TNT Diner

Good eats and drinks around Tacoma, Pierce County and South Puget Sound

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Fill your belly or your tank?

Post by News Tribune Staff on May 31, 2006 at 5:25 am | No Comments »
May 31, 2006 5:25 am


SIMMERING QUESTION: Would you drive this purple line for dinner?

Who needs a car and a 747

When you can’t buy a gallon of gas

Who needs a highway, an airport or a jet

When you can’t get a gallon of gas

There’s no more left to buy or sell

There’s no more oil left in the well

A gallon of gas can’t be purchased anywhere

For any amount of cash

– from “A Gallon of Gas” by Ray Davies

There’s a reader out there I haven’t heard from in some time. He used to call when I’d review a Seattle restaurant. “You expect me to drive 40 miles for dinner?” he’d ask incredulously.

I haven’t reviewed a Seattle restaurant in some time. But that reader’s voice twanged through my head as I drove back from Porter, outside of Aberdeen, this weekend. I was heading to Ranch House BBQ in Olympia and decided to keep on driving, to check out what sounded like an interesting restaurant I’d been told about.

Half-way through my 158-mile round trip, I got to thinking: With a gallon of gas costing more than a Starbucks latte, how far is too far to drive for a meal?

Rice Bowl sounded interesting: It’s located inside the Porter Grocery Store. By day, there are burgers, corn dogs and the like. Friday and Saturday nights, the menu changes to an organic chef’s-choice Asian-Northwest fusion offering, reservations only.

To review Rice Bowl, I’d have to make at least one more 158-mile round trip, and by extension, I’d be asking you to make that drive too. Rice Bowl’s Chef Kay just bought the Porter Saloon, which she plans to turn into a barbecue joint. That might be worth another trip.

I’d also like to re-visit and review Cave B Inn’s Tendrils restaurant, a 350-mile round trip from Tacoma, something I’d accomplish by having dinner with three guests one evening, staying in a nearby motel and breakfasting at Tendrils the next day, before driving home. But again, I’d be asking readers to make that drive too.

I’ve already heard from one angry reader who felt hornswoggled by a barbecue recommendation, a 70-mile round-trip from downtown Tacoma. Heck, I kinda wince just driving to Bonney Lake.

So here’s a simmering question or two: How far are you willing to drive for dinner? What kind of dinner experience do you want for your gasoline? Log in and post your comments.

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