TNT Diner

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

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Archives: Oct. 2006


Wine tasting cost and commotion


No such thing as a free taste? Wine tasting fees are becoming more common in the Northwest.

TNT photo by Janet Jensen

The fall edition of Wine Press Northwest pours some heat on a wine-country debate.

“Tasting fees. That’s what gets the blood boiling,” writes Andy Purdue, the magazine’s editor.

California wineries have charged tasting fees for some time. They were intended to quash the happy-hour-on-wheels vibe that threatened to sour the bucolic Napa Valley.

Now more Pacific Northwest wineries are charging visitors who want to sample

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In dining and dollars, ’40 is the new 30′


El Gaucho’s 24-ounce Porterhouse costs $62. Sides are extra.

Tacoma may lack many of the dining amenities found elsewhere. But the City of Destiny’s restaurants have at least one thing in common with restaurants from New York to Las Vegas: $40 entrees.

“Entrees over $40 can be found in restaurants that are merely upscale, where diners wear jeans and tote children," the New York Times said recently.

"Forty is the new 30," said the chief operating officer of Union Square Hospitality Group in New York, which recently began

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Brown power

Brown ales are like brown shoes: comfortable and easily under-appreciated.

While they lack the palate-seizing flash of India Pale Ales, brown ales are pleasingly complex, balancing luscious malts and mellow bites, with hints of nuts and chocolate, depending on the brew.

I wish there were more browns to be drunk. I like Dick’s Working Man’s Brown Ale. Sierra Nevada’s brown is good too. I go back and forth over Big Sky’s Moose Drool. (Maybe it’s the name.) Newcastle rules.

I was on assignment in Victoria, B.C., last week. There are four brewpubs in town; I

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Up, and eating, all night

As I note in today’s GOEAT “first bite” report, The Pita Pit is open until 3 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. But the immediate future of nightowl noshing in downtown Tacoma may depend on bars.

“I don’t think that 3 a.m. will work here,” said Rick Weiler, franchise owner of The Pita Pit, opened at 921 Pacific Ave. (at 10th Street) on Oct 5.

Before deciding to continue the late hours, Weiler said he wants to see what kind of post-closing-time traffic comes The Pita Pit’s way from two upcoming downtown Tacoma bar/restaurants: The Matador (Pacific/8th) and

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Catching up on cask, priming for pumpkin at Elysian

I attended the Washington Brewers Guild‘s Cask Beer Festival on Saturday. Like the beers poured at Seattle Center, my notes have been aging. (Casking creates a gentle, natural CO2 carbonation and allows the flavors to develop, resulting in a richer and smoother beer. My notes, however, get staler by the day.)

While several of the beers were brewed in limited quantities specifically for the event, you can still find some of them (or their non-casked cousins on draft) at the places they were brewed. Here are some I’d seek out while supplies last:

Bi-Polar is a

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Reasons to be happy: Your turn

It’s almost time for another installment of the GO section‘s happy hour tour. I’m soliciting your help.

Who’s got great happy hours? I want know about your favorite places for discounted food and drink. You know me; I’ll go anywhere from Magoo’s to El Gaucho. Don’t be shy.

If you’ve registered an account, log in and post your comments below. Or email me: by Oct. 27.


Like chocolate for chocolate

My wife’s been after me to bake something for one of her office gatherings. I generally resist such requests. My thinking goes like this: We spent too much money on culinary school for me to flex my baking muscle for a bunch of Realtors who wouldn’t cut their commissions for cookies.

Last night I relented. That’s because 1 pound and 2 ounces of Scharffen Berger chocolate arrived in the Swag Heap mailbox — and I really wanted to know how chocolate containing 99 percent cacao tastes and behaves.

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Jumping into The Pita Pit

The Pita Pit opened quietly in downtown Tacoma on Oct. 5. I happened by Oct. 11 and again today. I’ll have a first bite report in Friday’s GO section.

The franchise at 921 Pacific Ave. (at 10th Street) is the first South Sound location of the 11-year-old Canadian chain.

WSU grads and fans know The Pita Pit from Pullman. There are also locations in Seattle, Bellingham and Spokane. Ellensburg and Cheney are on the way.

The concept is quasi-Mediterranean, quasi Subway, with fresh-made sandwiches constructed inside in large pockets of pita bread. Prices

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