TNT Diner

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

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Archives: Feb. 2008


Adriatic Grill debuts near Tacoma Mall

"Did you eat here when it was Cucina Cucina?"

I told the bartender I hadn’t.

"It’s different. It’s been given a lot of love."

She pointed to the marble bar, the dark wood back bar, to brand-new kitchen equipment. I popped my head into the redecorated dining room, too. Nice. White tablecloths, even at the booths. An upscale, but casual vibe.

Chef/owner Bill Trudnowski, a veteran of Seattle’s Consilidated Restaurants group, and partner John Howie, owner Seastar Restaurant and Raw Bar in Bellevue and the Sport sports bar in Seattle, purchased Cucina Cucina Italian

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How do you feel about a food co-op in Tacoma?

This survey is being conducted to collect information for the potential development of a cooperative grocery store in Tacoma, Washington. Your results contain valuable information that will help determine how to best meet the needs of you, your family, and our community.

Thank you for your participation.

Click here to participate in the University of Washington-Tacoma survey.


Herban vibe spreads on Sixth Avenue

Following a chiropractic clinic and a dance studio, Herban Cafe is the newest thing blooming on the 2600 block of Tacoma’s growing Sixth Avenue scene.

Steve and Gretchen Nogler sold their Garden Cafe in Sumner last year and started refurbishing the corner location that was the short-lived Ezell’s fried chicken outlet. They’ve created a casual, comfortable neighborhood cafe that seats two dozen people.

Herban Cafe opened Saturday. I dropped in for two quick mid-week meals: a cup of creamy, herbaceous chowder with loads of clams and corn; crab cakes (crisp and browned outside, fluffy and moist inside) on

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Estrella cheese-making kids on PBS TV show

Patience Estrella, left, stirs milk in her family’s cheese-making operation in Montesano. Her mom, Kelli, is at right.

The cheese-making Estrella children are featured on Biz Kid$, a public broadcasting program that airs at 7:30 p.m. tonight on Tacoma’s KBTC and repeats at 2 p.m. March 2 on Seattle’s KCTS.

“I heard that the part where the baby goats were jumping on the trampolene with Faith and Ruth is not to be missed,” Estrella matriarch Kelli Estrella said. (The proud mom also noted that “the show

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Vin Grotto sold; Jeff Bishop returns to Tacoma

Kris Blondin opened Vin Grotto in downtown Tacoma in late 2003.

Vin Grotto Café and Wine Bar, a pioneer of downtown Tacoma’s revival, has been sold.

Vin Grotto proprietor Kris Blondin said she’ll close out some wine Feb. 18-19 and "I am out on the 20th."

Coming soon in Vin Grott’s Pacific Avenue space: Merende, a 75-80-seat Mediterranean-Italian restaurant helmed by Jeff Bishop, who was previously the chef at two acclaimed South Sound restaurants, Il Fiasco in Tacoma and Brix 25 in Gig Harbor, and at

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Turning the table on a kid who wants my advice

I get calls. I get e-mail. I get letters. This is the first literate one I’ve received that was written in pencil. It came from a 7-year-old reader.

Dear Mr. Murrieta,

My name is Milana D’Aniello. I am 7 years old. Can you please give me some advise for being a food critic.

When I grow up I want to be a food critic because I like to go to fancy restaurants with my mommy and daddy. I want to tell people if it is good for kids or not.

Indochine ? ? I didn’t eat anything because it was too spicy.

Akasaka ? ? ? ? The only thing bad was the mashed potato.

Please write back.

Thank you!

From Milana D’Aniello

My response after the jump

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Yeah, we want a perp with that

Do you know this guy? Pierce County prosecutors issued a warrant for Jack Hannah’s arrest on two counts of first-degree robbery at fast-food restaurants.

You may work in a fast-food joint. You may frequent fast-food joints. Help my fellow TNT bloggers (and law enforcement) find the perp who’s robbed a Subway, a Dairy Queen and other fast-food joints in Pierce and King counties.

While we’re getting all law-and-order: Do you work in the

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