The Stuffed Olive 

The pickings used to be slim when it came to dining out in Eagle. If you lived there as recently as five years ago and didn't want to drive to Boise or Meridian to eat, choices were pretty much limited to an aging burger joint, a Chinese restaurant or a couple of pizza places, all located on the sleepy West State Street strip that used to be Eagle's main thoroughfare. But the construction boom that is sweeping over the Treasure Valley has turned the bedroom community into a dining destination that features many bustling, locally owned eateries. Eagle has added yet another to its growing roster, an Italian hideout called The Stuffed Olive, located by Hollywood Video near Eagle Road and Highway 44. Its menu lies somewhere between the Italian pasta and entrees at local favorite DaVinci's Restaurant and the consistently good salad-and-sandwich fare of the cozy Blue Moose Cafe.

Recently, I ventured into The Stuffed Olive with my family. We wriggled between the tiny dining room's eight tables and settled in. Our waiter started us out with a basket of fluffy breadsticks and a dish of tomato sauce, which was the only ho-hum element of our meal.

My husband had the Tri Tip Baget ($7.95) served on a crispy baguette loaf with red onion, roasted red peppers and tasty bleu cheese mousse. The tri tip was cooked to a pleasant medium and thinly sliced, although I've never seen "baguette" spelled the way the Olive does it. My Eggplant Parmesan ($8.95) was lightly breaded, crispy, golden and came with angel hair pasta topped with my choice of sauce. I chose pesto, instead of marinara or Alfredo, and liked it. Our finicky youngest son had a cup of creamy Smoked Turkey with Provolone Soup ($2.50), into which everyone dipped their spoons and "mmmm'd." He called the breaded Chicken Caesar Sandwich ($8.95) with romaine, tomato and asiago cheese "the best sandwich [he'd] ever had." My teenage son devoured a homemade Meatball Sandwich ($8.25) topped with melted cheese and sliced red onions.

Based on our meal, I'd say The Stuffed Olive serves good, middle-of-the-road Italian fare in a dressed-down atmosphere that is especially convenient for family meals and friendly gatherings if you live in Eagle.

—Jennifer Hernandez tried but couldn't think of a clever byline this week.

The Stuffed Olive, 404 S. Eagle Rd., 938-5185, Mon.-Sat.: 11 a.m.-9 p.m.

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