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Pairing dinners delight

Let industry professionals wine and dine you

They say we eat with our eyes first, Asado starts the experience as soon as the plate hits the table. Photo courtesy Asado

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If there's one thing that folks in the food and beverage industry know, it's food and beverage. Many South Sound establishments elevate the traditional dining experience by partnering with winemakers and brewers to present a matrimony of flavor profiles specifically cultivated to best complement both the dish and the drink. It ought to be considered a super power really, a la "Wonder Twin powers activate," as the chef and winemaker (or brewer) high-five each other and sit down to produce a menu for your dining pleasure. Here are a few upcoming opportunities and some restaurants to keep an eye on for future possible pairings.

Chef Tom Pantley of Puyallup's Toscanos Italian Grill hosts regular pairing dinners and cooking classes. Their next Fall Wine Maker's Dinner occurs Nov. 16. Cline Cellars and Chef Pantley craft a four-course dinner designed to highlight each wine presented. Dishes include a seared ahi salad, open-faced roasted tenderloin and fontina sandwich, savory mushroom and scallion stuffed pork loin, and a chocolate hazelnut torte. Le sigh. Tickets are $85 and include tax and gratuity. Dinner begins at 7 p.m., but folks are encouraged to enjoy a pre-dinner libation at 6:30 p.m. at the no-host bar. Call 253.864.8600 to make your reservation.

Toscanos Italian Grill, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., Friday; noon-10 p.m., Saturday; 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., Sunday, 437 29th St. NE, Ste C, Puyallup, 253.864.8600,

Asado hosts a "Chef Table" wine-pairing dinner every second Wednesday of the month. On Nov. 8, 7-10 p.m. at Walla Walla winery, Long Shadows will be in their house with a delectable selection of vino. Chef Nate delights with a five-course dinner starting with a lobster, shrimp, and lobster mushroom salad to pair with Long Shadows' Riesling. Course three presents the lush Chester Kidder with a cardamom scented flank steak, with dinner settling on the Sequel paired with a brandy-poached pear and parmesan panna cotta. Each of Asado's monthly pairing dinners present compelling menus paired with a different local winery. Tickets are $140 and include tax and gratuity. Space is limited during these intimate gatherings. Visit to register.

Asado, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m., Monday-Thursday; 11:30 a.m. to 1:45 a.m., Friday; 4 p.m. to 1:45 a.m., Saturday; 4 p.m. to 1 a.m., Sunday, 2810 6th Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.7770,

Pacific Grill has been known to host regular pairing dinners with both beer and wine, which suits the space wonderfully. Their regular menu presents exquisite flavors and Northwest flare, and their pairing menus are no exception. The next wine dinner is set to take place Dec. 6 and will feature wine from Hence Cellars. Stay up to date on upcoming opportunities and ticket sales at

Pacific Grill, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Friday; 10 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday; 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday, 1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.3535,

The beauty of a pairing dinner is that no one is like the other. The matrimony and play on flavor profiles is always different and typically centers around seasonal offerings. Some chefs present three to five entrée courses, while others present six or more small plates artfully crafted. A couple of other establishments known for hosting similar experiences include:

Primo Grill, 4-10 p.m., Monday-Thursday; 4-11 p.m., Friday-Saturday; 4-9 p.m., Sunday, 2701 6th Ave., Tacoma, 253.383.7000,

The Swiss, 11 a.m. to midnight, Tuesday-Wednesday; 11 a.m. to 2 a.m., Thursday-Saturday; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m., Sunday-Monday, 1904 South Jefferson, Tacoma, 253.572.2821,

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