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Archives: Sep. 2010


Greek it up: The 48th annual Greek Festival at St. Nicholas starts Friday

Pouring syrup over trays of hot baklava, Yvonne Brandvold, right, Diane Pirotis and Sophie Najmudar, wife of Father Seraphain Najmudar, prepare last Friday, Sept. 24, for the annual Greek Festival at St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church. Photo by DREW PERINE/Staff photographer)

If anyone knows how to throw a big Greek feast, it’s the parish members and volunteers at the St. Nicholas Orthodox Church in Tacoma.

For 48 years, church volunteers have thrown a Greek festival that has introduced countless Tacomans to baklava, gyros, melomakarona, koulourakia, paximadia and countless other dishes that many find unpronounceable but utterly delicious.

The 2010 festival starts Friday Oct. 1 and continues through Sunday Oct. 3.

The food? Homemade by an army of volunteers.

Rewind to August when myriad volunteers began hand rolling nearly 5,000 dolmathes, grape leaves stuffed with rice and seasoned ground beef.
In the following weeks, volunteers mixed the dough for 500 loaves of tsoureki , a Greek sweet bread, and next they made more than 4,000 tyropitakia, a flaky cheese-filled pie. Read more »


Greek on the move: It’s Greek To Me opens an offshoot restaurant in Puyallup. And it’s swanky.

The gyros at It’s Greek To Me Puyallup.

In Jim Wick’s words, his new restaurant in downtown Puyallup is “sort of swanky.” I’d say that’s a pretty good way to describe It’s Greek To Me Puyallup, which opened last Monday in the space that formerly housed DeCaterina’s Market Grill and Bar (and From the Bayou before that).

If the restaurant’s name sounds familiar that’s because it’s an offshoot restaurant from Tacoma’s It’s Greek To Me, the hole-in-the-wall drive-in/walk-in Greek restaurant that Wick opened in 1991 in that tiny little building just off that weird little intersection where Sixth meets Division meets Sprague.

The Puyallup restaurant wasn’t Wick’s idea. A consultant hired by the city solicited Wick and a handful of other restaurateurs to lease the city-owned space. The process was several months long and the finalists, besides It’s Greek To Me, included a barbecue restaurant, seafood concept and a bistro. When the city council, the decision makers, evaluated the candidates, It’s Greek To Me won the lease. Read more »


Greek on the move: Johnnie’s Greek Cafe moves to another Lakewood location and changes its name

Moussaka at the Greek Cafe is a casserole of garlic perfumed eggplant, seasoned ground beef and topped with bechamel.

The 48th annual Greek Festival begins Friday at Tacoma’s St. Nicholas church, but I couldn’t wait to reek of Greek. And neither should you.

Before, during or after the annual Greek food festival this weekend, get your fill of moussaka and gyros at two South Sound Greek restaurants that are on the move: It’s Greek To Me and the Greek Café. Read more »


Welcome to hot dog town, population you. Two new hot dog restaurants open in Tacoma

The Chicago Dog at Deli & Dog, a new restaurant that opened two months ago in Freighthouse Square.

So …. hot dogs.

Can we not get enough?

In August, I wrote about hot dog trucks and trailers popping up from Tacoma to Buckley to Fife. And now a mobile sidewalk hot dog stand, Hot Dogs To Go, has started serving dogs from a portable grill on Tacoma Avenue South.

And what about stationary dog restaurants? Well, add Dog & Deli at Freighthouse Square to the growing list of hot dog diners and walk-in restaurants that also includes Hot Rod Dog (two locations), The Red Hot on Sixth and Sully’s Alder Street Café in Sumner.

So … this begs the question … can we get enough of hot dogs? Will they become the new cupcakes? Will the mere mention of them make us roll our eyes and yearn for whatever the next food trend will bring? I’m guessing no, but you can tell me otherwise. Just comment below.

Click “more” to read about Hot Dogs To Go and Dog & Deli. Read more »


Beer city: Tacoma Craft Beer Festival this weekend, and Harmon Brewery celebrates 14 years of brewing

It’s October later this week and that can only mean one thing in Tacoma: Delicious beer must be consumed.

The second annual Tacoma Craft Beer Festival is this weekend, Friday and Saturday at the Foss Waterway Seaport. News Tribune entertainment writer Ernest Jasmin will have a story about the festival in this Friday’s GO section, but click “more” to see preview details now.

Also, Harmon Brewery celebrates 14 years of brewing this week. They’ll have a Brewmaster’s Dinner Thursday and other events all week. Click “more” for details Read more »


Buzz on Sixth: Two new coffeehouses join city’s most eclectic java neighborhood

A dragon-inspired design is crafted into the foam of this latte at Caffe Dei on Sixth Avenue. Photo by Drew Perine/Staff photographer

The Sixth Avenue district is a neighborhood that buzzes late into the night. There’s always a show to see, a meal to savor, a game to watch, a tattoo to get, a cocktail to swill.

But the action isn’t just relegated to night. What you may not know is that Sixth Avenue is the go-to place for coffee in Tacoma. Nowhere in Tacoma will a diner find a more diverse concentration of coffeehouses. Five independent coffee shops span Proctor to Fife streets, and I’ve spent time sipping and Wi-Fi-ing in all of them.

It’s an evolving coffee culture on Sixth. Two newcomers have opened in the last few months – Beyond the Bridge Café, which transplanted from its downtown Sumner location, and Caffe Dei, a vegan/vegetarian focused cafe that serves some of the most flavorful and imaginative coffee in town.

And a sign just went up at Sixth and Union, at the former location for Origin 23, promising more coffee. I’ll keep my eye on the space.
Here is a glimpse of the two new coffee shops, Caffe Dei and Beyond the Bridge Cafe, and a few words about three others I enjoy along Sixth Avenue: Read more »


Fair chow: Chicago sandwiches, dogs and fried meat turnovers offered just outside the Puyallup Fair gates

A meat turnover from the Fleischkuechle cart just outside the Puyallup Fair.

News Tribune reporter Sara Schilling wrote in this story Monday about the end of a food era at the Puyallup Fair. For 17 years, the Fleischkuechle trailer has sold fried meat and fruit pies just outside the fair grounds. But, they will sell fried pies no longer. The fair is purchasing the property where they operate their stand. This will be their last year.

I enjoyed my last fair taste of fleischkuechle, a German-Russian turnover, late last week. The thin pocket ($3.50) released a puff of steam as I bit into the hot pie filled with savory ground beef. As I stood at the corner of Ninth Avenue Southwest and Fairview Drive, I could see a few dozen food vendors spanning the block to Meridian hawking everything from fried turnovers to something called walking tacos, corn dogs, bottled water, funnel cakes and even side-by-side booths selling Chicago hometown favorites – Italian beef sandwiches and Chicago style hot dogs. Click “more” to read about street food outside the fair. Read more »


Sweet treats: Fried fair desserts, and one bowl of nitro frozen ice cream

Fried cookie dough at the Puyallup Fair.

While some fair goers go searching for Krusty Pups and Earthquake burgers, others crave the sweeter side of fried. I took a tour this week of Puyallup Fair desserts, which included my first tastes of an Elephant Ear and fried Twinkie.

And, you know, for sugar coated fried dough and a fried snack cake, they weren’t…. horrific. I might even call both sort of tasty. But I didn’t find them nearly as tempting as the chocolate chewiness of fried chocolate chip cookie dough. And, of course, nothing tops a Fisher fair scone.

Click “more” to read a tour of Puyallup Fair desserts. Read more »