TNT Diner

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

Archives: May 2007


Breakfast, made by South Sounders

Three South Sound home cooks will be featured in KCTS Cooks: Breakfast, premiering 11 a.m. Saturday on the Seattle-based public television station.

Darla Brashers of Spanaway will make Valencia crepes with raspberry filling; Yasuko Tischler of Auburn will make green tea muffins with white chocolate chips; and Nancy Warren of Des Moines will make bacon and tomato frittata.

They’ll do it live, along with 10 other home cooks from throughout Puget Sound. The program will also include pro chefs in pre-taped segments.

The four-hour show repeats repeats Saturday at 3 p.m. and Sunday

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Dog bites sustainability

I enjoyed the hand-raised, free-range pig that Charlie McManus bought from Cheryl the Pig Lady and turned into a pulled pork special at Primo Grill this weekend.

I was looking forward to trying Primo’s next foray into procuring and preparing local foods. Looks like I’ll have to hurry.

“We just received our first shipment of free range organic chickens from Gerry Stokesberry in Olympia,” McManus e-mailed. “They are really nice. However, there will be no more for two weeks as a dog got into his chicken pens and destroyed 130 birds. Once again, the hazards of ethical

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Sandwiches good, taste in mouth bad

I was listenting to whiny progressive radio bloviator Ed Schultz on Monday. He was whining about ordering food at the Miami airport. There was a language issue. Ed’s Spanish is not muy bueno, apparently. I pushed in a Warren Zevon CD before Schultz’s whining sent me into a sputtering rage. “Lawyers, Guns and Money” quelled me.

Then I thought about a language issue I encountered at the Puyallup farmers market on Saturday. I’d ordered pork and steak sandwiches. While we waited, my wife chatted up one of owners of the sandwich stand about her plans to

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A pig dies, a meal is born, a local farmer pays her bills

I watched a pig die this morning. Soon, I’ll eat it. Some unsettling things occurred before the pig became pork. But that’s life on the farm, and this story I’m working on is a farm-to-table story.

I’ll spare you the electric-stunning, throat-slitting, blood-letting, pig-tumbling (that’s how they get the hair off) details and jump ahead to the tasty morsels of the story: Cheryl the Pig Lady, a farmer from Summit, raises free-range pigs. Charlie McManus, chef/owner of Primo Grill in Tacoma, buys The Pig Lady’s humanely slaughtered animals and turns them into pulled-pork specials.

Charlie the

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Sweetness spreads; grounds and sounds grow


Made at Corina Bakery: Jessica Gaya’s baked goods — and they are good — are served at Doyle’s Public House, Metro Coffee and Over the Moon Cafe in Tacoma; Pegaso Coffee in DuPont and Artisan’s Community Entertainment Café in Olympia.

Artisan’s Community Entertainment Café recently took over the downtown Olympia café previously occupied by Veritas.

A flyer promoting Artisan’s open-mic poetry night (Tuesdays, at 8, for "slammers, beatniks, truth tellers & seekers" – my people) was the first thing that caught my eye. The other was hummingbird cake from

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A toast to Bob and sick kids

"In a way, I feel lucky to have cancer. It’s allowed me to do things that I would not have normally done."
– Charles “Bob” Hirsch

Bob died from leukemia three years ago, about a month after his 21st birthday.

"Bob loved beer," said Bob’s friend Manny. "When he turned 21, I went up to Alaska for his 21 Run with all his friends."

Bob had relapsed again.

"This time they told him there was nothing they could do for him," Manny said. "That was really tough. He realized his days were numbered."

On Monday – May 14, Bob’s birthday – Bob lives again. That’s the day Manny Chao, an owner and brewer at Seattle’s Georgetown Brewing Company, releases Bob’s Beer, a brown ale brewed to commemorate Bob and to raise money for a children’s charity.

Bob isn’t Bob’s real name. Bob’s real name is Charles Hirsch. At Camp Goodtimes, the Vashon Island summer retreat for children with cancer where Manny met Bob and everybody has a camp name, Bob said, "Just call me Bob."

"I was his counselor back in 1999," Manny said. "He had gone through remission and was doing fine."

Bob was 16 years old. He was in Manny’s leadership training.

"Instead of just being campers where they get to go fishing, they really have more of a purpose of being there," Manny said. "They get a chance to be assistant counselors and help out."

Back home in Alaska, Bob did volunteer and charity work. He won an Inspiration Award from the Juneau Cancer Society.

"He was very instrumental when he was at Children’s Hospital, talking to kids and just being inspiring," Manny said. "He wanted to come back and be a counselor, but unfortunately his health wouldn’t allow it."

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2 out of 3 sugar sodas taste better


Like the sodas I wrote about in today’s SoundLife story, the soda pops pictured above are all made with cane sugar. I drank them head-to-head with versions of Dr Pepper, Coca-Cola and Mountain Dew made with high-fructose corn syrup.

Here are my tasting notes:


Sugar version: “Peppery” notes sharp and pronounced. Sweet flavor. Light body.

HFCS version: Heavy mouthfeel. After tasting sugar version, this version had an artificial, “diet” taste.

Winner: Sugar.


Sugar version: Fruity crisp and clean cola

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Earn $10 per hour, pay $700 per month

I, too, drank the Kool Aid. I was collecting unemployment and took on student loan debt I couldn’t pay. Thanks to my wife’s real estate investments, the debt is paid. But I damaged my credit to the point that I have trouble getting a credit card, a financial tool that’s crucial to doing my job.

On one hand, one could argue that attending culinary school got me where I am today. On the other hand, Rick Park of Austin, Texas, makes a great point:

"I wouldn’t wish this on anyone,” he said. “I put my degree on

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