TNT Diner

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

Category: Mobile food

Sep.
12th

Fair dining: Feasting on pork sandwiches and ribs

BBQ Pete's "bandits" grill slabs of pork ribs at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. Peter Haley/Staff photographer
BBQ Pete’s “bandits” grill slabs of pork ribs at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup. Peter Haley/Staff photographer

My Washington State Fair grazing has included just about every category: Deep-fried desserts, burgers piled with onions, stuff smothered in cheese, other stuff covered in bacon and even a tour of food-on-a-stick. One year, even healthy food got a turn.

But there was still one category of fair food I had yet to tackle: pork.

Ribs and pulled pork sandwiches, to be exact. Last week, I spent two days eating my way through the fair to find the tastiest standouts in the fair’s porky realm.

I found pork sandwiches in an array of flavors and styles, and I stopped by a few booths that were smoking ribs using the slow-and-low method over wood smoke.

Here’s a tip. Whether coincidence or not, the booths with pulled pork and ribs also happened to provide some of the best covered seating for fair dining.

Here’s where you should head if you’ve got a hankering for pork at the fair, which operates through Sept. 21 in Puyallup. Read more »

Sep.
9th

Moveable Feast: Food truck meetup Saturday at Cheney Stadium

Cheney Stadium filled quickly at the 2012 Moveable Feast. This year's Moveable Feast will be Sept. 13 at Cheney Stadium.
Cheney Stadium filled quickly at the 2012 Moveable Feast. This year’s Moveable Feast will be Sept. 13, 2014 at Cheney Stadium.

The list of mobile restaurants at this Saturday’s third Moveable Feast is smaller than it has been the last two years, but the lineup has something unexpected: A bigger South Sound truck presence.

Sixteen of 20 restaurants expected at the Cheney Stadium food truck meetup this weekend are based in Pierce County. Read more »

Aug.
7th

Fried pie alert: Fleischkuechle serving at Pierce County Fair this weekend

The standard beef fleischkuechle. Yours won't look eaten like mine. I promise.
The standard beef fleischkuechle. Yours won’t look eaten like mine. I promise.

This weekend is your chance to eat a fried meat pie called a fleischkuechle. The Fleischkuechle meat pie trailer, which has served its meat turnovers for more than 20 years outside the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, will fire up the fryers today at the Pierce County Fair in Graham. Consider this your fried pie training mission for when the Pierce County-based truck returns to the state fair, Sept. 5 in Puyallup. Read more »

Aug.
5th

Taco Tuesday: Head to Parkland and Puyallup

A trio of awesome tacos.
A trio of awesome tacos.

It’s Tuesday and you know what that means – taco time.

With Tacoma bars pushing Tuesday Taco specials, I assigned myself a mission of finding the best tacos around town. I’m talking ingredients that go beyond bar tacos made with crunchy shells and ground beef. You can find my taco Tuesday series here about once a month, or whenever the taco mood strikes.

Today’s taco trip takes me to a smokehouse in Parkland and a food truck that knows its way around chopped steak. Read on. Read more »

Aug.
1st

Restaurants on wheels: A guide to Pierce County’s food trucks

Ande Dunn and Darrin Shaw were happy to split a "Bad Ass Burger" from Budha Bear Bagels when the truck appeared last month at Food Truck Fest in Tacoma's Wright Park.
Ande Dunn and Darrin Shaw were happy to split a “Bad Ass Burger” from Budha Bear Bagels when the truck appeared last month at Food Truck Fest in Tacoma’s Wright Park.

A diner complaint I hear too often: “We don’t have a food truck community.”

Or do we, and you just don’t know where to find it?

That’s where I come in, your handy newspaper restaurant critic.

I traversed every pocket of Pierce County, cross-referenced with the Tacoma Pierce County Health Department, hunted down social media, and relied on readers to assemble my most comprehensive list to date of food trucks based in Pierce County. The list is current as of today, but an unfortunate consequence of businesses that operate on wheels is that they might be serving today, but could easily roll out of town tomorrow. My advice: Call first, or check social media before trekking across the county.

In all, I found nearly 30 trucks serving — and licensed — in Pierce County that I’ve categorized into three groups. The first is the region’s oldest category of mobile dining: taco trucks serving traditional taqueria eats. The second is a list of trucks with semipermanent locations or regular serving spots. The third is a list of what I call “floater trucks.” Those are for-hire trucks you’ll occasionally encounter at public gatherings or festivals, but are trucks without permanent homes.

After all that traveling – and eating – I might’ve missed a truck or two. That’s where you come in. Have a Pierce County truck you want to tell me about? Call me at 253-597-8270 or email sue.kidd@thenewstribune.com and I’ll update this story with your additions. Read more »

July
17th

Stuff your face: 18 trucks rally Sunday for Tacoma’s Food Truck Fest

The Budha Bagel truck on the University of Washington Tacoma campus.
The Budha Bagel truck on the University of Washington Tacoma campus.

As a paid belly for this newspaper, I’ve spent countless hours traversing every pocket of Pierce County sniffing out, hunting down and what can loosely be described as “stalking” food trucks.

That’s a lot of driving – and eating.

Here’s an event that will make it much easier for diners – and this restaurant critic – to test as many food trucks as one could possibly stomach in a single day: Food Truck Fest at Wright Park. The event, from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday, will have a dozen food trucks from Pierce County and six from the Seattle area. Read more »

July
15th

Smokin’ Hot Ribfest Saturday at LeMay – America’s Car Museum

Pictured here, smoked pork ribs. File photo 2014.
Pictured here, smoked pork ribs. News Tribune file photo 2014.

There are as many categories of rib cooking as there are ways to describe Northwest rain. But one thing is for sure, it’ll be raining ribs at LeMay-America’s Car Museum on Saturday. The first Smokin’ Hot Ribfest will be from 11 a.m.-5 p.m. on the lawn at the car museum. Read more »

July
8th

Tacoma’s Food Truck Fest lineup announced; plus other dining events

The Budha Bagel truck on the University of Washington Tacoma campus.
The Budha Bagel truck on the University of Washington Tacoma campus. The truck will serve at the July 20 Food Truck Fest in Tacoma at Wright Park.

The lineup for Tacoma’s Food Truck Fest on July 20 in Wright Park has been announced. I’ve also got two other food truck events for your calendar. And save the dates for these events -  wine dinners at Maxwell’s Restaurant + Lounge and JW in Gig Harbor; the Brew Five Three Festival and Gig Harbor Food and Wine festivals. Details here: Read more »