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January 22, 2015 at 10:29am

Taste Bates Technical College's national award-winning Snooty Chef Burger Jan. 27

Bates Technical College's Culinary Arts 2014 World Food Championships award-winning Snooty Chef Burger. Photo courtesy of batestechnicalblog.org

One of life's greatest mysteries is: "who has the best burger in all the nation?!" It's one of the grand questions of the ages and is put to the test time and time again with burger competitions.

Bates Technical College's Culinary Arts crew threw their hat into the ring during November's 2014 World Food Championships in Las Vegas and came out on top with their Snooty Chef Burger. This masterpiece, created by Bates chef instructors JJ Meland and Roger Knapp, features ground Kobe beef and rib eye steak mixed with a Hungarian ragout blend spice from local gourmet seasoning gurus - two snooty chefs. They then add crispy bacon, tempura battered and fried Havarti cheese, a salad of spicy arugula, tomato and red onion tossed with a red wine vinaigrette and a caramelized onion mayonnaise all set upon a toasted Kaiser bun.

This behemoth earned them fourth out of 50 of those competing, advancing them to the final round where they placed in the top 10.

The displayed culinary prowess has earned them an invite to compete again this year in Florida and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, the citizens of the South Sound may dig into this championship burger at Bates Technical College's café for a cool $9.95 (price includes tax and fries).

Meland says, "We're excited to share this delicious burger we've worked hard to develop with our community. The Bates team enjoyed the 2014 competition and we are excited to develop a new innovative burger to bring to next year's World Food Championships."

Go forth and discover what a world championship contender tastes like and check out more about one of their secrets to flavor success at twosnootychefs.com.

BATES TECHNICAL COLLEGE, 1101 S. Yakima Ave., Tacoma, 253.680.7000

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,

October 29, 2014 at 10:03am

Best Tacoma restaurants for locavores

Christy Reedy's Libertine Tacoma salts are on many Tacoma chef's shelves, including Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe. Photo credit: Kim Thompson

When Weekly Volcano scribe Kim Thompson approached a locavore story for the greater Tacoma area, she got totally stoked. Sure, she had some reservations, but it wasn't like she'd asked me to go vegan.  (That one would have been exceptionally tough for this particular omnivore. As long as the cow had something near a 253 area code, she could still have a burger, right?)  So, off she went in search of Tacoma restaurants keeping it Tacoma. She discovered many restaurateurs who deserved awards for their research, dedication and preservation of the locavore. Therefore, Thompson doled out awards. Discover the winners here.

Filed under: Awards, Community, Tacoma,

September 22, 2014 at 6:23pm

Aroma of Tacoma Pro-Am Pub Crawl coming to Sixth Avenue

Dioni De Morena won many medals at the 2014 Aroma of Tacoma Homebrew Championship. Stay standing for his beer Saturday. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Casey Williams and Trevor Nichol held their first annual home brewing contest during July, and competition was fierce. Titled the "Aroma of Tacoma Homebrew Championship," the duo invited home brewers from across the lands to brew beers using handcrafted products, containing ingredients available to the general public and made using private equipment. The competition had more in common with the Westminster dog show than it did a Betty Crocker pie-making competition. For a homebrew to rise to the top of the class, it had to match the style of one of the 23 categories recognized by the Beer Judge Certification Program guidelines. Winners in each category were then judged head-to-head to determine the "Best in Show," which was awarded to Dioni De Morena of Redmond. De Morena and the other home brewers received their awards the last Saturday morning in July in the Harmon Tap Room's beer garden. Beer was drank before 10 a.m. (natch).

Five beers from the competition were selected by local brewers to be brewed commercially, a Pro/Am selection, if you will:

Randall Breedlove brewed his The Geek IPA at Tacoma Brewing Co.;
Tim Frommer brewed his C. D. Saison ay Engine House No. 9;
Tony Ochsner brewed his Waimea Blood Orange Pale Ale at The RAM;
Jay Walker and Shawn Anderson brewed their Hop Denim Double IPA at Harmon Brewing Co.;
Dioni De Morena brewed his Die Wasp Kolsch at Wingman Brewers.

Williams and Nichol have added a final piece to their Aroma - a pub crawl. Saturday, the Pro-Am beers will be poured at Sixth Avenue drinking establishments. At noon, those who shelled out $35 here (still time!), will gather at The Red Hot to toss back 10-ounces of Frommer's C.D. Saison. Then drinkers - some wearing their commemorative T-shirts and some not - will walk across the street to the Engine House No. 9 and tip all 10-ounces of Ochsner's Waimea Blood Orange Pale. The Aroma of Tacoma Pro-Am Pub Crawl will then head east along Sixth Avenue until Williams and Nichol steer drinkers into O'Malley's Irish Pub for 10-ounces of Breedlove's The Greek IPA. Next, it's a short hop to Dirty Oscar's for the Hop Denim Double IPA invented by Walker and Anderson. At this point no one will complain about backtracking to the Crown Bar for 10-ounces of Best in Show winner De Morena's Die Wasp Kolsch.

The official crawl will end at 5 p.m. Some drinkers will walk away like pros, some like amateurs. It's safe to say most everyone will leave with smiles.

AROMA OF TACOMA PRO-AM PUB CRAWL, noon to 5 p.m., The Red Hot, 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, $35, AromaOfTacomaHBC.com

September 22, 2014 at 10:38am

Oktoberfest South Sound 2014: How to mix beer, music and running and get away with it

Run with an empty stein then fill it with beer at the finish line at the 5K Stein Dash Oct. 5. Photo courtesy of steindash5k.com

For so many South Sounders, autumn = race season, and that means on any weekend day, you're likely to be passed-on-the-left by hordes of runners in training.

But all that personal-best pressure can take the joy out of running. Festivals, Inc. wants to get back to the roots of the individual sport. Stein Dash is a German-themed 5K that focuses on the fun of running and, just as important, the fun of the after-race.

The 5k Stein Dash combines racing with beer.

The race kicks off the third day of Festivals' Oktoberfest Northwest, the three-day Bavarian celebration at the Western Washington Fair and Events Center. Celebrating its 10th year at the fairgrounds, the huge Oktoberfest celebration kicks off at 6:15 p.m. Friday, Oct. 3 with the taping of the Oktoberfest Firkin. At 11:30 a.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, runners will run around the fairgrounds with a provided beer stein finishing at the Oktoberfest Northwest Festhalle Biergarten where those 21 and older may fill the steins with Warsteiner Dunkel, Warsteiner Oktoberfest, Hofbrau Oktoberfest, Trumer Pils, Hacker Pshor Weiss and Snoqualmie Harvest Moon, the featured beers of the festival. Washington Hills wine will be available for weirdos. Kids may fill up in the Root Beer Garden.

Race fees are $35 until Oct. 1 when online registration closes. You will pay $40 the day before at race packet pick-up. If your Hacker Pshor Weiss calorie intake the day before has you worried, show up with $45 Sunday morning. All 5K participants receive an authentic one of a kind logo'd 5k Beer Stein and allowed to party at Oktoberfest Northwest Sunday for no additional fee.

The German theme doesn't apply just to the beer. Tacoma European restaurants Bruno's and Café Europa will keep drinkers fed all three days with schweinebraten, pyzy, curry wurst, cabbage rous, kartoffelpuffer, bierocks, goulash soup, schnitzel sandwiches, to name a few dishes. Food trucks Zeiglers German Haus, Kaleenka piroshkies and Gutes Essen Haus will add more brats and schnitzels. Shishkaberry's will dip fruit in chocolate and stab it with a stick.

The Stein Dash is one of many kitschy events to keep you entertained throughout the weekend. The hilarious wiener dog races are back, including stupid wiener tricks. The Enzian Schuhplattler dancers will spin around a May Pole. Pumpkins can be decorated. The German Corner shopping mall will outfit you in lederhosen. Manuela Horn, aka Austrian Amazon, will yodel, dance, throw out one-liners and plant eyes in her cleavage Friday and Saturday night. Kids can pound nails with hammers all weekend. Ja, families are welcomed in the Festhalle Biergarten until 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and all-day Sunday. Teens might scoff at the oom-pah bands, which dominate the entertainment stages during family hours.

Oh, to be in that great mass of humanity, dancing to the throbbing polka beats, scarfing down sausage, kraut, and strudel, and most of all, imbibing from the holy grail ... er, stein. It can be yours Oct. 3-5 in Puyallup.

As always, you get bonus coolness points for going in costume, especially if you run with an empty stein.

OKTOBERFEST NORTHWEST, noon to midnight Friday, Oct. 3, 11 a.m. to midnight Saturday, Oct. 4, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 5, Washington State Fair and Events Center, Ninth and Meridian, Puyallup, free admission noon to 3 p.m. Friday, $10 Friday after 3 p.m. and all-day Saturday, $5 Sunday, oktoberfestnw.com

LINK: More 2014 Oktoberfest events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

September 9, 2014 at 11:38am

Oktoberfest Northwest turns 10, includes Stein Dash 5k and Manuela Horn and the Oktoburlesques

Manuela Horn and the Oktoburlesques headline the 2014 Oktoberfest Northwest at the Washington State Fairgrounds Oct. 3-5. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Beer! Lederhosen! Beer! Bratwurst! Beer! Yodeling! Beer! Manuela Horn and the Oktoburlesques! Beer! Oktoberfest Northwest has all of these fine things, but, most importantly, it has beer.

A press release for this year's event just landed at the Weekly Volcano World Headquarters. Check it. ...

The 2014 Oktoberfest Northwest, October 3, 4 and 5 at the Washington State Fair & Events Center, celebrates its 10th year with a Munich-inspired Festhalle Biergarten, authentic entertainment, traditional German foods and fun games for all ages. The exciting array of events for this year's festival includes the Hammerschlagen Tournament of Champions, the always-popular Weiner Dog Race, and the Oktoberfest Northwest Stein Dash 5k. Participants run with a souvenir stein which is filled in the beer garden at the end of the race. The 5k takes place on Sunday at 11:30 a.m. and all ages are welcome. To sign up, click on steindash5k.com. Once again, $3 discount coupons for event admission will be available at participating Pierce and South King County Safeway stores from mid-September though the event dates.

Manuela Horn and the Oktoburlesques take over the weekend as the Oktoberfest Northwest 2014 headliner. Manuela has been entertaining audiences around the world for 10 years, best known for her performances in Teatro Zinzanni, the movie "Rent," and TV show "America's Got Talent."  Known as the Australian Amazon, standing 6 foot 2 inches, this yodeling, dancing and all-around-entertainer and her show is sure to delight audiences of all ages. Fans of Oktoberfest also won't want to miss the Enzian Schuhplattler dancers, the Beer Barrels, AlpenBand CA and other acts that add to a lively Oktoberfest celebration. Oktoberfest Northwest is known throughout the region for providing authentic German entertainment and the 2014 event will feature another outstanding line-up of performers crooning everything from Edelweiss to polka versions of popular rock songs. Oktoberfest Northwest is a collaborative effort between Festivals Inc. (producers of the Bite of Seattle) and the Western Washington Fair Association. Discount admission coupons are available at participating South King County and Pierce County Safeway stores. 

For information on corporate and group packages, please call (425) 295-3262.  For general festival information, go to www.oktoberfestnw.com

September 9, 2014 at 10:12am

Olympia Food Co-op to host first Zuke Fest

Olympia Food Co-op will give zucchinis a chance to prove themselves in terms of size, taste and even speed.

The zucchini is joked about, giggled at for its shape and sometimes maligned for its overabundance at this time of year.

But Sunday, the zucchini will have its day at the Olympia Food Co-op's first Zuke Fest.

The fest, part of the co-op's annual Harvest Party, will give those phallic giants a chance to prove themselves in terms of size, taste and even speed.

The co-op will award patches for porn-star-sized zukes in three categories: most giant (longest), most girth and most weight. (Insert your own zucchini - er, your own zucchini joke.)

There'll be a zucchini bread bakeoff and a zucchini derby along the lines of the Boy Scouts' pinewood derby. All zucars must be made on site using standard wheels and no engines. You can bring your own zucchini or one will be provided for you, but don't bring your biggest one: Finished vehicles can't exceed a foot in length or 10 inches in width.

The race is open to all ages, with a category for "big kids" who are over 18.

"We were trying to figure out something really fun to do with kids and adults, something that would be intergenerational and playful," Gagnier said.

The fest is a new part of the co-op's 10-year-old Harvest Party, which this year will feature music by Artesian Rumble Arkestra and Romanteek.

"We make a feast, and members bring food," said Shameka Gagnier, the co-op's outreach coordinator. "There are games. We have face painters and all kind of fun things going on.

"This year, we decided we were going to try to make it a little more exciting, and we added the Zuke Fest."

Rogers Street in front of the co-op and part of the parking lot will be closed off for the event, so Gagnier recommended carpooling, taking public transportation or biking.

HARVEST PARTY & ZUKE FEST, 1-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, Westside Olympia Food Co-op, 921 Rogers St. NW, Olympia, free admission, 360.754.7666

August 14, 2014 at 11:51am

Outsider's Guide: Music and Art in Wright Park

Sometimes after having your face melted by blistering guitar solos, you need a burger. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Saturday, Aug. 16 marks another year for the iconic Music and Art in Wright Park festival. This free fabulous festival celebrates local, duh, music and art.

It only seems natural then that as a dedicated urban spelunker I commit some time to the area around Wright Park to enable you, as a festival attendee, to unearth all the glorious, shiny gems you can Saturday while enjoying live entertainment from the likes of Fist of Fire, Girl Trouble and 12 other bands, plus art by Carrie Foster, also known as the creative force behind the Shroom Brothers and artist Gilbert Lord.  

Wright Park has been the backdrop to many a Tacoman memories,

The area surrounding Wright Park is rich with food, drink and sights to see. Here are just a few in the immediate vicinity.


Rosebud Revelers

As a beautiful botanical garden, W. W. Seymour Conservatory is an iconic destination for those thirsty for a taste of Tacoma history and those wishing to gaze upon an enchanting display of Mother Nature. The conservatory hosts a variety of events allowing visitors to enjoy the lovely surroundings during concerts, story times and lectures alike. It is a must visit when visiting Wright Park. 316 S. G St., 253.591.5330


Diner, Dives and Drinkers

Though the Hob Nob has recently undergone some renovations, it will always remain a diner destination. A go-to for breakfast grub on one side and stiff cocktails on the other, the Hob Nob is tops if you're looking for some sustenance or a little pick me up while venturing on foot around the park. After all one can become parched whilst indulging in live music shenanigans and need not travel far to refuel before going back for more. 716 Sixth Ave., 253.272.3200


Modern Day Foraging and Hunting

No one expects you to pick berries and hunt wild life to bring sustenance to the familial units because one simply can dine out or visit a grocer for such needs and Stadium Thriftway is just a hop from Wright Park. This means you can take a stroll to find picnic grub to fuel the festival going ons, plus just about anything else that finds your fancy like a bottle of vino, fresh flowers and deli grub. This makes loading up the minivan a cinch equating to less of a load to bring from home. 618 N. 1st St., 253.627.8275

Coffeemongers

Cosmonaut Café(once known as Satellite) is directly across from Wright Park and promises to deliver a quick one-two caffeination uppercut to keep a little pep in your step and swag in your shimmy. And let's face it; a daylong excuse to rock out requires some of that. Besides they brew up Stumptown beans, which are utterly divine. 617 Division Ave., 863.692.6766

 

Drive Thru Diners

Another iconic Tacomacentric locale lies nearby at Frisko Freeze. Their double cheeseburger, hot fudge shake and onion rings are pretty much mandatory when I visit Wright Park. There's always a line, which is a drag, but also a testament to the deliciousness that is delivered condiment slathered and dripping with grease between two tasty buns. 1201 Division Ave., 253.272.6843

Have a Cold One

For the Kiddies: Gibson's Frozen Yogurt, Shake Shake Shake

For the Grown Ups: The Copper Door, ParkWay Tavern, Doyle's Public House, Harmon Tap Room

Filed under: Tacoma, Community, Music, Summer Tip,

July 8, 2014 at 10:00am

7 Seas Brewing 5th Annual Anniversary Bash commercial

Let it roll ...

Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing celebrates its five-year anniversary Saturday with a huge bash. Shockingly, I can't find a promotional video pumping the party. If I were to create a video promotion for 7 Seas Brewing's 5th Annual Anniversary Bash, this is how it would go down. ...

("Rambo" by Ben Union plays.)

7 SEAS BREWING'S CO-OWNER MIKE RUNION: (Floating on a raft in the middle of Gig Harbor) You ever get the feeling you could just ... I don't know ... brew something incredible?

(Cut to a sinking yacht.)

AIRLINE PILOT: That yacht is going to sink!

7 SEAS BALLZ DEEP DOUBLE IPA: I'm on it! (The 7 Seas Brewing beer dives off the Jerisich Dock, using all of its 8.4 percent ABV and 82 IBUs, it pulls the yacht to shore.)

BEAUTIFUL REAL ESTATE BROKER: Look at the ballz on that beer; his malt is so firm!

MIKE RUNION: It's Ballz Deep ... (Cut music. Blackout.) And it will be at our 5th Anniversary Bash Saturday, July 12.

("Can't Get That Low" by C-Leb & The Kettle Black plays)

7 SEAS BREWING CO-OWNER TRAVIS GUTERSON: (Standing on top of Peacock Hill) You ever feel like drinking a beer can make you fly?

HARBORVIEW DRIVE WALKER ONE: I don't know why I feel so depressed.

HARBORVIEW DRIVE WALKER TWO: Maybe it's your beer? You got to get off the Blue Ribbon, girl. You're bringing all of us down.

7 SEAS RUDE PARROT IPA: What you need is a big juicy, tropical fruit hop nose girlfriend. Grab ahold of my can and let me show you what Simcoe and Citra hops can do to your attitude ... and altitude. (The Rude Parrot IPA and Walker One fly toward Fox Island.)

TRAVIS GUTERSON: That beer can fly! And so can you from noon to 8 p.m. Saturday at our brewery on Judson Street. But flying is for adults only, so leave the little birds in the nest.

("6 AM" by Perry Acker plays.)

MIKE RUNION: (Lying in Semel Homestead Park's meadow, long blades of grass between his teeth) We work to minimize our carbon footprint through efficient operations, responsible packaging and recycling programs. We also recycle our spent grain to local farmers as livestock feed. ... (Cutt's Ale cuts him off.)

7 SEAS CUTT'S ALE: Memo to Mother Nature: Don't think, even for a minute, that just because you've scheduled 80-degree weather Saturday, that I'm going to stay holed up inside the can cooler. I'm busting out my brilliantly clear reddish hue, intense nose of pine and citrus and pleasant lingering hop bitterness on 7 Seas' patio, kicking back with the musical styling of Ben Union, C-Leb & The Kettle Black, Perry Acker, Four On The Floor and Red Stone Sinners.

MIKE RUNION: Pack it in; pack it out!

("Resurrection River" by Red Stone Sinners plays)

TRAVIS GUTERSON: (Standing next to Mike Runion in their taproom, both wearing orange life jackets): Our brewery rose from ashes in 2008 after a fire tore through our first location, and in late 2012, we moved our entire operation to a 3,000 square foot brewing facility in downtown Gig Harbor. (They both extend their outer arms toward opposite walls.)

MIKE RUNION: This is our annual opportunity to say thanks to all those who have supported us and made this company what it is. And we are extremely thankful. A day of beer, food and music in our beautiful downtown waterfront. (They both extend both arms forward toward the outdoor patio.)

TRAVIS GUTERSON: Buck-B-Q will be serving up favorites off the grill and lighter salads, and Tizley's Euro Pub, serving up some vegetarian options and ratatoulle

(All the 7 Seas beers gather around their two creators.)

TRAVIS GUTERSON: And, of course, our beers will be front and center.

MIKE RUNION: Hope to see you all here.

(Cut music, fade to black. Cut to title screen with "7 Seas Brewing 5th Annual Anniversary Bash" floating in the middle of Gig Harbor.)

VOICE-OVER: 7 Seas Brewing is at 3006 Judson Street in Gig Harbor. The party is a 21 and older event. The cost is just $3 per person, 100 percent of which goes to the bands. Credit/debit cards will only be accepted for merchandise purchases, so bring cash for entry, beers and food. The Tap Room will be open for growler fills and merchandise only. Of course, good dogs on leash are welcome with their humans. Lifestyle Valet has graciously offered its shuttle service free of charge during the party. Walk, bike, designate a driver - just be sure to be safe!

July 6, 2014 at 12:54pm

Harmon Brewing hosts Mini U.S. Open Putt Putt Tournament July 12

Bring your putters, golf balls and family to Harmon Brewing Company's Mini U.S. Open Putt Putt Tournament July 12 at The Hub/Harmon Tap Room.

I can see it now. Two men - each brandishing an obnoxiously large putter - approach the first tee at The Hub. On the hot, sunny Saturday afternoon, the testosterone of the middle-aged men fights through their silk designer shirts.

"I'm going first," shouts the brawniest in the duo.  Adjusting the brim of his Nike hat, he addresses his ball, takes a few seconds to review the cardinal rules - head down, eye on Titleist, please-dear-God-don't-let-me-gag-this-one-in-front-of-the-crowd - and then reveals an improbable herk ‘n' jerk backswing that breaks all laws of golf and physics. Even though the guy handles the putter like Don Knotts, the result is anything but clumsy: the ball rolls straight for six feet and drops in the hole. His friend nods in appreciation and golf-claps with his $2 Harmon Pinnacle Peak Pale Ale pint tucked between his knees.

The second player, thirsty to match his boisterous pal, takes a mighty hack at his ball. It smacks the back bumper, sailing into The Hub's wood-stoned pizza oven. No one says a word. He silently re-tees knocking it three inches from the cup.

I can totally see that happening at the Harmon Brewing Company's Mini U.S. Open Putt Putt Tournament Saturday, July 12. The nine-hole miniature golf tournament will span The Hub, Harmon Tap Room and Harmon Garden in Tacoma's Stadium District. The silk-shirted twosome will have their eyes on the grand prize - two free rounds at Chambers Bay Golf Course in University Place, home of the 2015 U.S. Open. Their designer silk shirts may grab the Best Dress prize.

Back to the action. ... In The Hub's parking lot, two slackers - 20-somethings with plaid shirts hanging over fatigues - practice putts for beer. They pick the farther away tire and swear at themselves when they don't hit it on the first stroke.  They trash-talk like b-ballers and cough at inappropriate moments. They also cheat like hell, with subtle taps of their Vans.

Next to approach The Hub's first hole one is a young father - a dead ringer of Tiger Woods followed by his pregnant wife and preschool daughter - commences a rhythm of escape from the daily grind: putt, sip beer, putt, sip beer, sinks it. The wife - sporting a DMX tattoo on her dark ankle - sinks it in two.  Little Miss looks on as her mother's bloated belly sways with each shot; Mom giggles at her first-hole victory over Mr. Tiger, then pats the progeny that will soon make the family a foursome.

Next up, two Korean men are clad in nice pants, nice shirt, nice ties. One quickly tees up the ball; the other sinks it in two. They exchange positions and roles, the second gent sinking a hole-in-one. The only English spoken amidst their frantic, high-pitched discourse is a random, throaty "Good shot!"

The miniature golf action continues from The Hub below to the Harmon beer garden and Harmon Tap Room. Two-dollar pints are creating uproarious roars from the crowd. There is no whispering at the Harmon's Mini U.S. Open Putt Putt Tournament.

At 5 p.m. in the Harmon Garden, as his young sons buzz around him like nattily attired electrons, Dad has a worn-out look on his face underneath his old straw hat as he tries to survive the miniature golf course with three preteens. Not wanting to hurt feelings, he didn't partner with one of his sons, but instead chose his neighbor. Directions to the next hole doesn't matter much to the kids - they run ahead, run behind, just plain run around - and Dad trudges on and sighs. Old Straw Hat shakes his head as he peers through Buddy Holly glasses at the kids. Mrs. Old Straw Hat wants to run over and hug him.  

The crowd inside the Harmon Tap Room overflows. Tacoma public officials discuss why they left early, tossing back the drINK THIS White IPA brewed for the Tacoma Art Museum. Martha thanks her fellow hairstylists for the fun going-away party. Two twosomes settle up Mini U.S. Open bets.

Back out on the course, a bartender from the bar down the street caught the ball with the heel of the putter and it speeds off left toward the Harmon Garden's fence like a scalded cat. It flew over the shoulder of a brewer emerging from the keg cold room, ricocheted around the beer garden to the consternation of two families, and finished up in a planter. Laughter erupts.

At 6:30 p.m., an award ceremony is held in the Harmon Garden. At stake are team high score, individual high score, individual low score and lowest team score. The lowest team score winning twosome is a geriatric Okinawan janitor/ninja and a 15-year-old fatherless boy with paint on his white shirt. Harmon Brewing Co. co-owner Pat Nagle tells the boy to "wax on" as he hands them the free rounds at Chambers Bay prize. The beer garden erupts in laughter.

MINI U.S. OPEN PUTT PUTT TOURNAMENT, 4-6 p.m., 3:45 p.m. check in, award ceremony 6:30 p.m., Saturday, July 12, bring putter and ball, The Hub, 203 Tacoma Ave. S., Tacoma, $10, pre-registration required at The Hub or Harmon Tap Room, $2 pint all day, 253.683.4606

LINK: Mini U.S. Open Putt Putt Tournament Facebook

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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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