TNT Diner

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

Archives: Feb. 2008

Feb.
29th

Fiery barbecue man fights fire at his own restaurant



Alton Porter, barbecue chef/firefighter.


Alton Porter, the man who puts the heat into The Man, the super-hot sauce at Porter’s Place Barbecue and Professional Catering in Tacoma, Bellevue and Safeco Field, fought a fire at his place Tuesday afternoon.


Kayla Krebs, Porter’s catering manager, said the fire broke out among pellets stored by smoker grills on the side of Porter’s Tacoma building near Interstate 5 and Portland Avenue, around 4 p.m. Tuesday. She said the grills were not in operation at the time.


Krebs said a cook

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Feb.
29th

Taking Top of Tacoma for a spin

There’s no view from Top of Tacoma, but from where I dined at the 4-month-old bar and 1-month-old cafe in the transitioning McKinley neighborhood, things looked and tasted a cut above bar food.


The meat and cheese platter ($8.50) did not skimp on the better cuts of prosciutto, and the baguette was fresh. Deli slices of ham, turkey and salami, and cheddar, havarti and Swiss were plentiful and fueled me up for a Saturday night on the town, but I yearned for something like chutney or some fruit to round out the plate. Other apps include

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Feb.
28th

New flavor at Tacoma’s ‘new’ hotel: The Bite, and bye-bye, Altezzo


Former chefs Chefs Dan O’Leary, left, and Jim Vande
Berg at Altezzo Ristorante, in 2001.

Altezzo Ristorante, the 26th-floor view restaurant in Tacoma’s tallest downtown hotel, will cease operation in early March, as the former Sheraton Hotel completes its makeover as Hotel Murano.

Altezzo and its adjacent Vertigo lounge (whose combined views span Mount Rainier, the Tacoma Dome, the 509 bridge, the Port of Tacoma, the Foss Waterway and downtown Tacoma), will be used for private events, Murano food and beverage director Dan O’Leary said.

All of Hotel Murano’s public dining (and room-service) will be moved to the fourth floor, where the Sheraton formerly served casual breakfast and lunch. The new fourth-floor restaurant is called The Bite. It’ll serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

O’Leary said The Bite’s menu isn’t finalized but described it as “comfort food with a twist.” That means “bacon and eggs, plus more unique offerings,” along with “an upscale burger,” “nice seafood,” and “artful salad entrees.” Expect mid-range prices, with a few higher-end dishes.

O’Leary, who was Altezzo’s executive chef for seven years beginning in 1999, said the decision to close the Italian-themed restaurant was based on “streamlining operations.” He said the majority of the hotel’s food operations (including receiving and storage) are on the fourth-floor. He said none of his 35 employees will lose their jobs as a result of Altezzo’s closure.

O’Leary said The Bite will open “in the second week of March,” following a $500-per-person hotel launch party March 8.

O’Leary said The Bite’s design mirrors the hotel’s: “stripped down and upscale.” A counter will serve double-duty: seating for solo diners for breakfast and lunch, and as a liquor bar in the evenings.

What will downtown Tacoma diners do for a view? The Tacoma Club (on the 16th floor of the Wells Fargo Building, with views of downtown and Commencement Bay) no longer welcomes non-members. Is the balcony outside the Courtyard Mariott’s bar (two floors above Pacific Avenue, with a view toward Mount Rainier) all we’ve got?

Charlie McManus, the chef/owner of Primo Grill and Crown Bar in Tacoma, was the opening chef at Altezzo in 1993.

“I loved the view from the restaurant,” McManus said. “Sunsets on the mountain were quite spectacular and sometimes if there was fog in the city the restaurant would seem like an island in the sky. The railings outside the bar made a great perch for a peregrine falcon which sometimes snacked on a pigeon outside the window — not wholly appreciated by some of the customers, but seeing the falcon swoop down on Thea Foss from Altezzo was one of the highlights of my experience there.

“Diners loved the view, the high ceilings and the food and they were dedicated because going to Altezzo, downtown with parking and elevators, was tough.”

The view aside, McManus said, “The hotel made the right call to close Altezzo.”

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Feb.
27th

Eat your greens — at these soul food joints



A big bowl of greens, with tomatoes, onions and garlic.



When it comes to soul food, one color stands out: green. That’s the color of the leafy vegetables — collards and or mustards, usually — that constitute a plate of greens.


Here are four places I’ve enjoyed greens in the South Sound (and the southern reaches of Seattle). Each version of the dish is slightly different. Two feature pork. One has beef. One has no meat at all. Unless noted, they’re all available as side dishes.


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Feb.
26th

Anthony’s axes ’08 oyster games

Anthony’s Restaurants’ annual Oyster Games (formerly known as Anthony’s Oyster Olympics and scheduled for March 25) is canceled.


“We will be taking a hiatus this year,” Anthony’s spokeswoman Lane Hoss said. She said the big event fell too close to Easter.


The shucking-slurping-fashion-show benefit was established 19 years ago. Anthony’s bivalve events have raised more than $400,000 for Puget Soundkeeper Alliance, a pro-oyster non-profit conservation group.

Feb.
21st

Credit card skim-scam waitress arrested

A Lakewood waitress suspected of stealing customers credit information has been arrested.


Here’s what Sgt. Mike Zaro of the Lakewood Police told King 5 TV:


“Somewhere between taking the credit card, running it to pay for the meal and returning the credit card, she would slide the card through what is called a skimmer. It’s a little electronic device that can be palmed easily and hidden easily, and what that device would do would copy all the information that’s on the magnetic strip on the back of the credit cards. Something like this takes seconds

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