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Category: Thirsty Thursday

May
15th

Stink Tank hosts third Rosé-a-Palooza with 10 tastes of the underdog wine

WINE GLASSIt’s entirely possible that old disparaging reputation no longer tarnishes rosé wines, but to squash any doubts, spend two minutes chatting rosé with Kris Blondin, Tacoma wine maven and owner of Stink Tank, the wine bar; and sibling business next door, Stink Cheese and Meat.

Blondin will pour at least 10 of her favorite rosés at a taste-off with snacks at Stink Tank – from 5-8 p.m. May 21. Here, she answers a few questions about her wine tasting, plus a directed thwarting of rosé haters. Read more »

Feb.
6th

Thirsty Thursday: Wood-aged beer festival Saturday at Tacoma Brewing Co.

FIRKINS BEER

The tricky thing about wood-aged beer – if done in a barrel – is the space required. If Morgan Alexander had his way, he’d have warehouse space to stack barrel after barrel of wood-aged beer.

With only 1,000 square feet at his Tacoma Brewing Co. in the St. Helens neighborhood, he’d have trouble finding room for one barrel.

Rather than ditch his idea of wood-aging beer – a growing trend among brewers – he turned to a clever solution other nano brewers are employing. He uses wood chips and spirals thrown into the fermenter to impart a woody flavor to his ales and stouts.

Here’s a fun local tidbit – he’s sourced some of his wood from Tacoma woodworking business, Madera.

On Saturday Feb. 8, Alexander will host Tacoma’s first wood-aged beer festival at his brewery, which he operates with his brother Tristan Litke. Check the list of beers below. He’ll tap the brews from 2-10 p.m. Supplies are limited. Beer will be served in pints and schooners. The event will feature Alexander’s brews, as well as guest brewer R.J. Adler. Read more »

Jan.
9th

Thirsty Thursday: PorterPalooza at Wingman Brewery

AA023708In today’s installment of Thirsty Thursday, an occasional feature about the people behind the booze of the South Sound, I checked in with Ken Thoburn, brewer-owner of Wingman Brewers in Tacoma. On Jan. 18, the brewery will pay homage to the dark-and-stormy weather with deep-and-dark brews of their own making. On tap will be seven different porters – all made by Wingman (I was impressed by that, you should be too). Read on. Read more »

Dec.
31st

New Year’s Eve toast: Checking in with Brian Johnson of Better Cocktails at Home

Pictured here, Brian and Brooke Johnson on Tacoma. They produce a web show called Better Cocktails At Home. Photo courtesy of the Johnsons.
Pictured here, Brian and Brooke Johnson on Tacoma. They produce a web show called Better Cocktails At Home. Photo courtesy of the Johnsons.

Followers of my occasional cocktail features will remember Brian Johnson, the gritty Tacoman who works in marketing by day and hosts his own cocktail show via the web by night (literally -they film the episodes at night after their 3-year-old is put to bed).

I checked in with Johnson on what he’s drinking for New Year’s Eve and what he’d recommend for those hosting a party. Find more of his cocktail advice at his YouTube channel, Better Cocktails At Home. Read more »

Dec.
30th

New Year’s Eve toast: Kris Blondin weighs in on how to open a champagne bottle with a sword

Stink Meat and Cheese owner Kris Blondin uses a big knife playfully attempts to open a champagne bottle. Do not try this at home.  Lui Kit Wong/Staff Photographer
Stink Meat and Cheese owner Kris Blondin uses a big knife playfully attempts to open a champagne bottle. Do not try this at home. You’ll put an eye out. Lui Kit Wong/Staff Photographer

Naming a business with a cheeky single word – in all caps – should allude to a proprietor’s penchant for mirth, but when a store name nods to the famed “Tacoma aroma,” you know the owner has got to have a great sense of humor – or smell.

Meet Kris Blondin, a Tacoman and owner of STINK Cheese-Meat, a multi-purpose St. Helens neighborhood business that specializes in gourmet meats, cheeses, freshly prepared cafe eats and is adjacent to Blondin’s sister business, a wine bar called STINK Tank.

If her name sounds familiar to restaurant watchers, that could be because Blondin was the oenophile behind Vin Grotto, a popular downtown Tacoma wine destination that shuttered in 2007.

For someone who swore she’d never own a food business again, it’s a head scratcher how Blondin wound up doing exactly that when she opened STINK in 2011. In Blondin’s characteristic hilarious words – working in the food business is like constantly scratching a scab. You know you shouldn’t, but you just can’t help yourself.

With New Year’s Eve in quick approach and because her specialty is advising locals on wine, we asked Blondin to employ her special brand of humor and wine expertise on how to pull off a successful champagne or sparkling wine toast. Her answers were given via email. Read more »

Dec.
19th

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 »

Nov.
14th

Beer me: Cocktails with a splash of suds – at Harmon Taproom

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Beer cocktails may sound like a bad bar dare, but it’s becoming a thing. Really.

Beer in cocktails is not completely unheard of. Boilermakers have been around as long as there have been college students to drink them. Texans have perfected beergaritas – a margarita made with brew. Dark and Stormies – a rum-and-ginger-beer cocktail – have seen a resurgence, thanks to craft breweries brewing up batches of ginger-laced brew (the drinks also are made with non-alcoholic ginger beer).

At Tacoma’s Harmon Taproom, the littlest sister of the Harmon brewpubs in Tacoma and Gig Harbor, the popularity of a new beer cocktail menu has taken the restaurant somewhat by surprise. Read more »

Oct.
24th

Thirsty Thursday: Checking in with Brian Johnson of Better Cocktails at Home

Pictured here, Brian and Brooke Johnson on Tacoma. They produce a web show called Better Cocktails At Home. Photo courtesy of the Johnsons.
Pictured here, Brian and Brooke Johnson on Tacoma. They produce a web show called Better Cocktails At Home. Photo courtesy of the Johnsons.

Brian Johnson’s not a bartender, but he plays one on video. The Tacoman is one year and 54 episodes into a  video hobby that tells Tacomans how to make better cocktails at home. That’s also the name of his weekly video series on YouTube.

Johnson’s not the kind of guy who will spend an episode dictating how to steep your own digestif with 324 varieties of hand-harvested forest herbs or how to dust a rim with magic truffle glitter. That’s because he’s lazy. (His words, not mine.)

To make a better cocktail at home, Johnson’s edict is simple. Keep a well-stocked bar. Learn to balance sweet with sour. Use the right spirit with the right mixer. And, most of all, invite friends over to drink your mistakes.

Here’s Johnson’s take on his weekend hobby as a video bartender.

Read more »