TNT Diner

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

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Archives: May 2007


Last thoughts on a dead pig

Charlie McManus of Primo Grill prepares to roast a whole pig.

Driving from the slaughterhouse in Kapowsin to Cheryl Ouellette’s farm in Summit one morning this month, it barely registered: dinner – 90 pounds of whole pig, freshly killed and USDA approved — was riding in the jump seat behind me.

On the way to the slaughterhouse two hours earlier, the pig, then 160 pounds and breathing, rode in a wooden crate in the back of Ouellette’s red Dodge pick-up truck. Now, with hair, blood and entrails removed, the pig, now pork, was wrapped in plastic and stuffed in a cardboard box about the size of a bag of golf clubs.

To me, at this time, this little piggy was nothing more than tomorrow’s dinner. Ouellette and I might as well have been returning from the supermarket with a load of pork chops, roasts and ribs. As we drove and enjoyed each other’s company, I pretty much forgot there was a dead pig behind me, a creature, now a product, whose body temperature was about the same as mine.

I love pork, but I had no feelings for this pig. I’d watched it die – a professional jolt of electricity on the top of its head ensured it wouldn’t feel the knife that would slit its throat. As life and blood drained from its body, the pig twitched. Don’t worry, Ouellette said, those are just muscle spasms.

Ouellette hand-raises and hand-feeds her pigs from birth. She says she has a real connection with her animals. This was the first time she had observed their slaughter at this facility, but she assured me the pig died humanely: The pig was out the moment two electric spikes jolted its skull.

I had been granted the privilege of watching this pig’s slaughter. I’d agreed not to take pictures or disclose the slaughterhouse’s name or exact location. For the purposes of this narrative, I’ll refer to the Caucasian slaughterhouse workers as John, and the Latino slaughterhouse workers as Juan.

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White wine fever


Woodinville’s Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery — dubbed “America’s greatest value winery” by Food & Wine magazine — is the world’s largest producer of Riesling.

My invitation to the Washington Wine Highway event this weekend at Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery got lost in my in-box.

No matter.

I spent the weekend cozying up to Chateau Ste. Michelle wines.

I reached for the eponymous Rieslings, along with bottles of the varietal bearing Hogue and Snoqualmie Vineyards labels, both of which are owned by the Woodinville winery, which is the

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This day in Tacoma food history

Ed’s note: An overcast breeze blows across Browns Point today. 215 years ago today, British explorers and local Indians dined here on venison pie, xenophobia and a side of cannibal mythology. Here’s the tale, excerpted from an article that originally published in the News Tribune’s SoundLife section on May 16, 2005.

In the late 18th century, the beaches around Browns Point and Dash Point were warm-weather retreats. Puget Sound was pregnant with salmon and clams. Fertile bluffs bore berries and roots. Deer and quail were for the taking. Puyallups made the junket by canoe. Other tribes trekked over the Cascades to relax, hunt and feast here.

By all historical accounts, the cove between Browns Point and Dash Point also was a nice spot for British explorers to picnic on the pleasantly windy afternoon of May 26, 1792.

Venison pie was on Capt. George Vancouver’s menu that day. It was served with a helping of xenophobia and a side of cannibal mythology that stalked the Pacific Northwest. Dessert was a lesson of cultural assumption.

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First Bite: Riffing on Pizza


Pizza the rock at The Rock

Pizza. Rock ‘n’ roll. Both are classics.

Most mornings, I get my fix of Led Zeppelin and Journey outside The Rock Wood Fired Pizza in downtown Tacoma. One can’t miss the music from the sidewalk speakers.

I don’t know about you, but power chords and macho falsettoes give me the warm and fuzzies – like I’m back in California in the ’70s, when rock still rocked and mustaches, tube tops and tricked-out vans ruled the valley.

So when my wife’s baby boomer

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Tastes like Tacoma?


Crazy for curly fries:

Tastes like Taste of Tacoma 2006.

An Ed’s Diner regular writes:

Will you start a thread questioning the Taste of Tacoma? It’s coming up soon and I personally think it has nothing to do with the “taste” of Tacoma considering the very minuscule percentage of actual standing restaurants in Tacoma that participate. I am curious why and what others think about this ” carnie-style” food festival.

I covered Taste of Tacoma in 2005. There were nearly 50 food vendors –

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Bones to pick


I liked the barbecue I ate at Honey Bee. Several readers wrote and called to differ.

You should make another visit to the Honey Bee. We were delighted to hear, through your column, that it had opened reviving Bar-B-Que Pete’s menu and flavor. You awarded 4 stars. We went on a Sunday evening. We ordered ribs and chicken. The chicken was overcooked, dry, and flavorless. The ribs were ok but the flavor wasn’t cooked in. The sauce was apparently added after the meat was cooked.

The corn cobs were very small

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