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Tag: Mona Pizza and Pasta Tacoma


Eggplant on the menu: It’s not just for vegetarians

Pictured here is fried eggplant with tofu, on the menu at Le-Le Restaurant in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood. Photo by Dean J. Koepfler/Staff photographer

Eggplant can transcend culture and cuisine. It’s a vegetable at home in any number of cultures. I found it on the menus here at Italian, Indian, Vietnamese and Chinese restaurants.

Eggplant can be relegated to side-dish status or always in the ubiquitous eggplant parmesan. I purposely left that dish off the list for this assignment; it’s too easily found. I was going for eggplant esoteric here.

In restaurants around town, eggplant takes center stage in inventive ways for vegetarians – or even for an omnivore looking to add just a bit more nutrition with dinner. However, as is the case with much restaurant food, eggplant is only as healthy as the ingredients with which it’s prepared.

Click more to read about four eggplant dishes on menus now. If you eat a vegetarian diet, please note that the level of vegetarian friendly varies at every restaurant. Ask before ordering.

Your turn: Please comment here to tell us where you eat your favorite eggplant dish, even if it’s eggplant parmesan.
Read more »


First bite: Mona Pizza and Pasta on Sixth

The Mona Special at Mona Pizza and Pasta, a restaurant that opened last week on Sixth Avenue.

Mona Pizza and Pasta opened last week on Sixth Avenue in the space that formerly housed Opa, the Greek restaurant I wrote about here and here.

This is the first restaurant venture for Asya Alendar, who lives in Seattle, but she grew up in a restaurant family. Her father owned and operated Italian restaurants in Bulgaria.

In keeping with the food her father served, Alendar said the food at Mona is hand crafted. The pastas, she said, are made fresh daily in the kitchen, as are the sauces. Read more »


Opa Greek Cuisine closes Saturday

The gyro sandwich at Opa! Greek Cuisine. The restaurant will close Saturday after more than two years of business.

The voice mail messages are becoming all too familiar. Usually it’s a reader calling saying they went to Restaurant XYZ and it was closed for business.

But today? Today, the voice mail was from a restaurant owner.

“Saturday is our last day,” said Ernesto Gomez, owner of Opa! Greek Cuisine on Sixth Avenue, who has run the restaurant with business partner Roberto Ruiz since August 2007.

When I called him back to ask him why they were closing, he said, “We were fighting for a long time to survive, the situation just caught up with this.” It was a combination of a crowded restaurant market and the downturn in the economy. “The winter was bad for everybody,” he said. So they put the restaurant on the market and sold it to someone else (more on that in a bit).

So what’s next for the business partners? Read more »