Max’s World Take Out has tiny menu, a world of tastes

July 5, 2011

Max’s World Take Out has as much personality as its owner and chef, Edna Noronha. After all, she named her small restaurant and catering business after her German shepherd, of and with whom she has professionally photographed pictures hanging on her walls.

Though Max’s menu is limited to a dozen or so items, what it lacks in size it more than makes up for in flavor, variety, flavor and did I mention flavor yet? Not the overwhelming, gluttonous kind, though. No, a light, perfect contrast of spices and textures. All of Max’s food is fresh, preservative free and prepared from scratch, right down to the tortilla chips.

Originally from Goa, in the southwestern part of India, Edna blends Indian, Korean, Portuguese, American and Goan influences with almost scientific precision. Fortunately for Issaquah residents, Edna wasn’t satisfied with a master’s degree in business administration and returned to school at age 41 — this time to the esteemed Culinary Institute of America in New York. It was there that she mastered her craft, though many of her creations are recipes passed down from her mother that she has tweaked to taste.

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Champions swings for the fences in sports bar cuisine

April 19, 2011

The best way to judge a new eatery is by determining how well it handles the basics.

The lunch menu at Field of Champions Bar & Grill epitomizes the basics of casual dining.

Located on the banks of Issaquah Creek, the restaurant has been described as a cross between Red Robin and The Gas Lamp — essentially a family-friendly alehouse. The sports memorabilia ranges from donated local Little League banners to signed mementos of national sports icons, like Michael Jordan. As a sports bar, at least four flat-screen TVs can be seen from every seat in the house.

As a group of us watched a replay of the previous night’s Mariners’ game, we decided to cover our bases and order a variety of basics from the lunch menu.

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For bountiful Italian options, that’s Amante

January 18, 2011

Since Amante Pizza and Pasta moved from its old location on Locust Street to its newer digs in downtown Issaquah, we felt it was an opportune time to revisit this Italian eatery.

Those who were fond of Amante’s quaint, Italian villa vibe may be disappointed in the new mix of faux-industrial Tuscan décor.

A dining companion astutely noted the sparse interior could have done with booths lining the walls. And individual lamps extending over the tables would add some much-needed intimacy. Read more

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Joker offers satisfying sports bar fare — no fooling

December 28, 2010

The Joker Pub & Grill has a laid-back atmosphere, with plenty of flat-screen TVs to watch the game. In the early evening hours, it’s filled with people grabbing a beer with friends or co-workers before they head home for the night.

The menu consists of your regular bar food, along with some interesting items. If you’re looking for something out of the ordinary, try french fries or tater tots smothered in sausage gravy.

Maybe you want to go out of your comfort zone and order the peanut butter bacon burger. The name pretty much says it all — yes, the burger really does have melted peanut butter on it, along with lettuce, tomatoes, pickles, the patty, mayonnaise and bacon.

When you first bite into the burger, your mouth is bombarded with the flavor of the homemade (daily) beef patty and the flavor of peanut butter. It almost tastes like something you would eat for breakfast, but is served with your choice of french fries, tater tots, onion rings, salad or the soup of the day.

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Hidden satisfaction awaits at Back of Bella Deli

October 19, 2010

Easy to miss but not easily forgotten, Back of Bella Deli is a charming local spot with simple-yet-elegant food and a comforting atmosphere.

With its exposed brick walls, small tables and casual environment, the building provides a comfortable space for lunch, dinner or a cup of coffee.

Located off of Front Street in Issaquah, behind counterpart wine bar Vino Bella, the deli is hidden from view on the main street but is worth searching for. Open daily from 9 a.m. – 8 p.m., all meals are covered with a menu that is sure to please a varied crowd.

Try one of the paninis and you will receive a sandwich grilled to perfection and served with a flavorful pickle and scoop of fresh egg salad. The options range from chicken breast with Swiss cheese, bacon, Dijon and tomatoes or the perfect concoction of roasted vegetables and caramelized onions in the veggie panini.

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Get a fine bowl of pho locally at Jenny’s

October 5, 2010

Finally. Venturing to Seattle for a quality bowl of Vietnamese pho is no longer necessary.

Jenny Pho Vietnamese Noodle & BBQ sits conveniently here in Issaquah, just off of West Lake Sammamish Parkway, between Costco and PCC Natural Market.

On a lazy Sunday afternoon, just after it had opened, it was already filling up quickly and people were greeted by a smiling hostess and seated immediately.

The interior is fresh, modern and clean. Traditionally painted flowers decorate the wall, a serene waterfall trickles away in the corner and sprinkles of plants fill the restaurant, giving it a relaxing, peaceful vibe, despite being a busy lunch hour. Windows line half of the restaurant, allowing ample natural lighting to shine through. Vietnamese music plays softly in the background.

For anyone unfamiliar with pho, it is a wildly popular Vietnamese soup noodle dish that consists of flat rice noodles simmering in either a beef or chicken broth. Various types of meats can be added, often chicken, beef or seafood, or it can remain vegetarian.

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Billy Bob’s gives diners burger, barbecue alternative

February 23, 2010

What you’ll find at Billy Bob’s Burgers & BBQ is a great lunch hour or afternoon escape from the workday grind or a place on the weekend for sports action in the bar. Read more

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Dig into the duck and dumplings at Macky’s Dim Sum

February 2, 2010

Put down the chopsticks, or maybe a fork, and ignore the stares from other diners, because the menu at Macky’s Dim Sum presents a hand-eye coordination challenge. Order the roasted duck — lacquered skin and moist meat presented in oh-so-neat rows — and utensils will be rendered useless. Read more

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Thai Ginger does justice to top-billed ingredient

January 12, 2010

When a restaurant includes a signature ingredient in the name above the door, the act amounts to a challenge to diners, almost as if the owners laid down a gauntlet. Try the namesake dish, the menu demands. We dare you.

Thai Ginger, where the potent root receives top billing, deploys the main ingredient in the Thai Ginger House Special — assorted vegetables and protein studded with matchsticks of the spicy-sweet tuber. Consider the dish a litmus test. Include too much ginger, and the flavor bludgeons other players into submission. Skimp on ginger, and fail to do justice to the title dish.

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Cucina! Cucina! is delicious-ina!

January 5, 2010

No matter where you are in this country, there is sure to be an Italian restaurant nearby. In Issaquah, Cucina! Cucina! Italian Café should be on your radar.

The restaurant — near Issaquah’s Regal Cinemas in Pickering Place — has been serving up tasty Italian food for years.

When you first walk through the door, you’re greeted with bright, high-energy colors and decorations. This gives diners a fun environment in which to eat their meals.

Most tables are near coat hangers as well, which come in tremendously handy on cold and often wet winter days.

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