Food

Restaurant News: Enjoy a cultural collaboration of cuisines on a crust

Monitoring Desk

India Pizza! Who knew?

Well, we should’ve known. Pizza is the pandemic’s favorite food due to its portability and pricing structure. A circle of dough is an empty pallet waiting to be painted with sauce and decorated with toppings and cheeses — who says it has to be tomato sauce and mozzarella?

Based on recommendations from another food writer, we began our journey into culinary creations on dough at Pizza with a Twist, located at 20925 Cypress Way in Lynnwood,

We ordered three different pies from pizza with a twist. The first one was highly recommended and one of my favorite Indian dishes — butter chicken.

Instead of being sauced with tomato, this pizza’s base is a lovely buttery cream sauce. Yes, there is cheese, and their preparation is tiny cubes, not grated, which added an extra level of texture to the toppings.

Butter Chicken: This had perfect, bite-size bits of chicken. Properly seasoned with fresh ingredients, I even detected a piece of fresh ginger in my mouth on one of the bites. Pulled from the oven at the perfect time, red onions still went crunch and the Chicago-style crust was just the right thickness to support ingredients.

Spicy Lamb Kabob: This halal version listed lamb in its description, and I had to try it out. Strips of well-seasoned and roasted sausage blended with slices of jalapeño, just enough to give the tongue a zing. Sweet bits of fresh pineapple, perfect foil to heat of the chili, plus red onions and sprinkles of fresh cilantro. Melted paneer cheese blended into the creamy sauce, and balanced out the flavors.

Palak Paneer

Palak Paneer: My non-meat lover’s choice utilized Pizza With a Twist’s signature pesto sauce, with fresh diced mozzarella cheese, fresh spinach, crispy red onions freshly cut, plus garlic ginger and green chilies and  a post-bake garnish of fresh cilantro.

Future road trips promise more tasty experimental pizza pies:

Tasty Curry & Pizza – 520 128th St. S.W. , Everett

A glance at the menu listed a Goat Tikka Masala Pizza and the description will get me in the car soon. Goat meat is first cooked in Tandoor oven, then mixed in a special creamy tomato sauce, and topped with spices, cilantro, butter, garlic, jalapeno, olive oil, onion, mozzarella cheese, cumin, ginger and yogurt. Will be interested to see how a traditional crust stands up. I enjoy Goat Curry, so on a pizza? Why not?

Can Am Pizza in nearby Bothell

T

heir pizza dough is homemade and prepared fresh every day. Can Am Pizza’s cheese is a blend of 100% real Wisconsin cheeses for the freshest taste around. Dough is topped with their famous tandoori or butter curry sauces. Offerings include chicken and paneer styles.

A Tandoori Chicken version at Can Am features the poultry pieces marinated in Can-Am’s special sauce and topped with mozzarella cheese, onions, green peppers and tomatoes, and sprinkles of cilantro after it comes out of the oven.

CanAm Tandorri Chicken pizza

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In Mountlake Terrace

Szechuan Cuisine exterior

A reader suggested a visit to Szechuan Cuisine, 23202 57th Ave. W. #4627. Szechuan has opened in the same spot as a formerly occupied by Mandarin Chili Chinese Restaurant. The person who suggested the review said “it’s a great spot if you like spicy.”

Szechuan cuisine is indeed a spicier palette than some of the other regional cuisine of China. There was enough variety on the menu to get a good sampling, from appetizers to noodles to main dishes.

Green Onion Pancake

We chose the Green Onion Pancake for our appetizer, and it came with a small container of Szechuan chili oil. which bumped up the heat to pleasant levels.

Hot and Sour Soup is usually a favorite, so we got a large bowl to share. While the broth was tasty, it lacked colorful ingredients to balance with the brown broth and off-white strands of egg.

Dan Dan Noodles

Dan Dan Noodles was arranged in the box so that the majority of the spicy ground meat was at the bottom, and allowed my non-meat eater to taste the sauce and noodles. Nice and tender, and once I stirred up the remainder, the spice level of the meaty sauce took bland noodles to a whole new level.

Honey Walnut Prawns

Honey Walnut Prawns got thumbs up from all in our party. The perfect amount of the sweet mayo sauce, prawns done to perfection, and the crunch of the toasted walnuts combined for a wonderful taste and texture sensation in the mouth.

Kung Pao Chicken

Kung Pao Chicken made colorful with red and green bell peppers; had plenty of kick to the sauce, chicken was in small tender bites. Steamed rice accompanied it.

Eggplant with Tofu

Eggplant with Tofu needed some doctoring in our kitchen. Tender Eggplant and triangles of fried tofu perked up with the addition of colorful peppers and greens, which improved the appearance and thus the overall appeal dish.

Readers please note that it’s not clear on the menus, when ordering entrées, whether rice is included. We’d ordered a side, just in case. We then discovered at least one of the entrees included rice. Makes sense, both kung pao and the eggplant needed rice, but confusing as to why we didn’t receive two portions.

Lastly, a suggestion for the owners: Please fix that front door. When patrons struggle to enter the establishment, whether to dine or pick up a to-go order, it’s not a welcoming sign.

On another note, I’m glad to see this end of the West Plaza complex being brought back to life:

Shahi will soon offer up Mediterranean and Indian cuisine. Wonder if they’ll have pizza?

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Yes!  We Have No Bananas:

On occasion I accompany my musician/entertainer son Nicholas Baker to one of his gigs.

At Richmond Beach Rehab Center, inspired by my description of the beautiful tablecloths that depicted summer fruits, he performed songs like Herbie Hancock’s piano jazz tune  Watermelon, Man.

He then switched to the song about the “lack” of a fruit: Bananas. The American novelty song by Frank Silver and Irving Cohn is a favorite since most seniors know the words, especially the chorus, and enjoy singing along.

The activities person in charge of the group commented. “That song is very appropriate. I’m making ice cream sundaes right now and we have no bananas.”

She cited trucking strikes and supply issues. The company that provides fresh food commodities to their location is out of stock — and not just on bananas. Other food items are in short supply.

A recent photo pictured a man bent over in dismay. He leaned on completely empty display aisle shelves, which formerly held toilet paper. The caption stated folks are hoarding again.

Restaurant owners suffer similar fates.

A recent visit to a favorite poke place in Edmonds revealed the usual eco-friendly container that breaks down in the compost had been replaced. My tuna and rice arrived in petroleum-based containers.

Owner Steven Ono shared his angst: “It pains me to use these, but it was either Styrofoam boxes or paper plates! There is a huge shortage of containers for to-go orders.”

In anticipation of going backward — more “takeout” vs. “indoor restaurant dining” — opportunists stocked up, and similar to the vacant grocery shelves, choices are few.

Local sources report that the conversion of “Cash and Carry” to U.S. Foods has not improved the situation.

Unanswered phone calls to the warehouse have worried restauranteurs and explain the long lines and crowded parking lot at the Lynnwood Business Center Costco.

A vendor expressed worries that he may not be able to participate in an event this year due to lack of product. He’d hoped to recoup revenues lost from last year when COVID shut down events that provided the bulk of income to his business.

Menus choices may soon reflect the lack of ingredients available.

Our son, a restaurateur in another state, says food costs have risen to the point he’s had to amend his menu choices and raise prices. A condiment like a jar of Tabasco sauce came off the tables, replaced with a less-expensive brand. Ditto the Heinz ketchup packets. Customers are not pleased, but what can he do?

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Alderwood Mall Panera Bread closing

Panera at Alderwood Mall in Lynnwood is closing its doors Sept. 14.

In a recent statement, Panera Bread thanked residents and the City of Lynnwood for their support over the years and encouraged patrons to continue to visit other locations in the area in Edmonds, Bothell, Woodinville, and Everett. See www.panamericangroup.com for all locations in our area.

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Here and There food truck on sabbatical

A notice received from owners Chef Dane and Carol Anne stated, “It’s time for a break.”

They expressed gratitude to folks for “years of venturing out in the weather for a tasty meal.”

Beyond COVID, there have been other challenges that have taken both a physical and mental toll on their team. The truck will be available on a very limited basis for private events only.

With apologies to those still craving their favorites for lunch, they promise: “We’ll be sure to reach out when we’re recharged and ready to serve our community again from the truck.”

In the face of product shortages, disappointments, closures, plus the added stress of a smaller labor pool causing owners to work long hours to cover shifts, our intrepid restaurant owners soldier on. Please, let’s remember to be kind, be patient and continue to tip generously.

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