Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: October, 2014 (40) Currently Viewing: 31 - 40 of 40

October 24, 2014 at 11:47am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Lunchbox Laboratory

Gig Harbor mac and cheese: Lunchbox Laboratory and 7 Seas Brewing team up for British Pale Mac N Cheese. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

I enjoy beer.

Beer makes mac and cheese awesome.

By the transitive property (math isn't my strong suit), I think beer mac and cheese is delicious.

Beer and cheddar have such an affinity for one another - the sour punch of the beer plays gorgeously with the nutty tang of the cheddar, particularly the sharp variety. The combination of the two invokes the umami must-not-stop-eating-this-deliciousness effect, which is reason enough for me to search out a beer mac and cheese dish.

I found one.

Lunchbox Laboratory has hooked up with fellow Gig Harbor resident 7 Seas Brewing for two weeks of experiments. The white lab coats in Lunchbox's kitchen have created dishes from 7 Seas' brews, including a British Pale Mac N Cheese ($6). The secret to the mac and cheese is beer - specifically, 7 Seas British Pale Ale. That ale gets poured into Lunchbox's house cheese sauce - American and sharp cheddar - mixed on the stovetop with fisarmoniche past then topped with optional bacon, jalapenos, green chilies and pork rinds. I suggest bacon. For an extra dollar, the top of the mac and cheese basically becomes very brown.

Beer and cheese are a match made in heaven, and at Lunchbox Laboratory, 7 Seas adds depth to the creamy bowl of goodness.

Sidenote: 7 Seas Brewing outnumbers the beer handles at The Gig Harbor Lunchbox Laboratory, including the fall seasonal Autumn Ale.

LUNCHBOX LABORATORY, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, 4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor, 253.432.4061

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

LINK: The answer to why this mac and cheese column exists

October 27, 2014 at 9:47am

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with bartender Taylor Volz of Narrows Brewing Co.

Taylor Volz has been serving at Narrows Brewing Co. since the day it opened in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Taylor Volz.

Server Banner Boy, Oct. 27-Nov. 2, 2014

Taylor Volz

Taylor Volz has been behind the bar at Narrows Brewing Co. since May 2013, about a month before it opened next to the Narrows Marina in Tacoma. Volz began his serving career at Laurelwood Public House and Brewery in Portland, Oregon, where he grew up. He worked there during high school and in summers in between school before moving to Tacoma to attend the University of Puget Sound. The summer before his senior year, he worked at the former Jake's Bar and Bistro in Steilacoom, where he learned to bartend.

Why do you serve?

"I serve because I have yet to find another job that can keep me on my feet and entertained as much as serving. I love the constant movement of the industry and that no two days are the same. I get the opportunity to meet people from all over the area and learn why they love craft beer, as well as receive a wealth of knowledge about what is going on within the craft beer community."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"I enjoy many servers in the South Sound area but right now I'd have to go with Craig over at The Copper Door. He's always great to talk to about beer or sports or whatever. It's also a great setting for enjoying a beer. The Copper Door's selection is top notch, too."

What are you most proud to serve?

"I'm most proud to serve beer that is Tacoma made. Every beer we have in the brewery is crafted by our brewmaster Joe Walts. Customers that come in often are enjoying a beer with Joe or one of our assistant brewers - sometimes without even knowing so. I love the sense of community that it creates and how refreshing it is to be able to say that you are serving great local beer."

What's you current drink of choice?

"My current drink within the brewery is our Imperial Red Ale. If you haven't sipped it at our brewery or picked up a 22 in the stores, you need to immediately. Since it's fresh hop season I have been exploring all the great hoppy seasonals that us beer lovers get to enjoy this time of year."

What's your favorite movie?

"I'm the type of person that's gonna have a different answer for this question almost every time you ask me. If you're twisting my arm I'd have to say Caddyshack."

What don't you serve?

"I'd say the one thing that I don't serve is close-minded jerks. In my opinion, the craft beer community is about learning new types of beer and figuring out what you like and don't like. I can tell you no two people have the same to tastes. Everyone's different, so don't be a jerk and respect that and we'll get along just fine."

What's on your radar at Narrows Brewing Co.?

"Right now, I'm excited for our Halloween party that we'll host Oct. 31. Not only will we will be releasing our Cardamom Coffee Stout, which was brewed with coffee from Northern Pacific Coffee Co. and spices from Mad Hat Tea Company. Everyone is encouraged to where a costume. The best costume will receive a $100 gift card to the taproom. I can't wait to see what type of shenanigans ensue."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

October 27, 2014 at 10:54am

Where to eat after 9 p.m. in Olympia and Lacey

Dillingers Cocktails & Kitchen in downtown Olympia serves food until 1 a.m. Friday and Saturday nights. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

We spotted guitarist Vince Brown enjoying a post-gig meal earlier this month at the stylish Dillingers Cocktails & Kitchen.

Brown has a whole array of late-night favorites - just the way most people have a collection of favorite restaurants that close at 9 p.m.

"My go-to restaurants are Dillingers, QB, Swing and Le Voyeur, though QB is the only one you can really count on during the week," he says.

By that, he means that Quality Burrito serves food until midnight every night, while hours vary at most other places - and if it's a slow night, many will stop serving early.

Read Molly Gilmore's full feature on late-night eats in Olympia and Lacey in the Restaurants section.

Filed under: Lacey, Olympia, Nightlife,

October 28, 2014 at 10:04am

Olympia's Street of Dreams: Food Edition

Meconi's Italian Subs begins a Capitol Way food trail toward the Olympia Farmers Market. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

This isn't just a story about Olympia restaurants: It's also a self-guided walking tour of Capitol Way, Olympia's answer to Main Street.

The stretch from where the road begins at the Olympia Farmers Market south to the State Capital Museum on 21st Avenue is a great walk to take to get to know Olympia. It's a mile and a half, just enough to stimulate your appetite - and, given the weather this time of year, have you ready to get warm and dry when you choose a destination. (For a shorter walk, start at the Capitol Campus at 14th Avenue and Capitol Way.)

Another benefit, parking is free and easy south of the Capitol, although in many areas it's limited to two hours per day on business days.

Read Molly Gilmore's Capitol Way discoveries in the Restaurant section.

Filed under: Olympia,

October 28, 2014 at 10:36am

Tacoma Brewing Co. celebrates year two

Tacoma Brewing Co. founder Morgan Alexander

A recent Food and Wine article focusing on strange brews out of the Seattle area - including Port Townsend's Propolis Brewing, a frequent vendor at the Proctor Farmers Market (thank you!), and their Birch Saison loaded with Noble hops and birch tree sap(!) - reminded me of Tacoma's scientist of the strange brew, Morgan Alexander. The founder of the Tacoma Brewing Company began brewing beer in high school. He used Baker's yeast and apple juice, which Alexander says was horrible. He kept the lab coat on, home brewing with unusual ingredients for years before converting his beloved Tacoma Triangle District Amocat Cafe into a brewery a year ago.

The practice of adding flavor ingredients to a batch of beer has more or less created the craft beer industry. Brewers play with different fruits, tap into spices from different cultures and experiment with a variety of hops species because, why not? And thanks to Alexander - as well as Shane Johns at Engine House No. 9, Ken Thoburn at Wingman Brewers and other head brewers - South Sound drinkers are now more inclined to drink a peach strong ale, pomegranate porter or beer made with coffee, citrus fruits, various nuts and honeys, raspberries, strawberries, blueberries, elderberries, toasted coconut, cocoa nibs, peanut butter, coriander and cardamom, chamomile and sage, all spice and pumpkin, jalapeño peppers, Serrano peppers, ghost chili peppers and even birch sap.

Apart from toying with hops for big flavor and aroma, Alexander turns to outside ingredients in order to stand out, and ultimately, create something new and, I should add, freakin' delicious. And hey, more beers to drink? Sign me up.

"Some of my more memorable experimental beers over the previous two years include Rum & Raisin Vanilla Porter, Bloody Mary IPA, Mexican Chocolate Chili Stout, Root Beer Porter, Cascade Quad - a quadruple IPA - Wacked Orange/Chocolate Stout, Pomegranate Porter and Pineapple Mango Wheat.

"The tricky beers for me have been the ones made with herbs - like the Root Beer Porter, because a little bit goes a long way and it's difficult to get the right balance," says Alexander. "I'm still working on that. Also, beers made with peppers can be challenging. I don't like the chili beers that are so spicy that you can't drink it. What's the point in that?!"

Tacoma Brewing Co. celebrates its second anniversary Saturday, Nov. 1. Alexander will have several anniversary stouts on the "Specials" board: sour stout, bourbon barrel-aged stout, licorice stout, vanilla stout and a coffee stout. On the IPA side, expect Fresh Mosaic Hop IPA, Fresh Citra Hop Broken Window IPA and Penalty Kick Triple IPA.

"I will also have a fresh batch of Dr. Alexander's Hard Ginger Ale," says Alexander. "This will be the first batch that will be sold in local stores starting this week."

The party will include hourly giveaways, and Finnwick's Food Truck will be parked outside from 4-8 p.m.

Drop by Tacoma Brewing Saturday and be a lab rat in a party atmosphere. Beer is about the experience, too.

TACOMA BREWING CO. 2ND ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION, 2-9 p.m., all ages, Tacoma Brewing Co., 625 St. Helens, Tacoma, no cover, 253.242.3370

Filed under: New Beer Column, Tacoma,

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 29, 2014 at 10:03am

Best Tacoma restaurants for locavores

Christy Reedy's Libertine Tacoma salts are on many Tacoma chef's shelves, including Top of Tacoma Bar and Cafe. Photo credit: Kim Thompson

When Weekly Volcano scribe Kim Thompson approached a locavore story for the greater Tacoma area, she got totally stoked. Sure, she had some reservations, but it wasn't like she'd asked me to go vegan.  (That one would have been exceptionally tough for this particular omnivore. As long as the cow had something near a 253 area code, she could still have a burger, right?)  So, off she went in search of Tacoma restaurants keeping it Tacoma. She discovered many restaurateurs who deserved awards for their research, dedication and preservation of the locavore. Therefore, Thompson doled out awards. Discover the winners here.

Filed under: Awards, Community, Tacoma,

October 29, 2014 at 11:44am

Beer Here: Reporter report, The Queen's Peach, Ill-Tempered Gnome, Halloween beer parties ...

Wingman Brewers' The Queen's Peach is on sale at Western Washington Metropolitan Markets.


Dick's Brewing Company turned 20 this weekend and had a big ol' birthday bash to celebrate at their Centralia brewery and tap room. The duck hunting camouflage was donned and the beer was flowing - in addition to classic pours such as their Dick Danger Ale and their I.P.A., a few new 2014 beers were available for the drinking, including the Reporter Red Ale, brewed in honor of The Chronicle newspaper's 125th anniversary of serving the folks in Lewis County. Head Brewer Dave Pendleton brewed the Northwest-style Red Ale with hops in mind more than malt, incorporating Washington state hops Cascade, Centennial, Magnum and Columbus. It's not overly bitter, with citrus and pine notes. I also enjoyed Dick's Midnight Ride Black IPA as Top Rung Brewing's Mike Besser ( and I shouted over the Backfire Band. Rich and dark like a porter, Cascade and Centennial hopped as a Northwest IPA, the CDA-style beer has a smoky finish and lively carbonation. Congrats Dick's!


Metropolitan Market had peaches - big, juicy, slurpalicious mothas so fabulous that they have their own month. Since 1996, Metropolitan Market has collected the peach bounty from Pence Orchards in Wapato, Washington and organic growers Frog Hollow Farm in Brentwood, California. And every August, Diamond Princess, O'Henry, Summerset and several other peach varieties receive the royal treatment from Met Market's produce managers, including the Proctor District store. Of course, not all peaches make the cut. Metropolitan unloaded more than 100 pounds of bruised peaches in Wingman Brewers' loading dock, asking the Tacoma brewery to turn them into beer for all their stores. Head Brewer Ken Thoburn brewed the peaches with bourbon, Madagascar vanilla beans and cinnamon sticks, producing a beer that could replace your Thanksgiving dessert, if you like your dessert ringing in at 8.5 percent alcohol by volume. Head to Met Market in Proctor, marvel at the remodel and grab some peach cobbler disguised as 22-ounce bottles.


Seattle's Elysian Brewing is the pumpkin king of the Northwest, brewing 13 different pumpkin beers and just hosted its 10th massive pumpkin brew festival that draws entrants from as far away as Europe. Puyallup River Alehouse will allow Elysian to take over its taps, including this year's pumpkin beers, such as the Punkuccino ale with a short shot of Stumptown coffee, cinnamon and nutmeg. Giveaways and raffles will be part of the action from 6-9 p.m.

The ParkWay Tavern teams up with Avery Brewing for a "Night of Darkness," featuring such Avery beasts as Mephistopheles, Samaels, The Reverend, Salvation, 2012 Hog Heaven, Rumpkin, Pump[KY], Trogdor the Burninator at The Beast, to name a few. It will get dark around 5 p.m.

Three Magnets Brewing Co. is busy pushing out kegs as work continues on their much-anticipated brewery and brewpub, slated to open next month at 600 Franklin St. in downtown Olympia. As you might have heard, Three Magnets is the brainchild of Nathan and Sara Reilly, who also own Darby's Café in downtown Olympia. Dillingers Cocktails & Kitchen - the beautiful speakeasy serving pre-Prohibition cuisine and carefully researched, era-appropriate drinks crafted by bartender Sherilyn Lightner - will host Three Magnets head brewer Pat Jansen and the brewery's latest brews from 4-7 p.m.


Oakshire Brewing has unleashed its Ill-Tempered Gnome, an American brown ale with chocolate malt and a snappy bitter, hoppy finish. Fingers crossed this winter seasonal will be on tap at The Copper Door when the beer store and tap room hosts the Eugene, Oregon brewery beginning at 6 p.m. Prizes will be doled out for best costume and best beer-related costume, such as an Ill-Tempered Gnome.

The Spar in Old Town Tacoma hosts a Deschutes Brewing brewer's Night from 7-9 p.m. A spotlight will shine on the Bend, Oregon, brewery's Reserve Series' "Not the Stoic," a Belgian-styled quad that was aged and sequestered in rye whiskey and Pinot Noir barrels, resulting in a complex flavor that is an entirely new rendition - with a nod to the original "The Stoic," which was released in 2011.


Nothing with pumpkin tastes good above 70 degrees. With a high of 56 predicted for Halloween day, Puyallup River Alehouse's Halloween Pumpkin Beer Party should be a smashing success.Expect to drinkPuyallup River Jack O'Lahar, Puyallup River Black Pumpkin Saison, Puyallup River Gourdy Wow!, Elysian Dark O The Moon, Elysian The Great Pumpkin, Elysian Punkuccino, Elysian Night Owl, Doc's Draft Hard Pumpkin Cider, Dogfish Head Punkin, Bainbridge Island Pumpkin, Southern Tier Pumking and others from 3 p.m. to midnight.

If adult trick-or-treating were a thing, what would you hand out? Probably beer, at least that's what Pint Defiance has on the docket. Beginning at 5 p.m., the specialty beer store and taproom will tap rare pumpkin beers from Almanac, Bale Breaker, Elysian, 21st Amendment and others. The first 100 customers to order a pumpkin beer will walk away with a treat bag full of candy, prizes and beer schwag.

Narrows Brewing Co. will host its Hoppy Halloween Party, shining a spotlight on the new Coffee Cardamom Stout, a collaboration beer with Northern Pacific Coffee Company and Mad Hat Tea Company, beginning at dusk. 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.

Comeback Sports hosts its Halloween party at Wingman Brewers featuring a dance party with DJ, costume contest with prizes, food truck outside, pumpkin beer and cider and, well, more beer. The party kicks off at 9 p.m. with a $5 admission; $20 includes five Wingman beers.

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/

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.

Top Chef, Season 12, Episodes 1 and 2 recap

October 31, 2014 at 11:17am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Oakhouse Restaurant & Bar

Oakhouse's Mac and Moore Cheese

I've always loved October. Flora is in full regalia for its last fashion show, summer's hiccups butt into winter's tentative icy thrusts, and animals are ferociously busy with gathering, storing and various forms of copulation wherever the eye may fall. The best part of October, though, has to be the supernatural event that peeks out from the edge of the calendar - that beautiful, exuberantly wicked holiday that provokes us to worship the dead, revel in the unknown and rally for all that is spooky. Halloween has to be the greatest lasting expression of residual pagan ritual, tapping into our fear, perversion and lust for candy in one simultaneous, glorious, holy night.

Being in the food and drink writing business, I decided to pay all the respect I could muster to this great holiday, and went on the search for a haunted restaurant. Asking around, I could find neither employee nor patron with a story anymore haunting than missing saltshakers and banshee-like head waitresses. So I went looking for a haunted restaurant on my own.

Yesterday, I drove through Oakbrook's notorious enormous puddles of water to the Oakhouse Restaurant & Bar, sure to feel some leftover presence in the surrounding oak trees, or perhaps a specter in the pro shop - but instead I ate my mac and cheese with only a sole happy bartender as company.

Really, food does a lot of its own haunting, and a restaurant is teeming with ghosts - memories so powerful that they seem to beckon from beyond the present time, circumstance and behavior. I don't need a plate of mac and cheese to float across the room to feel the presence of something untouchable at the table with me. The sixth sense is probably the most powerful tool when it comes to eating, and it is created by thousands of experiences, feelings and residual spirit. We're all haunted every day.

I grew up in the Lakewood neighborhood of Oakbrook. The Oakbrook Golf & Country Club was my playground. It was where I experienced my first kiss. It was where I experienced my first dance. It was where I experienced what scotch can do to a body (that's for another scary story day). I was fortunate to have grown up in such a happy, safe environment during the '70s. I also ate a lot of mac and cheese, burgers and fries in the old clubhouse.

Professional golfer Ryan Moore and his buddies bought the Oakbrook Golf & Country Club several years ago and renamed it the Oakbrook Golf Club, opened it up to the public, remodeled the clubhouse's interior, let the weeds have our Turkey Bowl field and sold the pool and tennis courts to condo developers. They saved the golf course from fiancial ruin, but eerie fencing and weeds haunts those who once filled the area with smiles, laughter and first-wedgie screams.

Just as you might be dressing up today, the Oakhouse dresses up its mac and cheese. Named after Moore, its Mac and Moore Cheese takes a pile of fun creste pasta, tosses in Beecher's Flagship white cheddar, thin onion stripes, a touch of garlic and 10,000 toasted bread crumbs, then serves it in a ginormous, heated bowl. This is the stinkiest macaroni and cheese I have tasted or smelled since I began ... but in a good way. The combination of the robust Beecher's Flagship semi-hard cow's milk cheese, onions and tinge of garlic give rise to a unique taste that's a welcome change from standard strong cheddar flavors. Panko breadcrumbs provide a wonderful buttery crunch.

Yes, I prefer the old Oakbrook, but this mac and cheese dish helps create new wonderful memories.

OAKHOUSE RESTAURANT & BAR, 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, 8102 Zircon Dr. SW, Lakewood, 253.584.8888

LINK: More mac and cheese dishes in the South Sound

LINK: The answer to why this mac and cheese column exists

About this blog

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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Recent Comments

Budi Sdk said:

A very interesting article, to add insight can be read at


Ted Smith said:

Thank you for the list of restaurants to try out. I will have to try their Mac and Cheese....

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tastymakan said:

I like your post on Bakery restaurants I like ...

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Angela Whitten said:

Any Spring beers?

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Web Developers Delhi said:

Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading...

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