Agave Issaquah’s Guide to Tequila

Tequila Agave Cocina and Tequilas - Photo credit Shubha Tirumale

Tequila Agave Issaquah Grand Ridge PlazaFriday, May 5: Celebrate Cinco de Mayo at Agave Cocina & Tequilas with beautiful music, food and drink specials, a taco stand, and much more. Agave opens at 11 am to celebrate the day. ¡Feliz Cinco de Mayo!

Tequila often elicits a love/hate reaction from casual drinkers, more than any other type of liquor. For some, it’s an acquired taste that rewards with subtle, sophisticated flavors. However, the popularity of tequila in the U.S. has led to a deluge of inexpensive tequila brands. This, more than anything else, has given many people the wrong impression about tequila.

In honor of Cinco de Mayo, Federico Ramos, chef and co-owner of Agave Cocina & Tequilas Issaquah shared this introduction into the world of tequila. Agave Cocina, which produces its own private label tequila, offers one of the region’s largest selections of fine sipping tequilas. According to Ramos, you won’t want to blend these tequilas with juices or take shots—they are best savored like a fine whiskey or wine.

What qualifies as tequila?

By Mexican law, almost all products advertised as tequila must come from Tequila, Jalisco, a state in central Mexico. In order for a spirit to be officially recognized as tequila, it must contain at least 51 percent blue agave plant distillate.

How is tequila made?

Its origin can be traced more than 1,000 years to the Aztecs and their fermented milky drink, pulque. Tequila is made from the cooked and fermented juice of the blue agave plant.

By taking the heart of an agave plant and steaming it, tequila producers shred the heart (known as theTequila Agave Issaquah Highlands piña) to obtain a juice called aguamiel. Then, the aguamiel is mixed with cane sugar and yeast, and fermented for several days. The juice is distilled twice in copper pots and reaches 90-proof or higher.

What are the varieties of tequila?

Blanco: bottled immediately following distillation, some are aged for a short period of time.

Reposado: aged between 2 to 12 months in oak barrels.

Joven: a mixture of blanco and reposado tequilas.

Añejo: aged between 1 to 3 years in oak barrels. Extra Añejo is aged 3 years or more.

Mixto: contains less than 100% blue agave, usually mixed with sugars or other spirits.

What are the best types of tequila?

There’s debate in this area. Some tequila lovers consider blanco to be the only pure tequila because it has the authentic taste of blue agave. However, aging tequila tends to bring about different flavor Agave Issaquah Patiocharacteristics depending on the type and age of barrel used—and these appeal to different palates. For example, some tequilas are aged inside bourbon barrels, which add spices and darker textures to the flavor profile while softening the bite. Among most tequila connoisseurs, mixto and joven tequilas are considered inferior to blanco and añejo varietals.

Ready to impress your friends with your knowledge? Agave Cocina & Tequilas offers all of the above tequila varieties at Grand Ridge Plaza. Ramos recommends enjoying an Agave Tequila Flight to compare the finest tequilas. He’ll be happy to guide you through each tequila, sharing insights on the manufacturing process and best pairings for your meal.

Photo credit: Shubha Tirumale for Grand Ridge Plaza


Cheers to the Happiest of Happy Hours

Happy Hour Patio Grand Ridge Plaza Big Fish

Agave Issaquah Happy Hour Patio HighlandsFor anyone who loves dining out, happy hour is one of the restaurant world’s greatest inventions. Now that the weather’s warmer, it’s prime time to try a new happy hour. Here’s a look at offerings in Issaquah Highlands.

Agave Cocina & Tequilas
Tacos for $4? Yes, please! Agave’s happy hour features specials including their signature margarita for $7.50, Dos XX draft beer for $4.50, jalapeño cheese dip for $6 and tres quesos nachos for $7. For those who dare, diablo wings are $7.
Hours: seven days a week from 3:30 pm to 6 pm and again from 9 pm to close.

The RAM Restaurant & BreweryHappy Hour Issaquah Highlands Grand Ridge Plaza

When the clock strikes three, it’s time for happy hour at The RAM, where you can enjoy 18 oz. flagship beers for $4, house wines for $5, and well drinks for $5.50. Food specials include pretzels and beer cheese fondue, BBQ chicken quesadilla and boneless wings—all $7.50. The RAM’s classic mulligan burger is $5.50, and an order of their famous pickle chips is only $3.25.
Hours: Monday through Friday from 3 pm to 6 pm and again from 10 pm to close.

Bai Tong Thai

Savor Bai Tong Thai’s crispy garlic chicken, fresh rolls, Columbia Valley house wine and ice-cold Singha beer at special prices during their daily happy hour. Regulars rave about the chicken satay with house-made peanut sauce ($4.50), and spring rolls ($3.50).
Hours: seven days a week from 3 pm to 6 pm. Night owls can enjoy happy hour Sundays through Thursdays from 8 pm to 9 pm, and from 9 pm to 10 pm on Fridays and Saturdays.

Happy Hour Issaquah Highlands Patio Grand Ridge PlazaSip at the wine bar & restaurant
With one of the largest wine selections in the region, Sip is a wine aficionado’s paradise. Its happy hour features $7 wines by the glass, house spirits and house martinis. All small plates, including Sip sweet roll sliders and deviled eggs, are $3 off.
Hours: seven days a week from 4 pm to 6 pm and again from 9 pm to close.


Chinoise Sushi Bar & Asian Grill

Happy hour at Chinoise features draft beer for $4.50—choose from Kirin Ichiban Lager, Space Dust IPA and the rotating seasonal beer—plus rotating sake and wine specials. Enjoy sushi and small bites, including the California roll ($4), six-piece chicken gyoza ($4), jicama summer rolls ($5), and honey walnut prawns ($8).
Hours: seven days a week from 4:30 pm to 6 pm.

The Big Fish GrillHappy Hour Patio Grand Ridge Plaza Big Fish

Happy hour in the Big Fish Grill’s lounge features favorites such as clam chowder for $4, Alaskan cod fish and chips for $6 and spicy seafood jambalaya for $8. Featured drink specials include $2 off draft beer (choose from 11 on tap) and $2 off select wines by the glass.
Hours: daily from 3 pm to 6 pm and again from 9 pm to close. Food specials are served seven days a week, while drink specials are available Sunday through Thursday.

AJI Sushi & Grill
Sample appetizers such as AJI’s vegetable and shrimp tempura, gyoza and tako yaki at reduced prices during their daily happy hour. Sip warm sake and savor an order of yellowtail collar (grilled hamachi kama) or ika gesso kara-age (deep fried squid leg) while enjoying AJI’s hospitality. The full menu is also available and includes classics such as pork katsu, chicken teriyaki and bento boxes.
Hours: seven days a week from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Photo credit: Shubha Tirumale for Grand Ridge Plaza


Enjoy $1 Movies at Regal Cinemas Issaquah Highlands

Regal Movies Grand Ridge Plaza Issaquah

Regal Movies Grand Ridge Plaza IssaquahGreat news, movie fans: $1 matinee movies are returning to Grand Ridge Plaza this summer!

On Tuesday and Wednesday mornings for nine weeks, you can catch a blockbuster movie for a dollar. It’s all part of Regal’s Summer Movie Express, a community film festival featuring G- and PG-rated movies.

Each week of summer brings two new family friendly movies that play on both days at 10 am. The Summer Movie Express begins Tuesday, June 27, with Kung Fu Panda 3 and Ice Age: Collision Course, and concludes Wednesday, August 23, with The LEGO Batman Movie and Storks.

The Summer Movie Express also gives back as a portion of proceeds benefit the Will Rogers Institute, which supports research in asthma, tuberculosis and pulmonary diseases. Funds raised from the Summer Movie Express directly fund the Institute’s mission in the areas of medical research and health education.

Don’t miss the chance to catch these fun blockbusters for just a buck!

Week 1: Tuesday, June 27 & Wednesday, June 28

  • Kung Fu Panda 3
  • Ice Age: Collision Course

Week 2: Tuesday, July 4 & Wednesday, July 5

  • Trolls
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked

Week 3: Tuesday, July 11 and Wednesday, July 12

  • Monster Trucked
  • Penguins of Madagascar

Week 4: Tuesday, July 18 & Wednesday, July 19

  • Rio 2
  • The Boxtrolls

Week 5: Tuesday, July 25 & Wednesday, July 26

  • The Secret Life of Pets
  • Sing

Week 6: Tuesday, August 1 & Wednesday, August 2

  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Ratchet and Clank

Week 7: Tuesday, August 8 & Wednesday, August 9

  • The SpongeBob SquarePants Movie: Sponge Out of Water
  • The Adventures of Tin Tin

Week 8: Tuesday, August 15 & Wednesday, August 16

  • Happy Feet 2
  • Cats & Dogs 2: The Revenge of Kitty Galore

Week 9: Tuesday, August 22 & Wednesday, August 23

  • Storks
  • The LEGO Batman Movie

Tickets must be purchased in-person at the Grand Ridge Plaza Box Office. Online ticketing is not available. Regal Cinemas Issaquah Highlands is located at 940 NE Park Drive at Grand Ridge Plaza in Issaquah Highlands.


Dr. Rachel Winstedt Joins NaturoMedica Practice

Rachel Winstedt Naturopath Seattle Issaquah

Rachel Winstedt Naturopath Seattle IssaquahNaturopathic doctors treat both neurologic conditions and chronic infections. Combining technology and research with highly effective natural therapies is the specialty of naturopath Dr. Rachel Winstedt, who recently joined the NaturoMedica naturopathic medical clinic at Grand Ridge Plaza.

Dr. Winstedt sees patients with a range of neurologic conditions such as chronic pain, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, ADHD, depression, anxiety, autism spectrum disorders, and Alzheimer’s disease. She also has a special interest in helping patients with chronic infections such as Lyme disease.

“In many ways, a naturopathic doctor is a sleuth,” explains Dr. Winstedt. “Naturopaths focus onNaturoMedica Naturopath Grand Ridge Plaza Seattle treating the underlying causes of a condition rather than the symptoms. We spend time exploring ways for our patients to get back to their normal range of health and activity, which varies from person to person. In the case of chronic disease, we find treatments to improve overall quality of life. Naturopaths spend time listening while educating, motivating and inspiring our patients to take action to improve their health.”

Dr. Winstedt treats adults, teens and children, and applies her background in molecular, cellular and developmental biology to her work. A native Seattleite who spent much of her childhood in Index, Dr. Winstedt attended medical school at Bastyr University and completed her undergraduate pre-med studies at the University of Washington.

“I’m particularly interested in the connection between neuroendocrine disorders and gut health dysbiosis (imbalance) as they relate to neurological and mental health challenges,” she continued. “I feel these root causes are often misunderstood in today’s social and medical cultures.”

NaturoMedica Naturopath Seattle Grand Ridge PlazaNaturoMedica strives to empower patients to become more involved in their own healing, whether that involves new treatments, exercise, counseling, nutrition or lifestyle changes. Dr. Winstedt considers herself a partner in each patient’s wellbeing, giving people the tools to achieve the best health. She often treats patients who have seen three, four or more doctors before exploring naturopathic medical treatments. She works with methylation/genetic mutations, advanced IV and nutrient therapies, and injection therapies (neural therapy, perineural injection treatment, etc.).

“Twice weekly, you will find me in NaturoMedica’s IV lounge, administering IV therapy,” explains Dr. Winstedt. “I use IV therapy to deliver powerful nutrients directly to people whose gastrointestinal tract may be compromised and who are unable to absorb nutrients by digesting food. It’s what I like to call ‘cell candy’ that can help to heal a number of concerns. It also offers excellent immune system support.”

NaturoMedica Naturopath Seattle Grand Ridge PlazaNaturoMedica is a full-service naturopathic medical clinic that is home to seven licensed naturopathic physicians. The clinic offers naturopathic healthcare, acupuncture and IV (intravenous) therapy.

NaturoMedica doctors can provide primary care or work with an established physician to address health concerns. The clinic also has a retail dispensary, which is open to the public and stocks vitamins, supplements and healthcare products. NaturoMedica is located at 1220 10th Ave NE. To learn more, call (425) 557-8900 or


Make it at Home: Sip’s Chocolate Easter Eggs

Sip Issaquah Easter Eggs Recipe Grand Ridge Plaza

Sip Issaquah Easter Eggs Recipe Grand Ridge PlazaGive the Easter Bunny a helping hand and make a batch of delicious homemade chocolate peanut butter Easter eggs. Based on a favorite recipe from the staff at Sip at the wine bar & restaurant, these eggs put a gourmet twist on a classic Easter treat. Children will love to make them with the help of an adult.


1 cup powdered sugar

1 cup creamy peanut butter

¼ cup butter

1 tablespoon whole milk (if needed for moisture)

8 oz. semi-sweet chocolate (or your preferred chocolate variety)

1 tablespoon vegetable shortening

1 cup sprinkles (optional)


  1. Soften the butter by leaving it on the counter for a few minutes, bringing it to room temperature.
  2. In a mixing bowl, combine sugar, peanut butter, butter and milk (if needed for moisture) until blended.
  3. Shape the mixture into either two half-pound eggs or make smaller eggs.
  4. Place eggs on a tray and freeze for one hour.
  5. While the eggs are freezing, cut chocolate into small pieces and place in the top of a double boiler with the shortening. Melting the chocolate in a double boiler will allow it to melt slowly and ensure it doesn’t burn). For a double boiler method demonstration, click here.
  6. Melt the chocolate and shortening over medium heat, stirring frequently until smooth.
  7. Remove the eggs from the freezer.
  8. Stick a long-tined fork in the top of each peanut butter egg, dip the eggs in the melted chocolate. Make sure the eggs are completely covered, then drain on waxed paper.
  9. Add sprinkles of your choice.
  10. When the eggs are cooled and set, decorate them to suit your fancy. Write names with frosting, design bunnies and flowers, or add candies. To make decorating easier, sit an egg in a glass or small cup, or use a classic egg cup as a stand.

Sip Wine Bar Issaquah Grand Ridge PlazaMeet the Easter Bunny at Sip: Indulge in delicious Easter Brunch on Sunday, April 16 from 10 am to 2 pm. Meet the Easter Bunny and have fun taking photos. For reservations, call (425) 369-1181. Reservations can also be made at

Sip at the wine bar & restaurant is located at 1084 NE Park Drive in Issaquah Highlands. There is plenty of free parking throughout the shopping center.