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Pastiche transforms itself

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If it's been a while since you've been to Pastiche Wine Bar, it may be time for another visit. In addition to its ample wine selection, the place has transformed into a full service restaurant and cocktail lounge with delectable new food options and events.

Pastiche is quite the classy neighborhood spot, with warm décor and a cozy atmosphere. I recently had the pleasure of enjoying some of their wines, food, cocktails and more wine all while "Piano Man" Ron Mills played in the background. Not a bad Friday night, if you ask me.

Co-owners Linda Gair and Art Britton have created a concise menu of slow-cooked favorites such as braised short ribs ($20) and braised lamb shanks ($24). Their bar menu features items like fried vegetables ($6) and potato frites ($6).

I sampled Linda's own specialty, the crab balls ($7), which are basically crab cake bites. They were flavorful and loaded with crab, with a crunchy appeal. To accompany the appetizer, Austin the bartender created a refreshing mad mango martini ($9).

While the menu and cocktails might be new, the handpicked wine list is still the star of the show. Notable wines such as the Asian Pear by Windfall Winery ($8/glass, $29/bottle) from Prosser, Wash., was light and fruity. In contrast, the Foppiano Vineyards Petite Syrah ($9/glass, $33/bottle) was more full-bodied and spicy.

In addition to its new menu, Pastiche offers whisky and vodka tastings ($6 - $9) every Thursday starting at 5 p.m. Tequila tastings ($6 - $8) kicked off April 24.

My advice: If you're looking for a date location that will take you to the next ... you know, level, get down to Pastiche. Nothing brings out "le amore" more than three glasses of pinot noir, live piano music and a selection of braised meats.

Pastiche Restaurant and Wine Bar, 2715 Sixth Ave., Tacoma. 253.572.2277. Open Tues. - Sat. 3 p.m. - 11 p.m.

Dining out to fight AIDS

This Thursday, April 26 is the Pierce County AIDS Foundation's Dining Out for Life. This year, 77 restaurants in the Tacoma-Pierce County and Olympia areas are participating in the event to raise money to support HIV/AIDS organizations locally and throughout the United States.

Why should you dine out on Thursday? Each of the participating restaurants will donate 25 percent of Thursday's food and non-alcoholic beverage purchases to support the efforts of the Pierce County AIDS Foundation. Nearly 1,000 residents locally who are diagnosed with HIV, as well as thousands of others who are at risk for infection and transmission of the virus are supported by this organization.

So what exactly does PCAF do? Their mission is to "prevent HIV infections through education and service, assist persons affected by HIV/AIDS, address HIV-related health problems, and combats associated stigma and discrimination."

Nationwide, it is projected that supporters and over 3,500 restaurants across the country will raise an estimated $4 million on this single day. In 2011, Pierce County's local Dining Out for Life raised more than $60,000. This year, restaurant participation is up 30 percent, and April 26 has even been declared by the Tacoma City Council as Dining Out for Life Day in Tacoma.

This event cannot succeed without your support by eating out, and without the participation of all of these local restaurants. It's the perfect opportunity to try a new restaurant or visit an old favorite, all the while contributing to the greater good. It's a win-win situation.

For more information or to get involved, call Pierce County AIDS Foundation at (253) 383-2565 or visit For a list of participating restaurants, visit

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