TNT Diner

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

Archives: Nov. 2007


Las Vegas pub crawl

LAS VEGAS — Arriving at McCarran International from Sea-Tac International for an Off-The-Strip eating excursion, I experienced slot machine envy. Why, I wondered, can’t Washington’s Indian tribes cook up some Sea-Tac casino action?

As I pondered this over several sips of brewed-in-Las Vegas beers, envy turned to pity:

Las Vegas may have better casinos than we have in Washington, but their lagers and ales pale in comparison to those brewed in the Pacific Northwest.

Then I realized that sipping microbrews at 5 a.m. was something I’d have a hard time doing legally in Puget Sound pubs. Even the mediocre beers tasted pretty good at this hour. All the town’s microbreweries are open 24 hours.

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Coffee? Dessert? You know it’s good news

An Olympia restaurant and an Olympia coffee roaster have paired up on what they’re promoting as the latest “terra-driven” culinary trend that’s ripe for picking: coffee and dessert pairings.


Don’t we already order coffee and dessert together?


But are diners being served the right coffees with the right desserts?

One should never drink Pouilly-Fuissé with pot roast, much as one should never drink Rainier with ratatouille. One desires food and beverage flavors to complement and harmonize. Bitter chocolate torte is great. But

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Hey, Fredo, who moved my cheese?

The menu made me an offer I couldn’t refuse: French onion soup on a cool windy day.

When the cup arrived, I experienced another “Godfather” moment. This one was the one in the third installment in which Michael kvetches about his lot in life:

“Just when I think I’m out, they pull me back in.”

Faster than you can say “scenery chewer,” I said to myself:

“Just when I think I’m having lunch, they make me work.”

Today I ate lunch at a bistro I’ve reviewed favorably. It was meant to be a recreational

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X fills ranks; competition speaks easily

X Group Restaurants has filled a gap in its management ranks following Troy Christian’s departure. Jeff Paradise, general manager of CI Shenanigan’s, will join X Group, operator of Asada and Masa, as director of operations on Nov. 19.

Paradise, 39, has worked for Shenanigan’s parent, Ram International, for 14 years, the last eight as a regional manager. He’s a Tacoma native who’s known X Group principal John Xicto since sophomore year at Bellarmine high.

Meantime, Christian continues work on Speakeasy, a martini bar on the ground floor of the Walker apartment building at Sixth and St. Helens

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Herban Cafe digs into Sixth Avenue

There’s something to cluck about in the deep-fried saga that was Ezell’s Famous Chicken on Sixth Avenue in Tacoma: A new neighborhood cafe serving an all-day-menu is moving into the abandoned chicken shack.

Steve and Gretchen Nogler, former owners of Sumner’s Garden Cafe, plan to open Pinwheel Catering’s Herban Cafe next month.

Steve Nogler, a veteran of high-end dining at El Gaucho and Sea Grill, says Herban Cafe will serve soups, sandwiches and hot entrees all day, from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. (11 on Fridays and Saturdays). Sundays will be brunch-only. He cited Rosewood Cafe

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Warming up to winter, one beer at a time

Deschutes Jubelale, on my deck

What’s tall, dark and malty and arrives before the holidays? If you answered “winter beers,” then pour yourself a glass and settle in for the season.

I poured my first 2007 winter beer a couple of weeks ago. Roasty dark crystal malts (and 6 percent alcohol by volume) warmed me like a pair of luscious longjohns.

Speaking of winter warmers, the Washington Beer Commission’s third annual Winter Beer Fest happens Nov.

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Hands off, New York — we touched it first

Citrus served right. New York Times photo

“A server touched a lemon.”

That’s what a Tacoma chef said in October 2006 when his restaurant was slapped for a bare-hands-and-food violation by the Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department.

"A male worker observed having bare-hand contact with one slice of ready-to-eat lime while placing on top of beer bottle for patron in bar," reads a New York City Health Department citation, dated Oct. 9, 2007, as reported in the New York Times today.

After waiting five years for the cupcake trend

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