TNT Diner

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

Archives: June 2009

June
26th

Get your grub on: Taste of Tacoma this weekend

Editors note: I’m working with high school journalism students at Seattle University’s Journalism Summer Workshop this week. This is one of several articles written by students that the News Tribune will publish this summer. — Sue Kidd

By Rebecca Harris

Eating your way through the Taste of Tacoma – it’s a combat for your concentration, fighting for the focus of your taste buds — but Donavan Maples hopes that Half Moon Bay Bar and Grill’s first appearance at the food festival this weekend will provide a taste seafood lovers won’t want to forget.

Half Moon is located in Westport – or, as general manager Maples calls the coastal town, "the cousin of Ocean Shores." Maples’ access to fresh crab and fish guides what he cooks.

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June
26th

First Bite: The Ark Smokehouse

Roseanna Donely and Dale Jarosz, owners of The Ark Smokehouse. Peter Haley/The News Tribune

Sometimes it takes a boatload of people to get a restaurant to float. In the case of the new Ark Smokehouse in Tacoma, Roseanna Donely relied on a crew of helpers when things began to tank.

A year ago, the restaurant veteran – with nearly 40 years’ experience operating the family-owned Caveman Kitchens in Kent – was looking to branch out with her sister Dale Jarosz. They intended to open a smokehouse in Tacoma. They found a location – the Olde Shipwreck on Marine View Drive – and leased the property, taking out a line of credit to complete building improvements.

Then came the economic storm, and The Ark’s line of credit washed away with it.

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June
22nd

Coming Wednesday: Steilacoom Farmers Market

The Steilacoom Farmers Market opens its first market season at 3 p.m. Wednesday. Read my story here for background on the market.

Kelly Barkhurst, volunteer market manager, said the market will launch its first season nearly at vendor capacity. She and vendor coordinator Voraya Srisamang have booked 43 vendors. The site of the farmers market – the tennis courts at Lafayette and Wilkes –only has room for 50.

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June
19th

Drop-in Dining: Harborlights

The waterfront view at Harbor Lights. Peter Haley / The News Tribune

A surf-and-turf menu, stiff drinks and serious hospitality have kept Harbor Lights an anchor on the Ruston Way waterfront for five decades. It celebrates its 50th year this year.

Sure, Harbor Lights probably didn’t serve rhubarb cosmos in the 1950s – that’s the modern influence Anthony’s brought when the Northwest chain bought Harbor Lights in 2000.

But Jeanie DeSmith, who served as hostess for more than two decades at Harbor Lights before retiring a few years ago, said the backbone of the restaurant – its staff and service – are the foundation, and the reason why Harbor Lights persists. Oh, and the stiff drinks don’t hurt, she said. The strong cocktails are leftovers from Harbor Lights founder Anton Barcott, who later handed over the operation to daughter LaMoyne Hreha before Anthony’s bought it.

"Everyone called him boss," recalled DeSmith of Barcott. "He’d be down there and the guys could come into the lounge, he would have a drink – a ‘toot,’ that’s what he called it. … He was a great man to work for."

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June
17th

Please suggest chefs for student journalists to interview

Next week, I won’t be blogging much, but I’ve invited guest bloggers from local high schools to post on the TNT Diner.


From this Friday to next Friday, I’ll be teaching and mentoring student journalists from Puyallup, Gig Harbor and Auburn at Seattle University’s Summer Journalism Workshop. I’ll be working with students to write stories we’ll publish in the SoundLife and news sections. Students also are interested in learning how to write blog posts. I already have one student interested in writing for the TNT Diner blog. She wants to write a chef Q&A, or write a restaurant

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June
16th

Chilled blueberry soup from Babblin’ Babs

Chilled blueberry soup from Babblin’ Babs. Photo courtesy of William Mueller.

Blueberry season will be here shortly, but if you can’t wait, pick up a bag of frozen blueberries at Terry’s Berries on River Road. (Berry caveat: I also saw she was selling fresh strawberries at the Terry’s Berries booth Saturday morning at the Sunrise Village Puyallup Farmers Market.)

I picked up some frozen blueberries a few weeks ago, the last time I was at the farm store at Terry’s Berries. They are sitting in my freezer, still, which is a small miracle they haven’t yet been devoured. I wasn’t sure what to make with the blueberries until I heard what Chef William Mueller of Babblin’ Babs in Proctor served at the Tacoma Symphony Orchestra dinner Saturday night – chilled blueberry soup. The farm-themed dinner paired chefs with local farmers. Mueller and Terry’s Berries were a match made in blueberry heaven. Click the read more button for details on how to get blueberries from Terry’s Berries, and for Mueller’s blueberry soup recipe.

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June
16th

RIP Blackwater: Our business team asks where you will get your coffee buzz?

The (coffee) buzz around the newsroom and blogosphere today is the unexpected closure of Tacoma’s Black Water coffee, which recently moved to the St. Helens neighborhood.


TNT business reporter C.R. Roberts asks readers here where they will go for their coffee fix. Visit this thread to spread the buzz about places that can help fill the void Black Water leaves. I didn’t get to Black Water more than once or twice a month, it was on the wrong side of town for my morning coffee fix. I’ve always been and always will be a devotee

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June
12th

Happy Hour: A tour of upscale eats at bargain bar prices

Pacific Grill’s happy hour menu includes grilled oysters with pancetta, left, meat candy, top, and cheeseburger sliders with garlic fries. Photo by Janet Jensen/The News Tribune.

Let’s end our week a little more happy, shall we?

Earlier this week, I took you on a tour of El Gaucho’s happy hour. Yesterday, I wrote about Merende. Today, I offer you a report of happy hours at three more Tacoma restaurants that serve noshable eats at bargain bar prices: Pacific Grill, Stanley & Seafort’s and Duke’s on Ruston.

Don’t think of happy hour as a time to swill the drink of your choice. Think of it as a time to graze. Cheaply.

Here, then, a look at happy houring on the cheap…

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