TNT Diner

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

Category: Store grazing

May
7th

Store grazing: Hong Kong Supermarket in the Lincoln neighborhood

IMG_20140501_134110Lemongrass, ginger and durian to the left.

A deli serving slow-roasted pork and duck to the right.

In the back, tanks filled with live lobster and tilapia.

Welcome to Tacoma’s newest Asian supermarket — Hong Kong Supermarket.

The store opened in April in Tacoma’s Lincoln neighborhood, one of my favorite dining districts with a concentration of Southeastern Asian restaurants like no other in the region. Read more »

April
18th

Easter candy – buy local around Tacoma for that basket

Pictured here are chocolate covered eggs, a chocolate covered marshmallow Peep and chocolate covered peanut butter smidgens. All are available at Johnson Candy in Tacoma. Photo by Jeremy Harrison/Staff photographer
Pictured here are chocolate covered eggs, a chocolate covered marshmallow Peep and chocolate covered peanut butter smidgens. An assortment of Easter candy is available at Johnson Candy in Tacoma, but stock is limited to what’s on hand.

I got smart and shopped earlier this week at the Johnson Candy Company for some Easter chocolate. I’ve had my cream eggs and solid chocolate bunnies for three days (and have managed to resist ripping into the foil and devouring them all). Have you bought yours? Here’s a last-minute guide to buying local for those Easter goodies. Read more »

Feb.
19th

Store grazing: Puyallup South Hill store sells root beer – and only root beer

Root Beer

Corey Anderson categorizes root beer three ways.

“Strong and bitey.”

Those are the root beers made with heavy wintergreen notes or other sharp flavor.

“Smooth and creamy.”

Those are made with heavy notes of vanilla.

The third category’s a little more troubling to define, but Anderson said he knows one when he tastes it.

“You take a sip and you look at the bottle. You have to look at the bottle a second time. I’ve got a few of those that don’t fit the strong or the smooth and creamy – so I call them amazing.”

Consider Anderson an expert-level curator of root beer. His love of root beer grew from making it with his dad when he was a kid.

His third store featuring America’s most nostalgic non-alcoholic beverage, The Root Beer Store, opened in November on Puyallup’s South Hill. Read more »

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 »

May
28th

Store grazing: HMart in Lakewood, now home to Olive Bakery

A bun filled with sweetened bean paste from Olive Bakery.
A bun filled with sweetened bean paste from Olive Bakery.

The Olive Bakery, specializing in Korean and Japanese pastries, has moved a few blocks to a new Lakewood home inside HMart, which opened in March on South Tacoma Way.

Olive Bakery specializes in dessert pastries.  A first-time visitor should look for sweet potato filled buns and fried sesame balls filled with red beans. The bakery’s new home looks more modern and has more seating compared to its former tiny storefront. Read more »

May
22nd

Store grazing: Old-world bread at local European markets

Kusher Bakery in Fife specializes in Ukrainian breads including, clockwise from center rear, farmer bread (with no yeast), baton lubitelskiy, poppy seed strudel, caramel cookies (walnut-sized), bulochka (foreground center), and rogalik (left). Peter Haley / Staff photographer
Kusher Bakery in Fife specializes in Ukrainian breads including, clockwise from center rear, farmer bread (with no yeast), baton lubitelskiy, poppy seed strudel, caramel cookies (walnut-sized), bulochka (foreground center), and rogalik (left).
Peter Haley / Staff photographer

Carbavores in search of old-world bread — have I got a place for you. A reader tipped me to a newer bakery and grocery store in Fife that makes the kind of bread that is densely textured and rich in flavor. It’s sturdy enough to hold up on a panini press and hearty enough to sop up the richest stew.

The bread at Kusher Bakery is made simply, using a fermented dough mixed from straightforward ingredients with no preservatives: flour, water and salt. The recipe is Ukrainian — a family method handed down through generations.

Owner Anatoliy Zaika has been baking the bread for five years in the South Sound. He previously operated Kusher as a wholesale bakery in Federal Way for four years before opening his Fife Ukrainian bakery and grocery store to the public less than a year ago.

“It’s healthy, it’s simple ingredients,” is how Zaika described his bread, which he makes in about a dozen variations — from savory to sweet. Read more »

Aug.
7th

Sugar: A tiny candy store opens in Proctor. Alert the children.

A candy store called Sugar opened in Proctor Thursday. I checked in by phone on opening day with owner Donna Schramm, a North End resident, who opened the shop that sells old-fashioned candy in a tiny space at 3901 N. 27th St.

And, no, you’re not reading incorrectly. This is the second old fashioned candy store to open recently in Proctor. Jubilee Cupcakes & Vintage Candy, a cupcake-candy store that used to be called Sweet Things, opened July 23. C.R. Roberts wrote about Jubilee here.

(Note to dentists: if you’re looking to set up shop, you might consider Proctor.)

I don’t have a die-hard candy obsession, and when I do, I usually go to the the Johnson Candy Company for truffles, but the store sounds like a neat place to take your favorite daughter, niece, sister, girlfriend, or to indulge your 1970s child infatuation with Flicks. It’s a prettied up Willy Wonka décor. Click “more” to read more about Sugar, and to see a few pictures of the shop. Read more »

July
7th

Store grazing: Champagne (or honey) mangoes are a slice of butter


Honey mangoes, or sometimes called Champagne mangoes, are available in stores now and for the next three weeks. Photo by Lui Kit Wong/Staff Photographer

I’m in love with Champagne mangoes. I have a box of them sitting on my desk right now, but I’m tempted to go buy another case. They are just that spectacular. And the season only has three or four weeks left.

Never heard of Champagne mangoes? That’s not surprising. They haven’t quite reached widespread appeal, but they’re getting there. You can find them at several local markets (listed at the end of this post). And, if you’re lucky, you’ll find them on local restaurant menus. Galanga Thai Cuisine serves the mangoes on the dessert menu – sticky rice in a coconut milk sauce, with slices of mango.

In the markets, they might also be called Honey mangoes, which I’ve heard many locals call them. Or some places call them the much less descriptive Ataulfo, which is the variety name. They also may show up at market labeled as Baby, Yellow or Young. Read more »