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January 22, 2015 at 10:29am

Taste Bates Technical College's national award-winning Snooty Chef Burger Jan. 27

Bates Technical College's Culinary Arts 2014 World Food Championships award-winning Snooty Chef Burger. Photo courtesy of

One of life's greatest mysteries is: "who has the best burger in all the nation?!" It's one of the grand questions of the ages and is put to the test time and time again with burger competitions.

Bates Technical College's Culinary Arts crew threw their hat into the ring during November's 2014 World Food Championships in Las Vegas and came out on top with their Snooty Chef Burger. This masterpiece, created by Bates chef instructors JJ Meland and Roger Knapp, features ground Kobe beef and rib eye steak mixed with a Hungarian ragout blend spice from local gourmet seasoning gurus - two snooty chefs. They then add crispy bacon, tempura battered and fried Havarti cheese, a salad of spicy arugula, tomato and red onion tossed with a red wine vinaigrette and a caramelized onion mayonnaise all set upon a toasted Kaiser bun.

This behemoth earned them fourth out of 50 of those competing, advancing them to the final round where they placed in the top 10.

The displayed culinary prowess has earned them an invite to compete again this year in Florida and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 27, the citizens of the South Sound may dig into this championship burger at Bates Technical College's café for a cool $9.95 (price includes tax and fries).

Meland says, "We're excited to share this delicious burger we've worked hard to develop with our community. The Bates team enjoyed the 2014 competition and we are excited to develop a new innovative burger to bring to next year's World Food Championships."

Go forth and discover what a world championship contender tastes like and check out more about one of their secrets to flavor success at

BATES TECHNICAL COLLEGE, 1101 S. Yakima Ave., Tacoma, 253.680.7000

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,

September 12, 2014 at 2:43pm

TWOKOI Japanese Restaurant Certified Sake Specialist Jeannie Han is still special

Jeannie Han is pictured here ... probably thinking about sake.

In 2010, a few days before the Weekly Volcano foodie and drinkie group Nosh League gathered at TWOKOi Japanese Restaurant and drank 10,000 gallons of sake, or so it felt, WV scribe Jennifer Johnson announced to the world that the Tacoma restaurant's sake specialist Jeannie Han was in fact very special, a certified sake specialist special.

News just arrived at Weekly Volcano World Headquarters that restaurant industry magazine FSR has also discovered how Han's special talents. Here is the news release out of the TWOKOI camp. ...

Home to the largest sake selection in the Pacific Northwest TWOKOI Japanese Cuisine and the City of Tacoma lead the way with sake! The September 2014 FSR Magazine recognized TWOKOI's sake program as outstanding in the nation! 

Right in the heart of Tacoma's downtown museum district, TWOKOI offers sake like you have never experienced before.  Our educated staff will guide you through a personal sake journey.  Whether you are sampling or pairing, our extensive sake selection will be sure to satisfy your palette!

Offering a variety of classes including sake as well as sushi and team building - inquire anytime about signing up today!

TWOKOI opens at 11:00 a.m. Tuesday through Friday for lunch, happy hour, and dinner and 2:00 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday for happy hour and dinner.  Classes are available seven days a week.


Filed under: Awards, Tacoma, In Their Words,

July 28, 2014 at 2:37pm

Winners announced for Aroma of Tacoma home brewing competition

Dioni De Morena of Redmond was the The Best of Show winner and received a $250 gift certificate to MASH Homebrew Supply. Not bad for a $7 entry fee.

The first-annual Aroma of Tacoma home brewing competition is in the books. Saturday, July 26, before the big Harmon Brewing Co. Progressive Party at Harmon Tap Room and The Hub, around 30 home brewers filled the tables in the Tap Room's Harmon Garden as Casey Williams and Trevor Nichol handed out medals and plaques to the best home brewers in the, well, the world as winners were announced as far away as Europe.

Harmon Brewing Co. and Mash teamed up to sponsor Aroma of Tacoma, but Williams and Nichol ran the show, inviting home brewers to brew beers in 23 beer styles using handcrafted products, containing ingredients available to the general public and made using private equipment by hobbyist brewers. Saturday, July 19, judges gathered at the Harmon Hub in Tacoma's Stadium District and sampled the "brew"-testant's beers. It was a BJCP sanctioned home brewing competition with Pro-Am selections.

Saturday morning, the regional home brewers gathered in the Garden to drink beer before 11 a.m. and laugh their asses off as Tacoma home brewers Williams and Nichol announced the winners. The names given to the home brews were freakin' hilarious. Here is the list of winners:

2014 Aroma of Tacoma HomeBrew Championship Winners

Pro/Am Selections

(Brewer's Name - Entry Name - Commercial Brewery - Style)

#1 - Randall Breedlove - The Geek - Tacoma Brewing Co. - IPA

#2 - Tim Frommer - C. D. Saison - Engine House No. 9 - Saison

#3 - Tony Ochsner - Waimea Blood Orange Pale Ale - The RAM - American Pale Ale

#4 - Jay Walker and Shawn Anderson - Hop Denim - Harmon Brewing Co. - Double IPA

#5 - Dioni De Morena - Die Wasp - Wingman Brewers - Kolsch

Light Lagers/Hybrids

(Place - Brewer's Name - Entry Name - Style - Club)

1st - Dioni De Morena - Die Wasp - Kolsch - Cascade Brewers Guild

2nd - Garth Donald - Forgotten Brew - Blonde Ale - Regicidre Brewing

3rd - Ernie Smith - DABble - Dortmunder Export - IBU (Intellectual Brewers Union)

Maillard Duck

(Place - Brewer's Name - Entry Name - Style - Club)

1st - Tony Ochsner - Black Dog - Schwarzbier - Chop & Brew

2nd - Chris Tracy - Marzen - Oktoberfest/Marzen

Ales of the British Isles

1st - Tony Ochsner - Talli The Timid - Mild - Chop & Brew

2nd - Jeffrey French - Frenchy's Bitter - Standard/Ordinary Bitter

3rd - Dioni De Morena - Highlands Calf - Scottish Light 60 - Cascade Brewers Guild

Freedom Ales

1st - Mark Aichele - 5280 Pale Ale - American Pale Ale

2nd - Andrew Czarniak - Red Right Returning - American Amber Ale - Bay Area Mashers

3rd - Mathew Wisner - Breakfast For Dinner - American Brown Ale

The Darkness

1st - Ken Buckley - Chocolate Covered Espresso Bean Stout - Foreign Extra Stout - Impaling Alers

2nd - Andrew Czarniak - Post Captain - Brown Porter - Bay Area Mashers

3rd - Brian Heckard - Vladimir Putin American Stout - American Stout

Wolf of the Willows

1st - Jay Walker - Hop Denim - Imperial IPA     

2nd - Patrick Dutmers - Super Sim IPA - American IPA     

3rd - Daniel Christensen - End Of The Line IPA - American IPA - IBU (Intellectual Brewers Union)

Battle of the Bulge

1st - Charles Macaluso - Big Dipper - Belgian Specialty Ale     

2nd - Tim Frommer - C.D. Saison - Saison    Cascade Brewers Guild

3rd - Chris Tracy - Stable Boy Summer Session Saison - Saison     

Honorable Mention - Steve Taylor - Bigfoot Belgian Pale Ale - Belgian Pale Ale

Belgian Strong/Strong Ales

1st - Kevin Blaylock - Bromance Barleywine - English Barleywine    Headlock Brewing

2nd - Dioni De Morena - Red Bulldog - American Barleywine - Cascade Brewers Guild

3rd - Brian Heckard - Garbo Golden Ale - Belgian Golden Strong Ale


1st - Ernie Smith - G Ma's Porch - Fruit Beer - IBU (Intellectual Brewers Union)

2nd - Charles Macaluso - Barking Dog Of The Hair - Wood-Aged Beer     

3rd - Darren Gordon - Bourbon Barrel Vanilla Russian Imperial Stout     Wood-Aged Beer     

Honorable Mention - Nicholas Marianetti - Ginger Kumquat Saison - Fruit Beer

The Kitchen Sink

1st - Gregory Marlor - Vitis Vinifera - Specialty Beer - CHUG

2nd - James Frazer - Spruce Springsteen - Specialty Beer - Hill City Homebrewers

3rd - Daniel Christensen - Symphony - Specialty Beer - IBU

Filed under: New Beer Column, Awards, Tacoma,

July 17, 2014 at 10:40am

Harmon Brewing to open Hop Coffee during its Progressive Party July 26

Nikki Johnson will be pouring Hop Coffee and other coffee drinks at the Harmon Tap Room. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Coffee-infused stouts are fairly common in the craft beer industry, especially in imperial stouts. It makes perfect sense to match roasted coffee with roasted malt.

Harmon Brewing Company has taken the coffee-beer combination in a different direction with its Hop Coffee - a coffee roast accented with its beer. Made with Bluebeard Coffee beans, Hop Coffee is a coffee that is all about the beer.

"We have taken two of America's most favorite tastes - coffee and beer - and fused them," says Harmon Brewing Co. co-owner Pat Nagle. "My business partner Carole Ford came up with the idea of taking some of our beers, reducing them down to syrups for flavoring for local coffee."

Ford chose Tacoma coffee roaster Bluebeard Coffee, which buys its beans from Latin America, Indonesia and East Africa, as their partner.

Bluebeard principle Kevin McGlocklin is excited to work with Harmon Brewing. "They are go-getters, always coming up with something new," says McGlocklin.

McGlocklin is creating a special dark roast for Hop Coffee, which the Harmon folks believe will work better with their beer reduction.

According to a news release, Harmon Brewing hired Melina Eshinshi, a professional chef, to handle the special alchemy between the coffee and beer. The flavored syrups are reductions of four Harmon signature craft beers: Mt. Takhoma Blonde with Orange Zest, Pinnacle Peak Pale Ale with Vanilla Bean, Pt. Defiance IPA with housemade Torani caramel sauce and Puget Sound Porter with housemade chocolate sauce.

"I can't reveal all the trade secrets, but for example I mixed our Pale Ale with an all-natural vanilla extract and that is going to make a fantastic Macchiato," said Eshinski in the news release. "The Puget Sound Porter seems a natural fit with any mocha drink."

Ford and Nagle will sell their Hop Coffee and standard coffee drinks from the northwest corner of the Harmon Tap Room. Stadium Bistro, the restaurant that occupied this space before the Harmon Tap Room, had hired a guy to build a coffee shop in the corner. The Harmon Brewing Co. will take the concept to completion, opening the Hop Coffee business during its Progressive Party Saturday, July 26 - the official merging of the two St. Helens neighborhood sister restaurants Harmon Tap Room and The Hub into one giant beer complex, which I announced several months ago. Meet the brewers, drink specialty beers, taste the new menu, sample desserts from Harmon's new in-house baker, hug a Harmon employee - the Progressive Party will run 1-6 p.m. for $15 a head. Spac eis limited; grab your tickets at The Hub and Harmon Tap Room.

The homebrewing competition Aroma of Tacoma awards ceremony will also be held during the Progressive Party.

"You can come in and grab your regular coffee drinks, or you can get one of our specialty Hop Coffees," explains Nagle. "It's going to be its own coffee shop, open at 6 a.m., where you can come in with your laptop, have a cup of coffee, watch our guys brew beer in the brewery room. It will be like having your own large office, complete with Wifi."

Bluebeard Coffee will help hire and train the Hop Coffee staff.

The Hop Coffee logo carries the "H" from the Harmon logo and the "O" is a big hop.

"It's a beautiful logo," says Nagle with a big smile.

The Hop Coffee space will also house Harmon's merchandise - shirts, caps and such - which Nagle hopes to set up an online store to sell both the coffee and swag.

"We're looking to remodel the Harmon downtown to have a Hop Coffee outlet there, maybe a Hop Coffee out at the Gig Harbor Hub."

Could there be Hop Coffee huts?

In any case, you won't be sorry to wake up and smell the coffee with Hop Coffee.

HOP COFFEE OPENING/PROGRESSIVE PARTY/AROMA OF TACOMA AWARDS, 1-6 p.m., Saturday, July 26, Harmon Tap Room/The Hub, 204 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma, 253.212.2725

July 10, 2014 at 1:36pm

Two South Sound restaurants earn Wine Spectator's 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards

True to its name, La Petite Maison means "the little house." Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Wine Spectator has announced its annual Restaurant Awards, honoring exemplary wine lists around the world. This year, 3,748 restaurants have been named award winners, spanning 50 U.S. states and more than 80 other countries and territories. Thirty-one Washington state restaurants earned one of three awards: the coveted Grand Award, Best of Award of Excellence or Award of Excellence.

Six top notch dining destinations - Clos Maggiore in London, La Toque in Napa, Nice Matin in New York, Saison in San Francisco, The Stonehouse in Santa Barbara and Studio in Laguna Beach - have earned Grand Award honors for the first time in Wine Spectator's 2014 Restaurant Wine List Awards. These restaurants join 68 other winners who have maintained their status as a top destination for wine drinkers, including Canlis and Wild Ginger in Seattle.

While no South Sound restaurant earned Grand Award honors, two restaurants from the our region made the Award of Excellence list: La Petite Maison and Waterstreet Café + Bar - both from Olympia.

La Petite Maison is a French restaurant with entrees in the $24-$39 range and a corkage fee of $15.

Waterstreet Cafe + Bar is a contemporary American restaurant with a fireplace and entrees in the $16-$42 range. Its corkage fee is $18.


Filed under: Awards, Olympia,

June 15, 2014 at 10:01am

South Sound breweries win medals at 2014 Washington Beer Awards

Brewer Shane Johns and E9 Brewery walked away with three 2014 Washington Beer Awards, basically owning sour beers. Photo courtesy of Facebook

Yesterday during the Washington Brewers Festival, Specialty Competitions LLC and the Washington Beer Commission announced the winners of the second annual Washington Beer Awards. Seventy-five Washington breweries submitted 460 beers to be judged by blindfold trained beer judges.

South Sound Breweries grabbed a few medals, including three Gold:

American Light Ales

Silver: Puyallup River Brewing - Cream Ale

Irish and British Stouts

Gold: Fish Brewing Co. - Over & Out Oatmeal Stout

American Brown and Black Ales

Silver: Harmon Brewing Co. - Black Tartan IPA

American Barley Wines

Gold: Fish Brewing Co. - 10-Squared Barley Wine

Belgian Strong Ales

Bronze: Wingman Brewers - Stratofortress

Farmhouse Ales

Silver: E9 Brewery - Farmhouse Quatre

Sour Beers

Gold: E9 Brewery - Golden Berry Wild

Silver: E9 Brewery - Verre Violet     

Spice, Herb, and Vegetable Beers

Silver: Puyallup River Brewing - Black Pumpkin Saison

Bronze: Northwest Brewing Company - Bad Panda Ginger Pale Ale

Specialty Beers

Bronze: Wingman Brewers - Gratzer

Wood and Barrel Aged Beers

Bronze: Puyallup River Brewing - Oak Aged Point Success Porter

LINK: Read a recap of Day One at the Washington Brewers Festival

May 15, 2014 at 12:58pm

Harmon Brewing wins Iron Brewer Competition 2014

Harmon Brewing Co. is the first brewery to bring the Iron Brewer Pro-Am Award south of Seattle, and have done it twice in a row. Courtesy photo

No, I'm not on Harmon Brewing Co.'s payroll. The Tacoma brewery is making news left and right.

I reported its Harmon Tap Room is integrating with its neighboring Hub restaurant.

Then, I mention the Harmon Brewery & Eatery was part of the Tacoma Brewery Walk.

Yesterday, I announced Harmon has, once again, teamed up with the Tacoma Art Museum on a new beer.

Well, Harmon is freakin' in the news, again.

As part of Seattle Beer Week, the Beveridge Place Pub held its annual Iron Brewer Competition May 11. Like television's Iron Chef, brewers are challenged to create something tasty using a set group of ingredients. Then, the resulting beers go head-to-head in a blind tasting.

Yes, Harmon won. In fact, it's Harmon's second Iron Brewer Competition win.


Filed under: Awards, New Beer Column, Tacoma,

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


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

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

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Angela Whitten said:

Any Spring beers?

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

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