TNT Diner

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

Category: All-purpose stuff

Jan.
23rd

Yes, you can taste the rainbow – Puyallup’s Blue Max Meats creates Beast Mode Hot Skittles Sausage

Beast Mode Sausage at Blue Max Meats in Puyallup is made with Skittles - a favorite treat for Marshawn Lynch.
Beast Mode Hot Skittles Sausage at Blue Max Meats in Puyallup is made with  Marshawn Lynch’s signature power pellets – Skittles. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

The combination of meat and sweet is not all that unusual when you consider the delicious duos of bacon and syrup or melon and prosciutto.

But smoked sausage and … Skittles?

Yup. Spicy pork sausage infused with Marshawn Lynch’s favorite sideline treat – Skittles. It’s called Beast Mode Hot Skittles Sausage and it’s an ode to Lynch and the Super Bowl bound Hawks.

It’s the creation of Evan Greco and Tommy Marshall, the duo behind Blue Max Meats in the Summit neighborhood near Puyallup. Read more »

Dec.
27th

Year in review – the best things I ate in 2013, and looking ahead to 2014

Shake Shake Shake, a restaurant in the Stadium District, has classic diner ambiance. I'm giving it an extra nod for high style. It was one of my favorite restaurant openings in 2013. Peter Haley/Staff photographer
Shake Shake Shake, a restaurant in the Stadium District, has classic diner ambiance. I’m giving it an extra nod for high style. It was one of my favorite restaurant openings in 2013. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Some people judge a year based on health or wealth. I judge mine based on how well I feasted.

In this column, take a tour of the best things I stuffed down my gullet in 2013. I’ve also got a recap of the neatest restaurant openings of 2013, and a look ahead to cool things coming in 2014.
(Note: Some menu prices and items might have changed during the year.) Read more »

Dec.
20th

Sweet finds: Cookies from 7 South Sound bakeries

Corina Bakery: Gingerbread men, gluten-free cookies and seasonal cookie bars are available in the bakery case at Tacoma's Corina Bakery.
Corina Bakery: Gingerbread men, gluten-free cookies and seasonal cookie bars are available in the bakery case at Tacoma’s Corina Bakery.

You know you hate baking when you resort to trickery to pass store-bought cookies off as your own.

I read a post on a food blog that suggested skillet cooking grocery store cookies to make them appear more “buttery.” It also suggested applying canned frosting asymmetrically to give the illusion of a real home-baked cookie.

Wouldn’t it be easier just to bake the cookies?

Well, for some bake-o-phobes, I guess that answer would be a big, fat no.

To those people, this article is for you.

Skip the skillets and icing tricks, and buy your cookies from a local baker. Read more »

Nov.
29th

Service problems abound, but Stanley and Seafort’s does deliver a stunning view

The view from Stanley and Seafort's is one of the finest views in Tacoma. Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer
The view from Stanley and Seafort’s is one of the finest views in Tacoma. Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer

More than 40 years ago, Walter N. “Mickey” Hogan intended to turn a slice of McKinley Hill into apartments. But the would-be apartment builder and his then-wife Lynda shared a delightful evening at Seattle’s Canlis Restaurant.

A new idea percolated: A restaurant with a stunning view of Tacoma. Read more »

Oct.
25th

Soups worth slurping around the South Sound

Italian wedding soup from Pizza Casa in Lakewood.
Italian wedding soup from Pizza Casa in Lakewood.

Here comes the dreaded “I can’t breathe through my nose” season.

I seek refuge in a steaming bowl of soup when my upper respiratory system decides to betray me.

Around the South Sound, you’ll find soup in every cultural configuration. Read on for some of my favorite soups to soothe a nasty bug. Read more »

Sep.
27th

Meatball advisory: Dining around the South Sound in search of three-napkin sandwiches

The meatball sandwich at Adriatic Grill in Tacoma. Peter Haley/Staff photographer
The meatball sandwich at Adriatic Grill in Tacoma. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

A meatball sandwich should require two hands, a T-shirt you don’t care about destroying, more than a few napkins and a seesaw of crunch and smoosh.

Since a reader inquired earlier this year about where to find the best examples of that sandwich, I’ve had thoughts of twirling beef orbs raining down with red sauce, a cloud cover of gooey cheese seeking shelter inside toasted bread.

OK, OK. Sorry about that corny paragraph. Clearly, I’m playing on the concept of “Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2,” the movie that opens in theaters Friday. But those components – beefy meatballs, a tasty red sauce, plenty of cheese and crunchy bread – became my criteria for Tacoma’s cheesiest, sauciest, messiest meatball sandwich.

I searched for sandwiches in three categories: take-out delis, bars, and the area’s finest Italian eateries.

The overall winner? Adriatic Grill – if not for the meatballs with a hefty texture and delicious garlicky punch, then because of the accompanying hand-cut fries that take chef-owner Bill Trudnowski two days to make. What? Your fries don’t take two days to make? What’s wrong with you?

Read on. Read more »

Sep.
5th

Fair food: It’s big, and it just keeps getting bigger. See what’s on the menu in Puyallup tomorrow

The Earthquake Burger. Do not try this at home.
The Earthquake Burger. Do not try this at home.

Fair food always is enormous – and seems to become more gigantified every year.

The caloric count of an Earthquake burger at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup (Sept. 6-22) probably could sustain an entire family for a day (add cheese and onions cooked in butter and make it two days).

As the staffer tasked every September to eat fair food and write about it – check back next week for the report – I try not to think about what all those giant burgers, bricks of fries and foot long corn dogs do to my arteries. Let’s just say I spend the last half of September attempting to go vegan.

But calorie counting is just no fun, right? Let’s squish deep down inside us all those terrible things our mothers told us about eating fatty foods.

The fair is about caloric splurging. And food oddities. And really big food. And grease. Lots of grease.

My tongue is planted firmly in cheek when I write this, but this year’s offerings at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup look bigger, better and more fried than ever. Take a look. Read more »

Aug.
30th

Destination Mt. Rainier: Sampling the area’s finest pies from Bonney Lake to Ashford

A slice of blackberry pie from Copper Creek Inn Restaurant in Ashford. It's the only pie served at the Inn, which is regionally famous for the pies created by pie legend Jennie Zuelich. Peter Haley/Staff photographer
A slice of blackberry pie from Copper Creek Inn Restaurant in Ashford. It’s the only pie served at the Inn, which is regionally famous for the pies created by pie legend Jennie Zuelich. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

It’s a Northwest tradition to pile fresh berries into a pie tin, slap on a flaky crust, and bake it until it’s a bubbling mass of sweet-tart splendor.

Another summer Northwest tradition? A trek to Mount Rainier.

I intersected those traditions in my recent search for great pie in the South Sound. What I found was this: If searching for truly comfort-style pie, the kind your grandmother may have made, the treasure trove of pie bakers can be found along a meandering 50-mile plus stretch through East Pierce County – from Bonney Lake to Spanaway to Ashford. And this time of year? Ashford is a splendid destination whether you’re going for pie or a trek.

Blackberry is the kind of pie we Northwest natives grew up eating and the most popular pie I found along the pie trail to Mount Rainier, but South Sound cafes and bakeries all the way to Mount Rainier National Park’s front door specialize in everything from raspberry to huckleberry, rhubarb to apple and funny quirky pies like Willy Wonka and Logger’s Pie.
For blackberry lovers like me, every bakery or cafe featured here served that kind of pie. But most every cafe had something else in the pie case that I liked.

Here’s where you should eat pie as summer winds to an end. Read more »