Alderwood food tour a $10 deal

The last food review I did was a grilled-cheese tour of Snohomish County.

Denny’s won.

Food tasting is not my beat, because I only like carbs, chocolate and Velveeta. But Thursday, I did the Summer Event Series at Alderwood mall, presented by Verizon, that includes a food tour for $10 and continues from 5 to 9 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 24.

I took along my husband, Chuck, who chews anything.

We had our granddaughters until 7 that evening. Peyton, almost 3 months old, burped up formula on my shoulder as I took her out of her car seat, but you just dab and go. Kelbi, almost 2, was a good companion because she eats anything her Grampie spoons in.

Bite for me, bite for you.

It started raining as we parked. The directions said to buy our $10 taste voucher at a placed described as Gene Juarez Salon court. I pushed in the stroller and asked two young ladies at the Juarez counter if I could buy the food thing.

They never heard of a food thing.

I showed them an e-mail with their destination clearly stated.

In a huff, they informed me they knew nothing about a taste, and offered no help getting my bearings. Chuck thought I had taken him on a soggy boondoggle. Luckily, two adorable young men across the way at Romano’s Macaroni Grill were on top of things. Due to the rain, the sales table moved to the food court, said Travis Lembright and Kyle Brierley.

Noticing I was peeved, they handed me their bite, a slice of pepperoni and sausage pizza. Grampie and Kelbi were thrilled to begin the feed. I left them in the play area by Sears and pushed Peyton to the familiar Cinnabon stand.

At the food court, I wondered, “If I was a $10 taste voucher, where would I be?”

Those vendors were not part of the promotion.

There was no time to grab a bacon-cheese dog at Orange Julius. I spotted a table out the south doors and sure enough, that was where to buy the $10 coupon sheet. They changed locations due to the downpour.

Back at the play area, Grampie and Kelbi disappeared into the Disney store, but soon found us. We rolled back out in the rain and got a half wrap at World Wraps.

In my veggie-free world, it never crossed my lips, but Grampie and Kelbi eagerly swapped nibbles. Next stop, Cold Stone Creamery, where the darling toddler decided to greet every customer at every table. So precocious.

Grammie was happy: ice cream cake in a little cup.

P.F. Chang’s China Bistro’s offering was a big hit with my tester team. Customers jammed in the lobby, waiting 45 minutes for tables, wondered what the lady with the stroller was doing at the front counter taking out lettuce wraps.

We didn’t try beverages at Black Pearl Tea House or Starbucks. Peyton thought it was her turn for a “bite” from her baby bottle, but we scooted along to keep her bouncing. Many stores had specials during the evening, such as a climbing pass for the wall at REI, and Kelbi got a free finger puppet at Janie and Jack.

Chuck’s glasses were cleaned at the Sunglass Hut and he scored a free pair of socks at The Walking Company.

Williams-Sonoma offered virgin margaritas that wet the whistle.

Kelbi loved her pretty gold sack with two truffles from Godiva Chocolatier. I shoved it inside the diaper bag for later. The half bagel with spread at Panera Bread also went inside the diaper bag for my son-in-law, Miguel, who was waiting in Lynnwood to get his kids back. We loaded up and drove around the parking lot to McGrath’s Fish House.

Please, please, be a bite of deep-fried cod. I was bummed when handed shrimp cocktail, but Grampie and Kelbi eagerly slurped it up. Our last stop, Claim Jumper, did not have the offered chocolate chip cookie. Staff consulted one another behind the register, then directed me back to the ticket sellers.

Annoyed again, I hurried to the coupon table and got the red-wrapped cookie, which turned out to be divine.

Back in the truck, Chuck declared the taste well worth $10, especially because our granddaughters were hardy troopers. On the way to Miguel’s, I swung through Wendy’s and got a chicken sandwich.

Grampie reached over to snag my fries and I smacked his hand.

Hands off my bite, Bucko.

Columnist Kristi O’Harran: 425-339-3451 or

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