TNT Diner

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

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Archives: April 2009


This summer in Steilacoom: A new farmers market

Coming this summer to Steilacoom: A new farmers market.
The Town of Steilacoom’s farmers market will run Wednesdays from June 24 to Aug. 19.

The idea of the market spun from Kelly Barkhurst, a Steilacoom resident and caterer. In a town that is easy to navigate by foot and has many attractive amenities, she was surprised there wasn’t already a farmers market when she moved to Steilacoom from Puyallup a year ago.

She liked the idea of a market built around the notion of fresh, healthy produce.

"I was thinking we don’t have fresh produce available. It’s such a luxury to walk into town to buy fresh produce. Farmers markets are becoming such vital parts of a community, it just seemed something we could add to our community here," she said.

She took the idea to town hall.

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Farmers Market Fresh: River Valley Ranch cheese at Proctor Saturday

EDITOR’S NOTE: Farmers Market Fresh is a weekly series featuring farmers and food producers who sell at South Sound farmers markets. Each week in this space, we’ll write about a different farmer and the markets where they sell.

What’s at the market this week: A variety of fresh and aged cheeses, including fresh mozzarella, chevre and ricotta, from the River Valley Ranch Cheese Farm in Fall City. Available Saturday at the Proctor Farmers Market, open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays at North 27th Street and Proctor; 253-961-3666;

Who’s the farmer: Julie Steil started her 20-acre Fall City farm in 2006. Before that, her cheesemaking was a hobby. But then a cheese buyer from Whole Foods tasted her homemade cheese at a parent-teacher meeting at the high school Steil’s children attend. With encouragement from the buyer, she ditched her high-pressure career in real estate property management, bought some cows and goats, purchased some land by her home and started River Valley Ranch Cheese Farm.

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Star Chefs dinner raises money for arts education

El Guacho, Maxwell’s Speakeasy + Lounge, Brix 25 and A Grand Affaire catering will provide decadent noshes paired with wines from L’Ecole No. 41 and Corvus Winery for the annual Star Chefs dinner, held May 3 at the Pantages Theater. The event, hosted by the Broadway Center for Performing Arts, also includes an auction.

The cocktail party and formal dinner also will include a circus style show with trapeze artists and live music. Tickets are $150 each.

Proceeds from the dinner, which starts at 5 p.m., benefit arts education programs serving more than 25,000 students and teachers each year.

Here, a glance at the menu.

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Tacoma Reads event: Boo Han market tour Saturday

Patsy Surh O’Connell, a Gig Harbor resident and board member and founder of the Asia Pacific Cultural Center in Tacoma, will lead a tour of the Boo Han Supermarket in Lakewood tomorrow. O’Connell, pictured here (in a photo by News Tribune photographer Lui Kit Wong), will explain ingredients and answer questions.

Her tour is co-sponsored by the Tacoma Public Library and the Asia Pacific Cultural Center. The event is part of the Tacoma Reads Together program.

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Dining Out For Life marries good eats and a good cause

I just got off the phone with Elisa Marzano, chef and owner of Marzano Italian Restaurant in Parkland. She told me she’s cooking a delicious sounding porcini sausage dish for next Thursday’s Dining Out For Life – the fundraising event in which 64 participating Pierce County restaurants give a quarter of the day’s food sales to benefit the Pierce County Aids Foundation. More diners means more money raised for the foundation, so be sure to plan some nosh time next Thursday, April 30.

Here’s what Marzano said she will make, “Artisan sausage with porcini mushrooms with a lamb ragu. The artisan porcini sausage … it comes from the Piedmont region. I’ll serve it over fresh pappardelle pasta.” What else is on her menu? “We’re also going to be doing a risotto with locally picked morels.” The morels come courtesy of Jeremy Faber, owner of Foraged and Found Edibles. Marzano said she’ll come up with a fish special for the night, too.

Marzano is one of a few restaurants that have participated in Dining Out For Life since its inaugural year 15 years ago.

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Drop-In Dining: 1022 South

Sarah Rolstad and Blythe Oliver, foreground from left, drinks cocktails at 1022 South, a Hilltop bar that recently opened at the former Monsoon location. Photo by Janet Jensen/The News Tribune.

By Ernest A. Jasmin
The News Tribune

The scene: 1022 South is the thinking person’s watering hole. New Frontier owner Neil Harris opened the hip Hilltop hangout at 1022 S. J St., formerly the Monsoon Room, in late March. General manager Chris Langston gave the cozy lounge a slick makeover, replacing the Monsoon’s tiki accents with new seating, shelving and bar backing, all of them painted black for a reserved aesthetic.

"I wanted more of a masculine feel," Langston said. "I knew that it was going to have a literary theme, so I wanted it to complement that."

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Sonic opens Monday, in case you’re keeping watch

I stopped by the Sonic Drive-In last night at 136th and Meridian in Puyallup and saw a crew of people on roller skates training for opening day Monday.

Some skaters carried trays to the empty drive-up stalls, and other skaters rolled around the parking lot. A Sonic worker skated up to me and I asked him what time they open Monday. He told me 6 a.m. He also said that Sonic serves a full menu all day – just in case I want a burger and a soda bright and early Monday morning.

UPDATE: Managers at Sonic

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From my bookshelf: ‘Artisan Cheese of the Pacific Northwest’

Oregon writer Tami Parr has a new book out that I don’t think I could live without now that I’ve read it. If you’re a person who loves cheese, you’ll understand.

Parr researched 71 Washington, Oregon, Idaho and British Columbia cheese farms and wrote brief profiles of each farm. The book is a collection of fascinating details about the history of each farm, as well as a look at the styles of cheese each farm produces. It also tells readers how to get to each of the farms – complete with maps. I am already planning on visiting a few when I take some time off in May. I’m sure I’ll end up writing about them.

From our region, a handful of cheesemakers are featured.

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