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

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Tag: Pacific Grill Tacoma

Dec.
24th

Pucker up: House pickled veggies at Tacoma restaurants pack flavorful punch

At Tempest Lounge in Tacoma’s hilltop neighborhood: a bowl of pickled carrots and cauliflower that are flavored with marjoram and Old Bay seasoning. Photo by Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Pacific Grill owner/chef Gordon Naccarato recalls discovering soy-brined jalapeños while working as a chef in Los Angeles.

“I first found those jalapeños in Koreatown in Los Angeles in a run-down strip mall place that called them ‘kimchi pickles,’ and they would sell you a canning jar full of them with additional cucumbers in the jalapeño mix for only $6,” Naccarato wrote in an e-mail when I asked him about house-pickled vegetables at his downtown Tacoma restaurant.

The jalapeños were salty, sweet and satisfying, and something Naccarato enjoyed eating over a bowl of rice. “They were so amazingly good just over steamed rice and became a favorite late-night snack after working the line ’til late at night.”

Naccarato now makes his own brined jalapeños, which he serves as a garnish on the ramen served at Pacific Grill’s Noodle Bar. He brines his jalapeños in soy with healthy portions each of brown sugar and lemon zest.

Naccarato and his kitchen crew also use house-pickled veggies on the banh mi sandwich, served on the lunch menu. “We do a quick-pickle of carrot, daikon radish and cucumber and the soy-brined jalapeño. We make a Vietnamese-style vinaigrette/nuoc cham that we marinate the vegetables in. Lime juice, garlic, chilies, palm sugar (buy at Asian market) and fish sauce, plum vinegar and citrus zest. Then we add julienned carrot, daikon and cucumber and let marinate for at least an hour before using,” wrote Naccarato by e-mail. The result is a puckery sweet layer of flavor with crunch.

Lately, I’ve spotted several restaurants serving pickled or brined veggies that carried the puckery smack of house-made flavor. Besides Pacific Grill’s house-pickled or brined veggies on the ramen, banh mi and Cuban sandwiches, I’ve found pickles on the plates at Crown Bar, Tempest Lounge and Asado.

Click “more” to read about four dishes to try featuring house-pickled or brined vegetables. Read more »

Dec.
17th

Bar Burger Noshdown: The five South Sound bar, tavern and brewery burgers you’ve just got to bite into before you die

The Asado Burger with yucca fries. Photo by Peter Haley/Staff photographer

Thick and towering, goosed with flavor, diminutive and tasty. Today’s bar burgers were the best of the best for flavor, texture and ingredients that I sampled for this week’s 20-burger salute to South Sound bars, taverns and breweries.

Chorizo, Nueske’s bacon, arugula and Gorgonzola – today’s burgers all feature unusual twists that made them memorable. And what’s better than a burger? A burger with fries (just add beer). If you’re a fan of fries, today’s installment is devoted to you.

Today’s burgers: Asado, Maxwell’s, Pacific Grill, The Hub, The Right Spot

Thursday: Crown Bar, Harmon, Bite Restaurant, West End Pub, Cheers South Hill

Wednesday: Engine House No. 9, El Gaucho, Katie Downs, The Parkway, Ram

Tuesday: Powerhouse Brewery, Cliff House, Matador, Blazing Onion and Beach Tavern.

YOUR TURN: Nominate your favorite South Sound burger for inclusion in the TNT Diner Burger of the Month Club. I’ll feature a different burger every month and invite diners to write their own reviews (the best written reviews will earn prizes, such as cookbooks). Just comment here to nominate a burger. Read more »

April
28th

Dining Out For Life: Spotlight on Pacific Grill

Pacific Grill's happy hour menu includes grilled oysters with pancetta, left, meat candy, top, and cheeseburger sliders with garlic fries. Photo by Janet Jensen/The News Tribune

When I think of happy hour, I think of Pacific Grill. The selection and value of the happy hour, as I wrote here, offers divine noshing at fetching prices. Tomorrow, April 29, the downtown eatery will participate in Dining Out For Life, the dine-out event where participating restaurants in Pierce County will donate 25 percent of meal sales to the Pierce County AIDS Foundation. To participate all you have to do is dine at Pacific Grill or another participating restaurant listed here. But if you want to do more, you can donate $25 and get a dining discount card good at 12 participating restaurants for future Tuesday dining. Read details in this blog post from Monday.

Stop by for lunch, happy hour or dinner at Pacific Grill. If you pick happy hour, click “more” to read about the menu items pictured here. Read more »

April
22nd

Restaurant nibbles: More spring menus, a free wine tasting and a burrito eating contest

From my reporter’s notebook today, a few new things: Pacific Grill has a new spring menu, Cork Wine Bar has a free wine tasting this afternoon, HG Bistro is now serving lunch and Maxwell’s is serving up some interesting sounding Mexican dishes on Cinco de Mayo. Read more »

Jan.
29th

Bacon, cheese and gravy: Gussied up fries on menus around Tacoma

Fries and gravy from Hotel Murano’s Bite Restaurant in Tacoma. Photo by Lui Kit Wong/Staff photographer

Thin or thick, I don’t have a preference. But do make mine crunchy on the outside, creamy-unctuous on the inside. I’m picky about my fries that way.

I used to think I was a fry purist: crisp potatoes with a sprinkle of salt, please.

And then I had the garlic herb fries at Pacific Grill. Insta-fancy-fry convert. And then I had fries and gravy at Bite at Hotel Murano. And then came along the bacon cheesy fries at Crown Bar. And have you ever had the yuca fries at Asado? Amazingly good.

At Bite and Crown Bar – fancy fries are dishes that command their own real estate on the menu. They’re served solo, sans burgers. They’re big plates of crisp fries covered in elevated ingredients that will make your favorite fast food restaurant fries seem like sad, little, soggy ’taters.

Here, a look at my four favorite fancy fries around town. Read more »