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November 13, 2014 at 12:14pm

Aaron's Behavior: Chef Aaron Grissom on Top Chef, Episode 5

A scene from "Top Chef" Episode 5 featuring Chef Aaron Grissom. Photos courtesy of Bravo TV/bravotv.com

Aaron Grissom, of Bravo TV's competition reality show Top Chef, reigns from a little town that spells itself with a big-ass T: Tacoma, Washington. Chef Aaron Grissom ran the kitchen at Dirty Oscar's Annex on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue, before leaving to cook in L.A. Anyone who has worked with Chef Aaron knows his moments - his good days and his bad days. They've seen him at his most inappropriate, when he's trying really hard to not blow shit up, and when he's just simply had it with whatever server/line cook/manager is in his face. These tell-all personality traits are interesting to watch on an obviously well edited reality television program. Every Thursday, I recap Bravo TV's Top Chef and rate Chef Aaron's behavior on the previous night's episode. I call the series "Aaron's Behavior." I've also turned the show into a drinking game (natch). I call the game the Grissom Gulp. Viewers must take one sip for every profanity word uttered out of Aaron's mouth, and two shots for that "eat shit" grin.

Top Chef, Season 12, Episode 5

This week's episode of Bravo TV's Top Chef starts us out with the chefs together in their resident kitchen, all hanging out amicably. Chef Katsuji is ribbing the other chefs, Chef Doug Adams states that having Katsuji around is like having a little brother, and Chef Aaron Grissom is even caught laughing at Katsuji's shenanigans. The episode looks promising that perhaps they will be focusing on another chef as being the star asshole, possibly taking a little heat off our boy Aaron. Remember, it's all up to the show's editors and how they want the chefs to be perceived. 

In the quick fire challenge the chefs are paired up, head-to-head, to compete and make their dishes. Katsuji is first up and picks Aaron as his immediate competitor. Aaron chooses smoked salmon as the dish he and Katsuji must prepare in this battle, a brilliant choice it seems as Aaron reigns from the Pacific Northwest, land of all things salmon. At this point, Grissom Gulp players, we have no drinks for you.  The show has not highlighted Aaron's foul chef-mouth as it usually does. Hell, Chef Mei is throwing the adult verbiage out more than anyone.

The judges circle the room, tasting dish after dish, finally getting to Katsuji's and Aaron's smoked salmon plates. Katsuji has created a sake-infused chipotle broth with smoked jalapeños and salmon, which sounds absolutely divine. I love anything smoked, and anything jalapeño. The rest of this fantastic sounding dish is just extra frosting on the jalapeño cupcake.

Read more...

November 6, 2014 at 1:59pm

Aaron's Behavior: Following Chef Aaron Grissom on Top Chef, Episode 4

A scene from "Top Chef" Episode 4 with Chef Aaron Grissom highlighted on the far right. Photos courtesy of Bravo TV/bravotv.com

Before I review last night's Top Chef, I'd like to take a moment to make a statement. I write this column not just because the Weekly Volcano pays me in premium vodka, but also because Aaron Grissom is a friend, a past co-worker at Dirty Oscar's Annex on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue and a fabulous chef whom I support. I call him an asshole and poke fun at his demeanor because of those three reasons. I rib him as I would any friend. In reality, there are some things about Aaron Grissom that Top Chef viewers may not know due to the fact that this show is so obviously edited to highlight drama and conflict.

Chef Aaron is utterly and completely passionate about food. He works hard, really hard, often 16 hours a day - only to go home for a couple of hours, nap, and come right back to work because he dreamt of a great menu idea and was dying to work it out. His heart and love for food is what drives him to be so cutting edge and self-taught in the culinary world. I could only imagine what it feels like to be so driven, work so hard, get so little sleep and then push yourself to become even better. ... You have to break every once in a while and let that passion out - sometimes by yelling at those around you.

It's a worldly fact that pretty much every chef is an asshole. Aaron Grissom is not the first, nor the only one that has ever been in the Top Chef spotlight for not getting along with his contestant counterparts.

In closing to my brief diatribe, I'd like to quote one of Aaron Grissom's closest friends, former boss and owner of Tacoma restaurant Happy Belly, Jennifer Johnson:

"Even after a 14-hour day, he made time to listen to the guys that worked for him. ... They'd tell him their family troubles, etc. He checked on sick friends, was in tune with people's moods and feelings around him and always - and I do mean always - asked how he could help, what he could do to lighten the load, help them be happy. Aaron would give up his shift meal in order to give it to a local homeless boy who would walk through the restaurant's alley on a regular basis."

So don't always believe the Top Chef television editors, TMZ or even Santa when they cast a negative glow on a television reality star. But, what you can believe is that even after this show ends, Chef Aaron Grissom is still a good guy with a kind heart, and I am still going to throw him under the bus with this column known as Aaron's Behavior. Let's drink!

Aaron's Behavior: Top Chef, Season 12, Episode 4

Grissom Gulp participants, within the 30 seconds of Top Chef, Episode Four, you should have had three drinks. Damn that Grissom and his foul mouth!

Still in the opening sequence, Chef Keriann goes into her room, upset that she misses her family. I totally get it. This is the part where I actually start to like her and think to myself how Chef Aaron's probably deserved the verbal punches that flew from Keriann's mouth. Let's just hope she keeps it shut and behaves. Weekly Volcano doesn't have enough premium vodka to pay me for writing "Keriann's Behavior".

For the quick fire challenge, the chefs asked to head over to Boston's notorious bar, Cheers, which inspired the '80s television situation comedy, Cheers. George Wendt, aka "Norm", takes his regular seat upon a corner barstool and is a guest judge next to the beautiful Padma. The chefs are asked to make their own delicious bar dish set to impress both Padma and George.

Chef Aaron makes his famous burger topped with peanut butter, mayo, bacon and a fried egg. Tacomans know this burger. They love this burger. They eat this burger. They breathe this burger.  It's bar food at its best. George and Padma agree and Aaron slides through the middle, neither on top of the winners or bottom of the losers.

Fortunately, Chef Gregory (winner of the past two elimination challenges) had some equilibrium issues and dropped the toppings to his dish, so his food was served incomplete. Chef Katsuji squeezes in for the win with a beautiful mahi-mahi ceviche accented with lime and a jalapeño-laden salsa. I want this. Now.

Teams of three must create a menu for this episode's double elimination challenge, and besides Chef Aaron's brash behavior in the kitchen, the evening runs smoothly. Aaron is teamed up with Katsuji and Gregory, and immediately Gregory labels himself something of a babysitter, seeing as how Katsuji and Aaron have a volatile history, according to television editing.

Aaron, Katsuji and Gregory are the quintessential dream team of this double elimination challenge and sail through with impeccable menu items such as seared scallops, homemade ravioli and peppercorn strip loin.  During this kitchen and serving sequence, Aaron swears only four times, gives that eat-shit grin zero times, and argues with Katsuji minimally. With that, Grissom Gulp participants, drink!

Ultimately, Aaron's team pulls out the "win" and come out of this one unscathed. Unfortunately Aaron's pal, Chef James Rigato, is sent home on charges of making a flavorless seafood salad. Chef Rebecca LaMalfa was also eliminated for making something really boring, which suits her personality because she is quite possibly one of the most forgettable contestants this season. 

SEE ALSO

Who is Chef Aaron Grissom, and what's up with the Grissom Gulp drinking game?

October 30, 2014 at 5:55pm

Aaron's Behavior: Rating Chef Aaron Grissom's performance on Top Chef, Episode 3

A scene from "Top Chef" Episode 3 with Chef Aaron Grissom highlighted on the far right. Photos courtesy of Bravo TV/bravotv.com

Aaron Grissom, of Bravo TV's competition reality show Top Chef, reigns from a little town that spells itself with a big-ass T: Tacoma, Washington. Chef Aaron Grissom ran the kitchen at Dirty Oscar's Annex on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue, before leaving to cook in L.A. Anyone who has worked with Chef Aaron knows his moments - his good days and his bad days. They've seen him at his most inappropriate, when he's trying really hard to not blow shit up, and when he's just simply had it with whatever server/line cook/manager is in his face. These tell-all personality traits are interesting to watch on an obviously well edited reality television program. Every Thursday, I recap Bravo TV's Top Chef and rate Chef Aaron's behavior on the previous night's episode. I call the series "Aaron's Behavior." I've also turned the show into a drinking game (natch). I call the game the Grissom Gulp. Viewers must take one sip for every profanity word uttered out of Aaron's mouth, and two shots for that "eat shit" grin.

Top Chef, Season 12, Episode 3

Opening scene - chefs in the stew room - and right off the bat Bravo TV highlights an interaction between our very own Tacoma asshole, Chef Aaron Grisson, and good ol' Chef Ron Eyester. Whether it was taken out of context or not, the television "Editing Gods" (let's call them Laverne & Shirley) make it appear as though Ron Eyester is blaming Aaron for the departure of Chef Joy Crump at last week's elimination.

Aw, hell, it wasn't editing at all; Eyester actually implies that last week's immature spat between Chef Keriann VonRaesfeld and Grissom was the reason Crump went home. Rightfully so, Chef Aaron defends himself and calls bullshit on Crump's accusations. I love how these people are quick to say Aaron is "blowing up" at people when in actuality they have NO IDEA what excellent behavior Aaron has been exhibiting. Good job, Aaron.

After the Top Chef opening bumper, Chef Aaron gets a sweet little bio highlight that lets you peek into a window of why he comes off as such an asshole. In the bio, Aaron states that he is working with Bow & Truss in L.A. This is false. Currently Chef Aaron is looking to return back up toward Seattle and would love to meet a sexy restaurant wanting to hook up with a great, creative chef. So, to all Tacoma/Seattle area restaurants: Holla!

The first quick-fire is a sudden death elimination, and the Editing Gods (L&S) prepare us for Aaron's miserable monkfish cheek display by showcasing his lack of monkfish knowledge and ultimately his panicked cooking style. Aaron's competitors are caught on film voicing their disdain for Chef Aaron and wishes for him to be sent home.

Well, the masses got their wish - sort of.

Chef Aaron loses the quick-fire challenge and immediately picks Chef Katie Weinner to compete head-to-head against in another challenge, all in order to save his life. If Katie wins, Aaron goes home. If Aaron wins, they both stay.

Grissom Gulp tally: Three drinks for foul language, six drinks for that eat-shit Aaron Grissom smirk.

In a tense battle, Chef Katie Weinner chooses to cook a predictable, boring tomato pasta dish while Chef Aaron steps it up and gets creative with a puréed shrimp noodle. My guess is since Chef Katie looks like the rat from the movie Ratatouille, that she was inspired to cook something Euro with a tomato base. 

New Grissom Gulp rule: Let's just go ahead and say that for the rest of the season, whenever Chef Katie cooks something with a tomato base we all have to drink. If she cooks the actual ratatouille dish, we all do 30-second keg stands - because we're mature like that.

Chef Katie tells the camera that she thinks Chef Aaron is immature and that she would hate to lose to him. More competitors speak about rooting for Katie, and most would love to see Aaron pack his bags. Dude, Aaron, they don't like you. What the hell did you do to these people?

For the main elimination challenge, Top Chef contestants must create a dish using either peanuts, popcorn, fried dough, cotton candy or pretzels. They will then serve the judges on the field of Boston's Fenway Park. Chef Aaron chooses pretzels and does a play on hot dogs by crushing the pretzels and creating a "bun" while filling it with meat. Chef Aaron receives mostly positive reviews and fans are relieved that he appears to be in the safe zone as there are chefs with worse criticism for their dishes. Part of that made me smile: Chef Keriann gets blasted and becomes one of the bottom three chefs up for elimination.

Back in the stew room, before the judges make their elimination decision, Chef Aaron is asked to reflect on his meal by one of the other chefs. As Aaron answers the question, Chef Katsuji Tanabe is a disrespectful turd who consistently mutters under his breath while interrupting Chef Aaron as he speaks. Again, Aaron sticks up for himself and all of the sudden he's the bad guy.

During this brief, yet heated exchange between Katsuji and Aaron, Grissom Gulp participants should have counted FIVE times Aaron saying the "F word". Wow. That was an impressive amount of profanity and I, for one, am impressed. Grissom Gulp tally: At least 10.

Ultimately, good ol' Chef Ron gets the boot and is sent packing his knives for an odd popcorn soup accented with a fish ball.

After this week's episode, I've noticed a few things. First, I am reminded of Top Chef Season Two's Chef Marcel Vigneron. Much like Chef Aaron, Marcel is also from the Seattle area (Bainbridge Island), a chef who is cutting edge with cooking techniques, height-challenged and was also hated by his peers while often being deemed an "asshole".  Not sure what to make of this coincidence just yet;l we shall see what happens as the season goes on. Maybe Chef Aaron will get his head shaved by the other chefs and come in at second place.

Also, it's apparent that anyone who has conflict with Chef Aaron receives the kiss of death to some degree. All who butted heads with Aaron were in the bottom three this episode including Katsuji, Ron and Keriann (twice). I think I'm on to something with that theory, and with that I'd like to say, "Drink!"

Score of Aaron's Behavior, Episode 3: A-.  I feel as though Chef Aaron has struggled with a lot of hatred from his peers and is doing a good job keeping his cool, minus the one blow up at Katsuji, but that was well deserved. I no longer want him to make me tacos.

SEE ALSO
Top Chef, Season 12, Episodes 1 and 2 recap

October 28, 2014 at 3:38pm

Eat This Now: Parm Tots

Parm Tots: Dirt Oscar's tested, Guy Fieri approved. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Yes, ANOTHER vegetarian Eat This Now recommendation. Well, uh, sort of. I have two words for you: Parm Tots. Well, technically that's two abbreviated words but you catch my drift.

Full disclosure: I worked at Dirty Oscar's Annex two years ago. This was before Chef Aaron Grissom was tearing apart the competition on Top Chef, and during the same time TV personality/Chef Guy Fieri had his red Camaro delivered to DOA for an episode filming of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Among the DOA dishes Fieri featured were the Parm Tots, which further reinforces the fact that these are so damned good. I mean, c'mon, they are Food Network famous!

Larger than your average tater tot, the Parm Tots are handformed from real taters. The name says it all, but know they are crisp, cheesy, deep fried deliciousness. There's not much to dislike, plus they are served with a delectable sun dried tomato aioli for dipping. You can opt to start your dining journey with these bad boys or sub your side of fries with any of the burger/sandwich entrees for a couple bucks more.

Naturally this veggie-based feature is not so good for the waist line but that's how these things sometimes go. Trust me, Parm Tots are worth some extra minutes on the elliptical.

DIRTY OSCAR'S ANNEX, noon to 2 a.m. Monday-Thursday, 8-2 a.m. Friday-Sunday, 2309 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.0588

Filed under: Eat This Now, Media, Tacoma,

October 23, 2014 at 12:42pm

Aaron's Behavior: Following former Dirty Oscar's chef Aaron Grissom on "Top Chef"

Aaron Grissom bio: "Aaron works as the Chef of Bow & Truss in North Hollywood. He grew up in Tacoma, Washington and arrived in Los Angeles just over a year ago. He believes that cooking is something that all people share."

Aaron Grissom, of Bravo TV's competition reality show Top Chef, reigns from a little town that spells itself with a big-ass T: Tacoma, Wash. People from T-town love their gritty roots, and every one of them can be listed under three qualifying labels: "Foodie," "Beer/Wine Snob" or "Coffee Connoisseur." Those who fall under the Foodie label knew and loved Chef Aaron's creations at Dirty Oscar's Annex (D.O.A.) located on Sixth Avenue in Tacoma. He left Dirty Oscar's and is now executive chef at Latin small plates centric Bow & Truss in North Hollywood, California.

Aaron, although not classically trained, is something akin to an idiot savant of culinary skills. Yes, he's a social idiot, but DAMN he's a fucking brilliant chef. 

Having created the amazing menu D.O.A. serves to this day, Aaron nurtured his creative genius in Tacoma by hosting small beer dinners that would sell out in minutes, sometimes with fans begging to add on more dates ... that would then again sell out in minutes.

Featured on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives, Chef Aaron's career was propelled into outer space (known to us humans as "Los Angeles") and he quickly packed his bags, ready to move on to L.A., which is known for their bigger and better restaurants / fake breasts.

He's great; everyone loves his food, blah, blah, blah ... but let's not forget that one thing I mentioned earlier: He's a social idiot.

Ok, I'm exaggerating on the social idiot part. Buy him a Bloody Mary, make it strong, and he's your best friend. Fun, happy, hilarious, etc. ... he's king of the world!  Now, get him behind the line, working the back of the house and he can really demonstrate arrogance in only the most chef-like way possible. Read: He's great; he knows it, so back off before you get caught in the crossfire.

Anyone who has worked with Aaron knows his moments - his good days and his bad days. They've seen him at his most inappropriate, when he's trying really hard to not blow shit up, and when he's just simply had it with whatever server/line cook/manager is in his face. These tell-all personality traits are interesting to watch on an obviously well edited reality television program.

This new column, my friends, will be a gentle recap on Bravo TV's Top Chef and the direct reflections of Aaron's Behavior.

>>> Aaron Grissom, second from left, as seen on Top Chef, Episode 1. Photo courtesy of Bravo TV

Top Chef, Season 12, Episode 1

Let me just quickly recap the first episode. Aaron was only briefly highlighted at the beginning and the end with his nonchalant attitude and how he was completely un-impressed with Mei Lin's list of culinary awards. I don't blame him. She proved she's a good chef by winning the elimination competition, but as you will see in episode two, she is a bossy pants who looks down on her competitors. This looks more to be an ego of a snobby nature, more so than the typical chef's creative ego.

Near the end, Chef Aaron was an idiot for serving Padma a fatty piece of pork belly.  Padma promptly spit out her food into a napkin and chastised Aaron for having a messy workstation.  That moment right there is when I saw Aaron restrain himself. It was his best "eat shit" grin, a classic.  In any other world, he would've gone off the handle at the situation.  Good job, Aaron.

It was at this moment that a new drinking game was invented called the Grissom Gulp.  One sip for every profanity word uttered out of Aaron's mouth, two shots for that "eat shit" grin, and thus the invention of this column, Aaron's Behavior.

Score of Aaron's Behavior, Episode 1: A+

>>> Aaron Grissom, right, as seen on Top Chef, Episode 2. Photo courtesy of Bravo TV

Top Chef, Season 12, Episode 2

When Bravo TV spent all week highlighting the upcoming rift between Chef Aaron and that eternally PMS-ridden Chef Keriann Von Raesfeld, I knew this column idea was a winner. We were going to see the asshole Aaron has always been, and possibly also see his demise on national television.

Opening scene of episode two highlighted Aaron's foul mouth (drink!) and bloated ego when he called Chef Keriann out on her lack of gastro molecular talent. Tensions rose, but more on Keriann's side, wheras Aaron was cool and confident about his opinion.  She was going to hold a grudge - this much was obvious.

Being paired amongst a threesome of competitors to create a dish suited for Boston's firefighters and police officers, Aaron and his teammates (Keriann being one of them) were burdened with being the last to see their basket of ingredients, and only two hours before meal service. 

The evening before the anticipated challenge, Aaron tried to calmly speculate with Keriann about the next day's ingredients, but Keriann was showing a great lack of interest in getting along with Aaron. I must say, I am super proud of Aaron for staying so calm in the face of a defensive woman. 

Many parts of all conversations between Keriann and Aaron were obviously heated only due to the fact that Keriann was acting like a bratty child who wanted to argue just for the sake of arguing. I imagined her being one of those women who would berate someone until they finally defended themselves, and then go around telling everyone what a victim she was in the incident. When Keriann says Aaron is acting like an asshole, and he says, "Trust me, you'll know when I'm being an asshole." ... He's right.  He was being nice.

Aaron, GOOD JOB. You stayed calm, you used your words like a big boy, and you used your brain. Note: By now participants in the Grissom Gulp should've had four drinks for profanity and six for the "eat shit" grin. Although, participants would probably want to barf up their shots with all the times Keriann tipped her hat to the fact that her father was a firefighter.

Later in the episode, Keriann continues to argue with Aaron just for the sake of arguing, with no intension of creating anything cohesive or working as a team. She talks down to Aaron, bosses him around, and is a selfish baby. Poor Stacy Cogswell, third team member and right in the middle of it all. Again, congrats to Aaron for dealing with Keriann. Yes, Aaron, I agree. She is such ... a bitch. 

Score of Aaron's Behavior, Episode 2: A+ (I am sincerely amazed at how well he's behaving. Weird.)

Sidenote: Next week's episode highlights some tension between Aaron and Katsuji Tanabe, who I really like, so this should be good. Aaron, you better behave yourself and make nice with Katsuji because I want him to make me tacos.

SEE ALSO

Weekly Volcano feature story on Chef Aaron Grissom at Dirty Oscar's, 2011

June 9, 2014 at 10:25am

7 local beer secrets learned at 7 Seas Brewing Life Jacket Session IPA rollout

7 Seas Brewing's Life Jacket Session IPA kept this group afloat at Cheney Stadium June 7. Photo credit: Kate Swarner

What's better than an evening full of craft beer from 7 Seas Brewing? An evening full of the craft beer coupled with warm spring weather, minor league baseball and hanging with the best beer minds of the South Sound, including Kendall Jones of the famed Washington Beer Blog.

The Gig Harbor brewery released its summer sipper Life Jacket Session IPA during the Tacoma Rainiers game at Cheney Stadium June 7. The sold-out parking lot crowd could grab the 4.8 ABV, Amarillo and Nugget hops heavy brew at four locations in the stadium. I was fortunate to sip the crisp Life Jacket, while wearing a promotional life jacket, from a top-tier party patio with the 7 Seas crew, including owners Mike Runion and Travis Guterson, quick-witted 7 Seas "Sails Ambassador" Rob Brunsman, plus the crew from Marine View Beverage, and the ownerships from Swiss Restaurant & Pub, The Red Hot, Pint Defiance, Eleven Eleven, among others. It was a night of taps line talk, price-per-pint analysis and new ventures, broken up only with the crack of the bat.

Here are the 7 local beer secrets I learned at the 7 Seas Life Jacket Session IPA release party.

1. 7 Seas Brewing guys aren't as chill as they seem. Yes, they can kick it back, pop open their pride and joy, and discuss life at a ballpark. Guterson digs the breakfast at Art House Café. Brunsman loves to chill the woods behind his house and sip beer around his fire pit. Yet, the wheels constantly churn. 7 Seas became the first microbrewery in the state to offer 16-ounce canned beer producing the same quality, shelf life and taste as a bottle. The brewery was one of the first to pour beers in distinct can-shaped glasses. Their trademark giant red "7" tap handle has a chalkboard up the side, which I believe is another first. Runion and Guterson hold regular staff meetings, calculating every move down to the minute detail, advancing to the next level only after complete satisfaction. They don't distribute outside the state - not until they do Washington right. Judging by their wide distribution, both retail and taps, they are doing it right. Plus, they had a group of people wearing bright orange 7 Seas life jackets at the ballpark Saturday night and the crowd noticed.

>>> 7 Seas Brewing co-owner Mike Runion and The Swiss Restaurant and Pub owner Jack McQuade at the Life Jacket Session IPA rollout at Cheney Stadium June 7. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

2. it's been confirmed X Group Restaurants has teamed up with Justin and Rob Peterson to revamp the Valley Pub by the Tacoma Dome. X Group owners John Xitco and Jeff Paradise (Masa, Asado and Engine House No. 9) are fans of the Peterson's Eleven Eleven, the sandwich and drinks hangout on Hilltop Tacoma. Together, the two organizations will bring an Eleven Eleven-feel and taste to the Valley Pub. Construction is underway, including a new backbar and lowered bar top. An exterior paint job will begin soon. Their goal is to open sometime in August 2014.

3. The Red Hot will move into its new space this month. As we have watched th eprogress on Facebook, The Red Hot is moving its hot dog and craft beer tavern next door to a larger space. Subtracting the new cold storage space and general storage, its operation will expand from 1,052 square feet to close to 2,000 square feet. With the larger kitchen, the menu will expand. It will look very similar to its current interior - red and yellow colors, historical Tacoma memorabilia, taps hanging from the ceiling - but less likely patrons will be standing in the middle of the room with a pint in one hand and a tricked-out hot dog in the other. If the inspections go as planned, The Red Hot will open Wednesday, June 18 25.

4. Heathen Brewing chose Tacoma over Seattle to debut its beers in the Puget Sound area. Typically, beers entering the region launch at a Seattle venue. Heathen Brewing, a small-batch craft brewer in Vancouver, Wash., will launch Wednesday, June 11 at Pint Defiance, before making its Seattle debut the following night at Brouwer's Café. Sure, Pint Defiance co-owner Barry Watson has driven south to visit with Heathen's owner Sunny Parson three times. Still, it's awesome to taste Son of Malice Double IPA, Transgression IPA, Imbibe Session IPA, Ete Saison and Dubhgal Dry Irish Stout a day before Seattle. Drop by Pint Defiance from 5-7 p.m. and gloat.

5. I learned former U.S. Army soldier and Fircrest resident Alex Scheel hit 1,000 unique check-ins on the Untappd app while drinking at Pint Defiance last week. He's added a few since then.

6. Kendal Jones of Washington Beer Blog uses his powers for good. It's a well known fact Jones is the man when it comes to Washington state beers. He knows all and drinks all. It's refreshing to hear his mission isn't to trash breweries, but rather highlight those he feels are worthy. Today, Jones posted an update on the opening of Tacoma's Pacific Brewing & Malting Company.

7. While not beer related, Tacoma Rainiers catcher Jesus Sucre needs to hit the pavement more. He hit the fourth triple of his professional career and his first since Aug. 8, 2010 to drive in outfielder Jabari Blash in the seventh. Sucre looked gassed hunched over at third. His teammates jokingly attempted to cool off the catcher by throwing water in his direction from the dugout. Xavier Avery collected three hits, including a first-inning leadoff home run, as the Tacoma Rainiers fell to the Albuquerque Isotopes 4-2 in front of 6,324 fans at Cheney Stadium Saturday night.

>>> Thanks 7 Seas Brewing Sails Ambassador Rob Brunsman! Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

May 26, 2014 at 11:29am

Steph DeRosa to return to the Weekly Volcano

I'm thrilled to report former Weekly Volcano scribe Steph DeRosa will grace our masthead again. DeRosa was a Volcano food, booze and dive bar writer from 2007 to 2012. She established an international reputation for her authoritative reviews and in-depth features on the inner-workings of the South Sound food and drink scene. Here's a taste from her first feature, which will hit the street Thursday.

Call me a scaredy cat, a wuss, or a coward - I don't care. I don't like airplanes and how they are all up the air without strings or legs or anything holding them up but fire and gas. I don't like the tube they put you in, the lady hacking up a lung three rows back or the stomach virus that one guy from New Jersey had last night but he still got on the plane today anyway. The four-inch-wide seats are no compliment to my fat ass, and even though I don't smoke, being up in all that anxiety makes me want to take a long, hard drag on a menthol.

Oh, and there's my paralyzing fear of kidnappings, vanishing flights in the Indian Ocean, the Italian judicial system and malaria. Those are all probable forces that haunt my inner traveler's soul. 

LINK: Steph DeRosa's story on the halo-halo dessert has posted.

May 19, 2014 at 6:24pm

Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles to be featured on QVC's "Gourmet Nation with the Food Dudes"

Aly Cullinane, left, and Lynnae Schneller pictured just before they entered the "Shark Tank." Photo courtesy of Facebook

Using a 100-year-old secret family recipe, Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles has not only taken Tacoma by storm, but also has infiltrated the nation. Lynnae Schneller and Aly Cullinane launched their pickle business in 2011, becoming a hot item in the South Sound with their Mrs. Pickles, a sweet and sour pickle, and the Hot Mama, where jalapeno, garlic and pimento swim next to dill spears. Oh, Mama, what a bold, vibrant flavor and nice low burn!

The word got out, and Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles found space in such media as iOprah, Wall Street Journal, Reader's Digest, Ladies Home Journal, USA Today andCNN. In 2013, the duo stood before the sharks on the TV show Shark Tank, but didn't find funding.

Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles are headed back to national television.Wednesday, May 21, Schneller will be featured on QVC at 4 p.m. ET on a new show Gourmet Nation with the Food Dudes, hosted by Dick Domeier and Dan Wheeler.

Lynnae's Gourmet Pickles are available in select stores, including Kroger stores, and are priced at $7-$9 a jar.

Filed under: Business, Media, Tacoma,

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