Issaquah’s Bai Tong serves up authentic taste of Thailand
When the first Bai Tong Thai Restaurant opened in near the Seattle-Tacoma airport close to 30 years ago, authentic spices were so hard to find that the owners had to personally import them from Thailand. Anytime a friend or family member traveled to the U.S., they brought a suitcase full of spices.
Today, it’s easier to find not just fine spices, but fresh ingredients that were previously hard to come by. It’s one of the changes Bai Tong co-owner Noina Champayom sees in the local landscape. That, and the fact that Thai food is now widely popular.
It’s been just over a year since Bai Tong opened at Grand Ridge Plaza. With a team of chefs who trained in Bangkok, Bai Tong serves up favorites such as Crispy Garlic Chicken, Pad Kee Mao, and delicious curries. The menu also includes milder options and classics such as Pad Thai and Chicken Satay, and they have a great kid’s menu.
“The dinner hour at Bai Tong Issaquah is very family-oriented,” said Champayom. “While some kids prefer no spice, others request three stars. Seattle-are kids love dining out and trying new dishes. They’re very cosmopolitan and it’s such a pleasure to be part of the family dining experience.”
Lunch is also great time to try Bai Tong, with quick service and inexpensive menu options that include a cup of soup and rice. Lunch options are about $8 or $9, and the restaurant offers vegetarian and vegan dishes. Their brown rice is highly recommended.
Later in the evening, Bai Tong fills up with moviegoers who are heading to Regal Cinemas across the street. The bar area, which offers bar and table seating, features a unique 3D mural of downtown Bangkok.
“We took extra care in the design and interior decorating of Bai Tong Issaquah, importing hand-crafted fixtures and art work from Thailand,” explains Champayom. “It’s an essential part of an authentic Thai experience for our guests. Traditional Thai hospitality is welcoming and gracious. We pride ourselves on creating a dining experience that’s tranquil for the mind and exciting for the palate.”
The first Bai Tong restaurant, founded by Champayom’s mother Chanpen Lapangkura, is still going strong. Her husband, Aor Champayom, also plays a significant role at Bai Tong, where he manages the kitchen and supports staff training. He’s also known for his skills as a chef and baker, with his Coconut Cake getting rave reviews from kids (and their parents).
Open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, Bai Tong Thai Issaquah is located at 1520 Highlands Drive at Grand Ridge Plaza. Bai Tong also offers takeout and catering services for large and small events. Call (425) 394-4473 to place an order or visit baitongrestaurant.com to see the full menu. Bai Tong has two happy hours — 3 to 6 pm daily, 8:30 pm to close on weeknights, and 9 pm to close on weekends.
Bai Tong Thai Wine: Through a new partnership with Columbia Valley winemakers, Bai Tong released its own Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay House Wines. A bottle of their Washington wine is $30. Guests can purchase a bottle as part of a takeout order for $26.READ MORE
Executive Chef Emran Chowdhury ushers in new menu at Sip
For many parents, date night is a rare occurrence that happens as often as a lunar eclipse. But there’s a remedy for that: Sip at the wine bar & restaurant. It’s one of finest restaurants on Seattle’s Eastside and it’s located at Grand Ridge Plaza in Issaquah Highlands.
Sip is known for its impressive wine list, outstanding service, sophisticated décor, and exquisitely-prepared food. It’s a destination for foodies thanks to a reputation for dishes that appeal to the eye and the palate. The menu emphasizes New American cuisine—think finely-prepared and locally-sourced steaks and seafood, with seasonal specials as well as gluten-free and vegetarian options.
In summer 2015, Sip welcomed Emran Chowdhury as its new executive chef. Chowdhury made his mark on the Northwest restaurant scene at Cantinetta in Seattle. He made the move to Sip to pursue his passion for serving local and organic produce, as well as the opportunity to build on the restaurant’s stellar reputation while designing a new menu. A key attraction for Chowdhury was Sip’s organic garden on nearby Mercer Island, which produces vegetables, herbs and spices for the restaurant.
Chowdhury’s passion for Italian cuisine is reflected in Sip’s new menu, which features pasta that’s homemade in the restaurant’s kitchen. He has developed relationships with many local farmers to source food as close to Sip as possible.
“Sip’s menu reflects both the local harvest and the weather,” explains Chowdhury. “In the summer, we strive for lighter dishes that suit our longer days and outdoor lifestyles. In the winter, we offer dishes that offer the warmth we crave on dark days, such as braises that simmer slowly.”
Sip’s wine list is too long to describe here, but the varied selection has placed the restaurant firmly on every wine connoisseur’s roadmap. Reviewers praise Sip’s collection of Washington wines and options for wine flights, which offer a way to sample various wines by the glass. If you’re having trouble deciding on the right wine, ask Sip Manager R.J. Mimard for advice.
Reservations are recommended for weekends, especially for a special event. The good news is that if your babysitter cancels, Sip has a great kids’ menu.
And in case you were wondering, there’s an average of zero to three lunar eclipses per year. The last time there were three in one year was 1982. So, here’s to planning a great date night. May it come sooner than the next lunar eclipse.
Sip at the wine bar & restaurant is located at 1084 NE Park Drive at Grand Ridge Plaza in Issaquah Highlands. There is plenty of free parking in the nearby parking garage and throughout the shopping center.READ MORE
Shop Marshalls, HomeGoods, Carter’s, Francesca’s & more
Who needs an excuse to go shopping? Whether you’re hunting for a gift, bargain or both, there’s a great selection of shops here at Grand Ridge Plaza. From Marshalls to Zumiez, Grand Ridge Plaza is home to more than 50 shops and services. Here’s a snapshot of what you’ll find at Grand Ridge Plaza:
Zumiez has fun, edgy clothing, shoes, accessories, and gear for skateboarding, snowboarding, and surf for men and women. Youth sizes are also available, so even the youngest kiddos will find something they love.
Jos. A. Bank
Known for high-quality, tailored and casual menswear, Jos. A. Bank specializes in suits, sportswear, shoes and dress shirts at affordable prices. Watch for their seasonal sales, which offer great prices on suits.
At Francesca’s, you’ll find whimsical and eclectic clothes, handbags, shoes and jewelry. Francesca’s also has a gorgeous selection of special occasion dresses and hair accessories.
Find adorable baby clothes and essentials at Carter’s, as well as toddler and big kid clothing. The store is always well-stocked with a range of sizes and seasonal items.
HomeGoods offers an ever-changing selection of home fashions in kitchen essentials, rugs, lighting, bedding, bath, furniture and more. We challenge you to leave without finding a bargain.
Marshalls offers current-season, brand-name and designer goods for men, women, teens and kids at great prices. Marshalls of Grand Ridge Plaza is also known for its well-stocked selection of designer purses.
You’ll find cosmetics, fragrance, skincare, haircare, hair appliances and more at Ulta Beauty. Watch their store calendar for workshops with professional make-up artists and style experts. They host free events every Saturday.
Optica Vison Care
Optica offers a wide selection of designer eyewear and sunglasses. Choose from Bevel, ic! Berlin, Prada, Woow, Addias, Oakley’s, Humphrey’s, Toms, Legre, Piko, Juicy Couture, Lulu Guinness, Burberry, and Emporio Armani. Optica also stocks popular children’s frames such as Converse, Candies, Sketchers, Lucky Brand, Ted Baker just for kids, and Crush.
DICK’S Sporting Goods
DICK’S Sporting Goods has a broad assortment of sporting goods equipment, apparel and footwear with in-house specialists to help you find the perfect gear.
Soma Intimates is known for its high-quality women’s lingerie, bras, panties, swimwear, sleepwear and dresses. The staff team is always helpful and they take extra time to ensure everything fits perfectly.
When you walk in the door of barre3’s studio at Grand Ridge Plaza, there’s an immediate feeling of good energy. As barre3 co-owners Heather Kass and Anna McEvers say, “You can start the day dragging your feet, but coming to the studio for a workout changes how you feel. It’s like a magic pill.”
The barre3 studio is nestled in a quiet corner of Grand Ridge Plaza. barre3 is a national network of locally-owned studios that offer 60-minute classes for women and men. Classes combine a dancer’s workout of the ballet barre with yoga and Pilates.
Kass and McEvers, who both live nearby, explain that barre3 reflects the organization’s core value of acceptance. All fitness levels are welcome and the instructor tailors the class to individual needs. But, it’s not a dance class. It’s a functional workout that emphasizes strengthening and improving posture, as well as body shaping.
“Everyone is welcome here,” explains McEvers. “The motivating environment offers a strong sense of community, which is helpful when you want to make exercise a regular part of your life. The minimum age is 14 and there is no maximum age. In fact, the barre3 workout can be especially beneficial as you age because it develops good muscle balance that puts you at less risk for injury.”
barre3 has savings packages for newcomers and returning students alike. Classes are scheduled throughout the day and childcare is available for $5 per child, per class at the on-site nursery. Here’s a list of specials:
New Mom Bounce Back: To ease new moms back into a workout routine, barre3 offers a special package: Pay $300 for three months of unlimited classes. Ten childcare sessions at the on-site nursery are included. Childcare reservations are required.
Teachers & Students: Get unlimited barre3 classes for $99 per month with valid full-time student or teacher identification. Students must be 14 years or older.
Unlimited Childcare: Unlimited childcare is available for $75 per month, per child. This is a great option for anyone who wants to take several classes each week. (The regular cost for childcare is $5 per child, per class.) The nursery accepts children ranging in age from newborn to 18 years. Reservations required.
Flex Time: Take classes at off-peak hours and save. Flex Time offers unlimited classes for $99 per month during off-peak hours. Check the schedule for class times.
What to wear? Kass and McEvers suggest that newcomers wear comfy workout or yoga attire. No shoes are needed (you’ll be barefoot). Socks are optional. All props are provided, including their trademark orange exercise balls.
barre3 Grand Ridge Plaza is located at 1091 NE High Street. There’s plenty of free parking in the nearby parking garage and throughout the shopping center.READ MORE