EDMONDS — I did a stupid thing over the weekend.
Decided to climb a mountain. Didn’t bring enough water. Didn’t apply enough sunscreen. Started too late and ended up walking in 90-degree heat. I wasn’t quite at the point of hallucinating a lemonade stand on the trail, but I was fantasizing about Gatorade the last four miles down.
Mistakes were made.
But Cool Blue Gatorade (which I guzzled in a gas station parking lot following said hike) can’t be the cover story of this week’s Food & Drink section. Instead, check out these edible ways to cool off in the summer heat.
Poke — specifically at Ono Poke
If you can’t jump in the Pacific Ocean this summer, you might as well take a bite out of it.
Fresh, raw fish is one of my favorite warm weather meals. It is cool, filling and healthy. Mix some big chunks of fresh pink ahi with a little Hawaiian sea salt, onion and shoyu, scoop over rice and boom: You’ve got a satisfying meal that won’t give you the meat sweats.
You can find plenty of great poke joints all over Snohomish County. One of my favorites is Ono Poke in Edmonds (10016 Edmonds Way). Owner Steven Ono and his crew dream up a new menu every day: Last week, for instance, they served up yuzu black pepper scallops on Thursday and spicy masago albacore on Friday. But you can always count on his traditional Ahi with crunchy sea salt, limu seaweed from the Big Island and roasted kukui nuts. It’s his only poke that isn’t marinated.
While Ono stays true to his roots when it comes to Ahi, salmon is not traditional to Hawaii. Ono takes the fatty fish as a blank canvas.
“You don’t see salmon run up in the waters of Hawaii,” he said. “So to me, this is my freedom to do whatever I want.”
Ono has had customers accuse him of serving poke that isn’t “authentic.”
“You’re from freaking Arizona,” Ono said. “I’m born and raised in Hawaii.”
He also had one customer who was so angry they didn’t have salad dressing — Ono assumed the poke sauce was a good dressing in itself, and he’s not wrong — that she gave Ono Poke a one-star review online when they first opened. So he created a housemade dressing in her honor, dubbed Angry Dressing. It’s vinegar-based.
Ono ensures his seafood is never frozen and has no antibiotics or food coloring. The ahi (from Hawaii) and salmon (from Canada) comes fresh to the shop every single day.
He won’t shy from telling you the salmon is sustainably farmed from fast flowing rivers.
“It is so expensive but to me it’s the best of the best farmed salmon,” Ono said. “We don’t go out and shoot cows for steaks, so why not support the farms that are doing it the right way?”
He is intentional when sourcing ingredients. The kukui nuts come from Paradise Farms on the Big Island: The nuts are dried out in the sun, roasted, laid out to dry once more and are then ground up. The seaweed salad is made using real wakame from Japan. It was more expensive than the 20 other brands Ono tried when building his menu but for him, the price is worth it. There’s no food coloring, no sliminess. Just crunchy, clean ocean goodness.
I tried the garlic furikake salmon and loved the briny nuttiness from the furikake along with crunchy raw onions and fatty chunks of salmon. The seaweed salad was so refreshing. Even basics like the rice were executed perfectly. Next time I’ll order one of their spicy poke bowls with Hawaiian macaroni salad and greens — with Angry Dressing, of course.
Concha ice cream sandwich at Las Fridas
Let me paint a picture for you: A soft Mexican sweet roll with a bright purple streusel-like topping that crackles in the oven, resembling a colorful seashell. This concha, so buttery and fluffy (and yes, I’m trying to work you up), is then sliced open and filled with a generous scoop of horchata ice cream. You get the brioche-like roll with the cool creaminess of the ice cream, fragrant cinnamon and vanilla throughout. The sugary crackle gives texture, and it’s just the perfect summer treat.
And no, this is not just a pretty picture. You can go to Las Fridas in Everett (2625 Colby Ave. Suite 5, to be exact) right now and have this concha ice cream sandwich in your hands momentarily. They use freshmade conchas from Bakery Panaderia La Gloria in Everett.
The Mexican snack shop also serves fresh fruit cups (mango lovers rejoice) and shaved ice, shakes and savory items like elote, which is corn on the cob slathered with mayo, then coated with salty cotija cheese, a squeeze of lime, chili and cilantro (they also make one with Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, if you know what’s good for you).
There are, in my opinion, few things better than Mexican street food, especially a simple mango on a stick with lime juice and tajin. It’s the perfect sweet-salty-spicy combo. Las Fridas just gets this, as evidenced by their bright, colorful, flavor-packed menu.
Vermicelli bowl at a Vietnamese restaurant near you
If there is one summer go-to dinner, bún thịt nướng is it for me. The vermicelli rice noodles, crisp julienned veggies and nước chấm (a tangy-sweet fishy dipping sauce) are all cold, while your choice of protein usually comes fresh off the grill. The roasted peanuts give nutty crunch, herbs like cilantro, mint and basil bring freshness, and the fried egg roll is the crispy cherry on top. My favorite proteins for it are shrimp, tofu or squid, though marinated grilled pork is a delicious tradition.
I usually order mine from Janbo Cafe in Everett (6125 Evergreen Way), but you can get a vermicelli bowl at just about any Vietnamese restaurant near you.
If there’s one thing I could drink all year round, it’s bubble tea. And on a hot summer day, this drink is like an AC unit for your insides.
My go-to summer order is fruit tea. I like to order the tea with no sugar, then add popping boba. That way it’s a refreshing tea drink that won’t give me a sugar crash. But! I still get some sweetness from the popping boba. Sweet N Short Tapioca Tea in Everett (35 SE Everett Mall Way, Unit 105) nails this combo every time I order their peach green tea with strawberry popping boba.
I recently tried a few drinks at Mustache MilkTea, a cute bubble tea shop in Lynnwood (13624 Highway 99, Unit B5). I love that they also offer almond milk for their milk teas, which include Thai, red rose, oreo cookie and my personal favorite: black sesame.
Off the fruit tea menu, I ordered the red guava green tea (of course) with lychee popping boba and the chewiest, most satisfying tapioco pearls I’ve had in the area so far.
But their fruit tea was not the main reason I stopped by. I decided to test my taste buds and try a durian smoothie. Well, folks, I could smell it as soon as I punctured the top with my straw. Took a sip and it was hard to describe. I just knew I didn’t like it. Imagine a subtly sweet milkshake with hints of onion and garlic. I couldn’t get past the savoriness of it, especially in frozen form.
I really, really wanted to like durian and was terribly disappointed with myself for joining the anti-durian crowd.
Despite my review, I would still advise you to try it! Durian is enjoyed by millions of people, is healthy and full of nutrients. Plus, Mustache uses fresh durian. I love that this Lynnwood shop offers it, and I’ve read rave reviews specifically about their durian smoothies and milk teas. Your taste buds may surprise you.
Next time I head to Mustache, I’ll try a new-for-me flavor like jackfruit bubble tea and have fun with the toppings: maybe egg custard pudding, or salted cream cheese, some grass jelly instead of the popping boba. I know I like jackfruit, though I’ve never had it in bubble tea form. Compromise for the taste buds!
Not much to say here. Go out, buy a watermelon, be like me and eat your own bodyweight of this super-hydrating fruit. It absolutely saved me after that hike.
What’s your favorite dish to cool off this summer? Let us know! Email reporter Taylor Goebel at email@example.com, or post in The Herald’s food-centric Facebook page, SnohomDish.