TNT Diner

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

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Category: Food gifts in and around Tacoma


Thirsty Thursday find: Heritage Distilling Company’s apple-cinnamon flavored whiskey

Heritage Distilling Co. in Gig Harbor has a tasting room worth visiting. Visitors can buy direct from the distillery. Several bars around town use Heritage spirits in specialty cocktails. File photo 2012.
Heritage Distilling Co. in Gig Harbor has a tasting room worth visiting. Visitors can buy direct from the distillery. Several bars around town use Heritage spirits in specialty cocktails. File photo 2012.

I knew apple pie moonshine had gone mainstream when I heard a friend was using a Crock pot to make hers. The recipe sounded pretty simple. Apple cider and cinnamon steeped together in a slow cooker all day, then that mixture was steeped with moonshine before serving.

OK, I’ll take a glass of that.

Don’t let the word “moonshine” throw you. You won’t have to rig up a basement bootleg operation to make the moonshine (home distilling is still very illegal, by the way). Steeping any commercially produced spirit with your favorite combination of apples and spices can produce a tasty apple pie moonshine that can be used as a cocktail ingredient, a flavoring agent for dessert or simply enjoyed straight out of the freezer.

I’m aware not everyone wants to flavor their own booze, so here’s where local distillers come in. Read more »


Food gifting: Craft spirits from South Sound distilleries

Heritage Distilling in Gig Harbor sells vodka, gin and whiskey. This compound gin has a slightly green color. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Shopping for local grown-up beverages now extends beyond wine and beer to hard liquor. Four craft distilleries opened in the South Sound in 2012 – making craft distilleries one of the fastest growing beverage trends this region ever has seen (will cideries be next? Please?). Local distillers craft small batches of vodka, gin, whiskey and a handful of other spirits. All have tasting rooms you can visit to try before you buy. Read on. Read more »


Food gifting: Growlers full of beer and a few special beer accessories

Remember how everyone used to give wine as a gift? Here’s something more Tacoma in nature: Growler jugs full of local beer. And something for Tacomans with a sense of humor – hand knitted growler sweaters sold at The Red Hot. Read on. Read more »


Food gifting: Say cheese

Tacoma's Backcountry cheese is available at My Cheese Shoppe in Puyallup. The cheese store has a wide selection of cheeses, as does Stink in Tacoma. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Two South Sound cheesemongers can help assemble a platter or gift box packed with Washington cheeses or any other cheese you desire: Kris Blondin of Stink Meat and Cheese in Tacoma (628 St. Helens Ave., 253-426-1347, and Laurie Sanders-Polen of My Cheese Shoppe in Puyallup (202 S. Meridian, 253-841-2011, Facebook). You can find Tacoma cheesemaker Backcountry at My Cheese Shoppe. At Stink, you also can find a broad selection of meats and wines.

I asked the cheesemongers to give advice to News Tribune readers for assembling killer cheese baskets or platters. Here’s how to do just that: Read more »


Food gifting: Caramels from Fingerprint Confections

Fingerprint Confections caramels come in a number of flavors – from sea salt to lavender and bacon. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Clay Richart and Holly Burton Richart had a family recipe for caramel, a love for bacon and lavender and an entrepreneurial spirit. What resulted in 2011 was something wonderfully Tacoman  – Fingerprint Confections.

I spoke by phone with Holly Burton Richart recently, asking her all kind of questions about her Tacoma caramel company. Here are excerpts: Read more »


Food gifting: Local honeys and jams

Straightforward jam from the Puyallup Valley Jam Factory is sold at H&L Produce in Lakewood. Find One Spot jam at Millesime Designs in Tacoma Peter Haley/Staff photographer

A basket of jam and honey for a holiday gift says something about you – you either really like carbs or you have excellent taste in breakfast accompaniments. The only thing that’d be missing is a box of Fisher scones mix, but you can always head to the Pacific Northwest Shop in Proctor for those.

Here’s a look at two jam producers and two beekeepers who sell their products in South Sound shops. Read more »


Food gifting: A basket full of meat from Blue Max Sausage

It took approximately 42 seconds for a newsroom full of journalists to devour this meat purchased by The News Tribune at Blue Max Sausage in Puyallup. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Nothing says “I think you’re awesome” better to a guy than a basket full of smoked meat. The only thing that might make it better is to hand over the gift with a growler (check back Friday for a blog post on gifting growlers).

Blue Max Sausage in Puyallup is one of those off-the-radar businesses that I don’t think gets enough attention for the meats they smoke. Their meat smoking and curing is done on site – they produce smoked sausages, jerky, summer sausage and pepperoni. The sausage company is also a butcher shop. Read more »


Food gifting: Season up a gift with salts, spice blends and rubs

Libertine salts are among many companies that make salt blends, barbecue blends and mock salt substitutes. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Every time I talk to William Mueller – chef-owner of the gourmet breakfast cafe Babblin’ Babs in the Proctor neighborhood – he reminds me that he doesn’t salt anything that comes out of his kitchen. He’s talking about the dishes he creates in his shoebox size Proctor kitchen. One bite of his gourmet breakfasts and you’ll know why – the guy loves his herbs and spices. Mueller and wife Shannon – who does most of the front-of-house duties at the Proctor cafe – began bottling their spice blends and selling them to customers. The Babblin’ Babs spice blends are $8 each or you can buy a three-pack for $20. To find out more, go here. Among the blends are a Greek, Thai, West Indies, all-purpose and a barbecue.

The Muellers are among many around town who make their own flavoring blends. Read on. Read more »