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Don’t overlook this gem

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I am continuously surprised at what I overlook that’s right in plain sight and within what I call the “sweet zone,” meaning everything within a five-mile radius of my residence. I’ve known Enoteca was on Tacoma Avenue in the Stadium District for most of this year (almost since opening in January), yet I’d not been able to visit until recently.

Enoteca is a teeny, tidy, cozy wine and cheese bar that tops out at 500 square feet and is also owned by the same fellow, Bill Bonnie, who owns the wine shop next store. Two tables, a front window seating nook and less than 10 seats at the bar make Enoteca. We eased into bar stools right as I noticed the enormous chalkboard covered with 20 or so names of cheeses. My mouth split into a grin almost as big. “Oh my gosh, I love this place” I breathed.

After volunteering some of our taste preferences but clarifying, “We also adore new things” owner Bonnie offered straightforward suggestions on wines without even a hint of stereotypical snobbery oft associated with oenophiles that we’ve experienced at other local wine bars. We tried a dreamy South American malbec bottle. At only $20, it’s habit forming.

As a rule, I think one can never go wrong with a cheese plate, and Enoteca agrees. Again we laid our likes out for Bonnie, and he steered us to greatness. The cheese plate ($12) arrived consisting of three-ounce samples of three cheeses; our choices — Stilton, Gorgonzola Dolce, and a new Brie Bonnie had just got in. Soft bread slices nestled among cheeses, olives and herbs. It’s probably comical how much we enjoyed sitting there reading the cute little sayings on the hand painted tile-topped bar, smearing cheese to bread, licking it off our fingers like frosting and ooohhhing and aaahhhing at flavor differences that occur when sipping wine with them or popping an herbed olive in with a bite. Enoteca offers tastes of American and European artisan cheese, and glasses and bottles of wine at completely affordable prices.

[Enoteca, 21 N. Tacoma Avenue, Tacoma, 253. 779.8258]


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