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Originally published Thursday, May 20, 2010 at 12:48 PM

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Dining Deals

K.I.S.S. Café: Lip-smacking sandwiches are its specialty

At K.I.S.S. Café in Ballard, sandwiches are its specialty. The key words to look for on the menu: hot-pressed hoagie.

Seattle Times staff reporter

K.I.S.S. Café

Eclectic

2817 N.W. Market St., Seattle, 206-789-5477

Hours: 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Mondays-Fridays, 9 a.m.-11 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.

Etc: Visa, MasterCard accepted, but there is a 50-cent surcharge on all card transactions; parking on street; no obstacles to access; beer and wine.

Prices: $-$$

There's a special spot in my heart for a well-made sandwich. For that matter, my stomach, too.

K.I.S.S. Café in Ballard managed to fill both spots, which is saying something given the fact that it took more than 30 minutes for our food to arrive. It takes a special sandwich to minimize that kind of aggravation.

The beer selection also was admirable, the wines tasty and the food above typical pub fare.

The menu: Breakfast is served all day, from the Monte Cristo ($10.50), which is stuffed French toast, to seven different three-egg scrambles ($10.50-$11.50). More than two dozen sandwiches — some hot, others not — are its signature. There are wraps, five veggie varieties and robust offerings such as the Thanksgiving Hangover ($9) with turkey, cream cheese and cranberry on toasted sourdough.

What to write home about: Start with a small jar of kosher dill pickles ($2), the perfect deli appetizer.

The key words to look for on the menu: hot-pressed hoagie. That's a hoagie roll under a press grill, which becomes deliciously crispy without developing the mouth-cutting hardness of some paninis.

The Tex Mex Melt ($10.50) boasts the magic combo of turkey, bacon and Swiss, accented with banana peppers and moistened by Thousand Island dressing. Classics served with a modern twist include the Urban Pig ($10.50) — a ham sandwich with brie, cucumber, spinach and Dijon mustard — and the roast-beef-and-cheddar sandwich ($10.50) with banana peppers and a chipotle mayonnaise. The sandwiches demonstrate the deliciousness of melted cheese while also bringing an edge with peppers.

What to skip: The jambalaya, described as a house specialty, was lukewarm and salty.

The setting: It's an eclectic joint, with high ceilings and exposed ductwork in an industrial-feeling space, that is curiously puzzling. It's like a bar — with beer advertisements and stickers all over, and eight stools at a front counter — but then there's an espresso machine and no brew on tap. There's one large television to show sports, and also prints from local artists displayed unframed on the walls for sale.

Summing up: Tasty and satisfying, the El Hefe (breakfast burrito, $9.50), Tex Mex Melt and jar of pickles came to $24.

Danny O'Neil: 206-464-2364 or doneil@seattletimes.com

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