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March 25, 2015 at 7:50am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Yesterday's winners and Day 7 First Round battles

Rosewood Cafe mac and cheese: bicyclists approved / photo credit: Pappi Swarner

WEDNESDAY, MARCH 25: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Macaroni and cheese may not be duck à l'orange, but it transcends so-called gastronomy by inspiring devotion and embodying sustenance. Adults fight over whose mother's recipe wins out. Friends have mac and cheese cook-offs. Even fancy restaurants try to capitalize on such greatness by adding things such as chorizo, cotija and aged English cheddar. Hmmm, that actually sounds delicious.

Welcome to Day 7 of our Tournament of Mac and Cheese, where 64 South Sound restaurants pit their mac and cheese dishes against each other with the hopes of being crowned the champion at our championship party at McNamara's Pub & Eatery April 6.

Without further ado, let's take a gander at yesterday's results, and then preview today's matches. ...

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Masa (2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma)

Steel Creek American Whiskey Co., formerly the Varsity Grill, is a cowboy joint, at least in terms of its décor. Everything it does, it does big: big dance floor, big whiskey selection, big hairdos and big bowls of creamy mac and cheese that arrive tasty and full of lobster flavor. The other big thing Steel Creek does is win big. Yesterday the downtown Tacoma joint grabbed 87 percent of the votes over Masa, and secured a spot in the Sound Round of the Tournament of Mac and Cheese.

Game 2: Chambers Bay Grill (6320 Grandview Dr. W., University Place) vs. Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor)

Chambers Bay Grill opens its first food tournament with a big win against Gig Harbor burger joint Lunchbox Laboratory in Tuesday's First Round action. Grabbing 73 percent of the votes, the University Place golf course clubhouse dominated the stovetop for much of the game, only letting up a little to take in its own view of the Puget Sound passage ways. Chambers Bay Grill moves into the Second Round and a March 29 date with Steel Creek.

Game 3: Ricardo's Restaurant (5211 Lacey Blvd. SE, Lacey) vs. Oly Rockfish Grill (700 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia)

In yesterday's closest battle, Ricardo's edged out Oly Rockfish Grill with 54 percent of the votes. Maybe the screams of "Dungeness And You're Done!" from Ricardo's kitchen might have something to do with the victory. Stranger things have happened in Weekly Volcano food tournaments.

Game 4: Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma) vs. South Bay Pub & Eatery (3323 S. Bay Road NE, Olympia)

The Tournament of Mac and Cheese can be brutish and short. One cold stovetop day can destroy title dreams of even the best elbow macaroni makers. Sometimes experience can be a deciding factor. Those who have made it far in food tournaments are more consistent and less prone to scorch panko or forget cream. Top of Tacoma Bar and Café is a veteran of food tournaments and knows how to garner votes, as demonstrated yesterday with 89 percent of the votes over South Bay Pub & Eatery.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

Steel Creek American Whiskey Co.

Chambers Bay Grill

Ricardo's Restaurant

Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's First Round mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.



Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Eleven Eleven (1111 S. 11th St., Tacoma) vs. Farrelli's Pizza (4870 Yelm Hwy., Lacey)

Game 2: Smoke + Cedar (2013 S. Cedar St., Tacoma) vs. Johnny's Seafood Market & Bistro (1199 Dock St., Tacoma)

Game 3: Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Homestead Restaurant & Bakery (7837 S. Tacoma Way, Tacoma)

Game 4: Ramblin Jacks (520 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) vs. H.G. Bistro (1618 E. Main Ave., Puyallup)

At 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.

March 23, 2015 at 8:03am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: First Round action, plus yesterday's results

Engine House No. 9's Tailgate Mac And Cheese (pictured) takes on the Topside Bar & Grill in today's Tournament of Mac and Cheese action. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

MONDAY, MARCH 23: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

It's Monday, March 23, which means I tempt you with more South Sound mac and cheese battles in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese. First, a touch of mac and cheese history: Thomas Jefferson helped make macaroni and cheese popular in the United States after sampling it in Italy. He brought home a pasta maker and introduced the dish in 1802. Mac and cheese is obviously the food of presidents, for it was also Ronald Reagan's favorite. Reagan enjoyed a little dry mustard and Worcestershire in his mac and cheese.

Without further ado, let's take a gander at yesterday's results, and then preview today's matches. ...

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Harmon Brewery & Eatery vs. McNamara's Pub & Eatery

Unexpectedly, this was an epic battle ... the kind of thing Tournament of Mac and Cheese "instant classics" are made of. A surprisingly low scoring affair, with much of the action on defense, the fifth seeded Harmon Brewery & Eatery and the 12th seeded McNamara's Pub & Eatery were in a dead heat - literally tied - going into the final hours of the competition. Back at Weekly Volcano World Headquarters, Tournament of Mac and Cheese officials frantically discussed what to do in the case of a tie? Overtime? Coin flip? See which establishment could deliver mac and cheese to our Lakewood office the fastest? In the end, The Harmon edged out the win, securing exactly 52.94 percent of the vote. This one will go down in the history books.

Game 2: Over The Moon Café vs. Quickie Too

Over The Moon Cafe quickly comes to the lips of many when discussing the best South Sound mac and cheese. So, perhaps it's no surprise that the romantic café tucked in Tacoma's Opera Alley frequented by lunching ladies and lovers alike did serious damage in yesterday's action, kicking Niombi and James Howell's beloved vegan restaurant to the curb while garnering 59 percent of the vote. Over The Moon Cafe moves on as a mac and cheese to reckon with in later rounds of Tournament of Mac and Cheese action.

Game 3: Westside Tavern vs. The Swiss Restaurant & Pub

Westside Tavern and The Swiss Restaurant & Pub battled back and forth all day, changing leads several times. It's our guess that Westside Tavern's Facebook push might have made the difference as the Westside Olympia joint ended up edging out The Swiss with 59 percent of the votes.

Game 4: El Gaucho vs. Panera Bread

The other close game was El Gaucho vs. Panera Bread. We dropped by both restaurants yesterday to check out the behind-the-scenes game day action. Surprisingly, the quieter one - El Gaucho -ended up winning with 55 percent of the votes. It could be that the downtown Tacoma fine-dining restaurant was pushing their Washington wines hard. Smart move. El Gaucho will meet Westside Tavern in the second Round March 28. Lives will change after this one.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

Harmon Brewery & Eatery

Over The Moon Cafe

Westside Tavern

El Gaucho

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's First Round mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.



Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Masa (2811 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. (1114 Broadway, Tacoma)

Game 2: Chambers Bay Grill (6320 Grandview Dr. W., University Place) vs. Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor)

Game 3: Ricardo's Restaurant (5211 Lacey Blvd. SE, Lacey) vs. Oly Rockfish Grill (700 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia)

Game 4: Top of Tacoma Bar and Café (3529 McKinley Ave. E., Tacoma) vs. South Bay Pub & Eatery (3323 S. Bay Road NE, Olympia)

At 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.

March 22, 2015 at 7:45am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Yesterday's results and Day 4 battles ...

McNamara's Pub and Eatery in DuPont pits their Papa Ed's Mac and Cheese (pictured) against The Harmon's giant bowl of mac and cheese today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

SUNDAY, MARCH 22: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Sixty-four South Sound mac and cheese joints were picked for the Tournament of Mac and Cheese, which is now four days into the competition. Brackets don refrigerators, break rooms, restaurant hallways and birdcages. Birthday parties have been moved to mac and cheese serving restaurants. Everyone is discussing pasta choices and panko. It's crazy fun.

Without further ado, let's take a gander at yesterday's results, and then preview today's matches. ...

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: The Forum Tacoma vs. Sparks Firehouse Deli

In a back and forth match-up pitting two fairly even matched competitors (at least in the eyes of voters, it seems), The Forum Tacoma eked out a win beating Sparks Firehouse Deli by one vote. Did The Forums' two 100-inch televisions play a part? Can't say for certain. What I do know is The Forum Tacoma moves into the Second Round.

Game 2: BITE at Hotel Murano vs. Famous Dave's Bar-B-Que

You won't hear any Southern rock at BITE inside the Hotel Murano, buy you will find a pretty freakin' delicious mac and cheese entrée, at least according to yesterday's vote. BITE grabbed a whoppin' 94 percent of the votes, and moves into the Second Round to battle The Forum Tacoma March 28.

Game 3: Marrow Kitchen + Bar vs. Great American Casino

The Great American Casino in Lakewood gambled on its card games and ample parking to carry them to victory. Are you serious? Marrow, which makes no apologies for food steeped in indulgence, delivered squiggles of meaty, housemade daily cavatellienmeshed in a Mornay sauce and served in a cast iron pot. It's elegance of the re-imagined comfort food. Marrow and its 83 percent of the votes moves into the Second Round.

Game 4: RAM Restaurant & Brewery vs. Southern Kitchen

RAM Restaurant & Brewery has fancy newsletters, delicious burgers and award-winning beer. Get out the elbow macaroni and cheese, Grandma, it's Tournament of Mac and Cheese time! Southern Kitchen has down home Southern cooking ... including delicious mac and cheese - a winning formula, at least according to yesterday's votes. The Sixth Avenue joint grabbed 84 percent of the votes, and a March 28 date with Marrow in Second Round action.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

The Forum Tacoma

BITE

Marrow Kitchen + Bar

Southern Kitchen

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's First Round mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.



Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: C.I. Shenanigans (3017 Ruston Way, Tacoma) vs. Applebee's (10407 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood)

Game 2: Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Tides Tavern (2925 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor)

Game 3: Topside Bar and Grill (215 Wilkes St., Steilacoom) vs. Engine House No. 9 (611 N. Pine St., Tacoma)

Game 4: Paesan Kitchen and Bar (1705 Dock St., Tacoma) vs. Southbay Dickerson's BBQ (619 Legion Way NE, Olympia)

At 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.

March 21, 2015 at 8:20am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: Yesterday's results and Day 3 battles ...

Marrow Kitchen + Bar serves its mac and cheese in a baking pot. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

SATURDAY, MARCH 21: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

Typically, the only metal associated with macaroni and cheese is a post-concert feast from metal musicians. In other mac and cheese metal news, Kraft Foods, the company synonymous with macaroni and cheese, has recalled more than 6 million boxes due to the possibility that they contain small bits of metal. If you have a box of Kraft mac and cheese in your pantry right now and you're wondering if you're about to eat metal for dinner, check the "best when used by" date. The recalled boxes are 7.25 ounces in size and have dates that range from Sept. 18, 2015 through Oct. 11, 2015 and have a "C2" code. Then, slap yourself in the face, and visit one of the 64 South Sound mac and cheese establishments participating in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese (see bracket in the sidebar).

Without further ado, let's take a gander at yesterday's results, and then preview today's matches. ...

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: The Galley at 7 Seas Brewing vs. The Rock Wood Fired Kitchen

The Galley food truck sits outside the 7 Seas Brewing taproom in downtown Gig Harbor with the goal of serving its huge portion of mac and cheese in eight minutes or less. That's a winning formula, at least according to the vote totals in the Tournament of Mac and Cheese. The Galley sunk The Rock Wood Fired Kitchen with 66 percent of the votes, and moves on to the Second round.

Game 2: Bar Bistro vs. BJ's Restaurant

Bar Bistro grabbed 91 percent of the votes over BJ's Restaurant at the Tacoma Mall. Bar Bistro chef Jason Blessum takes fusilli pasta, roasted garlic puree, heavy cream and a balanced blend of smoked cheddar, aged white cheddar, pepper jack, Parmesan, Asiago and Romano cheeses, tops it with bacon bread crumbs, shaved Parmesan, then garnishes it with grape tomatoes and basil oil. BJ's wall of televisions blasting the basketball tournament apparently doesn't have a mac and cheese that can compete with Bar Bistro's A game.

Game 3: The Valley vs. Half Pint Pizza Pub

In yesterday's closest battle, The Valley edged out Half Pint Pizza Pub with 53 percent of the votes. Both joints serve tasty mac and cheese, worthy craft beer and rockin' tunes. No hocus pocus, just focus from the folks at The Valley, who converted their Port of Tacoma afternoon crowd into votes.

Game 4: Pacific Grill vs. Tugboat Annie's

Pacific Grill quickly comes to the lips of many when discussing the best food in the South Sound. So, perhaps it isn't a surprise that the fine-dining restaurant in downtown Tacoma won handily, kicking Tugboat Annie's to the dock while garnering a respectable 71 percent of the vote. Pacific Grill moves into the Second Round to face The Valley March 27.

Let's weed through the cheese. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

The Galley at 7 Seas Brewing

Bar Bistro

The Valley

Pacific Grill

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's First Round mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.



Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: Harmon Brewery & Eatery (1938 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) vs. McNamara's Pub & Eatery (1595 Wilmington Dr., DuPont)

Game 2: Over The Moon Café (709 Opera Alley, Tacoma) vs. Quickie Too (1324 Martin Luther King Jr. Way, Tacoma)

Game 3: Westside Tavern (1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia) vs. The Swiss Restaurant & Pub (1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma)

Game 4: El Gaucho (2119 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) vs. Panera Bread (5606 Lakewood Towne Center Dr., Lakewood)

At 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.

March 19, 2015 at 7:59am

Tournament of Mac and Cheese: First Round Battles ...

Fifteenth seed Red Robin (pictured) takes on second seed Boathouse 19 in Tournament of Mac and Cheese action today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

THURSDAY, MARCH 19: FOUR MAC AND CHEESE GAMES ON THE DOCKET >>>

It's March ... meaning Madness is in the air. Sixty-four well-oiled competitors (for the most part) will tip off and do battle - working their way through the tediously constructed bracket and toward ultimate supremacy.

We speak, of course, of the Weekly Volcano's Tournament of Mac and Cheese, which kicks off today. This year's Tournament of Mac and Cheese marks the continuation of an epic winning streak that began in 2010 with the Volcano's Tournament of Tacos, and continued with our Tournament of Pizza, Tournament of Breakfast, Tournament of Sandwiches and Tournament of Burgers.

This year, the tradition continues. The Volcano has the South Sound's best mac and cheese in its crosshairs, and it's up to readers to decide who walks away the winner.

Beginning today, 64 cheesy competitors (some baked) will tip off and do battle - working their way through the tediously constructed bracket and toward ultimate supremacy. Only one can be crowned king - so vote DAILY right here on our Served in the South Sound blog. Use the bracket to your righ to guide you through the matchups.

Then, at 6 p.m. Monday, April 6, join us at McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont for the Official Tournament of Mac and Cheese Party - our winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Championship game.

The daily mac and cheese battles here on Served in the South Sound are sponsored by BITE Restaurant & Bar inside the Hotel Murano.

OK, let's check out today's First Round mac and cheese battles. Vote for one mac and cheese dish per battle. Voting for today's mac and cheese battles ends at 11:45 p.m.




Tomorrow's First Round Mac and Cheese Battles

Game 1: The Galley at 7 Seas Brewing (3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor) vs. The Rock Wood Fired Kitchen (1920 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma)

Game 2: Bar Bistro (1718 99th St. E., Tacoma) vs. BJ's Restaurant (4502 S. Steele St. Tacoma)

Game 3: The Valley (1206 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma) vs. Half Pint Pizza Pub (2710 Sixth Ave., Tacoma)

Game 4: Pacific Grill (1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) vs. Tugboat Annie's (2100 W. Bay Dr. NW, Olympia)

March 2, 2015 at 10:26am

Eat This Now: Special Vietnamese Curry with Sweet Potato

Eat the Special Vietnamese Curry with Sweet Potato at the Long Beach Café in Lakewood now.

I admittedly don't dine in Lakewood nearly enough. It's not an area I'm opposed to visiting but I find myself always in a rush when in that city. My hairdresser happens to be in Lakewood, but those rare times I whisk myself away for some primping and pampering, the primping is the only time I'm able to sneak away from my domestic duties. Lunch is never on the agenda.

Last week was an exception. I found myself beautified and ready for some dinner but was at a loss for what I was really hankering for. My lovely hairdresser recommended Long Beach Café for Vietnamese and Thai cuisine. Jackie's Words Of Advice: one, always listen to your hairdresser; two, eat the Special Vietnamese Curry with Sweet Potato ($10.25-$11.25) at the Long Beach Café.

Aromatic ingredients including lemongrass, onion, cilantro and garlic are all sautéed and swimming in a savory coconut milk yellow curry sauce. Add generous portions of tender chunks of sweet potato and your choice of marinated chicken, beef, pork, tofu or prawns, specify your preferred spice level, top that all with roasted peanuts and you're in heaven.

The matrimony of flavors is divine and if you're anything like me eating the entire dish regardless of how full you've already become halfway through will be the best course of action.

LONG BEACH CAFÉ, 10 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Monday-Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday, 10114 Bridgeport Way SW, Lakewood, 253.565.3269

Filed under: Eat This Now, Lakewood,

January 18, 2015 at 8:42am

Seahawks Football: Watch today's championship game in a brewery drinking newly released beer ...

Pacific Brewing assistant brewer Bethany Carlsen has a Potomac Oatmeal Stout with your name on it during the game today. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

The Seattle Seahawks thoroughly beat the Green Bay Packers 36-16 on the opening night of the NFL season - but a lot has changed since Sept. 4. Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers took a chill pill and is the favorite to win League MVP. Looking to become the first team since New England from the 2003 and '04 seasons to reach consecutive Super Bowls, the Seahawks have won seven straight and 10 of 11, and has reason to feel cautiously optimistic about the next step. The NFC's final game of the 2014-2015 season looks to be a better game than its first. The NFC championship game kicks off at 12:05 p.m. at CenturyLink Field, broadcasted on FOX.

Sure, you love Seahawks football, but you also love South Sound craft beer. You often order something you've never tasted, just to see what it's like. You might have gotten into the habit of filling a growler at a brewery every weekend, or stopping by the neighborhood bottle shop two or three times during the week. But, have you watched the Seahawks in a championship game in a brewery drinking a newly released beer?

Of course you will. ...

Pacific Brewing & Malting Co.

Potomac Oatmeal Stout

ABV: 5.9%, IBU: 43

Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. might have opened in downtown Tacoma Sept. 20, 2014, but yesterday they released their first stout. Paying tribute to the Tacoma's original taproom, Potomac Sample Room - which was located at the original Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. on Jefferson Street over 100 years ago - the almost black Potomac Oatmeal Stout could be called a boozy candy bar. Not that this stout is sweet. It's not; it's just the flavors sweeping across my tongue could just as easily describe haute chocolat - creamy, chewy, chocolate and rich like cocoa powder stirred into ice cream. It's silky smooth, and easy to drink.

SEAHAWKS VIEWING: Their family-friendly taproom has plenty of communal seating and standing room to watch the game on the sole big screen. There's no food service, but outside food is allowed, and Sammy's Pizza will deliver. If you pull up on your bicycle, you'll receive a $1 off your first pint (entire month of January), thanks to Downtown On The Go. 610 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.2337

Top Rung Brewing

Lacey Dark Lager

ABV: 5.8%, IBU: 27

Yesterday, standing shoulder-to-shoulder at Wingman Brewers' Porterpalooza, one of my shoulders was pressing against Top Rung Brewing's co-owner Casey Sobol and the other shoulder against Top Rung's salesman Mike Besser (BrewDad). "Aren't you releasing a new beer today?" I asked the gents. "Yes, our Lacey Dark Lager, but it's Porterpalooza. What are you going to do?" replied Sobol. They were actually dropping off kegs, so we raced back to their Lacey brewery for a sip of the new dark beauty. The Lacey Dark Lager, a tribute to their hometown, is Top Rung's ninth beer since Sobol and head brewer Jason Stoltz opened the larger brewery and taproom in April 2014. The session able dark lager goes down easy, with Pilsner, Munich, Black Prinz and Midnight Wheat for the grain bill and Sterling hops. It's crisp and refreshing, yet dark and malty.

SEAHAWKS VIEWING: A giant television screen hangs before a sea of bench tables, high-tops, couches and bar stools. The family-friendly, firehouse-theme taproom served limited snacks, but the Red Rover Grill food truck will be parked outside the brewery, with a wings special. 8343 Hogum Bay Lane NE, Lacey, 360.915.8766

Three Magnets Brewing Co.

Karakterbier Brett Saison

ABV: 6.2%, IBU: 40

Evergreen State College alumni Nathan and Sara Reilly, who have been running Darby's Cafe for the past nine years, opened Three Magnets Brewing Co. in downtown Olympia this past November. They hit the lottery when they hired head brewer and "Local Sourcing Liaison" Pat Jansen, who also hit the lottery with assistant brewer Jeff Stokes, who also runs the Three Magnets bar. Together, they brew a wide range of craft beers, but it's their Funkatorium section of their beer menu that draws beer enthusiasts like a magnet. By Funkatorium, I mean their sours, farmhouse ales and white ales, especially when they play with Brettanomyces (a.k.a. Brett) - a slow-growing wild yeast that when added to beer can give it a funky barnyard taste. Earlier this week the Brett was back when they released their Karakterbier Brett Saison, a Brett finished hoppy farmhouse ale made with German Pilsner and Vienna malts for a "peppery, floral, fruity, spicy nose that carries over onto the tongue with flavors of crackers, bread, pineapple, and a light farmhouse funk finishing with a dry and refreshing bitterness," as stated on their Facebook. The description nails it; and pairs well with their Two Mini Burgers ($7.50) off their happy hour menu.

SEAHAWKS VIEWING: Months before their Three Magnet's opening, the Reillys squeezed a ginormous big screen television in their living room. Seahawks football, as well as soccer, is important to them, and the huge screen was purchased when the brewery was just studs and nails. During Seahawks games, the Three Magnet's happy hour menu is on, which means $1 off pints 50 cents off snifters and delicious, gourmet appetizers range from #4-$7.50, including the 3.5-ounce Painted Hills all natural house ground chuck Two Mini Burgers(!). The giant TV sits in the taproom, but there is a family-friendly dining room on the other side of the brewery. 600 Franklin St. SE, Olympia, 360.972.2481

7 Seas Brewing

Belgian Blonde, Tap Room Reserve
ABV: 6.2%, IBU: 15

This week, Gig Harbor's 7 Seas Brewing released its Belgian Blonde, a spicy medium-bodied beauty specifically for its taproom. An authentic Belgian Trappist yeast strain provides a delicate Belgian character; European Pilsner, Aromatic, and a touch of domestic Pale ale malts deliver a grainy, slightly up-front malt sweetness; while Golding hops - consisting of a group of traditional English aroma varieties which have been cultivated since 1790 - accent the distinctly spicy, peppery and fruity yeast driven phenolic character of this medium-bodied, slightly creamy blonde ale. The clean, refreshing brew is poundable yet flavorful.

SEAHAWKS VIEWING: Streaming NFL games is not restricted to sneak peaks during church. The Gig Harbor brewery might not house televisions, but 7 Seas bartender Max says many folks nestle up to the taproom's long tables and stream the games on their computers. FOX Sports GO has streamed 101 NFL Games on its website and tablet app, including the playoff games. 3006 Judson St., Gig Harbor, 253.514.8129

November 11, 2014 at 9:31am

Veterans Day discounts or free meals to servicemembers and veterans

National Parks and Army Corps of Engineer Recreation area are waiving entry fees for veterans, servicemembers and their families, Nov. 11. Many restaurants and retailers are also offering deals to vets and servicemembers. Photo credit: David Vergun

Many restaurants and retailers are offering Veterans Day discounts or free meals to servicemembers and veterans. Some offers even extend to family members.

National Parks and Army Corps of Engineers recreation areas are waiving entrance fees for veterans, servicemembers and their families Nov. 11.

Most commercial establishments require proof of military service such as a military ID card or current leave and earnings statement, a driver's license with veteran's designation, DD 214 discharge paperwork, a veteran's organization card or a photograph in uniform.

Many of the companies offering deals are franchises, and officials recommend calling ahead to verify participation of specific locations, along with dates and times of the offers.

The following list was primarily compiled by military community services staff members and does not claim to be all-inclusive:

Salty's at Redondo: The seafood restaurant in Des Moines offers a free slice of Salty's famous white chocolate mousse cake and a take home $20 gift card to those who have served in the U.S. armed forces.

Harmon Tap Room: The brewery in Tacoma's Stadium District honors those who served with a 25 percent discount off their meals today, with military ID.

Duke's Chowder House: The seafood restaurant will give away its ward-winning chowder to all veterans today, which happens to be International Chowder Day.

Lunchbox Laboratory: The gourmet burger chain offers a free meal up to $15 to all veterans.

Vince's Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria: The Federal Way Italian joint offers a 20 percent discount to all veterans and active-duty veterans.

BJ's Restaurant: Free lunch entree or free one-topping mini pizza at dinner is being offered.

Famous Dave's: Participating locations are offering different meal deals for current or retired military on Veterans Day.

Hooters: A free meal of 10 hot wings available to military veterans and service members all day on Veterans Day at participating Hooters restaurants. A drink purchase is required.

Krispy Kreme: A free doughnut and small coffee available only at participating Krispy Kreme stores. Offer available to all active-duty, retirees & veterans on Nov. 11.

Red Robin: Free Red's Tavern Double and Bottomless Steak Fries for all Red Robin guests with a military ID or proof of service. Red Robin is also partnering with Heinz for Veterans Day to benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Red Robin will also donate $10,000 to the Wounded Warrior Project.

Little Caesars Pizza: U.S. military and vets get a free order of Crazy Bread, with proof of military status/service. Call local Little Caesars to make sure they are participating in this deal.

7-Eleven: Veterans, active members of the U.S. military and their immediate families can stop by 7-Eleven on Veterans Day and get a free small Slurpee drink. Just bring proof of current or former U.S. military service to participating stores.

Applebee Restaurants: A free meal will be provided to all active or retired service members and veterans. Proof of service is required. Locations can be checked at www.applebees.com.

Bed Bath & Beyond: Service members can receive 20 percent off their entire purchase Nov 9, 10 and 11, in-store only. U.S. military ID required at time of purchase.

Big Lots: A discount of 10 percent on entire purchase is being offered to active-duty military, Guard/Reserve, veterans, retirees and their immediate family members, with a valid ID.

Cabela's: The store's standard employee discount is offered to all U.S. military veterans, active-duty military, Guard/Reserve, law enforcement, fire and emergency medical services personnel. Discounts varies from 5 percent to 20 percent, depending on the item.

Chilis: Free entree available to veterans and active- duty military from 11 a.m. -5 p.m. on Veterans Day.

Cost Plus World Market: A discount of 20 percent off entire in-store purchase available to U.S. military. ID required at time of purchase.

Denny's: Get free all-you-can-eat pancakes at participating Denny's restaurants.

Great Clips: On Nov. 11 customers who come in for service can get a free haircut card to give to their favorite veteran. Veterans can also receive a free haircut or get the free haircut card. Haircuts are redeemable until Dec. 31.

Home Depot: Offering all active-duty personnel, reservists, retired military, veterans and their families a 10-percent discount off their purchases in honor of Veteran's Day. The offer is valid on purchases of up to $2,000 for a maximum of $200 off and is available at The Home Depot stores, The Home Depot Design Center locations, Yardbirds and EXPO Design Center(R) locations.

JC Penny: Veterans, active-duty military and family members can receive an extra 20 percent off in stores Nov. 6-11 with coupon.

Lowe's Military Discount: Lowe's Companies, Inc. will offer all active, reserve, honorably discharged, retired military personnel and their immediate family members a 10-percent discount on in-store U.S. purchases made during the Veterans Day holiday. The discount is available on in-stock and special order purchases up to $5,000. To qualify, individuals must present a valid military ID or other proof of service. Excluded from the discount are sales via Lowes.com, previous sales, and purchases of services or gift cards.

McCormick & Schmick's: Complimentary lunch or dinner is offered at participating restaurants to veterans. Verification of service is required (retired ID card or DD214). McCormick & Schmick's highly encourages reservations for the Veterans Appreciation Event as tables fill up quickly for this event each year.

Massage Envy: Participating locations in the Washington, D.C, Maryland, and northern Virginia region are offering a complimentary one-hour massage to active military, veterans and spouses on Nov. 11.

Menchie's Free Frozen Yogurt: On Veterans Day, veterans and active-duty personnel get a free 6 oz. frozen yogurt. Show a valid ID or be in uniform to receive.

National Parks: Fee-free days offered to all visitors at more than 100 national parks that usually charge entrance fees. And making the fun even more affordable, many national park concessioners are joining the National Park Service in welcoming visitors with their own special offers.

Olive Garden: Veterans and active -duty military get a free meal on Veterans Day. With proof of service, choose from a special menu with breadsticks and a choice of soup or salad.

Outback Steakhouse: As an expression of Outback Steakhouse's appreciation to s veterans and active-duty military, a free Bloomin' Onion and Coca Cola will be available to them at every Outback in the country.

Red Lobster: Free appetizer available on Veterans Day with military ID or proof of service. Vets may choose from a select list of appetizers.

Sizzler: Veterans and military can show proof of service to get a free 6-oz steak entree with the purchase of a second one.

Sports Authority: All Veterans and military personnel can stop at their local Sports Authority store to receive 15 percent off their entire purchase.

T.G.I. Friday's: Free Lunch offered for all U.S. military and veterans. Uniforms should be worn, if permitted by the service, or military ID (old or current) can be shown.

The Weekly Volcano contributed to this story.

October 31, 2014 at 11:17am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Oakhouse Restaurant & Bar

Oakhouse's Mac and Moore Cheese

I've always loved October. Flora is in full regalia for its last fashion show, summer's hiccups butt into winter's tentative icy thrusts, and animals are ferociously busy with gathering, storing and various forms of copulation wherever the eye may fall. The best part of October, though, has to be the supernatural event that peeks out from the edge of the calendar - that beautiful, exuberantly wicked holiday that provokes us to worship the dead, revel in the unknown and rally for all that is spooky. Halloween has to be the greatest lasting expression of residual pagan ritual, tapping into our fear, perversion and lust for candy in one simultaneous, glorious, holy night.

Being in the food and drink writing business, I decided to pay all the respect I could muster to this great holiday, and went on the search for a haunted restaurant. Asking around, I could find neither employee nor patron with a story anymore haunting than missing saltshakers and banshee-like head waitresses. So I went looking for a haunted restaurant on my own.

Yesterday, I drove through Oakbrook's notorious enormous puddles of water to the Oakhouse Restaurant & Bar, sure to feel some leftover presence in the surrounding oak trees, or perhaps a specter in the pro shop - but instead I ate my mac and cheese with only a sole happy bartender as company.

Really, food does a lot of its own haunting, and a restaurant is teeming with ghosts - memories so powerful that they seem to beckon from beyond the present time, circumstance and behavior. I don't need a plate of mac and cheese to float across the room to feel the presence of something untouchable at the table with me. The sixth sense is probably the most powerful tool when it comes to eating, and it is created by thousands of experiences, feelings and residual spirit. We're all haunted every day.

I grew up in the Lakewood neighborhood of Oakbrook. The Oakbrook Golf & Country Club was my playground. It was where I experienced my first kiss. It was where I experienced my first dance. It was where I experienced what scotch can do to a body (that's for another scary story day). I was fortunate to have grown up in such a happy, safe environment during the '70s. I also ate a lot of mac and cheese, burgers and fries in the old clubhouse.

Professional golfer Ryan Moore and his buddies bought the Oakbrook Golf & Country Club several years ago and renamed it the Oakbrook Golf Club, opened it up to the public, remodeled the clubhouse's interior, let the weeds have our Turkey Bowl field and sold the pool and tennis courts to condo developers. They saved the golf course from fiancial ruin, but eerie fencing and weeds haunts those who once filled the area with smiles, laughter and first-wedgie screams.

Just as you might be dressing up today, the Oakhouse dresses up its mac and cheese. Named after Moore, its Mac and Moore Cheese takes a pile of fun creste pasta, tosses in Beecher's Flagship white cheddar, thin onion stripes, a touch of garlic and 10,000 toasted bread crumbs, then serves it in a ginormous, heated bowl. This is the stinkiest macaroni and cheese I have tasted or smelled since I began ... but in a good way. The combination of the robust Beecher's Flagship semi-hard cow's milk cheese, onions and tinge of garlic give rise to a unique taste that's a welcome change from standard strong cheddar flavors. Panko breadcrumbs provide a wonderful buttery crunch.

Yes, I prefer the old Oakbrook, but this mac and cheese dish helps create new wonderful memories.

OAKHOUSE RESTAURANT & BAR, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 8102 Zircon Dr. SW, Lakewood, 253.584.8888

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

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

September 26, 2014 at 2:45pm

Mac and Cheese Madness: Applebee's

Applebee's 4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders is a whirlwind of flavors.

Let's face it. Applebee's is genius. It knows people exiting shopping areas will be drained  - money and energy - to the point of making crazy-ass decisions. It knows its "2 for $20" appetizer and two entrees special will draw people like magnets, right to its lounge with shiny cocktails and Maroon 5 loops. Speaking of lounge, Applebee's drops its beer and emotional fulfillment right in the middle of the joint. Genius. The single's bar meets family dining captures all the middle income.

Applebee's certainly had the genius hat riding high when "4-Cheese Mac & Cheese with Honey Pepper Chicken Tenders" hit the white board. Three delicious, completely different tastes in the same bowl save time and money. Tiny bits of Applewood smoked bacon plus fried chicken on top of cheese-loaded pasta is brilliant. And, the whopping 810 calories with 35 grams of fat and 1,720 mg of sodium will help your tired, retailed-out self reach comatose in front of new fall TV delight, The McCarthys.

The only aspect of the dish that isn't genius is the flavor. It's a tad bland.

APPLEBEE'S, 11 a.m. to midnight Sunday-Thursday, 11 a.m.-1 a.m. Friday and Saturday, 10407 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood, 253.983.8884

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

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

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