Marination: Everyday Aloha on a Really Good Bun

Kamala, Roz, Marination

A line of hungry customers trails out of a blue-trimmed building reminiscent of a beach shack as gulls fly overhead and waves from the water taxi’s wake lap against the shore. Behind us, divers suit up in the parking lot. We slowly trickle into the building, but no one seems antsy about the wait. Instead everyone pores over the menu, snaps photos against the backdrop of Seattle’s skyline bathed in the early evening glow, and talks about what’s good here. The short answer? Everything.

The Marination trifecta – Marination Mobile, Marination Station, and Marination Ma Kai – serves up Hawaiian-Korean no-fuss food fittingly wrapped in the breezy slogan: Everyday aloha. Co-owners Kamala Saxton and Roz Edison previously worked in public education on national educational policy reform, and after hitting hard times during the recession, decided to open up a food truck in 2009.

“We were inspired by Kogi in L.A.,” remembers Kamala. “They were the first ones to hit the streets with Korean tacos. We added the Hawaiian part and away we went.”

Recently the duo brought a new head chef aboard after previous chef Josh Kelly went on to pursue new culinary adventures (more on that later). Angie Roberts, who’s résumé reads like a Seattle foodie’s bucket list (Flying Fish, Boka Restaurant and Bar, and The Hollywood Tavern) couldn’t be more thrilled for a change of pace.

“It’s a completely new style of service for me, so I’m definitely learning,” says Angie. “I love that we have a truck in the company and I like that we have so many moving parts. It keeps me on my toes!”

Angie is working on some changes to Marination’s mouthwatering lineup, including a gluten-free option, something for the kids, and a “more significant-sized menu item.” Word on the street is she will also be throwing some blazing-hot beach parties at Ma Kai this summer. She’s not denying the rumors, “Think pig roast with the best view in the city!”

But, some things will never change. Including their much-praised Pork Katsu Sandwich; a healthy cut of crispy pork heaped with tangy slaw and their signature Bulldog Sauce. Kamala and Roz knew there was only one bun for the job of holding in this sandwich’s fillings: our Ciabatta.

Pork Katsu Sandwich, Marination

“In this city we are fortunate to have many bakeries that provide wholesale baked goods for restaurants,” says Kamala. “Macrina had the products we were seeking and hands-down they have the best customer service.” Plus, she says, there is nothing better than our Giuseppe bread right out of the oven. We can’t argue with her.

As Team Marination barrels toward an action-packed summer, Roz and Kamala have decided to throw another pan in the fire. They’re partnering with Josh and his wife Nancy for a bar in Pioneer Square.

“Josh is going to create a small but focused and delicious menu,” Kamala hints at Good Bar’s plan. “One that will have something for everyone. A menu that is just right.”

Given the group’s track record, we imagine it will be nothing short of greatness.

Mother’s Day Brunch

Mother's Day

There is no one more deserving of a home-cooked meal than Mom. We would readily spring to the kitchen and whip up something for her any day of the year, but definitely always on Mother’s Day. While our bakery is filled with delicious things already prepared to dazzle (Cinnamon Rolls drenched in cream cheese frosting! Cloud-like Coconut Cream Tartlets!), you can never go wrong with the DIY route.

Our Mini Macrina Casera loaves are meant to spark creativity in the kitchen this Mother’s Day. We’ve packaged this miniature version of our popular house bread with a card filled with ideas on how to enjoy it. One of our favorites is sliced, toasted and topped with poached eggs and our savory Fennel-Sausage Gravy. We guarantee it will get Mom’s stamp of approval!

Fennel-Sausage Gravy
Click here to print this recipe!


1 medium fennel bulb with fronds
1 tablespoon pure olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon canola oil
8 ounces (1 cup) bulk Italian chicken sausage
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seeds, finely ground
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 tablespoons unbleached all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
1 1/2 cups heavy cream

Makes 4 Servings

1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2. Trim, halve and core the fennel bulb. Chop enough fronds to measure 2 teaspoons and set aside. Placing the halves cut side down on a cutting board, slice them vertically, then slice in the opposite direction, creating a 1/2-inch dice.

3. Toss the diced fennel with the olive oil, season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to the prepared baking sheet, spreading the pieces so they roast evenly. Bake for 15 minutes, or until the fennel is golden brown on the edges. Set aside to cool.

4. Place a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the canola oil, coating the bottom of the pan. After about 1 minute when the pan is quite hot, add the sausage. Using a spoon, break the sausage into small pieces, tossing to cook thoroughly. When the sausage is completely cooked (about 4 minutes), pour it into a strainer fitted over a medium bowl to catch the rendered fat. (Often with chicken sausage there is little or no excess fat, but with pork varieties you may see more. You can substitute the rendered sausage fat for the butter called for in this recipe, if you like.) Set aside.

5. Return the sauté pan to medium heat. Add the butter and melt completely. Add the fennel seed, mustard powder, nutmeg, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and cayenne pepper. Sprinkle in the flour and, using a whisk, combine the dry ingredients with the fat to create a roux (cooked flour and fat that will thicken into the gravy). Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, whisking, until the roux is a deep golden color. Reduce the heat to low and add the milk in a slow stream. Whisk the milk into the roux as you go, combining it completely (almost making a paste) before adding more milk – if you add the milk too quickly, you’ll end up with those dreaded lumps! Add the heavy cream and reserved fennel and sausage. Cook for 20 to 25 minutes – you want to cook out the raw flour taste and all the gravy to thicken. Check the seasoning, adding additional salt and pepper to taste.

6. Ladle about 3/4 cup of warm gravy over toasted bread and poached eggs. Garnish with a sprinkle of parsley and reserved fennel fronds.

If you don’t use all of the gravy, it freezes well for up to 2 weeks. To reheat, simply warm it in a sauce pan over medium heat with a bit more cream or milk, stirring until smooth. You can find this recipe along with many more brunch favorites in our latest cookbook, More from Macrina.