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: Tempest Lounge Tacoma


Tacoma’s Tempest Lounge closes for business

Tempest Lounge operated for seven years in the Hilltop Neighborhood. It closed Tuesday. News Tribune file photo

After seven years, Denise Tempest has retired from bartending. The owner of the popular cocktail destination in Tacoma’s Hilltop neighborhood served her last customers Tuesday. Tempest Lounge opened in November 2005. Read more »


Meals by the mile: Reviews of 10 neighborhood eateries along MLK in Tacoma’s Hilltop

LeLe is a longtime Hilltop destination that serves Southeast Asian cuisine in a vibrant atmosphere.

By Sue Kidd and Craig Sailor
Staff eaters

Along Martin Luther King Jr. Way, a lively blend of restaurants turns the Hilltop neighborhood into an eating destination like no other in Tacoma.

The restaurants are an outgrowth of the eclectic and transitional nature of the Hilltop: The longtime institution Bob’s Bar B Q Pit shares a block with 1022 South, a young and edgy lounge producing some of the most interesting cocktails in the region.

The 20-plus-year-old Fish House Cafe flanks the restaurant’s eating district with southern down-home goodness at 19th and MLK, while several blocks away, the effortlessly cool newcomer Tempest Lounge bookends the area.

Up and down side streets, visitors will find Vietnamese, Thai and some of the city’s fluffiest doughnuts. We delve into the MLK neighborhood of the Hilltop for our latest installment of 10-in-one, a review of 10 restaurants in a single neighborhood. Read more »


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 »


Another Thanksgiving cocktail from Tempest

The Pumpkin Pie, a cocktail developed by Denise Tempest of Tempest Lounge in Tacoma.
The Pumpkin Pie, a cocktail developed by Denise Tempest of Tempest Lounge in Tacoma.

Denise Tempest, of Tempest Lounge, has crafted another Thanksgiving cocktail for News Tribune readers. The Mocha Roca cocktail is meant to be sipped after dinner. It’s a white chocolate-coffee concoction with a quintessential Tacoma ingredient – Almond Roca, in syrup and candy form.

Pictured here is the Tempest Pumpkin Pie, the cocktail Denise Tempest created for News Tribune readers last Thanksgiving. Click “more” for recipes for the Mocha Roca and Pumpkin Pie cocktails. And Happy Thanksgiving.

Read more »


Drink to this: Basil crazy at Tempest

It’s pretty typical to see cocktails at Tempest Lounge in Tacoma start with a base of freshly-squeezed juice. The manual juicer on Tempest’s bar gets a rigorous workout. Right now, Tempest also has a cocktail made with fresh basil. Click “more” for the recipe. In other Tempest news, the bar recently was granted all-ages status. From co-owner Denise Tempest, “Our hope is to increase our food business with families looking for an alternative dining spot.  Our regulars with kids are thrilled.”

Read more »