TNT Diner

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

Archives: May 2014

May
30th

First-bite report: Aviateur French Diner, downtown Tacoma’s new French cafe

30goeatsIn the South Sound, we’re short on a few styles of food and the restaurants that serve them.

One shortage is an authentic Jewish deli — with house-cured pastrami, knishes and rugelach. I frequently play a fun game I call “assemble my own deli,” threading together a meal from various stops.

And aside from a 25-minute drive to a small dinner-only cafe in Steilacoom, La Creme Brulee, I’ve had to play a similar game called “assemble my own French bistro.” Beef bourguignon at Brix 25 and steamed mussels and fries at Pacific Grill filled that void.

Then came Aviateur French Diner, which opened in early April in downtown Tacoma, a restaurant offering bistro classics — and serious potential. Read more »

May
29th

New Tacoma food truck – Mobile Food Command Center will serve Mexican street eats

X Group's Mobile Food Command Center, serving Fridays and Saturdays near Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma's Sixth Avenue neighborhood.
X Group’s Mobile Food Command Center, serving Fridays and Saturdays near Engine House No. 9 in Tacoma’s Sixth Avenue neighborhood.

Tacoma’s X Group Restaurants got its first whiff of mobile cooking during the last two Moveable Feasts. Now the company is going mobile on a more permanent basis with its Mobile Food Command Center. The truck debuted last week. I like the truck’s logo, “In butter, we trust.”

For now, the food truck is serving a menu of Mexican street eats from 9:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays just outside Engine House No. 9, the restaurant owned by X Group, along with neighboring Asado and Masa. The company also owns Choripan, the casual cafe at Tacoma’s Museum of Glass. Check out the truck’s menu below. Read more »

May
27th

Five-buck lunch – Marvel Food and Deli in Parkland

A baked cabbage piroshky is 99 cents at Marvel Food and Deli in Parkland.
A baked cabbage piroshky is 99 cents at Marvel Food and Deli in Parkland.

Cheap, filling, no more than five bucks. That’s my must-have list for a cheap weekday lunch. Today’s report took me to Marvel Food and Deli, a Parkland neighborhood grocery store and deli specializing in Eastern European ingredients and take-out food. Food finds of the day: Cabbage rolls and baked piroshky. Read more »

May
23rd

New in Tacoma: Weekend dim sum service at Ginger Palace II

Congee, with fried doughnuts, at Ginger Palace II, a Tacoma restaurant that just began serving dim sum on the weekends.
Congee, with fried doughnuts, at Ginger Palace II, a Tacoma restaurant that just began serving dim sum on the weekends.

Dumplings, glutinous rice and pork buns – yes.

Roving steam table carts – yes.

Congee with cut-up fried doughnuts – yes and yes.

Dim sum? In Tacoma?

Oh, yes.

Weekend-only dim sum offers promise at Ginger Palace II, an 8-month-old Asian fusion restaurant tucked into a hotel district on South Hosmer. Its dim sum service is less than a month old. Read more »

May
21st

Tacoma’s Babblin’ Babs new home is on hold – for now

Pictured here in this 2010 file photo is William Mueller of Babblin' Babs, which recently closed its Proctor restaurant and is now searching for a new home. Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer
Pictured here in this 2010 file photo is William Mueller of Babblin’ Babs, which recently closed its Proctor restaurant and is now searching for a new home. Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer

Babblin’ Babs Bistro closed its Proctor neighborhood breakfast-and-lunch cafe in December with the intention of moving to Lakewood by this summer. However, the restaurant will not open in the Gravelly Lake Drive space that was planned for the new Babblin’ Babs. Read more »

May
20th

Ah Badabing opens second New York style pizzeria on South Tacoma Way

A pepperoni pie at Ah Badabing.
A pepperoni pie at Ah Badabing.

The Lakewood pizzeria Ah Badabing, specializing in New York style pies, has opened a second location at 5240 South Tacoma Way.

The Tacoma restaurant is off to a slow start with a limited menu and hours for the time being. The pizzeria is focusing on pies for the moment, but expects to add calzones, wings, grinders and other New York style street foods to the menu. Read more »

May
19th

Cinnamon rolls return to Freighthouse Square – at Sasquatch Cinnamon Rolls

Sasquatch's cinnamon rolls are served in a 7-inch disposable pie pan.
Sasquatch’s cinnamon rolls are served in a 7-inch disposable pie pan.

Depending on the Scandinavian address, they’re kanelbullar or skillingsboller. Around here – we just call them cinnamon rolls.

Dagmar Simard is a Tacoman by birth, Norwegian by heritage. Her cinnamon rolls – err, skillingsboller – looked every bit a Norwegian pastry, but relayed an American recalibration – a spice often subtracted outside Northern Europe.

“The only thing we’re missing is cardamom,” confirmed Simard, whose Norwegian mother and great aunt – both named Mona – taught her to bake as a youngster growing up near the Salishan neighborhood. She described her maternal elders with her signature salty humor, “Cranky old Scandinavian women; in flour sack dresses, with pudgy ankles.”

Peterson, with her son and husband, opened Sasquatch Cinnamon Rolls in April in a small cafe space in Freighthouse Square that long has hosted bakeries. Read more »

May
16th

Ramen on the rise in the South Sound

Shoyu ramen at downtown Tacoma's Fujiya Japanese Restaurant is flavored with a soy sauce broth.
Shoyu ramen at downtown Tacoma’s Fujiya Japanese Restaurant is flavored with a soy sauce broth.

I’m just going to say this now, for the record: You won’t ever find me waiting four hours in line for ramen.

In certain pockets of the country, ramen chefs achieve rock star status for fancying up a culinary underachiever long relegated to American dorm room cooking.

Last week’s opening of Ivan Orkin’s ramen shop in New York City yielded a media frenzy, and diners lined up for a bowl.

It’s not just an East Coast weird food thing. Seattle is in on the ramen frenzy with more than a dozen eateries opening there.

But long lines for ramen in Tacoma? Would that — could that? — ever happen here, in a region that practically prides itself in snubbing precious foodie trends? Read more »