TNT Diner

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

NOTICE: TNT Diner has moved.

With the launch of our new website, we've moved TNT Diner.
Visit the new section.

Tag: I love pork

Aug.
26th

Tales from the smoker: Roadside BBQ opens permanent location in Spanaway

Spareribs at Roadside BBQ are slow cooked over apple, cherry and pear wood.
Spareribs at Roadside BBQ are slow cooked over apple, cherry and pear wood.

The return of the waving pink pig with the “Wood Smoked B-B-Q” sign on Pacific Avenue is my first indicator that Roadside BBQ is back in business.

The tiny barbecue restaurant first opened a year ago in a temporary location, serving weekends only at 130th and Pacific Avenue, near PLU.  Owner Susan Ruiz, who runs Roadside with daughter Sarah Sheedy and manager Dirk James, closed that space and went mobile to the parking lot of Cash &Carry at 112th this spring, selling barbecue from a trailer converted to a mini restaurant on wheels. Read more »

Dec.
23rd

Tacoma’s Adriatic Grill: Wood-fired eats and superb service – yes, in a mall location

Restaurateurs Bill and Monique Trudnowski, owners of the Adriatic Grill, with a plate of Bolognese. Photo by Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer

Adriatic Grill resides within one of the toughest neighborhoods for upscale dining. I’ve tried convincing friends that a restaurant near the mall – yes, that mall – serves superb Kobe flat-iron steak, turns out pizza from a wood-fired oven, masters garlicky Bolognese with al dente chewy pull, and doses grilled peaches with sweetened balsamic for dessert.

Or, as I frequently repeat in a convincing tone, “Adriatic Grill really is worth the drive to the mall.” Really. Not that you would want to do that this particular Christmas weekend, but when the assault of holiday shoppers retreats, add Adriatic Grill to your roster of must-try restaurants in an unexpected demographic.

And about that demographic. Read more »

April
14th

Pupusas, part two: Mis Chiquititas taco truck

A pork, cheese and bean pupusa with cabbage curtido from Mis Chiquititas in Puyallup.

Pupusas are devilishly good, but can be difficult to locate in a region short on Salvadoran restaurants. I recently spotted pupusas at the Mis Chiquititas taco bus, a newer truck located in Puyallup’s South Hill.

Never tried a pupusa? Think of the pupusa as the griddled Salvadoran cousin of a taco – or sort of a hybrid sister to the quesadilla, but with a crunchy corn dough exterior stuffed with meats, beans and cheeses. In February, I wrote about two Salvadoran pupuserias – El Pulgarcito in Lakewood and Mi Chalateca in Federal Way – small restaurants big on Salvadoran flavor that serve several varieties of pupusas, from spinach to zucchini, cheese, pork and other varieties. Served with the piquant pickled cabbage salad curtido, a single pupusa is a cheap and filling meal. Two is a feast. They rarely cost more than $1.50-$2 each.

By all appearances, Mis Chiquititas is a pretty standard taco truck serving Read more »

April
11th

Goodbye Friendly Duck, hello Porter’s Place. South Tacoma Way eating just got a lot more interesting.

The smoked pork ribs at Porter's Place Southern Cuisine & BBQ are supple, smoky and three-napkin good.

Since February, Porter’s Place Southern Cuisine & BBQ of Tacoma has been on a rib hiatus, but expect to see the return of the slow-smoked ribs and saucy pulled pork near the end of May or early June. Alton Porter, who operated Porter’s for about six years at its perch just above the La Quinta Hotel, signed a lease today to take over the restaurant space that formerly housed the delightfully named Friendly Duck Restaurant on South Tacoma Way. Read more »

March
28th

Fried cheese on a burger? Salami AND Bacon? The Mount Rainier Burger at Tacoma’s Swiss Tavern should be on your gluttony to-do list

The Mount Rainier Burger is not for anyone on a diet. The towering burger comes with fried salami, bacon, cheddar cheese and fried mozzarella sticks. Mercy.

Welcome to another week of burger lust. Last December, you might remember I chowed my way through more than 20 restaurants to find the best 20 bar burgers you have to eat before you die. Well, here’s the follow-up burger report from your burger tips. This week, I take a bite out of four of the most nominated reader favorites, and write about a newcomer restaurant with really good burgers.

Today’s burger special comes from the Swiss Tavern – home to some of the greatest live music in town, a laid back atmosphere and designated seating for members of Congress. The Swiss has a handful of burgers on the menu, but the Mount Rainier Burger ($12.95) sounds like a food dare – two kinds of pork and two kinds of cheese on a towering burger. Read more »

March
24th

Restaurant delays: An update on Porter’s and Tacos Guaymas in Tacoma

The smoked pork ribs at Porter's Place Southern Cuisine & BBQ are three-napkin good. I use this photo every time I write about Porter’s moving just so I can aggravate your rib craving. I’m mean like that.

Porter’s Barbecue and Tacos Guaymas are making progress, but both restaurants are behind their deadlines to reopen. Click “more” for an update on both popular Tacoma eateries. Read more »

Jan.
6th

Cuban sandwiches, take two: Doyle’s Public House, Pacific Grill, Asado, The Ram and Sidebar Bistro put their own spins on the Cuban

The Cuban sandwich at Doyle’s Public House is made with chipotle mayo. Photo by Janet Jensen/The News Tribune

Is a Cuban a Cuban if you douse it with chipotle mayo, stuff it with tilapia, zucchini pickles, or a hamburger patty? The restaurants featured here think so, or at least they bill their sandwiches as Cubans, those pork-filled puckery grilled cheese sandwiches that have been popping up on menus everywhere.

Today: I feature Cubans on the menu at Doyle’s Public House (my favorite sandwich for this report), Pacific Grill, Asado, the Ram and Sidebar Bistro. Click “more” to read about the sandwiches.

Yesterday: I bit into Cubans at Chambers Bay Grill, Blazing Onion, Powerhouse Brewery, and Panera. Read it here.

Read more »

Jan.
5th

Cuban sandwiches, take one: Blazing Onion, Chambers Bay Grill, Powerhouse Brewery and Panera serve puckery sandwiches full of pork

The Cuban at Chambers Bay Grill is made with pepperjack cheese and a jerk spice aioli.

Think of the Cuban sandwich as a pork-filled, puckery, grilled cheese sandwich.

A traditional Cuban, popular in the southeastern United States, is made with crusty bread grilled on something called a plancha press (a flat-top version of a panini press) or simply grilled.

All Cubans – or at least the good ones – have one thing in common: Two kinds of pork. Thick, chewy ham gives the sandwich an unctuous bite, while roasted, shredded pork adds a luscious layer of texture and flavor. Cheese glues together the sandwich’s porky textures and lends a rich edge.

I’ve seen the Cuban sandwich here with Swiss, gruyere, jack or cheddar, although traditional Cubans are made with Swiss.

And here’s an essential component for a Cuban: Pucker and crunch in the form of pickles and mustard. Without that? It’s just a grilled ham and cheese sandwich.

Depending on the source, the Cuban sandwich was born either as cafeteria cuisine or it was a favorite sandwich of sugar mill workers that dates back to 1930s Cuba or earlier. It’s a sandwich that’s gained popularity in the southern part of the country for many years, but it didn’t seem to really blip onto Tacoma’s sandwich radar until last year.

I’ve seen every configuration of Cuban sandwich, including a porkless one at ­Asado made with fish (can you even call that a Cuban?) and another at Panera made with chicken. I’ve even found one at the Ram that was in burger form.

Today and tomorrow, I’ll take a look at nine restaurants that serve their own interpretations. You be the judge of authenticity, but here are the details of whether they’re worthy of your dining dollars.  Click “more” to read about today’s four sandwiches.

Read more »