TNT Diner

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

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Archives: April 2011

April
14th

Pupusas, part two: Mis Chiquititas taco truck

A pork, cheese and bean pupusa with cabbage curtido from Mis Chiquititas in Puyallup.

Pupusas are devilishly good, but can be difficult to locate in a region short on Salvadoran restaurants. I recently spotted pupusas at the Mis Chiquititas taco bus, a newer truck located in Puyallup’s South Hill.

Never tried a pupusa? Think of the pupusa as the griddled Salvadoran cousin of a taco – or sort of a hybrid sister to the quesadilla, but with a crunchy corn dough exterior stuffed with meats, beans and cheeses. In February, I wrote about two Salvadoran pupuserias – El Pulgarcito in Lakewood and Mi Chalateca in Federal Way – small restaurants big on Salvadoran flavor that serve several varieties of pupusas, from spinach to zucchini, cheese, pork and other varieties. Served with the piquant pickled cabbage salad curtido, a single pupusa is a cheap and filling meal. Two is a feast. They rarely cost more than $1.50-$2 each.

By all appearances, Mis Chiquititas is a pretty standard taco truck serving Read more »

April
13th

Bluebeard Coffee joins Sixth Avenue, the city’s most concentrated neighborhood for java

Maybe calling Sixth Avenue a coffee district is a bit of a stretch, but when the seventh (yes, seventh) coffee house in a 17-block span opens, I’m thinking a designation of some kind is in order. Coffee Alley? Java Avenue? Jittery Lane?

Bluebeard Coffee Roasters this week joined Metronome, Caffe Dei, Beyond the Bridge Cafe, Shakabrah Java, Satellite and Valhalla on Sixth Avenue, all located between State and Proctor on Sixth Avenue. Read more »

April
13th

Wingman Brewers is ready to go live at Tacoma’s Red Hot with a release party April 21

It’s been a long wait for the suds, but Wingman Brewers is about to go live with its first public tapping. The niche Tacoma brewery that received its licensing in late February will have a release party at 6 p.m. April 21 at the Red Hot, a place that I love for craft brews and stellar dogs. On tap at the party will be Read more »

April
11th

Goodbye Friendly Duck, hello Porter’s Place. South Tacoma Way eating just got a lot more interesting.

The smoked pork ribs at Porter's Place Southern Cuisine & BBQ are supple, smoky and three-napkin good.

Since February, Porter’s Place Southern Cuisine & BBQ of Tacoma has been on a rib hiatus, but expect to see the return of the slow-smoked ribs and saucy pulled pork near the end of May or early June. Alton Porter, who operated Porter’s for about six years at its perch just above the La Quinta Hotel, signed a lease today to take over the restaurant space that formerly housed the delightfully named Friendly Duck Restaurant on South Tacoma Way. Read more »

April
8th

Butter me up: The waft of cinnamon returns to Tacoma’s Freighthouse Square

Tonya Reynolds smears frosting on made-from-scratch cinnamon rolls at Seasonal Delights Cafe in Freighthouse Square. Photo by Janet Jensen/Staff photographer

The assertive scent of cinnamon and sweetness drifted down the long, nearly empty corridor at Freighthouse Square. For longtime visitors of Freighthouse, cinnamon is a nostalgic scent for a building that once housed Peggy’s Cinnamon Rolls from 1987 to 2008. But more about Peggy’s in a bit. I followed the yeasty scent to Seasonal Delights Cafe, a from-scratch bakery and cafe. Husband-and-wife team Tonya and Wade “Scott” Reynolds opened the cafe Jan. 15. Read more »

April
1st

Burger basics: After almost 50 years, Little Holland Mikie Burgers still are flipping

  • The cheeseburger still comes on a crunchy, toasted bun with a healthy smear of Mikie sauce.

    I remember a phone conversation with the new owner of Little Holland/Mikie Burgers, just over a year ago. “No, we won’t change a thing,” said Chi Baek. She said it multiple times during that phone interview. I asked why she was being so repetitive. Baek sighed and confessed. Simply put: Fans of the well-known burger drive-in restaurant were insistent that the new owner stay true to the 50-year-old burger drive-in’s honest approach to burgers, fries and shakes. Putting it more bluntly: Baek received backlash in verbal form and in not-so-nice comments posted on News Tribune online stories about the change in ownership. Her takeaway: Longtime regulars didn’t like the thought of change and they were suspicious of Baek. Baek remained adament that she was not going to add teriyaki to the menu (a suspicion/accusation more than one fan tossed at her). She said she wouldn’t raise prices much, if at all. She said she would mostly stick with the same vendors.

    And now? After more than a year operating in the new location, Baek asserts that she hasn’t changed much at all. Anyone who works in the restaurant industry knows that saying things won’t change “at all” is near impossible with rising food costs, demanding customers and market shifts, so I’ll cut Baek slack on the finite details of a price change (5 cent increases hardly can be criticized) and adding a few new burgers to the menu. And I’d agree from a few recent visits that very little seems different about the nuts and bolts of the restaurant: the burgers and fries still taste the same. The Mighty Mike, the Mikie Burger, the pork sandwich, the plain cheeseburgers, the Mikie D – they’re all still listed on the menu. Read more »