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March 18, 2015 at 7:13am

Eat This Now: Legendary Doughnuts

The Oprah is front and center, of course, at Legendary Doughnuts in Tacoma.

There are many reasons I will never be a fit person. It could have just about everything to do with my aversion to the gym. Aside from not particularly loving the whole sweaty hot mess thing, it often smells like the bog of eternal stench AND I have never really gotten the, "you feel so much better when you're done!" Uh, no, I can't say that I do.

Aside from the whole gym business I can list off a few others that I consider my kryptonite, in no particular order: burgers, whiskey and doughnuts. My Eat This Now recommendation today: anything from Legendary Doughnuts. I say anything, because you can't go wrong; just pick your poison. These donuts are so delectable it's almost perverse and requires a rating like you're going to the movies:

(L) = Legendary: our signature with fancy toppings and fillings;

(F) = Famous: simpler toppings;

(A) = Amateur: plain with glaze or frosting;

(D) = Doughsant: doughnut croissant - filled, topped or plain.

My son goes right for the Oprah, a simple enough concoction resembling a maple bar topped with bacon crumbles. A ginormous maple bar topped with bacon. My daughter digs the fruity flavors and digs the Blueberry Cheescake with blueberry filling and cream cheese topping. I admire the Bill Cosby. Though personally he is experiencing some tribulations, the doughnut that bears his moniker only has to worry about being devoured as it is filled with chocolate crème pudding.

Other fun flavors include the Elvis (peanut butter and banana chips), Captain Jack Sparrow (rum frosting and chocolate drizzle) and Bill Gates - which is RICH.

What you can't see is me typing this, slack jawed and salivating a'la Homer Simpson. 

LEGENDARY DOUGHNUTS, 5 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday-Thursday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday, 2602 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.327.1327

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma, Sweets,

January 21, 2015 at 11:11am

Beer Here: Elysian IPA Fest, Firestone Walker, Hammerhead Ale, Manny Chao, Gigantic Brewing ...

Wish the Hammerhead Ale a happy 29th birthday at the McMenamins Spar Cafe in Olympia Sunday. Then drink it.

When it rains it pours, and although the forecast calls for rain Thursday through Sunday, it's pouring beer in the South Sound starting today ... or something.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 21

Remember last week when you were staring at The Red Hot's chalkboard and you actually shouted "Breakside boyyyeee!" over the XTC song "Life Begins At The Hop"? You were all hopped up for Breakside Brewery Brewer's Night at the Sixth Avenue craft beer and hot dog joint. You were going to have some gold medal Breakside IPA and life would be dandy. Well, I have some bad news that isn't bad. Breakside night broke, and its Elysian IPA Fest night instead at The Red Hot (2916 Sixth Ave., Tacoma). That's right, Annie will be in the Hot house with the Seattle brewery's mainstay IPAs - The Immortal, Savant, Space Dust, I imagine - as well as some of their taproom-only IPAs. Oh, and a special shout out to Elysian for mailing me their new Sub Pop tribute pale ale, Loser. Digging the light, tropical flavors and seven percent ABV as I type this. ...

The Swiss Restaurant and Pub (1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma) has their beer dinners dialed in, offering multiple food courses paired with beer, beer production and history from brewers and reps, preparation details from the kitchen and lots of laughs. This month, Silver City Brewing teams up with The Swiss kitchen on a Wednesday night. Drop by the historic building with $40 to secure a delicious, fun time.

THURSDAY, JAN. 22

Details are still scarce, but what's certain is Firestone Walker Brewing Company from California will be at the ParkWay Tavern (313 N. I St., Tacoma) with beers and prizes, beginning at 5 p.m. Will 18th Anniversary Ale be available? Let's hope so. Its blend consists of nine different beers aged in various bourbon, plain oak and brandy barrels. The beers are Parabola, a Russian imperial oatmeal stout; Helldorado barleywine with buckwheat honey; Bravo imperial brown ale; Stickee Monkee quadrupel; Velvet Merkin oatmeal stout; Hydra Cuvee dark ale; Wookey Jack black rye IPA; Ol' Leghorn barleywine and Double Jack double IPA. Please, please, please ...

FRIDAY, JAN. 23

Hands On Children's Museum (414 Jefferson St. NE, Olympia) hosts "The Art & Science Behind Craft Brews" at 6:30 p.m. The museum will host beer tastings, beer-themed science experiments, art projects and more. The $25 admission fee includes free beer tastings and a souvenir glass. Barbecue will be available to purchase. Duh, adults only. Buy tickets at www.hocm.com/adultswim.

Several South Sound breweries will be getting weird at the Strange Brewfest in Port Townsend Jan. 23-24. Wingman Brewers, Ram Brewing, Fish Brewing and 7 Seas Brewing are among the 30 breweries pouring beers while bands go nuts for $30 at brownpapertickets.com or $35 at the door.

SUNDAY, JAN. 25

In 1983, unemployed Mike McMenamin bought the former Fat Little Rooster tavern in Portland and renamed it the Barley Mill. Brian McMenamin soon joined in and today they own threescore pubs, taverns, clubs, hotels, dance halls and a village called Edgefield. The McMenamins have the golden touch - to convert desuetude into quirky, funky, artful joints to gather and drink. One of the early McMenamins beers, the Hammerhead Ale, celebrates its 29th birthday. It's a classic Northwest pale ale and McMenamins top selling beer. The beer's signature Cascade hop nose and intense hopped flavor blend nicely with the caramel tones from the crystal malt. McMenamins Spar Café (114 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) toasts the Hammerhead's old age by offering $3 pints of the 5.93 percent ABV ale all day Sunday.

If building skills to distinguish between beer flavors is your New Year's Resolution, then join Pacific Lutheran University Sous-chef Erick Swenson for his workshop on identifying flaws in beer at 2 p.m. in the 208 Garfield restaurant (208 Garfield, Parkland). He'll pull out the Siebel Institute Sensory Training kits, which contain 24 vials of pre-measured "standards" representing some of the most important flavors and aromatics found in beer. More details can be found here.

The Top Rung Brewing Co. beer pairing dinner with artisan catering company EZ Foods of Olympia has sold out.

TUESDAY, JAN. 27

Some 20 years ago, Manny Chao was the first employee at Mac and Jack's Brewery. With Chao's help, Mac and Jack's amber ale became the third best selling craft brew in the state. Five years later, Chao left Mac and Jack's and by 2002, he and his housemate, Roger Bialous, homebrewed their first beer - Manny's Pale Ale. In 2003, Chao was the number one employee at his Georgetown Brewing Company located in Seattle's Georgetown district. In 2013, Chao and Bialous produced 52,300 barrels of beer - the second highest in the state behind Red Hook. Meet Chao at the Georgetown Brewing Brewer's Night from 5-7 p.m. at Pint Defiance (2049 Mildred St. W., Tacoma), drink his Manny's Pale, Lovely Rieda Imperial IPA, Lucille IPA and Barrel-aged Chopper's Red Ale, learn the stories behind the beer names and maybe win a raffle prize.

WEDNESDAY, JAN. 28

Last month, Gigantic Brewing released its 2013 Massive! Barleywine. The aptly named barleywine always features one malt boiled for at least nine hours in the direct fire kettle, resulting in toffee and caramelized sugar malt flavors and evaporation over the long boil results in higher finished alcohol - 13.5 percent. Gigantic! Conquer this beer and meet its founder, Ben Love, when Pint Defiance (2049 Mildred St. W., Tacoma) hosts the Gigantic Brewing Company Brewer's Night from 5-7 p.m. The Portland brewery, which opened in 2011, will also tap its Gigantic IPA, Ginourmous IPA and Saboteur Baltic Porter. Go big!

In 1991, Homebrewer Jeff Lebesch opened New Belgium Brewing Company in Fort Collins, Colorado. The brewing company has ridden its Fat Tire amber ale across the country - most recently building huge plants in North Carolina, especially Asheville. There are other reasons they have become so big and successful. Le Terroir, La Folie and Tart Lychee are three of those reasons, but there are dozens more. Chat up and drink New Belgium beers at The Swiss Restaurant and Pub (1904 Jefferson Ave., Tacoma), beginning at 6 p.m.

October 20, 2014 at 2:56pm

Narrows Brewing collaborates on Coffee Cardamom Stout - drink it wearing a morbid costume or with beer historian Ron Pattinson

Spend Halloween at Narrows Brewing Co. in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Looking for a Halloween costume idea? Why not dress as a victim of the London Beer Flood of 1814?

Friday marked the 200th anniversary of an event in London that unleashed a tidal wave of porter, killing eight people in neighboring tenements. When a vat exploded inside Henry Meux's Horse Shoe brewery, it forced more than 570 tons of beer through the brewery's back wall and out into the slums behind it in a vast wave at least 15-feet high, flooding streets and cellars and smashing into buildings. Founded early in the reign of King George III and famous for its porter, the brewery produced more than 100,000 barrels of the dark-colored nectar each year.

I mention this disaster for two reasons. One, Narrows Brewing Co. will host its Hoppy Halloween Party on All Hallows' Eve, unleashing its new Coffee Cardamom Stout for costumed beer drinkers - including those donning London Romantic-Era clothing stained with blood and dried porter. Two, one of the world's foremost brewing historians, Ron Pattinson - who researches old breweries and digs up dusty beer recipes for his website, Shut Up About Barclay Perkins, and will visit Narrows Brewing in early November - is well aware of the 1814 brew bomb and the killer porter.

"Meux's brewing records haven't survived, so it wouldn't be possible to brew an exact clone," Pattinson said via email from the road. However, "it wouldn't be hard to come up with a recipe that was close. It would have been fun to do for the two hundredth anniversary, but I've missed that."

Pattinson, a stout lover and member of the British Guild of Beer Writers, is on tour behind his new book, The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer: Rediscovered Recipes for Classic Brews Dating from 1800 to 1965. He'll visit Narrows Brewing Saturday, Nov. 8.

Hoppy Halloween Party

Narrows Brewing's Coffee Cardamom Stout is a collaboration brew with Northern Pacific Coffee Company in Tacoma's Parkland neighborhood. Narrows' head brewer, Joe Walts, admires the coffee company's beer selection, and NPCC proprietor Ed Cedras holds Walts in high esteem. 

"I heard about the opening of Narrows Brewing through a friend down at Beer Essentials while buying brewing supplies," explained Cedras. "There was also quite a buzz around their opening throughout the brewing community in Tacoma. I met Joe at the brewery and told him how much of a fan I was of his beers and that we carried all of them at Northern Pacific. It was about that time that we started talking about a collaboration beer."

Walts and Cedras set out to brew an original coffee beer.

"Joe mentioned a cardamom stout that he had done in the past," continued Cedras. "We used that as a baseline to develop the recipe for a Turkish coffee stout. The spices were all sourced by our friends at Mad Hat Tea Company and the coffee roasted by our roasting partners at Olympia Coffee Roasting Company. I used a similar methodology in cold brewing the coffee for this beer [as I have with] others I've brewed in the past ... slow and low ... meaning brewed slowly at low temperature to extract all of the brilliant notes of the coffee while reducing acidity for a balance between the coffee and malt in the beer. Joe brought in a secret weapon to add a creamy finish."

"We brewed an easy drinking stout - 4.2 or 4.3 percent alcohol - then added cardamom and cinnamon in the whirlpool and lactose to the boil," added Walts. "Ed made concentrated cold-steep coffee, which we added to the fermenter."

According to Walts, Northern Pacific sells an amazing amount of beer, including a lot of Narrows Brewing's beer, as well as beers exclusive to Pierce County from such brewers as Deschutes.

"I think awareness of what breweries are working on seasonally, limited runs, and collaborations in tandem with establishing strong relationships with breweries and their sales reps led to the allocations of limited-release beers at Northern Pacific over other outlets," explained Cedras. "We've built a reputation of being 'picky' about the beers we serve and are often offered special releases with right of first refusal."

Northern Pacific Coffee Company will host a Narrows Brewing Brewer's Night Tuesday, Oct. 28, shining a spotlight on the new Coffee Cardamom Stout.

The new beer will also be on tap during Narrows' Hoppy Halloween Party Oct. 31. The Coffee Cardamom Stout will be on tap all day. Ice Cream Social created a Coffee Cardamom Stout ice cream flavor and will serve it during the party as well as beer floats with other flavors. Food trucks will park out front. A costume contest with a $100 gift card prize for the winner will begin at 8:30 p.m.

So what costume will Cedras wear at Narrows' Halloween party?

"President James A. Garfield. He's an interesting guy," he said. "Check out his assassination story. Alexander Graham Bell was involved. Super kooky stuff."

Ron Pattinson at Narrows Brewing

Beer historian and beer travel writer Ron Pattinson is certain to be another interesting guy. For years, the England-born-turned-Amsterdam resident has gobbled up obscure books on beer history - including brewery logbooks - and in 2007 began sharing his findings in a conversational pub tone on his blog. Pattinson has also regenerated hundreds of historical beer recipes, mostly British styles, and some lost German beer styles such as Broyhan, Kotbusser and Salvator, which was a precursor to Doppelbock. Though it was a chore to chronologically decipher, Pattinson has pared down his more than 3,000 blog posts and recipes into a succinct read, The Home Brewer's Guide to Vintage Beer.

An avid reader of Pattinson's blog, Walts noticed a gap in the author's upcoming Pacific Northwest book tour. A simple request via email secured the historian for an afternoon of beer history at Narrows Brewing at 3 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 8. Although he worked in a brewery during his youth, Pattinson won't be recreating old beer recipes at the Tacoma brewery.

"Beer recipe recreations is just one of the things Pattinson does," said Walts. "He spends most of his time in libraries and public archives, researching breweries that have been around for hundreds of years, examining old English, Scottish and German beer styles. It's a lot of numbers and tables and debunking beer legends. He also provided a lot of historical details for Mitch Steele's IPA book. His visit will be fascinating for beer and history geeks who want to gain greater appreciation about the development of beer, recipes, breweries and the changing palates of beer drinkers over the course of centuries of brewing."

This fall book tour will be Pattinson's first venture to Washington state, where most of the nation's hops are grown.

"You might be surprised how little the handling of hops has changed over the years," said Pattinson. "In the 19th century, they were already packing the hops as tightly as possible to keep them away from the air and to store them cold."

He says beer geeks in the Netherlands have certainly heard of Washington state beers, but he doubts the country's general population is aware of our brews.

For those who don't want to dress as a corpse killed by an ancient porter, but would rather attend Narrows' Hoppy Halloween Party dressed as a beer, Pattinson says the scariest beer ever is the Danziger Jopenbier, an old top-fermented German beer that had a peculiar smell and taste reminiscent of port wine.

"The wort is left to spontaneously ferment," Pattinson explained. "First of all, a thick blanket forms on the surface, on which all sorts of molds grow. These blankets in various vats are again very different from each other in appearance and strength, depending on the points of attack the molds have found. ... The head, which is often so strong that a 20-gram piece won't fall through it, begins to lift itself. ... For eight to twelve days, the beer often pushes out large amounts of loose foam. What can you say about the fermentation, other than that it sounds scary and disgusting at the same time."

There you go. Halloween costume suggestions, a new coffee beer and ice cream to enjoy and an opportunity to geek out on old beer - all held at a Tacoma brewery that shouldn't explode.

NARROWS BREWING CO. COFFEE CARDAMOM STOUT RELEASE PARTY, 6 p.m., Tuesday, Oct. 28, Northern Pacific Coffee Company, 401 Garfield St. S., Tacoma, no cover, 253.537.8338

HOPPY HALLOWEEN PARTY, dusk, Friday, Oct. 31, Narrows Brewing Co., 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, no cover, 253.327.1400

BEER HISTORIAN AND AUTHOR RON PATTINSON, 3 p.m., Saturday, Nov. 8, Narrows Brewing Co., 9007 S. 19th St., Tacoma, no cover, 253.327.1400

June 30, 2014 at 1:51pm

Eat This Now: RAM's Colossal Sizzling Bread Pudding

RAM's Colossal Sizzling Bread Pudding is not small. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

A summer sunset stroll along Tacoma's Ruston Way waterfront is a must. Dusk time walks are among my favorite excuses to indulge in a seaside cocktail or sweet treat. RAM Restaurant and Brewery satisfies both. I suggest you eat the RAM's Colossal Sizzling Bread Pudding ($7.49) right now.

The behemoth dessert is a traditional bread pudding highlighting flavors of custard, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla soaked throughout the bready treat. The sweetness is understated - not too rich and pairs well with coffee. And the size ... it's no joke. The RAM's Colossal Sizzling Bread Pudding arrives in a, yup, sizzling skillet topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a generous portion of caramel on the side.  

To say it's sharable is an understatement. The caloric intake exceeds the needs of an adult woman ... FOR THE DAY. I'm not saying this is a con. Just be warned and bring a partner in crime with a sweet tooth.

RAM'S COLOSSAL SIZZLING BREAD PUDDING, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, RAM Restaurant and Brewery, 3001 Ruston Way, Tacoma, 253.756.7886.

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma, Sweets,

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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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