drive, this one. (Frequent visitors should feel free to chime in, too.)

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