Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

December 2, 2014 at 12:24pm

Visit This Now: Point Defiance Tap and Grill

Point Defiance Tap and Grill serves a Short Rib Grilled Cheese with the house-baked bread, gooey Golden Glen Gouda and tender slow cooked Jerry Foster Ranch beef short ribs. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

The nature of a trend is the ebb and flow of its popularity of occurrence. This happens in many realms of one's lifestyle and the culinary culture is no exception. Some habits are all the rage, nitpicky and annoying proclamations of preference (don't even get me started on my gluten intolerance soap box) while others are positive shifts in societal perspective and hopefully here to stay, like say restaurants focusing more and more on locally-sourced ingredients and compelling "gastropub" styled preparation. This is a trend whose bandwagon I can hop right on!

Recently opened Point Defiance Tap and Grill is a gastropub/bistro styled joint with a Tacoma address, but can be considered the town of Ruston's new treasure at the corner of North 51st and Pearl. Co-owner Bill Bonnie, he of Stadium Wine Merchants and Enoteca Wine Bar in Tacoma's Stadium District, has created Northwest-focused cool with minimalist ambiance with a touch of color thanks to hanging art, exposed brick peeking out here and there and a family-friendly open dining area. In the back of the house, with a separate entry, sits an intimate lounge highlighting Pacific Northwest craft brews and wine. Point Defiance T&G is lovely matrimony for the demographic, great for a quick brew before hitting Point Defiance Park's 5 Mile Drive or a sit-down meal with the family post zoo.

>>> Point Defiance Tap and Grill's Albacore Tuna Melt / photo credit: Jackie Fender

To pair with the PNW libation features, Point Defiance T&G's menu boasts ingredients that are primarily locally sourced INCLUDING house baked bread setting the foundation for their sandwiches and housemade sauces, right down to the ketchup. The Albacore Tuna Melt ($11) came highly recommended by both servers working the evening of our visit and was tasty and fresh featuring local albacore tuna grilled with tomato, Tillamook Cheddar and house aioli. I was hooked on the Short Rib Grilled Cheese ($12) made with the house-baked bread, gooey Golden Glen Gouda and gratuitous amounts of tender slow cooked Jerry Foster ranch beef short ribs. Both come paired with either mixed greens with tomato and feta cheese or fries. While the salad was über fresh and perfectly simple but flavorful, the fries came with the housemade ketchup and a side of their spicy aioli, which I will slather onto ever bite of everything from this day forth.

Both dishes were lovely; my only qualm being the crust of the bread proved to be a bit rough around the edges and hard to chomp through, which is saying a lot for an establishment only three weeks in.

Go forth, sample their menu, devour über fresh nibbles and pair those with PNW libations. Jump on this wagon with me. It's a delectable ride.

POINT DEFIANCE TAP AND GRILL, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 5101 Pearl St., Tacoma, 253.426.1593

December 2, 2014 at 10:20am

Drinking for Conservation to host Drinks for Lynx at ParkWay Tavern

Tip one for me.

Some people are just not "people" people. Some people are dog people, some are cat people and some are just plain animal people. If you are an animal person, or would like to at least keep animals on the planet, you need to go be around party animals Wednesday, Dec. 10.

You need to know a few things first. You don't have to say "fuzzy duck" to the person on your left, drink like a T-Rex or chase Ping-Pong balls. And you won't be freezing your ass off at the zoo; although it's no coincidence that one of the only words you can form from the letters in booze is zoo. No, really, it's totally deliberate; people love to get liquored up around caged animals (see: Zoobilee). No, the game you need to be concerned with Dec. 10 is wild game.

If this sounds like altogether too much mumbo-jumbo for you, I apologize, it's my writing style.

Actually, the event I'm babbling about isn't a party animal situation, but rather a party about animals. The ParkWay Tavern will host animal AND people person Suzanne Akerman and her Drinking for Conservation organization's "Drinks for Lynx" night Wednesday, Dec. 10. Like most people, Akerman has spent many sleepless nights pondering the plight of lynx in the Pacific Northwest, which first gained federal protection as a threatened species in 2002. Then again, maybe you haven't. She has. And, it's time you atoned for your environmentally apathetic ways. Fifty cents of every beer, cider and wine sold between 6 and 10 p.m. at the ParkWay will go to help Conservation Northwest protect the lynx.

"Drinking for Conservation is part of a larger organization called the Point Defiance Chapter of the American Association of Zookeepers," says Akerman. "That's not super important though, what IS important is that we are dedicated to raising funds for and awareness of endangered species around the world. The first Drinking for Conservation event was Pints for Pandas at the ParkWay Aug. 9, 2011. Whitney Weibel and I are co-chairs of the DFC committee. She heard about a very similar fundraiser done by a chapter of the zookeepers' association in the Bay Area in Cali. She wanted to try the same thing here, and at first we did an event about quarterly, but we've been ramping things up. Now we try to do one per month."

DFC donates to organizations with missions the committee believes in - helping animals and the environment. Then, Akerman and her fellow animal people find cool organizations with big hearts, such as the ParkWay Tavern and Doyle's Public House, to donate to the cause, let them roam through the establishment to chat up conservation, and in Akerman's case, dress like the spotlight animal and, if need be, arm wrestle Hop Valley Brewing salespeople for extra donations. Since Pints for Pandas, DFC has promoted Libations for Lions, Sloshed for Seahorses, Buzzed for Bees and most recently at the ParkWay, Brews for Bats, where Akerman wore bat wings.

"The most recent organization was a suggestion we received through our Facebook page, where we promote the events," says Akerman. "The events range widely in the amounts they raise, depending on the day of the week, how busy the bar is, how ‘sexy' the animal we choose is. The largest amount ever raised at an event was close to $700; more typically we raise $300 or so, but our average is on the rise. Sometimes we choose charismatic mega-fauna, such as elephants or lions, but other times we choose animals whose importance might be overlooked, such as frogs or bats. When we talk to people in the bars, we try to tell them a little about the animal and it's significance. Hopefully some of them will be inspired to learn more about what they can do to help animals and be environmentally friendly."

One of DFC's lofty goals is to eventually find a brewery or winery that will partner with them to donate a portion of the proceeds from a beer or wine to Drinking for Conservation.

"Don't you think Animal Ale or Species Specialty would FLY off the shelves?" asks Akerman.

That's how animal people think.

They drink to help animals.

They drink to help the lynx.

I'll drink to that.

DRINKS FOR LYNX, Wednesday, Dec. 10, 6-10 p.m., ParkWay Tavern, 313 N. I St., Tacoma, no cover, facebook.com/Drinking.for.Conservation

Filed under: Benefits, New Beer Column, Tacoma,

December 1, 2014 at 2:38pm

Christmas Eve dining options in Tacoma

Pacific Grill in downtown Tacoma will serve dinner early Christmas Eve. Courtesy photo

What is about Christmas Eve that conjures up the image of the second ghost who visits Ebenezer Scrooge in the Dickens' classic A Christmas Carol?

The Ghost of Christmas Present tends to be depicted as a Father Christmas-type character: enormous in size and spirit with constant raucous laughter and a booming voice. He is typically dressed in long, flowing robes and other finery and is surrounded by a gluttonous feast of holiday foods while he hoists an impressively large goblet of wine.

Perhaps this is why on the eve before the big day, so many of us want to eat, drink and be merry with wild abandon.

More than ever, locals are flocking to grab their favorite eats on Christmas Eve and revel in the deliciousness of the holiday spirit.

Following are a few Tacoma establishments getting ready to welcome patrons to relax and enjoy fine holiday dining the day before the big day. Let the feast and festivities begin!

Important note and BIG TIME WARNING: We can't reiterate enough how popular this dining day is. Things at your favorite restaurant may be different that day as well - like reduced hours. To avoid disappointment, pre-plan. Make a reservation well in advance and check websites to get the scoop.

And hey, don't get all bah humbug on us and say we didn't warn you.

Pacific Grill (downtown Tacoma) and Smoke + Cedar(at the Allenmore Golf Course in Central Tacoma)

The beautiful and iconic Pacific Grill and its sister restaurant, the eclectic and exciting Smoke + Cedar, will both be open from 3 to 8 p.m. for a special Christmas Eve dinner. The award-winning Pacific Grill features a menu of fun and high-energy fine dining, and Smoke + Cedar has put a creative spin on American food and craft cocktails. Guests will find a menu with many of the delicious regular items from both establishments, plus some special dishes for the holidays. 

CI Shenanigans (Ruston Way, Tacoma waterfront)

This elegant waterfront restaurant has sweeping views of the sound along with a terrific selection of savory seafood and steaks and so much more. Lunch and dinner dining will be available on Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. It is also playing host to a special Christmas Day buffet at the restaurant, by reservation only, from 11:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Adults are $31.99; seniors are $28.99, kids ages 6 to 10 are $13.99; and kids 5 and under are $6.99.

BITE (Hotel Murano, downtown Tacoma)

This lovely restaurant, located in the gorgeous Hotel Murano in downtown Tacoma, is known for its nibbles, cocktails, small plates and unique dinners that use the freshest local ingredients. It will be open regular hours for dinner on Christmas Eve and will have special holiday features to celebrate.

Stanley and Seafort's (downtown Tacoma)

This iconic Tacoma landmark restaurant has stunning city views and classic American fare featuring steaks, chops and seafood. The restaurant will be open on Christmas Eve from noon to 9 p.m. and on Christmas Day from noon to 8 p.m. Diners can expect the traditional menu flavored with special holiday-themed desserts to mark the occasion. 

The Cliff House (Northeast Tacoma, Brown's Point)

The historic and eclectic Cliff House restaurant, nestled atop a bluff in Northeast Tacoma, offers spectacular and panoramic views of the Tacoma cityscape, Puget Sound and Mt. Rainier. Specialty steaks and seafood are its hallmarks. It will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Dec. 24. As of press time, staff is putting together a limited holiday menu for diners to enjoy. 

The Lobster Shop (Ruston Way, Tacoma waterfront)

Combine stunning views of the bay along with a bevy of classic and eclectic seafood selections, and you have the iconic Lobster Shop. It will be open Dec. 24 with a special all-day holiday dinner menu featuring the restaurant's most popular dishes. Hours are from noon until 8 p.m. 

The Melting Pot (downtown Tacoma)

Dip your way to holiday fondue fun at The Melting Pot on Pacific Avenue. Break out your fondue forks to enjoy the current menu fare on Christmas Eve. It will be open standard hours for dinner, 5 to 10 p.m.

El Gaucho (downtown Tacoma)

El Gaucho offers elegant fine dining, literally at its best through both food and service, and is ready to wine and dine patrons with its current dinner menu on Christmas Eve during standard hours; dinner will be served from 4 to 10 p.m. 

Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (Triangle District, downtown Tacoma)

This dining establishment is located in the historic and glorious Walker Building and serves up a diverse menu of seasonal fare using the freshest local ingredients. On Christmas Eve, the restaurant will open at 4 p.m. and close early at 8 p.m. There will be a special menu featuring one or two holiday-inspired choices.

Marrow (6th Avenue District, Tacoma)

Satisfy the carnivores and the vegans/vegetarians in your holiday group at terrific Marrow, which specializes in seasonal Northwest food and drink. Marrow will be open its standard hours from 4 p.m. to midnight. As of press time, the menu is still being planned, but will surely offer some great choices. As a reminder, patrons need to be 21 and older to enter this establishment.  

Over the Moon Café (Opera Alley, Tacoma)

This café, located in quaint and charming Opera Alley in downtown Tacoma, serves up Northwest and European cuisine and fine wines with a lovely ambiance. It will offer the current menu Christmas Eve from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 

What other Tacoma, of for that matter, South Sound restaurants are open Christmas Eve and Christmas Day?

November 29, 2014 at 1:26pm

Odd Otter Brewing Co. - New Brew Space Oddity

Major Odd

Ground Control to Major Odd
Ground Control to Major Odd
Tap your barrels
and put your brewing apron on

Ground Control to Major Odd
Commencing countdown,
today the lights are finally on
Check your pH levels
and may Tarka's love be with you

Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven, Six, Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Pour!

This is Ground Control
to Major Odd
You've really made the grade
And the Weekly Volcano want to know what shirts you made
Now it's time to leave the den
if you dare

This is Major Odd to Ground Control
I'm opening up the door
And I'm pouring
the most peculiar beer
And the crowd begins to cheer

For here
Am I sitting on a tin kettle
Far from Point Defiance Zoo
The new brewery is overdue
And there's nothing I could do

Though our 1888 building remodel is past
one hundred thousand dollars
I'm feeling very still
And I think my ownership knows which way to go
Tell the other otters I love them very much
they know

Ground Control to Major Odd
Your beers are unusual,
but there's nothing wrong
Can you bring me a Strawberry Blonde Otter, Major Odd?
Can you bring me a Momma Otter's Pancake Porter, Major Odd?
Can you hear me a Comrade Otter's Russian Imperial Chocolate Stout, Major Odd?
Can you....

Here am I drinking
round my tin kettles
Far from the home sea
Odd Otter Brewing Co is new
tell the others at the zoo.

ODD OTTER BREWING CO., 11-2 a.m. Friday-Saturday, 716 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.209.7064

SEE ALSO
Backstory on Odd Otter Brewing Co.

November 28, 2014 at 12:27pm

Mac and Cheese Madness: The Swiss Restaurant and Pub

The Swiss adds spicy Andouille sausage to its mac and cheese. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

I pondered skipping this week's Mac and Cheese Madness Friday posting. South Sounders are either one big mashed couch potato after feasting on tryptophan-releasing flesh (and 10 tons of other comfort foods) nibbling on leftovers throughout the day, or, if out and about, will choose lighter fare to counterbalance yesterday's glorious gluttony.

Then, I remembered my mission, to report on a South Sound mac and cheese dish every Friday up to our Tournament of Mac and Cheese in March 2015. I need to spread the cheesy word, ease into tournament research and, obviously, build hype. I can't let the South Sound down. It's my life's mission ... and derision from my wife.

The Swiss Restaurant and Pub knows the two guiding principles behind awesome mac and cheese: a combination of cheeses, never just one, and a high proportion of cheese to everything else. The type of pasta isn't as important, so long as it's short and dried; fresh pasta will collapse under a cheese sauce. Tubes and spirals help the sauce cling to the noodles.

The downtown Tacoma restaurant blends cheddar and jack cheeses with extremely short elbow macaroni. The dish is almost soupy but the high cheese ratio forces five twists of a fork to break free. The addition of spicy Andouille sausage makes it badass. Graininess doesn't make an appearance.

Note: The Swiss has this mac and cheese on its special board. Its fate will be determined by its patrons' reviews.

THE SWISS RESTAURANT AND PUB, 11 a.m. to midnight Monday-Wednesday, 11-2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to midnight Sunday, 1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.2821

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

LINK: The answer to why this mac and cheese column exists

November 26, 2014 at 2:22pm

Top Rung Brewing will reach Pyrolysis on Black Friday

Top Rung Brewing Co.'s Pyrolysis Imperial Stout / courtesy photo

Every single one-day-at-a-time day is a struggle, particularly around the holidays - specifically during Black Friday. I know there are seven habits to becoming a highly effective person, 50 ways to leave your lover and 12 steps to sobriety. But after years and years as a recovering believer in Santa Claus, I have to ask, "When will it end?"

I'm happy to report Christmas has come early ... and on Black Friday, no less. Mike Besser, the "Ambassador of Beer" at Top Rung Brewing, tells me the Lacey brewery will release Pyrolysis, their Imperial Stout, on Black Friday. It's Top Rung's first winter release since opening this past April.

You might want to cut your shopping early, as the beer is a limited release, available in 10-ounce pours without a growler-fill option.

Top Rung will open several hours early on Black Friday, swinging open the door at noon.

Let's look at the specs. ...

SEE ALSO

The back(draft) story on Top Rung Brewing Co.

Filed under: Holidays, New Beer Column, Lacey,

November 26, 2014 at 1:24pm

Three Magnets Brewing introduces casual surf and turf

Three Magnets Brewing's Jamburger with savory jam and bacon / photo courtesy of Facebook

At the Olympia's new brewpub Three Magnets Brewing Co., the "soft launch has turned rock-hard very quickly," as a recent post on the pub's Facebook page put it.

The pub opened Nov. 7, with the all-ages restaurant section opening Nov. 17, but it's already getting plenty of attention from fans of local beer, local food and soccer - which is on the bar's TV whenever there's a game on.

The simple menu is still evolving, but it will continue to evolve - and it will continue to be simple.

"It's always going to be a pretty small menu," says Sara Reilly, who owns the brewery and pub - and popular breakfast spot Darby's - with husband, Nate Reilly.

"That's what we've been able to learn from Darby's," she says. "It's famous because it has this huge menu, and it pleases everyone, but it's not a very good way to run a business.

"The idea is to try to do a couple of things and do them well. It's almost like a food-truck mentality."

>>> Three Magnets Brewing's salt-cod Reuben / photo courtesy of Facebook

The focus is on a casual version of surf and turf - including hand-ground burgers on housemade spent-grain buns, fish and chips and a salt-cod Reuben. All of the sauces are made in house.

On a visit last week, we had the Lamburger ($14), jazzed up with lemon-mint marmalade, and the Jamburger ($13), with savory jam that was a bit like a more exciting and chunkier version of ketchup. The bacon was gone when we arrived at 9 p.m., as were the buns, but toasted bread worked just fine.

The burgers come with a cup of the soup of the day (also sold out) or a mug of fries that were light, crisp, hot and just salty enough. And - be still my heart - the fries are gluten free, although the staff points out that in a brewery there is a risk of contamination that may be a problem for those with celiac disease.

My companion didn't want fries, and the kitchen was willing to substitute a simple side salad with malt vinaigrette.

There are a couple of vegetarian options, including Beercheese Mac ($7), with more on the way, and a small kids menu.

But don't go in on the hunt for any specific dish.

"We're keeping very few items from day to day," Reilly says. "We're trying to come up with new menus daily.

"We don't want to make a commitment on anything that people can expect."

Actually, that's not quite true. Three Magnets doesn't want to marry any specific menu item, but patrons can expect food that's fresh, local and of high quality, Reilly promises.

Some of the produce is coming from Wobbly Cart Farm, and fish will change based on what's available, she says, with a focus on fresh, never-frozen varieties.

Housemade gravlax is on the way, as are seasonal game burgers. "We'll have a venison burger, an elk burger and things like that, but we're always going to grind it in house," she says.

Also coming soon will be lunch, weekend brunch and more beverage options beyond beer. Again, the focus will be close to local.

Currently, the pub has the simplest of wine options - a house white and a house red ($5 for a snifter) - but more Eastern Washington wines are on the way, including some from Salida Winery in Rainier.

There'll be cocktails, too, probably in the next month or two. Just don't expect a full bar.

"We're not going to have Bacardi and Coke, because we don't have Bacardi or Coke," Reilly says, "but we might have a nice artisanal rum from the San Juan Islands and our housemade malt cola."

THREE MAGNETS BREWING CO., 4ish-10ish p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 4ish-11ish p.m. Friday and Saturday, 600 Franklin St. SE, Suite 102, Olympia, 360.972.2481

SEE ALSO

Science with Three Magnets Brewing Co.'s head brewer Pat Jansen

November 25, 2014 at 2:57pm

Beer Here: ParkWay The Destroyer, Engine House No. 24, lot of Lagunitas ...

Happy Thanksgiving!

Every Thanksgiving, they pack their bags and head back to the South Sound for turkey dinner at grandma's house. Here are the joints where you can meet the ones who love craft beer. ...

WEDNESDAY, NOV. 26

For some, the night before Thanksgiving can be a greater cause for celebration than the holiday itself - an opportunity to return to the old stomping grounds, imbibe oneself with threatening amounts of beer and play catch-up with some forlorn acquaintances. The Puyallup River Alehouse provides the venue. Widmer Brothers provides the beer ... and some raffle prizes ... from 6-9 p.m.

In the name of Thanksgiving, let us give thanks for the following: Alesmith Speedway Stout, Epic Big Bad Baptist, 2013 Deschutes Abyss, Freemont Darkstar, Great Divide Choc Oak Aged Yeti, Mad Viking Night Raid, 2013 Avery Mephistopheles, Lost Abbey Angel's Share Grand Cru, Maritime Jolly Roger 2012 & 2013, Great Divide Hibernation, Almanac Heirloom Pumpkin Barleywine, Boneyard Orange is the New Jack, 2013 Widmer Ginger Brrbon, 2013 He'Brew Funky Jewbelation, Deschutes Jubel Ale on Nitro, Hop Valley Mistress of the Dark, New Belgium Le Terroir, The Bruery Seven Swans a Swimming, Dogfish Head 60, 90, & 120 min, Fremont The Brother, Boneyard Notorious, Laurelwood Megafauna, Boneyard Bone-a-fide and Finn River Cranberry Rosehip Cider. Those are the beers the ParkWay Tavern will pour at its annual "Honey, The ParkWay Ruined Thanksgiving Once Again!" launching at 5 p.m. This is one of the ParkWay's most popular events of the year. It has ruined many a Thanksgiving.

Those up for a road trip should venture to the city of Pacific for Northwest Brewing Company's Pre-Thanksgiving Day Party from noon to 10 p.m. Drink a pint of Foggy Goggles Stout and you could win a growler full of the brew every hour. Expect chili.

FRIDAY, NOV. 28

Skip the Black Friday craziness and dine with 7 Seas Brewing at Brix 25. This four-course meal will pair the culinary prowess of The Gig Harbor fine-dining restaurant with damn tasty brews from 7 Seas for $50 a head. This 6 p.m. dinner will sell out; reservations are required at 253.858.6626.

MONDAY, DEC. 1

"Do not open till Christmas" should never apply to beer. Each day from Dec. 1 through Dec. 24, Engine House No. 9 will be releasing a different specialty bottle or tap beer; follow along and feel the Christmas spirit in your veins.

TUESDAY, DEC. 2

Hard cider is the kindest of alcoholic beverages. Beer must be cumbersomely boiled, wine is expensive and poorly distilled spirits can blow up and fry your eyes. They all involve so much waiting. Cider is a relative cakewalk. Find out if this is true when Number 6 Cider out of Seattle launches its brand at The Red Hot Tuesday night.

WEDNESDAY, DEC. 3

99 Bottles will unleash a massive beet tasting with Skyler Cesarone of Lagunitas Brewing Company of Petaluma, California. Cesarone will pour nearly every beer from Lagunitas, from 5-7 p.m. The tasting fee is $2.

Epic Brewing Company, a Salt Lake City brewery founded in 2008, will pay a visit to the Puyallup River Alehouse from 6-9 p.m. No word is the Epic Big Bad Baptist Imperial Stout, aka the Beast, will be making an appearance. Know this the pitch-black beer rings in at 11.8 percent ABV.

November 25, 2014 at 12:39pm

Free Thanksgiving: Now that's a home-cooked meal

I'm not gonna lie, I was kind of a Big Man on Campus back in the day. Mostly I'm admitting I was overweight, though I did have my successes. Still, the achievements I look back on with the greatest pride were all shared: lifelong friendships, plays I directed or costarred in, and my participation in a campus philanthropic society. Each year, our "Sigma Society" along with dozens of other charitably-minded Oklahomans came together to provide our community much-needed Thanksgiving feasts free of charge. Thousands of less-fortunate citizens would queue up for holiday turkey, mashed potatoes, desserts-all the comforting, crave-able classics they couldn't afford to prepare for their own families. I grew up poor myself, so I know what it's like to have nothing in the fridge or depend on government assistance. Believe me, it's not the glorious free ride it's made out to be. Not to put too fine a point on it, being poor sucks. That's why I place enormous value in highlighting grassroots efforts to brighten the lives of struggling South Sounders in these darkest of late-autumn days.

For 45 years now, the late Barb O'Neill and her loved ones have been providing holiday meals along with seasonal clothing and other food and gift donations. What started as an invitation to neighbors has impacted the lives of thousands of Olympians. This is a great group of people, and you can be one of "Barb's Family and Friends" as well. A member of the organization was recently stopped on the street by a person who benefited from O'Neill's generosity years ago, during years when that person was homeless. Now she and her grown daughter are back on their feet, and they want to help pass the favor on to somebody else. It's called paying it forward, people, doing unto others as the best among us have done for us.

As it does every other day of the year, Tacoma's Rescue Mission serves warm, healthy meals to people who are homeless or otherwise underprivileged. Last Thanksgiving Day alone, the mission served over 1100 meals. It's currently accepting donations of money and food items for Thursday's feast; check out https://www.rescue-mission.org/thanksgiving to see how you can lend a hand...or a ham. Gifts of turkeys and hams are always appreciated, as are volunteer hours, especially between now and Christmas. Thankfulness is a beautiful thing, as this holiday serves to remind us, but giving back when things get better might be an even more sacred obligation.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody. Let's make sure this is a happy occasion for everyone around us as well.

BARB'S 45TH ANNUAL FREE THANKSGIVING DINNER, noon - 5 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 26, United Churches of Olympia, 110 11th Ave. SE, Olympia, free, 360.485.9931

GOOD NEIGHBOR CAFE, 4 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 27, Rescue Mission Downtown Campus, 425 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma, free, 253.383.4493

Filed under: Holidays, Tacoma, Olympia, Community,

November 25, 2014 at 11:11am

Eat These Now: Dragon Roll and Volcano Roll

The Dragon Roll and Volcano Roll at Trapper's Sushi travels well. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

I'm going to be frank here, not Frank a dude, but to the point when I say I approach chain restaurants with some hesitation - specifically chain sushi restaurants. This, of course, does not mean I'm not pleasantly surprised on occasion, which was the case after every meal at Trapper's Sushi in Tacoma's Sixth Avenue neighborhood.

Trapper's is approachable sushi for the masses with fun monikers for locals such as the Puyallup Roll, Mt. Rainier or Bonney Lake. Trapper's excels at texture, especially in their sushi rolls. Crisp tempura crumbs accompany many of the more adventurous rolls as well as cream cheese, which is to say they are tasty - let's face it, deep fried crunchies and cheesiness is just so dang delicious.

On my most recent Trapper's visit I had both the Dragon Roll ($10) and Volcano Roll ($10.50). The Dragon - a solid decision at most sushi spots - features shrimp and cucumber topped with eel and avocado. It's one of the least "fishy" of options and has a texture that won't scare off sushi newbies. The Volcano Roll is delivered with spicy tuna, cream cheese, jalapeno and cucumber, fried in tempura, covered in avocado, then topped with a sweet chili sauce, warrior sauce and green onions. The name Volcano eludes to spiciness with sweet chili sauce and warrior sauce (spicy mayo), but it's doesn't bring a lot of warmth. The roll does have loads of texture and is a flavorful and fun combo.

Trapper's prices are fair; the quality of the product is spot on.

The intimate dining area does not lend itself well to conversation on a busy night. The tiny space leaves little room to buffer conversation.

Surprisingly (yes, Trappers is full of pleasant surprises), the rolls travel well to my humble abode.

TRAPPER'S SUSHI, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, 3118 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.891.2046

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

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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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