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Best of Olympia 2013 Food and Drink: Tamale Fusion, Burial Grounds, Eastside Big Tom, Eastside Co-op, Ricardo's and others ...

Weekly Volcano staff names the best in Olympia food and drink for 2013

EASTSIDE CO-OP: Its salad bar is the best. Photo credit: Winter Teems

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Burial Grounds

If former child star Butch Patrick, who played boy werewolf Eddie Munster on TV, needed a coffee fix in Olympia, Burial Grounds would sure to be his haunt (because Cryptatropa would send him back to rehab). Boy Munster would find comfort among the Burial Grounds' black lace, yellow-glowing ceiling lights and shelving lined with vases full of black roses. Creepy dark music plays in the background. Girls strut by in fishnet stockings and knee-high faux-leather boots; a boy with red lipstick and teased black hair is a dead ringer for the Cure's Robert Smith. Supernatural snacks and sips such as the Rigor Mortis or the Grave Robber keep everyone on their black nail toes. Open to, of course, midnight daily. 406 Washington St. SE - Ron Swarner


Eastside Big Tom

From its advertising gimmicks to its over-the-top Halloween and Christmas decorating, Eastside Big Tom has what it takes to make your drive-thru experience a blast - in person and online. Known for giving away swag such as iron-on patches and key chains, the employees also solicit creative milkshake concoctions from the community (avocado anyone?) and incorporated a rock band into its menu (Dirty Birds chicken sandwich). Eastside Big Tom also has creative quips on its Facebook page and posts pictures of staff dressed up in mad scientist lab coats, perhaps preparing its famous - and secret - Goop recipe. 2023 Fourth Ave. E. - Nikki McCoy

TAMALE FUSION Photo credit: Winter Teems


Tamale Fusion

Made with organic masa and wrapped in banana leaves, these are not your everyday tamales. As the name suggests, flavors run the gamut. My personal favorite is Thai pumpkin. (There are meat, vegetarian and vegan varieties.) The tamales have been for sale at a number of artisan markets around Olympia as well as being sold for delivery. Currently, the family-run business is regrouping in preparation for a wholesale launch, but there is the occasional secret café to help tamale lovers make it until that is underway. - Molly Gilmore


Eastside Co-op

The Eastside Co-op has long been beloved for its soup and salad. But last summer, the Co-op did itself one better by expanding the beloved bar, which features an ever-evolving selection of such delights as rosemary beets, kale salad, pesto pasta and more along one side and various ingredients for tossed salad along the other. At the end are two pots of soup (African chicken peanut, I love you!) and a pot of hot oatmeal. 3111 Pacific Ave. SE - MG



A Jewish grandmother is really the only person with whom to eat blintzes. But since everyone is not invited to dine with their Jewish grandmothers on a regular basis, try eating blintzes where a Jewish grandmother would go if she didn't want to make them herself - Blintzapalooza. Every March Temple Beth Hatfiloh on Eighth Avenue Southeast in Olympia focuses on Jewish baked goods - selling fresh and frozen blintzes, as well as kugel, lox-laden bagels and cream-cheese-only bagels. A used-book sale and a challah-baking contest both coincide with the brunch. A bake-off competition is always a highlight. - RS


Ben Moore's Restaurant

With a poster of a smiling Marilyn Monroe peeking out behind an American flag and historical pictures of little boys looking like they came straight out of Little Rascals, Ben Moore's décor is only part of the appeal of this quintessential Olympia bar and restaurant. Its happy hour - 5-6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9-11 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday - offers the best battered fish and chips in town. FOR $3.75! Not a typo. Just purchase a beverage and you're in. You can also choose a burger (veggie or beef) and a plate of fries for the same price. Thank you, Ben Moore's Restaurant. We appreciate it. 112 Fourth Ave. W. - NM


Riverbend Restaurant inside Hawk's Prairie Casino

No, we're not pointing to Hawk's Prairie Restaurant that's been an institution since 1978. Right next door sits the Hawk's Prairie Casino and its Riverbend Restaurant has tasty nachos. It's a mini casino (no slots) where you can play a variety of card games, including poker tournaments, plus grub on some kick-ass food, like its nachos, which is always a win. 8318 Quinault Dr. NE, Lacey - NM


The Brotherhood Lounge

This bar is legendary. And there's a good reason. With a quintessentially Oly clientele, some of the best bartenders around, a sweet-ass pool table and shuffleboard to boot, the Brotherhood Lounge is just f---ing cool. That said, what we will interrupt a Deerhoof argument to point out is the BroHo's love for national holidays. The Christmas lights and tinsel still hang from the ceiling. The orange lights covered with bat drawings drape the back bar. JFK wall rugs salute Presidents' Day. And the 10 or so Matador paintings give nod to Cinco de Mayo. The Brotherhood is always ready to host your holiday party. Oh, BroHo owner Pit Kwiecinski's birthday is on St. Patrick's Day! - RS

RICARDO'S RESTAURANT Photo credit: Winters Teems


Ricardo's Restaurant

For lover's of dry-aged, marbled, gristly, lean, thick, rubbed, marinated, tender, juicy, robust, blue, well-done, or anything in between steak, Ricardo's is most certainly the place for this glorious, diverse piece of meat. Ricardo's steaks are from heaven. 5211 Lacey Blvd. SE, Lacey - NM

MASAALA CHAI CAFE Photo credit: Winter Teems


Masaala Chai Café

Masaala Chai Cafe opened its doors Jan. 7 offering flavorful concoctions such as Indian espresso and coconut lattes. That's right, Indian espresso. And Wowie! The Indian espresso is a steaming concoction of espresso, sugar and milk. The milk was delightfully whipped into a velvety foam and sprinkled with dark chocolate powder. The coffee itself was a vivid balance of nicely roasted beans and sugar. Not syrupy sweet. It reminded me of warm comforters and watching television with my Granny.  9323 Martin Way E., Lacey - Jackie Fender

LINK: Best of Olympia 2013

LINK: Best of Olympia 2012

LINK: Best of Olympia 2011

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