SAX: Glad I went back in
A visit to SAX Restaurant and Lounge at the end of May revealed a pleasant staff lacking in menu knowledge. Two months later? Obviously, studying has occurred. Our server informed us soups are freshly made — not frozen from a bag. She was also honest, sharing that the dressings arrived on a truck, which we appreciated and earned her an A+. Giant ravioli appetizer with sherry cognac cream sauce was an instant fav. Large sea scallops remained tender and moist inside while perfectly seared and firm outside. Baked chicken caprese was juicy; basil added a headiness that was complimented by garlic pasta.
More than dinner and music, SAX joins Sixth Avenue’s lunchtime dining options, offering up burgers, sandwiches, and pasta dishes. It’s even open for breakfast, serving three-egg omelettes, steak and eggs, Eggs Benedict, waffles, Monte Cristo, and pancakes along with breakfast wraps, corned beef and hash, and old school classic chicken fried steak. — Jennifer Johnson
[SAX Restaurant and Lounge, 2309 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.0588]
Sucking up bubbles
When it comes to trendy specialty refreshments, Taiwanese tapioca bubbles — or boba, or pearls, or ball balls, or bubble tea, depending on your vendor — are the new black. Literally. These glistening onyx-colored spheres, made from chewy tapioca starch and piled two inches thick at the bottom of fruit milkshakes or iced milk teas, are the ideal treat after baking in the sun.
During Wednesday’s heat wave, the customers at Wendy’s II Vietnamese Restaurant were literally lined up inside the joint — which hides in a stripmall along Tacoma Mall Boulevard — licking their lips in anticipation of the sweet, refreshing drink.
Even when Wendy’s II pink upholstered seats and pink tabletops are full, the staff tries not to keep the bubble tea customers waiting long for one of 19 flavors, including lychee, taro, red bean, papaya, durim, avocado and honey dew.
“Hi, what you need?” chirped the manager, loading the blender with one hand and noshing a late lunch of shrimp fried rice with the other, which for some reason didn’t really bother me. I guess I was focusing on her phrasing:
Customers don’t line up like this for some frivolous luxury. What she’s selling is necessary.
I chose strawberry with tapioca on the bottom, of course. Absolutely delicious, this pink treat refreshed and startled. I knew the balls were below my centimeter-wide straw waiting to shoot into my mouth — but it startled me every time they did.
Wendy’s II bona fide bubble drinks run $3.50 for both the milkshake and milk tea versions. — Ron Swarner
[Wendy’s II Vietnamese Restaurant, 5015 Tacoma Mall Blvd., Tacoma, 253.471.0228]