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Rusty Pelican Cafe: An Edmonds Kind of Sweet Spot

Rain or shine, lunch at the city's newest restaurant just might make your day.

After talking with owner Marilyn Limberopoulos for Tuesday's article on the , I just had to stop in for lunch and sample the cuisine for myself. My companion Janice Carr, always ready for a new dining adventure, accompanied me.

We burst in from the rain at the stroke of noon and were seated right away. We were no sooner settled than a basket of fresh-baked bread arrived at our table. Still hot from the oven, the aroma was heavenly. It melted the butter in seconds, and the crust had just the right amount of crunch. Mmm good!

Janice ordered the Whidbey Island Sandwich, a vegetarian entree of grilled zucchini and eggplant, spinach and goat cheese on a toasted French roll. I'm a hopeless gyro fan and went for the standard offering with feta.

(Check out the attached PDF for the full menu and prices, or click on this link.)

The first item to arrive was a cup of exquisitely hearty corn chowder, an accompaniment to Janice's sandwich. As one who has always found corn chowder hopelessly bland, I was pleasantly surprised to find a spicy bite to the soup that lingered on the tongue. The hearty consistency and the warm after taste make this soup the perfect antidote for a cold, rainy afternoon. I kept dipping my spoon, and Jan had to fight me to keep the soup to herself.

In addition to the standard gyro on pita bread, my entree arrived with a Greek salad and hand-cut fries. The gyro was stuffed with fresh lettuce, tomato and onion, and drizzled with tzatziki sauce. The meat, a combination of beef and lamb, was tender, juicy and flavorful, the vegetables fresh and crisp.

I've eaten many gyros over the years, and this rates up there with the best of them. No limp lettuce or tough meat here! The golden brown fries were done to a turn and tasted great with just a little salt. It would be sacrilege to dip these beauties in ketchup and lose the fresh potato taste.

Unfortunately for Janice, the juices from the grilled zucchini, eggplant and spinach proved a bit too much for the French roll in the Whidbey Island Sandwich. It quickly got soggy, and the bottom half of the bread became hopelessly waterlogged. On the bright side, the accompanying cole slaw was wonderful, fresh, and tangy.

For dessert, Jan chose the pistachio cake and I the key lime pie. Like all the Rusty Pelican desserts, these are baked by owner Marilyn Limberopoulos from scratch ingredients. Both were heavenly. I would have to rate the key lime pie as the best I've ever had.

And the accompanying coffee came with a surprise: a little stainless steel pitcher of heavy cream! It's often the small things that make the experience, and this did it for me (I loathe those single-serving plastic sealed cups of half and half). Wonderful touch!

All in all, a great experience. In three short weeks since opening, the Rusty Pelican seems have hit an Edmonds kind of sweet spot.

Watch this place. It could become a local institution.

The is at 107 Fifth Ave. N, Edmonds. Hours are 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. seven days a week. For more information, call 425-582-8250.

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