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Posts made in: 'Eat This Now' (52) Currently Viewing: 11 - 20 of 52

February 16, 2015 at 12:36pm

Eat This Now: Lobster Mashed Potatoes

Lobster Mashed Potatoes at El Gaucho, Tacoma

I consider eating out my job, nay, sworn duty. Each nibble I take, each sip I imbibe I am always considering, "Is this something I should tell the beautiful Volcano readers?!" I often bounce from restaurant to restaurant until I discover a dish worthy of sharing. I've hit a rough patch lately with some mediocre dishes and sub-par service. Then came Valentine's Day, and my husband went all out and made reservations at El Gaucho in downtown Tacoma.

Consider my faith restored.

My husband knows I order multiple menu items. This is the best way to combat two things: one - indecisiveness, because why settle for just one dish when you can dig into several; two - it gives me the opportunity to decide what dish I would prefer to recommend. Therefore, a visit to El Gaucho can prove to be extravagant. After sampling several items, and ringing up a hefty tab, I feel El Gaucho's shareable side, the Lobster Mashed Potatoes ($24), is a must eat now dish.

El Gaucho has some of the best steaks in town - they are prepared to perfection and so buttery each bite virtually melts in your mouth. I suggest you get any among their selection and pair it with the Lobster Mashed Potatoes because it's rich, velvety bliss. A very generous, shareable portion of pillow-y whipped potatoes is presented, swimming in a nice brown gravy, salted just the way it should be and includes bits of Maine Lobster throughout. Le sigh, it's a downhome dish done in decadent style.

With a matrimony of speakeasy ambiance, stellar service, exquisite steaks and the wine selection, El Gaucho is primo date night material when you're feeling like really going all out.

EL GAUCHO, 4-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 4 p.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 2119 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1520

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

February 3, 2015 at 11:00am

Eat This Now: Sea Groove

Is The Rock's Sea Groove sandwich named after the song by Big Boss Man or Nickelback? Photo credit: Jackie Fender

This week was a superb excuse to go on a lady date with my oldest, which is a rare treat. Usually we are wrangling my youngest ones and noshing on drive-thru fare because we are on our way to an appointment or errand of some kind. Instead, the husband held down the homestead and we headed out on a dining adventure. Where to go?!

Prerequisite menu item to be considered when dining with my daughter is hot wings. We both love them, so it's only natural we would gravitate toward an establishment that serves good wings. The Rock Wood Fired Kitchen has a generous, heaping serving of hot wings and good tunes, so off we went.

Though The Rock is best known for its bucket cocktails (damn tasty and super dangerous) and their pizza pies featuring quirky toppings and fun monikers named after albums and classic rock songs, my Eat This Now recommendation is the Sea Groove ($13). This sandwich is for the seafood lovers featuring a generous portion of Cajun seasoned yellowfin tuna grilled through while maintaining juiciness and loads of peppery flavor. It's topped with baby arugula that has been tossed in lemon and olive oil and garnished further with a housemade roasted red pepper, artichoke and olive mayo. Served on a brioche bun, it almost feels like something you'd expect to nibble on while dining along Ruston Way.

It's satisfying with pops of pepper and zings of lemon. It's a clear winner with the addition of beer battered fries.

You'll be happily and passionately lip syncing to Bon Jovi's "Blaze of Glory" between bites. Not that I have personal experience with that. ...

THE ROCK WOOD FIRED KITCHEN, 11:30 a.m. to midnight, 1920 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.1221

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

January 20, 2015 at 11:33am

Eat This Now: Raw Enchiladas

Viva Tacoma's Raw Enchiladas are rawsome. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Me: "Hey, will you pick up some grub from that little vegan place tucked away behind Starbucks in the Proctor District on the way home from work? It's Viva Tacoma. I'll send you the menu."

Husband (in jest): "I don't want any of the hippie food!"

I proceed to tell him what I'd like and what he would probably like and I call in the order.

Viva Tacoma - Vegan Cuisine boasts a menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner serving entrees concocted of only fresh, gluten-free, organic, whole, non-dairy products - which means zero animal products or processed sugars that leaves carnivorous beasts who consume probably morbid levels of processed sugars and animal products referring to such a lovely concept as, "hippie food."

Viva's menu manages to offer a delightful and diverse selection that seems approachable and, dare I say, sounds delicious.

My favorite Viva vittles are the Raw Enchiladas ($13.95) with seasoned walnut "meat" (I can't lie, seeing meat in quotations raised my suspicions) and a cabbage and nut cheese wrapped in a sweet cashew tortilla topped with New Mexico chili sauce, chopped lettuce, pico, cashew sour cream and guacamole.

The flavors were well balanced with an underlining sweetness that was perfectly paired with the chili sauce and pico. The biggest surprise was how satisfying the dish was since the portion size was not the usual ginormous you anticipate when ordering enchiladas.

Though I won't be making a lifestyle change anytime in the near future (read: EVER) Viva's vegan grub is a refreshing addition to quality Tacoma eats. I didn't even miss the meat!

VIVA TACOMA - VEGAN CUISINE, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, 2602 N. Proctor, Tacoma, 253.503.6498

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma, Vegetarian,

January 14, 2015 at 1:53pm

Eat This Now: Radiator Whiskey Tots

Jump in your car now.

Boy howdy, I am reeling with all that 2015 has already endowed yours truly with. The close of 2014 brought a sigh of relief and welcoming arms because I was exhausted from wrapping paper catastrophes, ugly sweater partying and last minute holiday shopping.

I've rang in the New Year with a bang by celebrating a birthday and journeying to a writer's retreat, which left little room for eating out ... in the South Sound. My little adventures took me far and wide, so in this week's "Eat This Now" comes from the heart of Seattle. My husband and I ventured for live entertainment at the Showbox and, since I rarely hang out in Seattle, I used the great and mighty social media to ask my homies where one eats pre-Showbox-rock-out-shenanigans. I was met with a score of culinary delights. Of all the recommendations I chose Radiator Whiskey, because, uh, WHISKEY is the one thing I require to properly celebrate my old age. I. Was. Not. Disappointed.

Radiator Whiskey is a tricky little joint to find with minimal signage street side. It is located directly across from Pike's Place Market - just a short elevator ride and walk down a wonky quiet hallway away. There is, in fact, loads of whiskeys, whiskey cocktails made by well informed "mixologists" and a small menu featuring gourmet eats such as Lamb Neck Sloppy Joe, Turkey Drum Confit and even half a pig head smoked. While sipping on your fancy bourbon concoction or any one of their barrel-aged handpicked whiskeys, you can watch two dudes in their very intimate and unimpressive looking kitchen bust out beautiful dishes with ease.

As a woman of simple pleasures, I gave their tots ($8) a try. Yea, their tots.

These tots are the best tots known to man. These tots start out simple enough, like a generous portion of perfectly crisped tot shaped tater bites. Radiator Whisky then ladles a generous scoop of their housemade gravy atop. This isn't your grandmama's gravy, it's so much better and I can't even really tell you what's so amazing about it except its perfect and as though that wasn't enough they add a perfect single, sunny side up egg. Creamy, crispy, yolk porn-y appetizer goodness is the result. Just add a few shakes of some hot sauce and I'm in heaven.

Radiator whiskey needs to open a second location in Tacoma.

I may as well have died and met my maker - who would, of course, equally admire the brown boozy nectar.

RADIATOR WHISKEY, 4 p.m. to midnight Monday-Saturday, 94 Pike St., Suite 30, Seattle, 206.467.4268

Filed under: Eat This Now, Booze,

January 7, 2015 at 10:31am

Eat This Now: Shrimp and Grits

The Social Bar and Grill serves a spicy Shrimp and Grits dish. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

When you work in the restaurant industry there are some definite perks to the job. Typically those perks involve one of three things, in no particular order: the tips, the flexibility and the grub. I've been in the restaurant industry for more than a dozen years and can say, without a doubt; those three aspects are why I stay in the business. I have served at establishments with less than desirable food. I vowed to never allow monetary compensation to sway me again. Let's face it: after a craptastic day working a shift you picked up for someone else that garnered equally craptastic tips, your meal may be the only perk.

The grub is one of the reasons I remain at The Social Bar and Grill. Although I'm on the substitution list, The Social's fabulous fusion flavors from the Mediterranean, Pacific Islands, Spain and Central American coastlines - and their fun cocktails (OK, it's really all about the SBG Manhattan) - bombards my mind during decision time.

Currently, my favorite Social dish, and my Eat This Now recommendation, is their Shrimp and Grits. May Southern Belles are raising brows in doubt, but hear me out Though the Social's Shrimp and Grits is not a traditional take, it's so damn tasty you'll forgive all that. Meaty shrimp and cubed pork bits are sautéed with onions and bell peppers to perfection. There's some spectacular spicing going on that leaves each bite full of flavor with just a whisper of heat. Placed upon a generous serving of creamy grits and corn it's a divine entrée that serves up some bang for its buck. Every forkful carries multiple textures and superb flavors.

Try it. You'll like it.

THE SOCIAL BAR AND GRILL, 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 1715 Dock St., Tacoma, 253.301.3835

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

December 31, 2014 at 9:52pm

Oyster Makeover: Hilltop Kitchen

Yes, Hilltop Kitchen serves its oysters on a bed of pebbles with paper-thin radishes. I know, right? Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Purists will tell you that the only way to eat an oyster is live, raw, with just a few drops of lemon juice. That's nonsense. It's amazing what can happen when a chef, not a shucker, puts his or her hand to an oyster.

Enter Hilltop Kitchen.

The Hilltop Tacoma gastropub knows fiery chorizo forms a very happy marriage with roasted oysters.

Buying from a small oyster farm that is not the local favorite Taylor Shellfish Farms, HK serves light brine, roasted kumamoto oysters ($14) in their highly sculptured, deep cup shells filled with chorizo oil and horseradish crema. It's a warm, spicy bath on the tongue, balanced with the luscious fruity oysters.

I adore the touch of molecular gastronomy in the garnish, with dainty colorful green onion "caviar," made by spherification, brightening up the dish.

I had to put the brakes on my New Year's Eve to alert the South Sound to this wonderful dish. Happy New Year!

HILLTOP KITCHEN, 11-2 a.m. Monday-Saturday, 913 MLK JR Way, Tacoma, 253.327.1397

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

December 29, 2014 at 10:28am

Eat This Now: Frisko Freeze bacon cheeseburger

Each Frisko Freeze burger ($2.45-$4.90) comes with or without cheese layered with diced onions, chopped lettuce and a special mayonnaise and relish-laden sauce. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

My husband is not a native Tacoman. He hadn't entered the Pacific Northwest until he set foot in Tacoma just over a dozen years ago. There are many Gritty City must-dos he hasn't checked off his list - including noshing on the beefy, finger food that is Frisko Freeze's bacon cheeseburger.

Last weekend, I decided it was time to introduce him to the vintage styled, classic burger drive-thru digs that not only flips some of the best burgers and spins some of the best shakes in town, but is also a Tacoma landmark. Naturally, we opted for a bacon cheeseburger (though I warned him they are on the smaller size), a side of onion rings and a hot fudge shake. Let me tell you ... he is officially a Tacoman and a newfound fan of Frisko Freeze grub. He proclaimed he'd be grubbing on a "double" next time.

Frisko Freeze burgers are delectable, made to order and the perfect level of greasy. Unless altered, the burgers arrive with chopped onions, lettuce, melted cheese and Frisko's sweet relish secret sauce.

Milkshakes are a required partner - thick, creamy and available hot fudge, blackberry and marshmallow, to name a few.

Though Frisko Freeze is not your traditional fast food experience - not as speedy as chain restaurants - it is a must visit at least once in your life.

FRISKO FREEZE, 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 10-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 1201 Division Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.6843

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma, Burgers,

December 22, 2014 at 10:50am

Eat This Now: E.T. Roll

Sasquatch's cinnamon rolls are served in a 7-inch disposable pie pan. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Sometimes I wonder why on earth people insist on trying to improve upon a classic. I mean, really? Red Dawn? Total Recall? We did NOT need remakes featuring slightly different plot twists and subpar acting. It wasn't necessary. This happens in the culinary world. Too. Time after time I see folks trying to take grandma's classic dishes and make them more compelling and unique. Sure, the result is often foodie success. Many times, it's a total miss.

Sasquatch Cinnamon Rolls, located in Freighthouse Square, is a prime example of taking a classic and hitting it out of the park with a flavor revamp. Now, don't get me wrong, Sasquatch's classic roll is divine with its ooey-gooey frosting and warm cinnamon-y flavor but my Eat This Now recommendation is their E.T. Roll. Yes, it's named after the movie (let's pray they don't remake that one too!). For anyone who has seen the flick, you can probably guess the secret ingredient of this dessert-y breakfast roll - Reese's Pieces. Uh, yea.

Sasquatch bakes every roll from scratch with the best ingredients. The E.T. Roll is no exception. Sasquatch swirls in creamy peanut butter and Reese's Pieces throughout then tops this behemoth with tasty frosting.

The E.T. Roll is available in different sizes - from the minis or a one-pound beast. I recommend sharing; this rich sweet treat is filling and a hard one to conquer.

Sasquatch also serves coffee, tea and cocoa and other baked goods on site, plus owners Dagmar Solveig Simard and Damien Simard are always there to provide dazzling service and guaranteed giggles.

SASQUATCH CINNAMON ROLLS, 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday-Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Freighthouse Square, 2501 E. D St., Tacoma, phone home at 253.398.4301

Filed under: Eat This Now, Breakfast, Tacoma,

December 15, 2014 at 11:15am

Eat This Now: Gnocchi

Gnocchi watch: When you see dishes done this well, you know that's Marrow, a restaurant that deserves to be loved. photo credit: Jackie Fender

I'm skipping the kid-friendly joints and take-out spots this week. My Eat This Now recommendation centers on "date night." I grabbed the husband and visited gastropub Marrow in Tacoma's Sixth Avenue neighborhood. Always known for their exquisite presentation and compelling culinary prowess, the Hilltop Kitchen ownership purchased Marrow over the summer, resulting in some tweaks in the food and drink menu while still remaining focused on fresh, in-season ingredients and unique, flavorful dishes paired with riveting cocktails, craft brews and wine.

I recommend everything on the Marrow menu, but I implore you, beg of you, to try my favorite - the Marrow gnocchi ($18). You won't regret it, unless your taste buds are busted. Served in a large shallow bowl, Marrow's gnocchi features tasty gnocchi dumplings, tender braised oxtail, pickled mushrooms served atop a creamy butternut squash puree.

Le sigh.

The dish is savory, rich, balanced and deeply satisfying on a chilly Tacoma evening.

Why isn't oxtail among the 2014 food trends? This needs to be a thing. Get with it Tacoma chefs.

MARROW, 3 p.m. to midnight, Tuesday-Saturday, 2717 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.267.5299

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

December 9, 2014 at 12:32pm

Eat This Now: Monster Burger

Monster Burger - messy, but good. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Federal Way is a hub. It's a hub for restaurants. The main strip is lined with so many dining options I can't decide where to eat. Though, there is noticeable void in tasty, compelling, locally owned grub. I pulled over and asked social media friends for the best Federal Way eats. Great suggestions dinged in. I settled on the independently owned Monster Burger joint since it seemed the most kid friendly of the choices.

I'm not going to lie. I was not disappointed.

The "no duh" choice is the "Monster Burger," though the menu is perfect for anyone who is indecisive. It's the typical teriyaki styled digs that serves up fish and chips and burgers galore with no shortage on toppings to embellish your burger including avocado, pineapple, mushrooms and a plethora of sauce options.

Word on the streets is they use all organic beef patties. For the Monster Burger, they load that juicy beefy goodness up with sautéed mushrooms, crisp bacon, zesty thick pickle chips (not those flimsy excuses you find at other places), onions, tomato, pepper jack, cheddar, mustard and mayo. Each ingredient is balanced in each bite making it a messy behemoth to conquer.

Served with a side of beer-battered fries and "fry sauce," any burger lover will go home satisfied.

There are now two other Federal Way establishments on my radar. I'm going to grab my date so stay tuned for my wine and dine journey through Federal Way.

MONSTER BURGER, 1703 S. 324th St., Federal Way, 253.815.9863

Filed under: Eat This Now, Federal Way, Kids,

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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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