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Posts made in: 'Open and Shut Cases' (32) Currently Viewing: 21 - 30 of 32

July 15, 2014 at 1:29pm

Food philosophy at new Page St. Cafe in Olympia

Page St. Cafe serves breakfast, lunch and dinner at the Rogers Street establishment formerly known as Sage's Brunch House. Photo credit: Christian Carvajal

The doors are open once more at the Rogers Street establishment formerly known as Sage's Brunch House. The sign out front now reads "Page St. Café"-the original name of Rogers was Page Street - but the fragrances wafting from its open kitchen are every bit as appealing.

Joel Hart, one of the creative talents behind Dino's Coffee Bar, is responsible for an eclectic menu that slings huevos rancheros, curried tofu and tartines at breakfast, then adds fajitas, artisan bratwurst and killer mac and cheese for lunch and dinner. One of those bubbly pasta classics emerges from the oven as I walk in, dripping and oozing with cholesterol-laden delights. Hart shows it off proudly. "Look at that!" he crows. "No one else does it like that!" I'm hard pressed to disagree.

Hart warns he's something of a talker. This is also true. "I'm a native Westsider," he begins. "This building has always been magical to me. I used to come in and buy candy from Eddie when it was Eddie's Groceries. I got my first candy cigarette here when I was seven years old. It was all downhill from there.

"We opened Dino's and roasted our own coffee," Hart continues. "It kinda blew up. We began offering a small menu to support the coffee business, and people started coming through the door. It was as though Olympia had never seen a plate of food before. In the first 18 months, we outgrew our seating capacity. Sage, who's a friend of mine, came to me and said she was retiring. We took over this space and spent 60 days on the remodel, then opened on Saturday the 15th. We're trying to keep it Olympia and offer something this community wants. It's locally-sourced, fresh, quality food with awesome coffee and beer on tap."

I note the wide variety of dishes on Page St.'s menus. "I really got to know food when I traveled in Spain," Hart explains. "I was introduced to lots of ingredients I'd never worked with before. Our menu bridges the gap between traditional American food and some European influences, but I really believe the roots of our menu are American. Our entire philosophy of what we do is simplicity. We're not trying to reinvent the wheel; it's about honest sourcing philosophies and honest cooking techniques. We don't own a microwave. We don't have a freezer. We don't need a fryer. It helps us maintain our original vision. When you don't use modern tools, you're forced to work with old-school philosophies. We have a lot of respect for ingredients. All our dressings, our sauces - it's all from scratch. While that seems daunting for a lot of establishments, it's really the best way to put out a good product."

Preach it, brother. Hart may have the gift of gab, but his food clearly speaks for itself.

PAGE ST. CAFÉ, 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday, 903 Rogers St. NW, Olympia, 360.878.8490

Filed under: Open and Shut Cases, Olympia,

July 9, 2014 at 4:50pm

Hilltop Kitchen ownership purchases Tacoma's popular Marrow Kitchen

Looks as if we're in third place with this news. Still, damn worthy news to post. ...

Today Jaime Kay Jones and Chef Kyle Wnuk announce their agreement to sell the restaurant Marrow to Chris Keil and Matthew Schweitzer.

Earlier this spring, Jones approached Keil and Schweitzer, owners of restaurant and bar Hilltop Kitchen, to discuss their potential interest in acquiring Marrow. The four worked together over the next few months to arrive at an amicable arrangement. Keil and Schweitzer will work with Jones and Wnuk through July, shadowing the staff and getting to know the business. Keil and Schweitzer will fully take over operations at the end of July.

Read more...

Filed under: Open and Shut Cases, Tacoma,

July 9, 2014 at 3:18pm

X Group and Eleven Eleven ownership to re-open Tacoma's Valley Pub

The Valley Pub in Tacoma's Dome District will re-open in August. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Remember when Pappi Swarner announced the Valley Pub in Tacoma would reopen soon? He wasn't just loaded on 7 Seas Brewing's Life jacket IPA. The news is true.

Brothers Justin and Robbie Peterson, responsible for the Eleven Eleven on Hilltop Tacoma, and X Group Restaurants, of Masa, Asado, Engine House No. 9 and Choripan, have joined forces to bring life back to the Valley Pub.

John Xitco of X Group tells me, "They have beards and we have scruff, and you can anticipate the Dome District dive Valley Pub to reopen on or around August 1."

Team Valley Pub is knee deep in a remodel, which will include taxidermy and lots of diamonds, "neon, wood and painted," and a famous "Pillars of Pennies" that Xitco says, "You will just have to see it."

Entertainment will include live music on some nights and a jukebox on others.

The "pub" moniker won't quite be right since liquor will be available as well as 12 draft handles pouring ice cold craft brew plus a wicked bottle selection to boot.

Of the pub's grub Xitco says, "The menu will have similarities to Eleven Eleven, but with newly created specialties just for the Valley.  We will have several ‘grab and go' menu items for the quick lunch break too."

And finally, Xitco closes by telling me, "A guy once ate glass at the Valley. We would like to welcome him back."

July 2, 2014 at 1:34pm

Hilltop Kitchen releases new food and drink menu

Hilltop Kitchen's blue corn pancakes and pan-fried quail with blueberry compote is a sweet and savory sensation.

Last night, I dropped by Hilltop Kitchen for a birthday treat on the way home. I dumb-lucked into its new food and drink menu, which was released hours before. If the pancakes & quail with blueberry compote and sage honey ($12), and its version of the Duncan Idaho Ghola cocktail are any indication of the quality with the other creations on the complete menu turnover, then wow!

WOW!

The kitchen is open to 11 p.m. weekdays and midnight Friday and Saturday. The cocktails continue to close. Find it at 913 MLK Way on Hilltop Tacoma.

June 25, 2014 at 12:35pm

Scenes from the new Red Hot's opening ...

The first "cheers" at the new Red Hot on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue. Photo credit: Kate Swarner

Calling all imbibers: Get thyselves to The Red Hot. After months and months of permit issues and construction, The Red Hot has finally re-opened in its new, larger neighboring space.

A lined formed before 11 a.m. today waiting for co-owner Chris Miller to open the door. A few tried to enter early but were 86'd as the inspector was still inside. Early this morning, Miller stood outside the city of Tacoma's permit desk to pay a 30-day Temporary Occupancy fee while he worked out accessibility issues at the new Red Hot. With permit in hand, Miller led the inspector through the new space. At roughly 11:30 a.m., the inspector left the building and the beer began to flow.

Tacoma band Plastards front man Bill Schlanbusch - who entered the joint the backdoor (natch!) - received the first beer. Bartender Carla's first pull was a couple of Scrimshaw Pilsners.

As you can see below, the new Red Hot is much larger, with 25 tap handles, a larger chalkboard than the previous spot, couches (!) and the trademark red and yellow walls.

Below are a few photos we snapped during the first few minutes of the new Red Hot.

THE RED HOT, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.779.0229

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

June 4, 2014 at 1:24pm

New Brewery Alert: Three Magnets Brewing Co. to open in downtown Olympia

A rendering of the building Three Magnets Brewing Co. will occupy with Thurston First Bank and upper-story lofts in downtown Olympia. Photo courtesy of Thomas Architecture Studios

On the corner of Legion and Franklin streets in downtown Olympia, a building is coming to life. With 19 upper-story lofts and Thurston First Bank moving into the 26,000-square-foot space, one more business makes this trifecta complete: Three Magnets Brewing Co.

Owned by Sara and Nathan Reilly, who also own Darby's Cafe, a successful breakfast/brunch/Bloody Mary spot on Fifth Avenue in downtown Olympia, Three Magnets will be an extension of three things they love: beer, soccer and community.

The concept for the brewpub will include plenty of outdoor seating (gas fire pits anyone?) a family friendly vibe, up to 12 rotating beers on tap, a pub-version of a surf-and-turf menu and a 90-inch TV for catching all the Sounders' games.

"We're excited to make relationships and collaborate," said Sara. "I think everyone in Olympia wants Olympia to be known for beer again. And we are beyond supportive; we'd like to see this become a destination."

>>> Three Magnets Brewing Co. is currently under construction. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

So what's behind the name Three Magnets?

Inspired by the garden city approach to urban planning, Three Magnets Brewing feeds off the book Garden Cities of To-Morrow, written by Ebenezer Howard in 1898. Howard's diagram of the concept of town, country and town-country, which asks the question, ‘Where will people go?' contains three magnets to represent the areas of residences, industry and agriculture.

"Essentially, the third magnet, town-country, is proportionate parts of all," explained Nathan, "and what Olympia strives to be."

Plus, said Sara, the symbol of the horseshoe is a nod to Olympia's beer history.

>>> Nathan Reilly double checks details with the contractor. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

For the Reillys, the third magnet is represented in their relationship with many local farms, specifically Helsing Junction, where they picked up one of their brewers, Pat Jansen, whose creativity with hops, yeasts and brewing is exactly what Three Magnets desires.

One signature beer will be Helsing Junction Farmhouse Saison, with different botanicals from the farm in each batch. For example, they hope to start with fennel pollen. The other brewer is Jeff Stokes, who hails from Olympia businesses Gravity Beer Market and Skip and Skein.

Other unique qualities of the brew side of things are the offering of session beers that contain no higher than 5 percent ABV, featuring a balance between malt and hops and, typically, a clean finish for drinkability. In addition to an ABV board, the temperature of the beers will be listed, too.

"We think that's the direction micro brew is going," said Nathan. "In the '90s, there were staples ... but now, people want something new.  Our idea is to have constantly rotating taps and a few flagship beers for those that don't like change."

And to continue with the vision of unique and local, the kitchen side will pump out casual versions of surf-and-turf: housemade burgers and in-house cured fishes, for example. Condiments will be made in-house as well, and a kid's menu will be featured.

"We want to do what we did for breakfasts for brewpubs," Nathan said.

The Reillys hope for a soft opening in July.

THREE MAGNETS BREWING CO., 600 Franklin St. SE, Suite 102, Olympia

>>> Another rendering of the building Three Magnets Brewing Co. in downtown Olympia. Photo courtesy of Thomas Architecture Studios

June 3, 2014 at 11:01am

Farrelli's Pizza to open in Frederickson, apply now

The seventh Farrelli's Pizza is now under construction in Frederickson. Photo credit: Drake Birnbaum

After owning several local restaurants - The Hob Nob, Engine House No. 9, John's Breakfast and others - Margaret and John Farrell, wife and husband, along with daughter Jacquelyn, opened Farrelli's Pizza and Pool Co. in Lacey in 1995. The Farrells interviewed potential employees for their first pizza joint on a card table where the Lacey store now stands. In 2006, they opened their fifth location at the Garfield Commons in Parkland, and in the same year were named "Independent Pizza Chain of the Year" by Pizza Today magazine. In article after article, the Farrells give recognition and accolades to their employees, many who have been with them since the card table. Today, they own six Farrell's Pizza joint, McNamara's Pub & Eatery in DuPont and the Party Place event center in Sumner.

In mid-July, the Farrells will open their seventh Farrelli's Pizza store in the Frederickson neighborhood. They are currently hiring for the new store, with open interviews from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 5, 12 and 19. You may download an application on its website.

Filed under: Open and Shut Cases,

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 22, 2014 at 9:19am

Aviateur Parisian Diner is open for lunch in downtown Tacoma

Treat yourself to Les Croques at Aviateur Parisian Diner in Tacoma. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

With the recent news that TWOKOI Japanese Cuisine and Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. cut back their lunch service, thoughts of employees huddled in their cubicles during the noon hour sent shivers down my spine. Downtown Tacoma certainly doesn't need less people walking the streets. And what of a domino effect? One restaurant closes mid-day, then another, and suddenly every restaurateur want to sleep in wants.

Good news. Downtown Tacoma's new Parisian dinner, Aviateur, has been opened for lunch the last two weeks.

Weekly Volcano food critic Jackie Fender says the French restaurant is worthy.

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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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