Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

Posts made in: October, 2013 (73) Currently Viewing: 21 - 30 of 73

October 9, 2013 at 10:23am

Hilltop Kitchen releases new food and cocktail menus

The Indecision cocktail is a solid decision at Hilltop Kitchen. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

When the Monsoon Room opened in 2005, the exotic cubbyhole on Hilltop Tacoma ignited a craft cocktail slow burn. Those who drank neon-blue slushy drinks and giant martinis found the Monsoon mixology of Laura Malone and Jeff "Kansas" McIlvain a breathe of fresh mint. All races, creeds, colors, income levels, suits and sandals nestled into the dimly-lit, South Pacific-themed speakeasy, discussing rums and city ruins over old concoctions made new again. Chris Keil, a bartender by way of a crazy story, was tending door at the time. Given three steps, his managerial run was cut short by the Monsoon's closure in 2008. Time warp to March 29, 2009, when the 1022 South opened in the same spot, but with Keil shaking the shaker and inspiration from the Emerald City gastropubs. The rest of the story is cocktail lore: Keil and his Rob Roy Robin Corey Lund go Thomas Edison on cocktails, make a name for themselves, the bar and our drinking town. Today, Keil and business partner, Matthew Schweitzer, stand tall as a cocktail spoon around the corner at the Hilltop Kitchen.

And Kitchen it is, although its Latin-inspired cuisine has been "just a taste" says Keil since its summer opening. This week, the food menu increases tenfold with a complete cocktail menu change, carried out on trays beneath the exposed beams and placed on its the dark wooden tables.

Keil hasn't been tending as much as he's been teetering the past several weeks. He's been in the back playing tag with the kitchen staff, passing cocktail and dish creations back and forth, fine-tuning the next wave.

"Creating the whole new menus from scratch is a lot of work, but we have a lot of fun putting them together," says Keil.

At the end of last week, he looked exhausted and exhilarated in equal parts.

"I'm really excited about the new food menu; it's comprised of more substantial, heartier dishes," says Keil. "Look for more tacos, seasonal soups, a warm salad or two, and a couple more large plates. We'll also change up the snacky bar food a bit as well."

Keil watched me sample an early rendition of The Pear Salad. I don't think he's seen someone scrap at a plate more frantically trying to grasp the last morsel of caramelized pears, sautéed rainbow chard, toasted almonds, and shallots, served over a potato parsnip puree and served with a six-minute egg. Seriously, out of this world.

>>> Rome Plow

I sampled two drinks off the new cocktail menu. The Rome Plow is a dark delight of Jamaican rum, maple crema de mezcal, walnut and Rogue bitters. The second, Indecision, is a bigger drink with Dutch Negroni, bourbon, Punt e Mes and IPA. The IPA is forward. It's what I like to call a long drink, meaning it's something you can sip on for a while.

Hilltop Kitchen, offers more than just cocktails, of course. It has an impressive list of scotches, bourbons and rums. HK also has a rotating list of craft beers on tap, with wine and bubbly by the glass or bottle.

Whether it's the friendly greeting from your bartender, a conversation with a complete stranger, an escape from your daily grind or just a place that makes you feel like you belong, a great bar can be the heartbeat of its community. Hilltop Kitchen is all that in spades ... topped with smoked demerara salt, mole bitters and lime oil.

HILLTOP KITCHEN, 3-7 p.m. $6 drinks happy hour, open to 1:30 a.m., 913 Martin Luther King Way, Tacoma, 253.327.1397

See Also

First bite and sip at Hilltop Kitchen

Filed under: Food & Drink, Tacoma,

October 9, 2013 at 1:37pm

This Weekend: Breag Naofa, Fang Chia, Moraine and God Hates Fads in Tacoma

Breag Naofa / Photo courtesy of Facebook

If you find yourself thirsty for post-metal, heavy prog rock, look no further than Bob's Java Jive Saturday. Political, anti-religious, and blood-shedding doom is the nature of Seattle's Breag Naofa, who perfectly execute the qualities of the genre, with plenty of mid-tempo drone and growly vocals. The evening also promises the interesting music of Fang Chia, a Tacoma-based experimental jazz-rock band consisting of music alumni of the University of Puget Sound. Blurring lines and blowing minds is what Fang Chia strive to do with self-promo stating their combined musical background is "rooted in grit and improvisation." Also on the bill are two more Seattle bands, Moraine, featuring instrumental fusion appealing across all genres, and God Hates Fads, whose doom-jazz is prone to wandering depths and trippy heights.

BREAG NAOFA, w/Fang Chia, Moraine and God Hates Fads, 8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 12, Bob's Java Jive, 2102 South Tacoma Way, Tacoma, $5, 253.475.9843

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Calendar: Arts and Entertainment

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October 9, 2013 at 4:33pm

Judging by the Trailer: "Machete Kills"

All grown up - Alexa Vega as "Killjoy"

With the release of Gravity, Rush and Captain Phillips, award-season is really starting to gear up, and what better way to celebrate than to go see a tongue-in-cheek sequel to a tongue-in-cheek movie that was based on a tongue-in-cheek fake trailer?

No? OK, but what if I told you that Charlie Sheen, Mel Gibson and Lady Gaga were in it?

Still no? Fine. Let's just watch the trailer instead.

Machete Kills picks up where Machete left off - so deep in the realm of self-satisfied parody that Robert Rodriguez probably wouldn't notice or care if it were playing to an empty theater. Beyond simply being homage to the grimy B-movies, Machete adopted the tact of the Hangover movies in paying tribute to low culture in general, featuring the stunt casting of ne'er-do-wells like Steven Seagal and Lindsay Lohan. The bar has once more been raised with the inclusion of the aforementioned triumvirate of Gibson, Gaga and Sheen.

Danny Trejo - once a noble character actor, now an ironic icon in the mold of Betty White - returns as the titular Machete, a renegade antihero hired by the hard-drinking, hard-loving President Charlie Sheen to bring down Mel Gibson's terrorist. An endlessly pulpy series of quips and explosions follow, including a particularly eye-roll-inducing scene of Machete proclaiming that he doesn't tweet, as he brandishes an iPhone equipped with a switchblade.

Machete and its sequel are an exercise in the vein of Pulp Fiction's career revival of John Travolta, but for Trejo. The problem, though, is that it highlights Trejo as a badass man of few words, which certainly was always part of Trejo's appeal, but anyone who's seen his tender and charming work in movies like Sherrybaby can attest that there's much more to the man than what Robert Rodriguez chooses to show in the Machete series.

Character actors, by their nature, are designed to convey a wealth of information sheerly through their appearance. Because of this, Trejo will never want for work (he has 15 film roles in 2013 alone), but it'd be great to see him explored further than skin deep.

Oh, and fuck Mel Gibson and Charlie Sheen.

October 10, 2013 at 7:34am

5 Things To Do Today: Crooked Bangs, "El Cantante," Think and Drink, Steve-O and more ...

Crooked Bangs's vocalist/bassist Leda Celeste Ginestra sings like she discovered punk in Montmartre. Photo courtesy of Facebook

THURSDAY, OCT. 10 2013 >>>

1. Hailing from Austin, Texas, Crooked Bangs is a band that is quite adept at building expectations and smashing them. Initially reveling in the sounds of '60s garage and '70s punk, Crooked Bangs slowly folds in elements of post-punk. It's compelling enough, but then you hear the vocals of Leda Ginestra - rising through the din of riled up punk is the voice of a dispassionate Parisian, which recalls the sort of deadpan work of Nico. The band plays with Clayface and others at 10 p.m. in Le Voyeur.

2. Bird lovers from far and wide will flock (get it?) to Tacoma for the 10th annual Bird Lovers' Weekend at the Museum of Glass. Events kick off tonight with the opportunity to make your own glass bird from 5-7 p.m. in the Hot Shop, iittala master glassblowers Arto Lahtinen and Kirsi Antila enter the Hot Shop Friday and hang until Sunday, bird-related art activities as part of Family Day Saturday, Sunday morning "Bird Lovers' Brunch" and a bunch of squawking in between. Click here for full schedule.

3. As public relation coordinator, she's also played a part in bringing a slice of the 5th Annual Seattle Latino Film Festival to T-town this year. In conjunction with the University of Puget Sound, SLFF will host a one-night screening of El Cantante at the Washington State History Museum at 6 p.m. Read Christopher wood's full feature on the screening here.

4. Broadway Center's yearlong Free For All festival continues tonight with its inaugural Think and Drink program. Humanities Washington will set up shop in the Pantages Theater's lobby for a free discussion about how advances in digital technology are affecting our interactions, institutions and culture. This Think and Drink discussion will be led by technology experts Alex Alben and Amy Fisher, and moderated by Ashley Gross. Alben is the author of Analog Days - How Technology Rewrote Our Future and a member of Humanities Washington's Speakers Bureau. Fisher is a professor in the University of Puget Sound's Science, Technology and Society program. Gross is a business and labor reporter with KPLU radio. The drinks begin to pour at 7:30 p.m.

5. During his decade of death- and pride-defying antics on MTV, the stage and the silver screen, daredevil Steve-O (aka Stephen Glover) has lived a life like no other. He's swum with sharks, gotten a portrait of himself tattooed on his own back, put out rap records, danced with the stars and railed lines of wasabi - and he'll be the first to tell you that's the least of what he's put up his nose. He's added comic to his career list, and his comedy is front and off center at 8 p.m. in the Tacoma Comedy Club.

LINK: Thursday, Oct. 10 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

October 11, 2013 at 7:00am

5 Things To Do Today: Shark dives, Amocat party, one-act plays, Curtis Salgado and more ...

Eye-to-Eye Sharks is the only warm-water exhibit dive in the Pacific Northwest with so many sharks.

FRIDAY, OCT. 11 2013 >>>

1. Just when you thought it was safe to go back in the water, the folks at the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium pull something like this. They're allowing visitors to dive into the South Pacific Aquarium with more than a dozen sharks - including a 450-pound, 9-foot lemon shark. In addition to the lemon shark, there are blacktip reef sharks, sandbar sharks, nurse sharks, loan sharks, a sand tiger shark and a Japanese Wobbegong shark. And no diving experience is necessary. Non-certified divers, ages 8 and older, will breathe surface-supplied air as they view the sharks up close from an underwater cage. Certified scuba divers, ages 15 and older, will be escorted around the habitat by professionally trained diver/guides. All will get a never-before-offered, eye-to-eye view of sharks. Plus, the 240,000-gallon South Pacific Aquarium is home to dozens of other interesting fish.

2. Amocat Cafe, which opened three years ago in Tacoma's St. Helens neighborhood, no longer will be a coffee house. Backed by a successful Kickstarter, owner Morgan Alexander will convert the space into the temporary permanent home of his second love, the Tacoma Brewing Company. What were a couple nights of pouring his delicious craft beer under the Amocat sign will be replaced with several more nights of beer drinking under the TBC sign. But first, an Amocat Café Grand Closing Event will go down 5-9 p.m. featuring, well, yes beer. It will be the last time the Valhalla custom roasted Amocat espresso blend will be served. In addition, Alexander made an amber wheat beer called Backwards Tacoma Ale that will be unveiled Friday night. Read Pappi Swarner's Q&A with Alexander here.

3. Back for another year, An Improbable Peck Of Plays II presents a selection of short one-act plays from the Northwest Playwrights Alliance and Prodigal Sun Productions, featuring actors and directors from the Puget Sound area - although the writing will be the star. It will be an entertaining night for sure. That said, if you don't like a play, another will be up directly. The plays hit the Midnight Sun stage at 8 p.m.

4. Award-winning vocalist/songwriter/harmonica icon Curtis Salgado, touring in support of his Alligator Records debut CD, SOUL SHOT, will perform at I p.m. in Jazzbones. Salgado recently won three 2013 Blues Music Awards including the coveted B.B. King Entertainer Of The Year. He also won for Soul Blues Male Artist Of The Year for the second consecutive year, and for Soul Blues Album Of The Year (SOUL SHOT). Salgado effortlessly mixes R&B, funk and blues with a delivery that is raw and heartfelt.

5. He has a new video/single, he has a new line of clothing on racks and now he is celebrating the release of his latest album, Revelations EP (with MTK). "He" is none other than award-winning Olympia (to Seattle transplant) MC XP, aka Xperience. At 8 p.m. XP celebrates the release with a party featuring Vitamin D, Dice, Zikki Car, John Crown and Sphere at The Royal Lounge.  

LINK: Friday, Oct. 11 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

October 11, 2013 at 9:07am

Plan Ahead: Frightfully Delightful Dinner and Dessert Auction

Delicious Italian food, yummy desserts, costume contest, door prizes, silent auction with great items, a special "golden ticket" raffle (hot air balloon ride anyone?) and holiday fun - sounds like a great recipe for a great time, yes? So, take these ingredients and add in the important fact that proceeds of this event would benefit a terrific local organization that supports people living with the traumatic brain injury and their families.

The Brain Energy Support Team (BEST) is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide support, advocacy, public awareness, and education and socialization opportunities to individuals with a brain injury and their families. Founded in 2008, BEST distinguishes itself with its leadership, services, and programs that are built by and for people living with brain injury and their families.

The team at BEST is honored to invite the general public for a night of great food and fun at its Frightfully Delightful Dinner and Dessert Auction 4-7 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26 at Joeseppi's Italian Ristorante in Tacoma. Costumes are encouraged.

Event tickets are $35 and include dinner and event admission. Tickets may be purchased online.  Be sure to purchase your ticket by Oct. 18 to guarantee your spot.

October 11, 2013 at 10:28am

Fife History Museum brings Japanese internment to light

In 1944, 63 young men stood trial at a Japanese internment camp at Heart Mountain, Wyo. for resisting the draft; the impact of this action was a poignant part of American history. A local filmmaker brings this history alive, and now South Sound residents have the opportunity to be a part of the conversation.

The Fife History Museum, which recently launched its latest exhibit, "Rights, Rations, Remembrance: Fife in World War II," proudly offers patrons an opportunity to learn more about this significant era. The general public is cordially invited to the museum on Oct. 17 at 7 p.m. to view director Frank Abe's controversial World War II documentary, Conscience and the Constitution.

The film reveals the long-untold story of the organized draft resistance at the American concentration camp at Heart Mountain and the suppression of that resistance by Japanese American leaders. The screening will be followed by a panel discussion with the filmmaker and other community leaders.

Conscience and the Constitution takes us back in time to December 1941, when war was raging in Europe and the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor stunned the nation. President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered 110,000 people of Japanese ancestry from the West Coast, many of whom were already U.S. citizens, be placed in internment camps spread out among seven states.


Filed under: Fife, Military, Screens, Word,

October 11, 2013 at 12:12pm

2013 AMOCAT Arts Awards winners named

The City of Tacoma has just released the three winners of this year's AMOCAT Arts Awards. Here's the press release:

The Tacoma Arts Commission has announced this year's AMOCAT Arts Award winners: Erivan and Helga Haub and family (Arts Patron), Puget Sound Book Artists (Community Outreach by an Organization) and David Domkoski (Community Outreach by an Individual). The AMOCAT Arts Awards honor those who provide distinctive contributions to the arts in Tacoma.

Filed under: Arts, Community, Sumner,

October 12, 2013 at 8:02am

5 Things To Do Today: Rockwell Powers and DJ Phinisey, "Star Wars," Taste of Cuba, burlesque and more ...

DJ Phinisey, left, and Rockwell Powers build tonight. Photo credit: Scott Haydon

SATURDAY, OCT. 12 2013 >>>

1. From the first resonant chords of piano on Rockwell Powers's and DJ Phinisey's new album, BUILD, it's clear that this is an album that strives to be more than just another album of blustering and posturing. Accompanied by the reading of a poem by Jesse Ann Fouts, opening track "BuildxPoem1" explores the compellingly picturesque idea of a city built of bones and flesh, flanked by seas of fear and longing. It's an entrancing image with which to open one's album, and Powers follows through on this promise, delivering an album that splits its time between melancholy ruminations about insecurity and spellbinding indictments of the state of music, arts and city. All of these themes are played out over a bed of tastefully restrained beats and washes of electronics. The release show for BUILD is all ages and will be held at downtown's Grit City GrindHouse - a skate and art shop - at 9 p.m. with the Breaklites, RA Scion and Mr. Melanin. Read Rev. Adam McKinney thoughts on the album and discussion with Rockwell Powers in the Music and Culture section.

2. Bird lovers from far and wide will flock (get it?) to Tacoma for the 10th annual Bird Lovers' Weekend at the Museum of Glass. Iittala master glassblowers Arto Lahtinen and Kirsi Antila enter the Hot Shop are in the Hot Shop with bird-related art activities as part of Family Day. Click here for full schedule.

3. The Puyallup Public Library celebrates Star Wars Reads Day with "astromech builder" and history buff Cole Horton from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. He's capping off a series of events by revealing how George Lucas's science-fantasy universe was influenced by the pop culture of his youth. It's a great way to introduce younglings and Padawan learners to the Light Side of both reading and 20th-century history.

4. Want to get the feel of Cuba? Go to Miami. Let's face it, with such a small Cuban population, Tacoma is typically deprived of the multitudes of cultural goodies that emanate from Fidel's little isle 90 miles off the Keys. But yearly, to the rescue comes the Tacoma-Cienfuegos Sister City's Taste of Cuba.  The evening includes a whole pig roasted in a pit, live music by trio Sin Embargo, salsa dancing and instruction and a silent/live auction of Cuban curiosities beginning at 5 p.m. in the Asia Pacific Cultural Center.

5. Tacoma's resident burlesque troupe, the Gritty City Sirens, will be throwing a Halloween-themed "Spooktacular Soiree," which does well to reflect these different aspects of burlesque. In addition to the Sirens's always engaging performances, there will be appearances by Ginger S Mack of Olympia's Tush burlesque troupe and belly dancer Carol Bui. Thrown on top of all of this will be the soulful sounds of the Kim Archer Band and Ninja Kat on the turntables. It will be a night of sensory overload and, perhaps, just a little bit of spectacular chaos. It begins at 9 p.m. in the 502 Downtown bar.

LINK: Saturday, Oct. 12 arts and entertainment events in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

October 12, 2013 at 8:36am

Night Moves: Wild Berries, Kim Archer Band, Feng Chia, Stagecoach Nettie, Heartless, Kareem Kandi, X Suns and others ...

Fall Of Electricity


502 Downtown Tacoma - Downtown. Kim Archer Band with Gritty City Sirens burlesque troupe and DJ Ninja Kat. Halloween costume contest plus raffle. 9 pm. $10 cash.

Bob's Java Jive Tacoma - Central. Heavy Prog with Breag Naofa, Feng Chia, Moraine, God Hates Fads. 8 pm. $5.

  • If you find yourself thirsty for post-metal, heavy prog rock, look no further than Bob's Java Jive tonight. Political, anti-religious, and blood-shedding doom is the nature of Seattle's Breag Naofa, who perfectly execute the qualities of the genre, with plenty of mid-tempo drone and growly vocals. The evening also promises the interesting music of Fang Chia, a Tacoma-based experimental jazz-rock band consisting of music alumni of the University of Puget Sound. Blurring lines and blowing minds is what Fang Chia strive to do with self-promo stating their combined musical background is "rooted in grit and improvisation." Also on the bill are two more Seattle bands, Moraine, featuring instrumental fusion appealing across all genres, and God Hates Fads, whose doom-jazz is prone to wandering depths and trippy heights. - Nikki McCoy

Doyle's Public House Tacoma - Stadium District. Stagecoach Nettie & The Wolf Tones. 9:30 pm. NC.

Grit City GindHouse Tacoma - Triangle District. The Warehouse Presents: Rockwell Powers and DJ Phinisey Album Release Party. With The Breaklites, Ra Scion and Mr. Melanin. All Ages. 9 pm. $7-$10.

Jazzbones Tacoma - Sixth Avenue. Heartless (Heart tribute). 8 pm. $8.

Le Voyeur Café and Lounge Olympia - Downtown. X Suns, Chung Antique, Fall Of Electricity, A God Or An Other. 9 pm.

Louie G's Pizza Fife. Half Of Infinity. All Ages. 7 pm.

Lucky Eagle Casino Rochester. Little River Band. 8 pm. $15.

Maxwell's Restaurant + Lounge Tacoma - Downtown. The Kareem Kandi Band. All Ages. 8 pm. NC.

Northern Pacific Coffee Company Tacoma - Parkland. Wild Berries, J. Martin and Andrew Cook. 7 pm.

  • Recently, the powers of two bands joined together. The two-piece of Rowhouse became a four-piece with the addition of Aaron Berryhill and Chelsea Reed, of the well-liked but short-lived band, the Nadines. With the change in lineup came a change in name, to Wild Berries. With the incorporation of Berryhill and Reed, the sound of the band has certainly begun to gel. And louder? Yeah. Wild Berries have slid toward the Nadines' brand of garage psych, while still incorporating the jazz and blues elements that Rowhouse embraced. With no bass, and with the witchy, tremulous background vocals of Reed, Wild Berries is all craning energy and no low end. When they really get on a jag, it's like watching them tiptoe along a balance beam. Read Rev. Adam McKinney's full feature on Wild Berries, including an interview with Alex Tapia of Rowhouse, in the Music and Culture section.

The Spar Tacoma - Old Town. Still Got It. 8 pm.

Traditions Cafe and World Folk Art Olympia - Downtown. The Cantrells. All Ages. 8 pm. $10-$15.

Uncle Sam's American Bar & Grill Spanaway. Spanaway ABATE Octoberfest, with The Skinny White Samoans. 9 pm.

LINK: More live music Saturday, Oct. 12 in the greater Tacoma and Olympia area

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