Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

October 21, 2014 at 8:09am

Flavor - a night of international dining to benefit Tacoma Community House

Try authentic Salvadorean food at El Pulgarcito in Lakewood.

Stanley & Seafort's, Pacific Grill, C.I. Shenanigan's, The Lobster Shop - or maybe even The Pine Cone Cafe - you've already got your favorite Pierce County dining out spots. Maybe it's close to your house, and maybe it says something about who you are. Or, maybe you prefer to stay away from obscene sausages, lutefisk dinners, balut eggs, pig uterus in tom yum soup and scary fish faces.

The good folks at Tacoma Community House are well aware of Pierce County's melting pot. TCH provides programs and services to immigrants, refugees and others to help strengthen their lives and help them become a part of the community.

Of course, TCH's efforts take money.

Flavor, a night of dining at immigrant-owned and immigrant-supporting restaurants has reached its second birthday Thursday, Oct. 23 with participating restaurants kicking back 25 percent of food sales to TCH. Participating restaurants include Adriatic Grill, Aviateur French Diner, Doyle's Public House, El Pulgarcito, Gateway to India, Il Lucano Ristorante, Indochine, Karma Fine Indian Cuisine, Pho King, Southern Kitchen and others. See the full list of participating restaurants here. This year's participating restaurants have a more international presence than last year, although Flavor still leaves out the flavors from Tacoma's Lincoln District and Lakewood's International District.

Tacoma Community House has become like a coach for food introverts, inviting you to embrace the unusual, the special and the unfamiliar in Pierce County's food scene. In other words, kiss the damn scary fish face.

Mark Oct. 23 on your calendar as the night you stand up for immigrants while sitting down for an adventurous meal.

October 20, 2014 at 2:56pm

Narrows Brewing collaborates on Coffee Cardamom Stout - drink it wearing a morbid costume or with beer historian Ron Pattinson

Spend Halloween at Narrows Brewing Co. in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Looking for a Halloween costume idea? Why not dress as a victim of the London Beer Flood of 1814?

Friday marked the 200th anniversary of an event in London that unleashed a tidal wave of porter, killing eight people in neighboring tenements. When a vat exploded inside Henry Meux's Horse Shoe brewery, it forced more than 570 tons of beer through the brewery's back wall and out into the slums behind it in a vast wave at least 15-feet high, flooding streets and cellars and smashing into buildings. Founded early in the reign of King George III and famous for its porter, the brewery produced more than 100,000 barrels of the dark-colored nectar each year.

I mention this disaster for two reasons. One, Narrows Brewing Co. will host its Hoppy Halloween Party on All Hallows' Eve, unleashing its new Coffee Cardamom Stout for costumed beer drinkers - including those donning London Romantic-Era clothing stained with blood and dried porter. Two, one of the world's foremost brewing historians, Ron Pattinson - who researches old breweries and digs up dusty beer recipes for his website, Shut Up About Barclay Perkins, and will visit Narrows Brewing in early November - is well aware of the 1814 brew bomb and the killer porter.

"Meux's brewing records haven't survived, so it wouldn't be possible to brew an exact clone," Pattinson said via email from the road. However, "it wouldn't be hard to come up with a recipe that was close. It would have been fun to do for the two hundredth anniversary, but I've missed that."

Pattinson, a stout lover and member of the British Guild of Beer Writers, is on tour behind his new book, The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer: Rediscovered Recipes for Classic Brews Dating from 1800 to 1965. He'll visit Narrows Brewing Saturday, Nov. 8.

Hoppy Halloween Party

Narrows Brewing's Coffee Cardamom Stout is a collaboration brew with Northern Pacific Coffee Company in Tacoma's Parkland neighborhood. Narrows' head brewer, Joe Walts, admires the coffee company's beer selection, and NPCC proprietor Ed Cedras holds Walts in high esteem. 

"I heard about the opening of Narrows Brewing through a friend down at Beer Essentials while buying brewing supplies," explained Cedras. "There was also quite a buzz around their opening throughout the brewing community in Tacoma. I met Joe at the brewery and told him how much of a fan I was of his beers and that we carried all of them at Northern Pacific. It was about that time that we started talking about a collaboration beer."

Walts and Cedras set out to brew an original coffee beer.

"Joe mentioned a cardamom stout that he had done in the past," continued Cedras. "We used that as a baseline to develop the recipe for a Turkish coffee stout. The spices were all sourced by our friends at Mad Hat Tea Company and the coffee roasted by our roasting partners at Olympia Coffee Roasting Company. I used a similar methodology in cold brewing the coffee for this beer [as I have with] others I've brewed in the past ... slow and low ... meaning brewed slowly at low temperature to extract all of the brilliant notes of the coffee while reducing acidity for a balance between the coffee and malt in the beer. Joe brought in a secret weapon to add a creamy finish."

"We brewed an easy drinking stout - 4.2 or 4.3 percent alcohol - then added cardamom and cinnamon in the whirlpool and lactose to the boil," added Walts. "Ed made concentrated cold-steep coffee, which we added to the fermenter."

According to Walts, Northern Pacific sells an amazing amount of beer, including a lot of Narrows Brewing's beer, as well as beers exclusive to Pierce County from such brewers as Deschutes.

"I think awareness of what breweries are working on seasonally, limited runs, and collaborations in tandem with establishing strong relationships with breweries and their sales reps led to the allocations of limited-release beers at Northern Pacific over other outlets," explained Cedras. "We've built a reputation of being 'picky' about the beers we serve and are often offered special releases with right of first refusal."

Northern Pacific Coffee Company will host a Narrows Brewing Brewer's Night Wednesday, Oct. 29, shining a spotlight on the new Coffee Cardamom Stout.

The new beer will also be on tap during Narrows' Hoppy Halloween Party Oct. 31. The Coffee Cardamom Stout will be on tap all day. Ice Cream Social created a Coffee Cardamom Stout ice cream flavor and will serve it during the party as well as beer floats with other flavors. Food trucks will park out front. A costume contest with a $100 gift card prize for the winner will begin at 8:30 p.m.

So what costume will Cedras wear at Narrows' Halloween party?

"President James A. Garfield. He's an interesting guy," he said. "Check out his assassination story. Alexander Graham Bell was involved. Super kooky stuff."

Ron Pattinson at Narrows Brewing

Beer historian and beer travel writer Ron Pattinson is certain to be another interesting guy. For years, the England-born-turned-Amsterdam resident has gobbled up obscure books on beer history - including brewery logbooks - and in 2007 began sharing his findings in a conversational pub tone on his blog. Pattinson has also regenerated hundreds of historical beer recipes, mostly British styles, and some lost German beer styles such as Broyhan, Kotbusser and Salvator, which was a precursor to Doppelbock. Though it was a chore to chronologically decipher, Pattison has pared down his more than 3,000 blog posts and recipes into a succinct read, The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer.

An avid reader of Pattinson's blog, Walts noticed a gap in the author's upcoming Pacific Northwest book tour. A simple request via email secured the historian for an afternoon of beer history at Narrows Brewing at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8. Although he worked in a brewery during his youth, Pattison won't be recreating old beer recipes at the Tacoma brewery.

"Beer recipe recreations is just one of the things Pattison does," said Walts. "He spends most of his time in libraries and public archives, researching breweries that have been around for hundreds of years, examining old English, Scottish and German beer styles. It's a lot of numbers and tables and debunking beer legends. He also provided a lot of historical details for Mitch Steele's IPA book. His visit will be fascinating for beer and history geeks who want to gain greater appreciation about the development of beer, recipes, breweries and the changing palates of beer drinkers over the course of centuries of brewing."

This fall book tour will be Pattison's first venture to Washington state, where most of the nation's hops are grown.

"You might be surprised how little the handling of hops has changed over the years," said Pattinson. "In the 19th century, they were already packing the hops as tightly as possible to keep them away from the air and to store them cold."

He says beer geeks in the Netherlands have certainly heard of Washington state beers, but he doubts the country's general population is aware of our brews.

For those who don't want to dress as a corpse killed by an ancient porter, but would rather attend Narrows' Hoppy Halloween Party dressed as a beer, Pattison says the scariest beer ever is the Danziger Jopenbier, an old top-fermented German beer that had a peculiar smell and taste reminiscent of port wine.

"The wort is left to spontaneously ferment," Pattison explained. "First of all, a thick blanket forms on the surface, on which all sorts of molds grow. These blankets in various vats are again very different from each other in appearance and strength, depending on the points of attack the molds have found. ... The head, which is often so strong that a 20-gram piece won't fall through it, begins to lift itself. ... For eight to twelve days, the beer often pushes out large amounts of loose foam. What can you say about the fermentation, other than that it sounds scary and disgusting at the same time."

There you go. Halloween costume suggestions, a new coffee beer and ice cream to enjoy and an opportunity to geek out on old beer - all held at a Tacoma brewery that shouldn't explode.

NARROWS BREWING CO. COFFEE CARDAMOM STOUT RELEASE PARTY, 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 28, Northern Pacific Coffee Company, 401 Garfield St. S., Tacoma, no cover, 253.537.8338

HOPPY HALLOWEEN PARTY, dusk, Friday, Oct. 31, Narrows Brewing Co., 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, no cover, 253.327.1400

BEER HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR RON PATTISON, 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 8, Narrows Brewing Co., 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, no cover, 253.327.1400

October 20, 2014 at 10:55am

Eat This Now: Happy Belly's Tapen-Izza

Happy Belly in downtown Tacoma served a vegetarian pizza paired with an amazing house soup. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Last week, I was professing my habitual devouring of the animal species. This week, I'm doing a 180.

I've been following Happy Belly on Facebook, admiring the beautifully hued fresh juices and delectable looking sandwiches since it opened early October next to the downtown Tacoma YMCA. I finally had the opportunity to visit last week.

Though its menu has a vegetarian focus, with smoothies and juices, the restaurant offers plenty of sammies and wraps - as well as soups and salads - so full on flavor that carnivores won't even miss the meat. Though if you MUST, there are menu items with meaty goodness inside.

This week's Eat This recommendation is Happy Belly's Tapen-Izza ($9). Owner Jennifer Johnson suggested this dish as I stared at the menu options unable to decide. Something so simple (and meat free) should not be so damn delectable, but it was. The Tapen-Izza features a lightly toasted French roll topped with sun dried tomato, olive tapenade and shaved Parmesan. It's like pizza but virtually guilt free and definitely grease free.

Equally delicious was the Red Pepper Kale house soup. Filling and flavorful with gratuitous amounts of veggies such as kale, broccoli, red pepper, zucchini and ginger, this steamy cup of comfort and deliciousness will not disappoint if you sway from the soup du jour. The hearty house soup was so staggeringly good, several of my friends grabbed cups to go after dipping a spoon into my bowl.

I don't think I'll be making the switch from carnivore to herbivore anytime soon but Happy Belly is a delightful change of pace and a must visit for those looking to dine on fresh, in season produce crafted together with thoughtfulness and a clear admiration of food. Additional entrée items will be added in early November. 

HAPPY BELLY, 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 1122 Market St., Tacoma, 253.365.6706, facebook/happybellytacoma

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

October 20, 2014 at 9:47am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Rachele Piety of Valhalla Coffee Co.

Rachele Piety has a mocha with your name on it at Valhalla Coffee Co. at 3918 Sixth Ave. in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Rachele Piety.

Server Banner Girl, Oct. 20-26, 2014

Rachele Piety

The South Sound is teeming with baristas: tattooed, spike-haired baristas; convenience-store baristas; baristas entombed in drive-up booths; barely breathing baristas. But once in a while you come across someone who just understands the art of making espresso, and Rachele Piety has clearly bean there and done that. She patiently extracts her wicked brew from Valhalla Coffee Company's espresso machine, but that's after giving you a shout out as you walk in the door. Piety has had a handful of jobs the last 10 years - including Big Foot Java where she worked evenings for about 5 years. "I was well known by my regulars as 'the chick with dreads'," she says. Piety has been a "barista" for eight years, but she became a "real" barista two years ago when she met A.J. Anderson, owner of Valhalla in Tacoma. "A.J. taught me everything I know. I learned quickly to dispose of my old fast-paced, drive-through barista habits and replace them with knowledge of craft coffee." When she's not pulling shots or managing Valhalla's retail side, she's crafting, baking, gardening, living green and playing with her almost 4-year-old daughter, Ivie.

Why do you serve?

"I serve for the smiles. I have always been a people person, and love that I can be myself at Valhalla. I am here to caffeinate the community!" 

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"There are a lot of great servers in the South Sound. Definitely my mom, Robbin Piety, she is an excellent server and one of the hardest workers I know. Being raised by a waitress, I was taught at an early age what a server should and shouldn't do. Jil at Marlene's Market and Deli is such a crowd pleaser. Her witty humor, excessive tie-dyed shirts, and knowledge of health food are astonishing. That woman is contagious and has the biggest heart.  Anyone who can handle a crowd with a smile, and show they are working to better the customer's experience through their product is a good server in my eyes."

What are you most proud to serve?

"I am proud of everything we put out at Valhalla. Our staff goes above and beyond to produce quality, and nothing but that. A.J. runs a tight ship, and that shows through our product and consistency. Seeing a customer light up over the latte art in their cup is absolutely gratifying. I'm also proud of our mochas. We use a semi-sweet chocolate made by Trop's Chocolates in Gig Harbor, and it pairs so well with our Espresso Blend. When someone comes in baffled by the simplicity of our menu: I always recommend the mocha."

What's your current drink of choice?

"My drink is dependent on my mood and the weather. I could drink pour overs of the Ethiopian Harrar all day long at work. Sometimes, I drink a quad shot vanilla Americano, but sometimes I just want a honey latte. At home it's mostly Rainer beer. I have been on a green smoothie kick, though."

Favorite movie?

"My favorite movie is Almost Famous. Everything seventies, all the time!"

What don't you serve?

"We do not serve anything ‘trendy, or fluffy.'  We serve traditional Northwest style drinks. Everything is done by the cup, and is handcrafted.  If you're looking for that blended fluff - you're gonna have to travel elsewhere."

What's on your radar at Valhalla Coffee Co.?

"Since I started with Valhalla we have only progressed. We are gaining new customers daily, and even shipping pounds across the country weekly. Winning ("Best Coffee" in the Weekly Volcano's 2014) Best of Tacoma was a great mark for us and we plan to hold the crown for the years to follow. As a company, and for myself, the answer is growth. We will continue to climb uphill and are ready for a busy holiday season. Save Tacoma, drink Valhalla Coffee."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

October 19, 2014 at 1:16pm

Words & Photos: South Sound IPA Festival in Tacoma

Union Station in Tacoma filled up with beer drinkers over two sessions during the South Sound IPA Festival Oct. 18. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Cheers to the South Sound IPA Festival. The India Pale Ale-centric festival drew approximately 900 beer fans, over an afternoon and evening session, for a casual, cheerful gathering at Tacoma's Union Station Oct. 18. The event featured some of the finest craft-brewed beers in Washington state with an emphasis on fresh hop beers, strong ales and, of course, IPAs.

Things ran smoothly from the gate to the flow to downstairs tiny concession area. Attendees were in good spirits. Volunteers stayed busy and polite. Homeland Security watched quietly. Everything worked well, especially for Union Station's first beer festival.

Organized by the Washington Beer Commission, the South Sound IPA Festival celebrated the finest IPAs in the state. I went in with my own list of beer to hunt down, but it was more enjoyable to simply go with the flow from booth to booth, chatting with brewery reps and beer drinkers along the way (cheers to beer drinkers Bryan Johnson, Kyle Price and Chris Martin for allowing me to ride).

The crowd of people hoping to try sips of Bale Breaker Brewing's beers generated the longest line of the day, but the wait was short and casual for most booths, although tokens were definitely monitored than most beer festivals. Pacific Northwest IPAs, fresh hop ales, Northwest style CDAs and Imperial Reds seemed to dominate the menu, with a few monsters such as Narrows Brewing's Channary Imperial Red, Rainy Daze Brewing's Hypocrite Double IPA, Wingman Brewers' Skunky Monkey Imperial IPA, Silver City Brewery's Whoop Pass Double IPA and Valholl Brewing's Monstrosity Triple IPA (11.2 percent ABV).

I went back for seconds for several beers. No-Li Brewhouse's Barrel Aged Jet Star Imperial IPA was aged eight months in a second-use Tritcale Whiskey barrel from Dry Fly Distillery. The aging on 50 percent rye and 50 percent wheat whiskey oak increased the depth of sweetness on this double IPA, creating more of a barleywine. Elysian Brewing's totally nebular hop showcase Space Dust IPA was out of this world.  Anacortes Brewery's Fresh Hop Pale Ale and Blue Lightning Brewery's Just The Tip ISA were my time-out beers. I enjoyed a zesty sample of Harmon Brewing Co.'s Point Defiance IPA served through one of their customized Randall filters filled with lime, lemon, orange and Amarillo hops. It was one of the tastiest IPAs of the day.

Blue Lightning Brew owner Michael "Mad Mike" Miller and CFO Brian Peterson won best conversation, in my mind. Their Woodinville brewery grew from a Groupon deal brewery class they took together. Fun story. Fun guys.

Also an enjoyable chat came from the lively lads from Seattle Central District brewery Standard Brewing who just opened this past summer. Their Imperial IPA with Simcoe and Centennial hops was all booze and hop and delicious.

All eight South Sound microbreweries made their marks with a variety of unique beers. Wingman Brewers' tasty Rosemary's Baby Rosemary IPA with Citra, Simcoe, Centennial and Rosemary won plenty of the fans. 7 Seas Brewing steered with the largest cargo of beers, including a sixth not on the docket - their 100 percent wet hop ale Hop Prophet. Of course, dedicated fans of Dick's beer made return trips for their new Midnight Ride Black IPA, a robust, Northwest-style CDA bursting with Cascade and Centennial hops, and balanced with a rich dark malt profile. Think rich, dark and malty like a porter with a hop profile. Drink it Saturday, Oct. 25 during the Centralia brewery's 20th anniversary party.

October 17, 2014 at 11:04am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Famous Dave's

Dave's Cheesy Mac & Cheese is a side option.

Dave's Cheesy Mac & Cheese might be the last mac and cheese you taste in your life.

When you enter Famous Dave's at 72nd Street and Interstate 5 in South Tacoma, you're hit with delicious smokey odors, loud-ass Southern-fried rock music and the assault continues in the form of mounted deer heads, wooden mallards, 1930s hunting magazines and deer-antler chandeliers barely lighting a big, hunting lodge-like room. The décor is where knotty pine and Cabela's meet.

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October 16, 2014 at 3:55pm

Happy Hour at Duke's Chowder House Tacoma: Chatty with a view

Cucumber Mojito ($5.90) with cucumber infused New Amsterdam vodka, fresh mint, splash of soda, homemade sour and sugared rim pairs well with pesto. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Happy Place: Duke's Chowder House, 3327 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.752.5444

The Hours: Daily from 3 to 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close, in the bar and on the deck

The Deals: $4.90-$10.90 appetizer and specials; $4.20 wells; $4.40 draft beers; $4.90 wines by the glass; $4.90 straight shots; $5.90 specialty cocktails, $5.40 slanted high balls, $5.90-$7.20 local spirits cocktails, $6.90 traditional cocktails including Duke's Famous Bloody Bloody Mary

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Filed under: Happy Hour Hug, Tacoma,

October 16, 2014 at 12:03pm

Lunchbox Laboratory to perform experiments on 7 Seas Brewing

Lunchbox Laboratory has received favorable press from Evening Magazine, Food Network, Bon Appétit and Food and Wine Magazine. A year ago this month, a new round of Laboratory press hit the South Sound when the gourmet burger joint opened a third location in Gig Harbor (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW). The fancy Uptown Shopping District welcomed traditional patty and bun faves with twists, handspun shakes and funky cocktails.

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October 16, 2014 at 11:29am

Salty's at Redondo to host New Belgium Brewing brewmaster's dinner

You've probably already sipped some craft beers from Colorado-based New Belgium Brewery - like a Fat Tire Ale, maybe. This environmentally friendly brewer has released a new beer this fall - Tour de Fall. The amber-colored pale ale is made with a dry hopping technique, Cascade and Amarillo hops, has notes of pine and citrus and is 6 percent ABV.

Glancing at the menu for New Belgium's brewmaster's dinner at Salty's at Redondo next month, the Tour de Fall is missing.

Oh well. Should be a tasty night anyway. Read on. ...

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October 15, 2014 at 10:23am

Beer Here: Green Flash Treasure Chest, 7 Seas Brewing experiment, Oktoberfests, pumpkin beer floats, Pike Brewing turns 25, fresh hop beers ...

ParkWay Tavern in Tacoma will pour Green Flash Treasure Chest beer to fight breast cancer Oct. 15.

The only thing more radical than autumn in the South Sound is drinking good fall beers during fall in the South Sound.

WEDNESDAY, OCT. 15

One in eight women are diagnosed with breast cancer annually. One such individual was Green Flash Brewing Company co-owner Lisa Hinkley, who was diagnosed in 2010 and, through proper treatment and her strong will, has since come out the other side victorious. With the support of her San Diego brewery, Hinkley helps raise funds to fight breast cancer with an ale brewed specifically to benefit Susan G. Komen - Green Flash Treasure Chest. The style changes each year. This year, the Treasure Chest is a barrel-aged Belgian-style farmhouse ale made pink with the addition of plum purée. Beginning at 5 p.m., the ParkWay Tavern will tap the new beer, as well as 11 other Green Flash beers. The 2014 Treasure Chest is fruity and flowery with a very subdued spice that comes on in the finish. There will be loads of Green Flash prizes, a fancy gift basket from Deschutes and the ParkWay's own "garage sale."

Pints & Quarts Pub allows Firestone Walker Brewing Co. to take over its taps beginning at 6 p.m. Tastes are a $1 for each beer. Shell out $4, and drink a whole pint, as well as keep the glass.

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About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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Recent Comments

sevenravens said:

Ah, Harrar... My favorite too... AJ spoiled me.

about Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Rachele Piety of Valhalla Coffee Co.

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Ooh, she "will end me" - a bartender?? BTW, Fireball and everyone who drinks it, is trash.

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