Northwest Military Blogs: Served blog

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January 14, 2015 at 1:53pm

Eat This Now: Radiator Whiskey Tots

Jump in your car now.

Boy howdy, I am reeling with all that 2015 has already endowed yours truly with. The close of 2014 brought a sigh of relief and welcoming arms because I was exhausted from wrapping paper catastrophes, ugly sweater partying and last minute holiday shopping.

I've rang in the New Year with a bang by celebrating a birthday and journeying to a writer's retreat, which left little room for eating out ... in the South Sound. My little adventures took me far and wide, so in this week's "Eat This Now" comes from the heart of Seattle. My husband and I ventured for live entertainment at the Showbox and, since I rarely hang out in Seattle, I used the great and mighty social media to ask my homies where one eats pre-Showbox-rock-out-shenanigans. I was met with a score of culinary delights. Of all the recommendations I chose Radiator Whiskey, because, uh, WHISKEY is the one thing I require to properly celebrate my old age. I. Was. Not. Disappointed.

Radiator Whiskey is a tricky little joint to find with minimal signage street side. It is located directly across from Pike's Place Market - just a short elevator ride and walk down a wonky quiet hallway away. There is, in fact, loads of whiskeys, whiskey cocktails made by well informed "mixologists" and a small menu featuring gourmet eats such as Lamb Neck Sloppy Joe, Turkey Drum Confit and even half a pig head smoked. While sipping on your fancy bourbon concoction or any one of their barrel-aged handpicked whiskeys, you can watch two dudes in their very intimate and unimpressive looking kitchen bust out beautiful dishes with ease.

As a woman of simple pleasures, I gave their tots ($8) a try. Yea, their tots.

These tots are the best tots known to man. These tots start out simple enough, like a generous portion of perfectly crisped tot shaped tater bites. Radiator Whisky then ladles a generous scoop of their housemade gravy atop. This isn't your grandmama's gravy, it's so much better and I can't even really tell you what's so amazing about it except its perfect and as though that wasn't enough they add a perfect single, sunny side up egg. Creamy, crispy, yolk porn-y appetizer goodness is the result. Just add a few shakes of some hot sauce and I'm in heaven.

Radiator whiskey needs to open a second location in Tacoma.

I may as well have died and met my maker - who would, of course, equally admire the brown boozy nectar.

RADIATOR WHISKEY, 4 p.m. to midnight Monday-Saturday, 94 Pike St., Suite 30, Seattle, 206.467.4268

Filed under: Eat This Now, Booze,

October 6, 2014 at 10:37am

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Sherilyn Lightner of Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen

Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen Bar Manager Sherilyn Lightner is ready to serve you in downtown Olympia. 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 Sherilyn Lightner.

Server Banner Girl, Oct. 6-12, 2014

Sherilyn Lightner

Sherilyn Lightner runs the bar at Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen, the Prohibition-era speakeasy in downtown Olympia. She has been bar mistress at Dillingers since it opened Jan. 28 of this year. She was a month away from moving to Portland, Oregon, in search of her next bartending challenge when she was asked to be part of the Dillingers team. It was her first opportunity to open a bar from the ground up, thoughtfully choosing all of the products and compiling the cocktail menu to suit the tone and theme of Dillingers, while offering something different for Olympia.

She began bartending nearly 11 years ago at Mercato Ristorante next to the Olympia Farmers Market. Since then, she has bartended at Waterstreet Café and Acqua Via, both in Olympia, and Juno in Seattle. What began as a job during college has turned into her passion.

Bartending can mean different things to different people. For Lightner, it is an art form, a craft, to be honed and perfected. Part of her journey has included entering competitions. Next year will be her third year competing in Speed Rack, an all-female, nationwide bartending competition that raises money for breast cancer research. The competition is held in eight major cities, including Seattle where Lightner will be competing. Participants go head to head, and are judged on speed and accuracy of four classic cocktails, picked at random, by four judges. According to Lightner, it's humbling, exhilarating and nerve racking.

Why do you serve?

"I love hospitality. If I had the time and the means, I would host intimate dinner parties every night. Serving is my way of doing just that. For a few hours, you are given the opportunity to create an experience for people, and it's a fun challenge to figure out what kind of experience they are looking for. It's an extreme honor to serve others, and be invited into their lives for a moment." 

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"My favorite server in the South Sound is Andrew Buechel at Mercato Ristorante. He is the utmost professional, extremely attentive without being intrusive and he genuinely cares about hospitality. I call him ‘Champion', a nickname that he most definitely earned and deserves." 

What are you most proud to serve?

"I am most proud to serve any drink that a guest truly enjoys. I love broadening horizons, educating people about spirits and cocktails and turning people on to new things, but, ultimately, my job is to craft a drink that suits my guest. Whether that is a vodka and soda, or a Champs-Élysées, if you love it, I'm proud of it." 

What is your current drink of choice?

"I always love whiskey or cognac based cocktails. My ultimate go-to is the Vieux Carre, a blend of Cognac, Rye, Sweet Vermouth, Benedictine, and Peychauds and Angostura Bitters. It's like a Manhattan's richer, more sophisticated uncle. Or, a lovely glass of green Chartreuse with just a few ice cubes. You can never go wrong with Chartreuse." 

What is your favorite movie?

"Oy. That's a stressful question. I have different favorites based on different genres, or moods. However, if I had to pick ONE favorite, I would have to say Blade Runner. I could watch that film over and over, and never tire of it. SO good."

What don't you serve?

"I won't serve a drink that I can't stand behind. I taste nearly every cocktail I send out, because my name is attached to it. If it's not right, I won't serve it, and I'll keep working on it until it is right." 

What's on your radar at Dillingers?

"I want Dilllingers to continue to offer something different for Olympia. Now that we are established, I want to get into housemade infusions, barrel-aged cocktails, and more Dillingers originals. We will continue with pre-Prohibition and Prohibition-era cocktails as our main focus, but its a lot of fun to experiment, try new things and continue to challenge yourself. 

Meet Sherilyn Lightner: Dillingers Cocktails and Kitchen Chef Denise Alsonso will cook and Bar Mistress Sherilyn Lightner will pour champagne cocktails at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 7 at the Bayview School of Cooking. The cost is $55. Reserve your space at 360.754.1448.

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

October 6, 2014 at 8:27am

Hotel Murano toasts Breast Cancer Awareness Month with Pretty in Pink

Drink Pink at the Hotel Murano during October. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

During October, BITE restaurant at Hotel Murano is supporting Breast Cancer Awareness Month by serving up special Pretty in Pink cocktails to raise money for Keep A Breast Foundation.

"Richard Tibbot, our restaurant manager at Hotel Murano, came up with the recipe," says Tess Burick, the marketing coordinator for Provenance Hotels, owners of the hotel in downtown Tacoma.

The restaurant is donating $1 from the sale of each Pretty in Pink cocktail, made with Fris vodka, Pama Pomegranate Liqueur, a splash of pineapple juice and a raspberry resting at the bottom of the martini glass, a combination that results in a cocktail that's the same color as the famous breast cancer awareness ribbon.

Last night, I handed over $7 for one of these beauties. It's a perfectly balanced cocktail that's wonderfully tart and sweet.

The pink cocktail promotion is also happening at other Provenance hotels' restaurants:

Miller's Guild at Hotel Max (Seattle): Calling Dr. Cosmo ($10) is made with Wodka Vodka, cranberry orange shrub and Scrappy's Lime Bitters;

Jackknife at Sentinel (Portland): The Left Handed Gun ($12) is made with Vida Mezcal, Dolin Genepy, grenadine, and lime;

Imperial at Hotel Lucia (Portland): The Harlequin ($10) is made with gin, aperol and lemon juice;

Driftwood Room at Hotel deluxe (Portland): The Rose Colored Glasses ($10) is made with gin, rose syrup, fresh lemon juice and champagne.

The Pretty in Pink cocktail is available through the month at BITE located on the fourth floor at Hotel Murano and in the hotel's lobby bar.

BITE AT HOTEL MURANO, 1320 Broadway Plaza, Tacoma, 253.591.4151

Filed under: Benefits, Booze, Tacoma,

July 23, 2014 at 11:50am

Celebrate the rain with El Toro's new margaritas

El Toro now serves a Horny Margarita.

It appears we are getting this summer's entire allotment of rain all in one go. And as glad as we are for our parched earth to get the much-needed precipitation, let's face it: After all these straight days of sun all this rain is a little ... shocking?

Let's celebrate. El Toro has introduced new margaritas.

"Yes, we have new margaritas," says Ruben Arias Jr., executive manager of El Toro Restaurants, with locations in Tacoma, Puyallup, Lakewood and University Place. "Our house, Gold and Cadillac are standard and we have always served them. But the rest are new. We put this menu three weeks ago."

Blended or on the rocks, salt or no salt, classic or all fruited up - El Toro has your back today.

June 5, 2014 at 12:28pm

Drinking in the South Sound

Hilltop Kitchen's To the Left cocktail swings both ways: sweet and heat. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Weekly Volcano researches (that is, drinking) and writes (often while drinking) and fact-checks (usually not while drinking) on a daily basis to connect the South Sound with the nearest libation. This week we put in a few more hours of liver-enlarging labor. ...

Day-drinking in Tacoma

How I learned to stop worrying and pass out with my shoes on by Rev. Adam McKinney

Garden-to-glass cocktails in Tacoma

A few herb-y concoctions by Jackie Fender

New Brewery Alert

Three Magnets Brewing Co. to open in downtown Olympia by Nikki McCoy

PLUS: 2014 summer drinking calendar for the South Sound by Pappi Swarner

LINK: South Sound happy hours

Filed under: Bar Exam, Tacoma, Olympia, Booze,

May 25, 2014 at 11:19am

Plan Ahead: Toscanos summer whiskey dinner

Toscanos Cafe and Wine Bar does brown June 25.

Do you remember all those career-placement tests you had to take in high school? The endless guidance-counselor appointments taking up your free periods? In all that time, did anyone ever happen to mention the possibility of becoming a professional whiskey taster?

Wednesday, June 25, Jim Beam Distillery is sending one to Toscanos Café and Wine Bar in Puyallup.


Filed under: Culinary Events, Booze, Puyallup,

May 19, 2014 at 1:45pm

Served Blog Banner Girl: Q&A with Rose Peterson of 1022 South J in Tacoma

Rose Peterson, general manager at 1022 South J in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Welcome to Served in the South Sound - the Weekly Volcano's new food and drink blog. This blog will continue to host our thoughts on the South Sound food and drink scene, but now with fewer Howitzers. Military news and event coverage, as well as South Sound music, arts and wackiness will remain on our Walkie Talkie blog. On our new blog, we'll serve up a feedbag of fresh chow daily, with local restaurant news, the 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. We've moved all the New Beer Column and Mac and Cheese Madness posts to this blog. The food and drink posts from 2006 through last Friday will remain on Walkie Talkie.

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

Server Banner Girl, May 19-25, 2014

Rose Peterson

General manager, bartender and server

1022 South J, a craft cocktail lounge and locally-source food, 1022 South J on Tacoma's Hilltop

Why do you serve?

"I started in the bar business as a part-time job for extra cash. I soon found out I didn't want to work behind a desk. I enjoy the conversations I have with strangers, as well as my regulars."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"Right now, I'm digging Will over at Asado."

What are you most proud to serve?

"The Hazelnut Old Fashioned"

What's your current drink of choice?

"I'll pour a Bastille Whiskey at home, but I'm also on the cider wagon right now."

Favorite movie?

"Die Hard, in fact all of the Die Hard flicks are my favorites."

What don't you serve?

"I don't have anything blue."

What's on your radar at 1022 South J?

"Summer nights on our kickass patio. Bring on the warm weather!"

March 1, 2012 at 7:58am

Understanding Tacoma through its passion to drink

TACOMA AND BOOZE: They just go together. Photo design by Pappi Swarner

Not long ago we were tough and dirty. Tacoma was a hard-living town - a place former mayor Harold Moss likened to war-torn Beirut. True, we still hold onto parts of our past edginess, and our working class mentality. But, in reality, Tacoma has grown into a town with a budding arts community and great local businesses. One need only review Tacoma Mayor Marilyn Strickland's 2012 State of the City address to understand the cultural leaps we have made in just the last year. Additionally, according to the Washington State Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, since 1985 Tacoma's violent crime rates have been reduced by half - across the board.

Throughout all of this change and growth a common thread has stayed true for Tacoma's entire history - how Tacoma relates to its drink. ...

Filed under: Booze, 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


Ted Smith said:

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

about Tournament of Mac and Cheese: It's Cheesy 16 time!

tastymakan said:

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

about Mac and Cheese Madness: The Homestead Restaurant and Bakery

Angela Whitten said:

Any Spring beers?

about Cheers to Winter Beers in Puyallup

Web Developers Delhi said:

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

about Eat This Now: Radiator Whiskey Tots