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April 7, 2014 at 9:51am

Beer Here: Wingman & Maxwell's bacon beer, Swiss brew, Red Hot honor, events ...

Chef Hudson Slater smokes wheat malt and bacon at Maxwell's Restaurant for Wingman Brewers in Tacoma.

Bacon exemplifies everything I love about food. Bacon ties me to my foodie forebears who cured and smoked pork belly to preserve it in the absence of refrigeration. Highly prized artisanal bacons keep alive rural American traditions and ensure smokehouse knowledge will be shared with future generations of proud farmers. Bacon provides my 11-year-old with essential nutrients such as saturated fat, salt and nitrates. Wait ... those things aren't good. Uh ... if we don't stand together, resolute, in support of bacon, cultivating a culture of pork, the entire fabric of our society will come apart at the seams!

This past month I had my fare share of bacon cheeseburgers paired with beer. It's one of the great pairings of life: Fred and Ginger; baseball and hotdogs; sunrises and strolls along Ruston Way; Bella and Edward; beer and bacon.

Think about it. Beer and chips is something that people think of as going together well. And if you think about it, bacon is really a meat chip.

The Bacon and Beer Classic will consume Safeco Field in Seattle May 17. The traveling greasy, hoppy fiesta visits baseball fields around the country, drawing thousands of attendees to sample craft beer and bacon-based dishes from regional restaurants. Adding to that already winning combination will be performances from local bands and cooking demonstrations.

Chef Hudson Slater of Maxwell's Restaurant has teamed up with the mad scientists at Wingman Brewers to create a Tacoma bacon beer for the Seattle festival.

"We had Chef Hudson Slater smoke wheat malt mixed with bacon at Maxwell's," says Colin Harvin with Wingman Brewers. "We then used that malt in a beer called a Gratzer, which is an old German style. So what you'll get is a smoky, bacon-y wheat beer that has a super light body and an insane amount of flavor."

The prep work at Maxwell's takes about three hours.

"I just layer bacon on bottom and top of wheat malt in a pan and then smoke it on a low heat with applewood so the fat soaks into the malt," says Slater. "Then I let it cool and hand it off to the good people at Wingman and they make the beer with the malt and bacon."

Slater and the Wingman crew tried it Friday night.

"Pretty crazy bacon-y good," adds Slater.

The official beer will make its debut at the Bacon and Beer Classic. Slater says he'll serve candied bacon next to Wingman's booth, where the bacon beer will be served with a strip of bacon across the glass. Wingman Brewers is dialing the recipe, in so some variations of it will be available in its taproom up until the event once it's perfected.

BEER NEWS

The Swiss Pub turns 21 this year. A celebration is planned Monday, April 28. Apparently, 7 Seas Brewing in Gig Harbor will have a special beer made for the occasion.

"I was talking to (owner) Mike Runion from 7 Seas about doing something special; he said let's make a special batch," says Jack McQuade, owner of The Swiss.

McQuade and former Swiss partner Bob Hill donned the white lab coats and joined the 7 Seas crew in the brewing room. The result will be a special Imperial Red Ale, which will be released at the anniversary celebration.

High Times named The Red Hot one of the top 11 hot dogs on the planet: "Out in Washington State, we'd recommend smoking a fat (and totally legal) blunt and then heading to this delectable dive in Tacoma. Stars of the menu include the 6th Ave Strut, a prototypical hot dog of the Pacific Northwest, topped with cream cheese, tomatoes and chopped onions, and the Hosmer Hound Dog, topped with peanut butter (seriously) and two crispy strips of bacon (conceived while stoned silly, we're guessing). If you have time to sit and eat, order the not-available-for-takeout Tideflats, featuring two beef hot dogs on an open-faced bun topped with the works: yellow mustard, ketchup, fresh chopped onions, sport peppers, locally made Red Hot Moma relish, jalapenos, chili, apple cider-braised sauerkraut, nacho cheese, coleslaw and a special house-made spice blend. You'll definitely need a fork. (You might also need a bib.)"

Today is National Beer Day. Didn't know there was such a day. How are you celebrating?

BEER HERE

>>> Tuesday, April 8

The Harmon Tap Room serves four, 5-ounce beers paired with four small bites for $10 5 p.m. to close every Tuesday.

>>> Wednesday, April 9

Pint Defiance celebrates Centralia's Dick's Brewing Company with a brewer's night 5-7 p.m. Dick's hit the beer scene in 1992, creating ubiquitous ales such as Double Danger and Dick's Cream Stout, among others. The Dick's crew will be in house with their IPA, Brown Ale, Pale Ale, Imperial Stout and Raspberry Triple Belgian Ale.

April 2, 2014 at 8:29am

Tournament of Burgers Day 14: Tuesday's winners and Sweet Pickle 16 games

Eastside Big Tom is in burger heaven right now. Photo credit: Winter Teems

<<< WEDNESDAY, APRIL 2 GAMES CLOSED >>>

You must admit: in a region full of dining options, you lust after your burger as a teenage girl pines for Ross Lynch (I'm forced to watch the show). Buns, meat, onions, greens and cheese - the things of dreams. Taco Bell might try to tempt you away with bun puns but their 88 percent "USDA-inspected quality beef" fails: Burger, it is your heart that it has taken.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Eastside Big Tom vs. NetShed No. 9

To be honest, NetShed No. 9 did far more damage in the Tournament of Burgers than anyone here in Walkie Talkie Land anticipated. We know the Gig Harbor waterfront restaurant more for its New American breakfast and lunch, serving dishes such as baked chicken thighs paired with waffles and the "Rubenesque" pastrami sandwich. Taking out The Harmon in the first round, and later freakin' Five Guys in the second, was impressive to say the least. However, the good times came to an abrupt halt yesterday when number one seed Eastside Big Tom once again flexed its muscles, perhaps emerging as the odds on favorite to make the final Four out of Region 1, Snagging 63 percent of the vote, Eastside Big Tom moves into the Great Eight.

Game 2: Pick-Quick Drive-In vs. Maxwell's Restaurant

The way Maxwell's and their Walker Burger has managed to bring it during this year's Tournament of Burgers has been nothing short of amazing. Yesterday, many all ready had established competitor Pick-Quick penciled in as the winner. Those people, however, were foolish - as Maxwell's once again proved its burger prowess. The votes don't lie, and when the final buzzer sounded Maxwell's had racked up an astounding 87 percent of the vote and comfortably moves into the Great Eight competition.

Game 3: Asado vs. The Westside Tavern

The Westside Tavern in Olympia went through some serious transformation during 2011. Gone are Big Buck Hunter and pull-tabs. They have been replaced by refurbished pool tables and the classy photography of Casey Grant featuring tattooed ladies and Olympia beer. Gone is the tattered blue paint on the outside of the building - inside and out. The ambiance has been mellowed by earthy paint tones, accented by red. Gone is the greasy spoon bar food. The Westside now serves homemade upscale menu items, such as portabella fries with sweet Chile sauce and pineapple express sliders. New owners Dean and Lisa Damitio have created a cool bar, and a lineup of burgers that is tough to beat. In the closest battle of the day, the Westside gathered 67 percent of the vote over fancy number one seed Asado, and moves into the Great Eight.

Game 4: Tatanka Takeout vs. Best Burgers

R-E-S-P-E-C-T is how the song goes, and that's just what unheralded Tatanka Takeout has been earning so far in the Tournament of Burgers, knocking off Best Burgers yesterday and garnering 77 percent of the vote. Our circulation department had Best Burgers going all the way. Bison meat is trickier to cook than beef, but also leaner and more nutritious, and Tatanka takes its skills and skinny ass into the Great Eight.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Sweet 16:

  • Eastside Big Tom
  • Maxwell's Restaurant
  • Westside Tavern
  • Tatanka Takeout

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Sweet Pickle 16 burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 




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Tomorrow's Great Eight Burger Games

Game 1: Eastside Big Tom (2023 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) vs. Lefty's Burger Shack (8317 27th St. W., University Place) OR The Forum (815 Pacific Ave., Tacoma)

Game 2: Maxwell's Restaurant (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma) vs. Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor) OR Crown Bar (2705 6th Ave, Tacoma)

Game 3: The Westside Tavern (1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia) vs. The Spar (2121 N. 30th St., Tacoma) OR Herfy's (10417 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood)

Game 4: Tatanka Takeout (4915 N. Pearl St., Ruston) vs. Shake Shake Shake (124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma) OR Little Jerry's (8233 S. Park Ave., Tacoma)

Championship Vote/Party: 6 p.m., Monday, April 7 at Meconi's Tacoma Pub & Eatery in downtown Tacoma.

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

April 1, 2014 at 8:17am

Tournament of Burgers Day 13: Monday's winners and Sweet Pickle 16 games

Crown Bar with their big bun burgers beat the Classic Cafe at LeMay in Second Round Tournament of Burgers action.

TUESDAY, APRIL 1: SWEET PICKLE 16 BURGER ACTION >>>

For the last two weeks we presented you with a compelling question: Who makes the best burgers in the South Sound? And you have responded in multitudes. Sick days have been used. Friendships have fallen apart. Pickle Girls and Fry Guys living together - mass hysteria!

The competition had been whittled down to the Sweet Pickle 16. Yes, 16 South Sound burger flippers are poised to make the final push to the Final Four, which will begin Friday.

So, read up on yesterday's action, and then vote on the first four games of the Sweet pickle 16. It's in your hands, mouth and stomach, folks. Do us proud.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Lefty's Burger Shack (8317 27th St. W., University Place) vs. Alfred's Café and Bubble Room (402 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma)

Lefty's Burger Shack kept a lead all day with ferocious play from their one-pound beef patty Viking Burger. The behemoth was too much for Alfred's. Lefty's grabbed 61 percent of the vote and moves into the Sweet pickle 16 to battle The Forum tomorrow.

Game 2: Classics Café at LeMay (2702 E. D St., Tacoma) vs. Crown Bar (2705 6th Ave, Tacoma)

These two Tacoma restaurants bounced buns off each other all day until around 4 p.m. when the Crown Bar began to pull away. Rumor has it the Crown Bar got behind their Cougar Gold Burger with its housemade pickles and pushed through Classics Café's wall of chili cheese tots protecting their classic, hard-working cheeseburger. As the clock hit 11:45 p.m., the Crown Bar had 62 percent of the vote, and a spot in the Sweet Pickle 16.

Game 3: Herfy's (10417 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood) vs. Dirty Oscars (2309 Sixth Ave., Tacoma)

Herfy's in Lakewood grabbed the lead early and never looked back, nabbing 66 percent of the vote when all was said and done. Our Steno Pool believes Herfy's rode a bit of nostalgic momentum, drawing huge numbers of Lakewood's old-timers who remember the original Herfy's from the Villa Plaza days. It was too much for Dirty Oscar's gourmet burgers. Herfy's moves into the Sweet Pickle 16 to take on The Spar tomorrow.

Game 4: Shake Shake Shake (124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma) vs. Frugals (10727 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma)

In NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament history, when a ninth seed team has battled a number one seed, the ninth has emerged victorious less than 10 percent of the time. In the Tournament of Burgers, the percentage drops to zero. In the largest victory margin of the day, Tacoma's Stadium District burger joint Shake Shake Shake clobbered longtime Tacoma burger slinger Frugals with 69 percent of the vote. Shake Shake Shake moves moves moves into the Sweet Pickle 16 to battle the Seinfeld-loving Little Jerry's tomorrow.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Sweet 16:

  • Lefty's Burger Shack
  • Crown Bar
  • Herfy's
  • Shake Shake Shake

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Sweet Pickle 16 burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's Sweet Pickle 16 Burger Games

Game 1: Lefty's Burger Shack (8317 27th St. W., University Place) vs. The Forum (815 Pacific Ave., Tacoma)

Game 2: Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor) vs. Crown Bar (2705 6th Ave, Tacoma)

Game 3: The Spar (2121 N. 30th St., Tacoma) vs. Herfy's (10417 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood)

Game 4: Shake Shake Shake (124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma) vs. Little Jerry's (8233 S. Park Ave., Tacoma)

Championship Vote/Party: 6 p.m., Monday, April 7 at Meconi's Tacoma Pub & Eatery in downtown Tacoma.

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

March 31, 2014 at 8:05am

Tournament of Burgers Day 12: Sunday's winners and four new burger Second Round battles

Lunchbox Laboratory creates burgers in a lab. Photo courtesy of Facebook

<<< MONDAY, MARCH 31 GAMES CLOSED >>>

Beginning tomorrow, we'll cut the field of 64 South Sound burger joints to the Sweet Pickle 16. No joke. April 3, it'll drop to eight. Monday, April 7, we'll announce the winner of the Tournament of Burgers - picked by you, of course - at Meconi's Pub in downtown Tacoma during halftime of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament. On that Monday, we'll cut the online voting at 5 p.m. and take the voting live at Meconi's, handing out ballots while you pound beers.

That's all fine and dandy, but it's Monday and you don't have time for idle chitchat. You need to know yesterday's results and get to voting on today's games.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: The Forum vs. Frisko Freeze

Ah, history. The factor we all owe so much but for the most part choose to ignore. Frisko Freeze is still going strong after more than 50 years in the biz and its delicious burgers are the reason for its success. But the modern electric hum lies with The Forum - the new kid on the block - and its fancy burgers. The new restaurant at the historic Olympus Hotel grabbed 65 percent of the vote yesterday over Frisko Freeze, and moves into the Sweet Pickle 16.

Game 2: Lunchbox Laboratory vs. Powerhouse Restaurant & Brewery

Let's face it. It is more fun to drink shakes out of beakers, munch on a burger made of duck and pork (affectionately called the "dork"), or order cocktails made with Tang. Lunchbox Laboratory positions itself as a laboratory where amazing burgers are created and the customization options are endless. It's a winning formula, at least in terms of the Tournament of Burgers. Lunchbox Laboratory grabbed 59 percent of the votes over the Puyallup mainstay Powerhouse Restaurant, and nabs a spot in the Sweet Pickle 16.

Game 3: The Spar vs. Norma's Burger Hut

Eleventh seed The Spar knocked three seed Norma's Burger Hut out of the tournament yesterday. I don't have any idea if The Spar's weekly Sunday night blues concert played into the historic tavern's whooping of the popular Lacey burger shack, but its handful of burgers grabbed 65 percent of the vote, and an April 2 date in the Sweet Pickle 16.

Game 4: Little Jerry's vs. Mikie Burger

Mikie Burger has history and fans. For years the tiny mom-and-pop restaurant defied the odds, going head to head with nearby national franchises. Despite having no indoor seating and very little parking - despite eccentric hours and long waits - despite being literally overshadowed by new construction - the home of the Mikie Burger endured, until the summer of 2009. The Little Holland burger joint - which now bares a sign reading "Mikie Burgers" - officially reopened on Center Street Jan. 4, 2010. Little Jerry's knew it had to go big against the history and long list of burgers. The Seinfeld-crazed café pulled out The Mimbo. Remember Elaine's man-bimbo, Tony? Yes, Little Jerry's creates dishes from Seinfeld episodes. Yes, the burger sandwiched between grilled cheese sandwiches and topped with a fried egg put the hurt on Mikie. Little Jerry's nabbed 64 percent of the vote and has made the Sweet Pickle 16.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Sweet 16:

  • The Forum Tacoma
  • Lunchbox Laboratory
  • The Spar
  • Little Jerry's

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Second Round burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's Sweet Pickle 16 Burger Games

Game 1: Eastside Big Tom (2023 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia) vs. NetShed No. 9 (3313 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor)

Game 2: Pick-Quick Drive-In (4306 Pacific Hwy. E., Fife) vs. Maxwell's Restaurant (454 St. Helens Ave., Tacoma)

Game 3: Asado (2801 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. The Westside Tavern (1815 Harrison Ave. NW, Olympia)

Game 4: Tatanka Takeout (4915 N. Pearl St., Ruston) vs. Best Burgers (7714 Custer Road W., Lakewood)

Championship Vote/Party: 6 p.m., Monday, April 7 at Meconi's Tacoma Pub & Eatery in downtown Tacoma.

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

March 30, 2014 at 8:56am

Tournament of Burgers Day 11: Saturday's winners and four new burger Second Round battles

The Asado Burger in all its glory.

<<< SUNDAY, MARCH 30 GAMES CLOSED >>>

The subject of burgers is, like the subject of barbecue, vexed and fraught with controversy. What constitutes a great burger? Who makes the best? Everyone seems to have his or her own favorite, and everyone's an expert. Throughout the month of February we polled our readers asking what are the top 64 burger joints in the South Sound. You chimed in. Thursday, March 20 we launched the Tournament of Burgers, pitting your 64 burger joints against each other, similar to the NCAA Basketball Tournament, only with more pickles. It's the 11th day of action, and we're deep into the Second Round. Let's take a look at yesterday's results and today's four games.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: NetShed No. 9 vs. Five Guys Burgers and Fries

Thad Lyman and Katie Doherty, the husband-wife team behind Brix 24 in Gig Harbor, opened the waterfront breakfast and launch destination Netshed No. 9 a year ago. Just off Harborview Drive, it has a splendid view of quiet waters and boats. It also has a breakfast burger that smoked Five Guys Burgers and Fries with 88 percent of the vote. NetShed No. 9 moves into the Sweet 16 to face Eastside Big Tom April 1.

Game 2: DeLong's DeLuxe vs. Maxwell's Restaurant

Robert Walker, who was the president of Walker Cut Stone Company, built a seven-story apartment hotel building at the corner of Sixth and St. Helens in 1927. The building was designed in a classical revival style. While the building appears rectangular from the street, it is actually L-shaped with a small garden court. It was the first apartment house to be faced with stone in the Northwest, where others were brick. Today, the fine-dining restaurant Maxwell's anchors the building, serving a namesake "Walker Burger," which has remained on the menu through several ownership changes. It's an historic building and an historic burger. Yesterday, the gourmet Walker Burger beat a tough opponent, Lakewood's DeLong's DeLuxe, with 80 percent of the vote. There's chatter of putting Maxwell's Walker Burger on the Historic Register.

Game 3: Asado vs. Marrow Kitchen + Bar

Tacoma is Asado, and the Commonwealth of X Group. Tacoma is Marrow, and the Republic of Jones. At 62.34 square miles, Tacoma is hardly big enough for the both gourmet burgers, and that includes Saturday night in the Second Round. Asado vs. Marrow. Few sentences in Tournament of Burgers come with more buzz, especially in March. A half-hour after No. 1 seed Asado beat No. 8 seed Marrow by two points, Asado co-owner John Xitco stepped into the entrance of Asado. Chefs were texting family members, conducting interviews and watching themselves on YouTube when the familiar voice of Xitco cut through the joyous din. "You guys have a hell of burger," Xitco probably said, pausing for a moment. "You just beat the best. You should be proud." This game will be the enduring legacy of the Tournament of Burgers, etched in the record books as Asado 50.42%, Marrow 49.58%. Epic.

Game 4: Meconi's Pub Tacoma vs. Tatanka Takeout

We can't thank Meconi's Pub in downtown Tacoma for hosting the Tournament of Burgers Championship Party at 6 p.m. Monday, April 7. The final two South Sound burger joints will battle live through paper ballots, and the burger winner will be announced during halftime of the NCAA Basketball Championship Game. Yes, I'm softening the news for Mecoini's, "Tacoma's friendliest place to eat and drink," as the pub fell to Tatanka, who's bison burger captured 68 percent of the vote. The remain burger joints need to pay close attention to the Ruston joint specializing in bison, especially Best Burgers who takes on Tatanka April 1 in the Sweet 16. This cross-region game will be a bruiser.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Sweet 16:

  • NetShed No. 9
  • Maxwell's Restaurant
  • Asado
  • Tatanka Takeout

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Second Round burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's Second Round Burger Games

Game 1: Lefty's Burger Shack (8317 27th St. W., University Place) vs. Alfred's Café (402 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma)

Game 2: Classics Café at LeMay (2702 E. D St., Tacoma) vs. Crown Bar (2705 6th Ave, Tacoma)

Game 3: Herfy's (10417 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood) vs. Dirty Oscars (2309 Sixth Ave., Tacoma)

Game 4: Shake Shake Shake (124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma) vs. Frugals (10727 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma)

Championship Vote/Party: 6 p.m., Monday, April 7 at Meconi's Tacoma Pub & Eatery in downtown Tacoma.

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

March 29, 2014 at 8:43am

Tournament of Burgers Day 10: Friday's winners and four new Second Round burger battles

Best Burger's Triple Cheeseburger was the star performer in yesterday's Tournament of Burgers Second Round action.

SATURDAY, MARCH 29: SECOND ROUND BURGER ACTION >>>

Burger construction isn't rocket science. Take some beef, mold it into a patty, throw on some cheese, lettuce, tomato and condiments, serve and enjoy. But hidden within those folds is a complexity that defines the short ingredients list. Building a burger is child's play; making a great burger is another thing entirely. Opening a discussion on which South Sound burger joints offer a great burger serves as our mission for the Tournament of Burgers - that and trying to score free burgers from the competitors.

Before we examine today's Second Round burger battles, let's take a look at yesterday's burger-building results.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Eastside Big Tom vs. Steel Creek American Whiskey Co.

Eastside Big Tom's was voted Best Burger recently in the Weekly Volcano's 2014 Best of Olympia issue. Home of the "goop," a delicious blend of mayo, mustard, pickle relish and secret salad dressing sauce, Eastside Big Tom's is an Olympian favorite, and the whiskey-drinking cowgirls and cowboys at Steel Creek couldn't line dance fast enough. Eastside Big Tom grabbed 78 percent of the vote and moves into the Sweet 16.

Game 2: Chalk Talk Bistro vs. Pick-Quick Drive-In

Everyone is, er, talking about the conversation of Mary's Burger Bistro into Chalk Talk Bistro. There have been theories written, of course written in chalk. It doesn't matter. Fife's longstanding, popular Pick-Quick Drive-In snapped all the chalk with 62 percent of the vote, and moves into the Sweet 16.

Game 3: The Westside Tavern vs. Pacific Grill

Pacific Grill, the downtown Tacoma bastion of Northwest culinary staples and forward thinking dishes that explore some of the most buzzed about national food trends, met its match yesterday. The Westside Tavern might not serve meat candy and "Freaking Delicious Beef Carpaccio," but it does specialize in burgers and uproariously good times. And that combination paid off yesterday as the beloved Westside Olympia joint grabbed 59 percent of the vote and a spot in the Sweet 16.

Game 4: Bootlegger's Bar & Grill vs. Best Burgers

It isn't certain the patrons of Bootlegger's knew the Buckley restaurant was in the Tournament of Burgers. Its Facebook claims their Ladies Night is going to be "nuts," but it's void of tournament chatter. Best Burgers knows they're in, and received remarkable play from their Triple Cheeseburger. With 70 percent of the vote, Best Burgers moves into the Sweet 16.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Sweet 16:

  • Eastside Big Tom
  • Pick-Quick Drive-In
  • The Westside Tavern
  • Best Burgers

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's Second Round burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's Second Round Burger Games

Game 1: The Forum (815 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) vs. Frisko Freeze (1201 Division Ave., Tacoma) 

Game 2: Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor) vs. Powerhouse Puyallup (454 E. Main, Puyallup)

Game 3: The Spar (2121 N. 30th St., Tacoma) vs. Norma's Burger's (10322 Martin Way E., Olympia)

Game 4: Little Jerry's (8233 S. Park Ave., Tacoma) vs. Mikie Burger (4915 Center St., Tacoma)

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

March 26, 2014 at 8:08am

Tournament of Burgers Day 7: Tuesday's winners and four new burger games

The Juicy Lucy Burger deserves some much-needed rest after leading The Forum to victory over The Ram yesterday.

<<< WEDNESDAY, MARCH 26 GAMES CLOSED >>>

The history of the hamburger is fairly mythical. The Menches family of Ohio says they invented the hamburger at an 1885 fair in Hamburg, New York, when heat and humidity forced them to stop butchering pigs. In all probability, the hamburger was a good idea waiting to happen, and a bunch of folks stumbled upon it around the same time. Thankfully someone did invent the burger, because the forecast calls for wet weather in the South Sound through Sunday, and nothing says spring like rain and burgers. So, huddle around your comforting operating system, catch up on yesterday's Tournament of Burgers action and vote on today's four South Sound burger battles.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: The Ram vs. The Forum

In a back and forth match-up pitting two fairly evenly matched competitors (at least in the eyes of voters, it seems), The Forum was eventually able to pull ahead of the stout Ram thanks to a late run - grabbing 53 percent of the vote. The loss has to be especially tough for The Ram, as they entered the Tournament of Burgers with plenty of hype, and the large clientele to back it.

Game 2: Frisko Freeze vs. Tacoma Cabana

You will not get lei'd as much at Frisko Freeze as you can at Tacoma Cabana tiki bar, but you will find a pretty freakin' delicious burger, at least according to yesterday's vote. Frisko Freeze grabbed 62 percent of the vote, and moves into the Second Round to battle The Forum March 30.

Game 3: Gourmet Burger Shop vs. Little Jerry's

"It's more like a full-body dry heave set to music." That's how George described the Elaine dance in Seinfeld. Today, the folks at Little Jerry's, the Seinfeld-loving café in Tacoma, will probably bust out a few Elaine moves as it grabbed 52 percent of the vote over the Gourmet Burger Shop and dances its way into the Second Round.

Game 4: Mikie Burgers vs. Carl's Jr.

Right now Mikie Burgers on Tacoma's Center Street is the Center of the Burger Universe as it put the hurt on Junior with 85 percent of the vote. Mikie moves into the Second Round to face Little Jerry's March 30.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

  • The Forum
  • Frisko Freeze
  • Little Jerry's
  • Mikie Burgers

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's First Round burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's First Round Burger Games

Game 1: Lefty's Burger Shack (8317 27th St. W., University Place) vs. Bob's Burgers & Brew (15706 Meridian E., Puyallup)

Game 2: Alfred's Café (402 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma) vs. TK Irish Pub (109 S. Meridian, Puyallup)

Game 3: Shake Shake Shake (124 N. Tacoma Ave., Tacoma) vs. Terry's Office Tavern (3410 N. Proctor St., Tacoma)

Game 4: Han's Burger & Teriyaki (1015 College St. SE, Lacey) vs. Frugals (10727 Pacific Ave. S., Tacoma)

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

March 25, 2014 at 8:25am

Tournament of Burgers Day 6: Monday's winners and four new burger battles

TUESDAY, MARCH 25: FIRST ROUND BURGER ACTION >>>

Southern California burger chain Slater's 50/50 has spent the past couple years making a name for itself through its flagship burger patty made from 100 percent ground bacon: 'Merica Burger. The bacon patty is topped off with a sunny side up egg and more bacon, in the form of bacon cheddar cheese, "bacon island" dressing and, oh yeah, actual bacon. Foodbeast.com decided that this wasn't enough and set out to make a 100 percent bacon burger, where every single thing on the burger has a bit of bacon in it. The foodie website decided even the bun should coated with bacon bits and pork rinds, as the photo below dictates. Will a South Sound burger joint follow suit to secure a few extra votes during the Tournament of Burgers? Stay tuned. In the meantime, below are yesterday's game results and eight new burger joints up for vote.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: Lunchbox Laboratory vs. The Office Bar & Grill

The nice thing about a number one seed is it usually means you have a paddy-cake game in the first round. Not so much the case yesterday. The Office Bar and Grill rallied The Steno Pool and the folks in the mailroom, surging here and there. In the end, the number one seed did prevail, and Lunchbox Laboratory moves into the Second Round with 68 percent of the votes.

Game 2: Powerhouse Restaurant and Brewery vs. El Gaucho

The Powerhouse and El Gaucho battled back and forth all day, changing leads several times. Then, the Powerhouse put the Jolly Pumpkin Artesianal Ales Maraciabo Especial Sour Belgian on the guest tap. Not so fast, my fancy friend. El Gaucho's lounge pianist busted out "It's The End of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" and the whole restaurant laughed and clinked martini glasses. The Powerhouse moves into the Second Round with 51 percent of the votes and a date with Lunchbox Laboratory March 30.

Game 3: Boathouse 19 vs. The Spar - Old Town

Unexpectedly, this was an epic battle ... the kind of thing Tournament of Burgers "instant classic" are made of. A surprisingly low scoring affair, with much of the action on defense, sixth seeded Boathouse 19 and the 11th seeded Spar in Old Town Tacoma were in a dead heat - literally tied - going into the final hours of the competition. Tournament of Burgers officials frantically discussed what to do in case of a tie. Overtime? Coin Flip? Shotgun a beer? Then, in a brilliant move, cook Tony walked to the middle of The Spar, slammed down a catsup and mustard bottle and walked back to the grill. That display of condiments was a dagger! The Spar edged out the win, securing exactly 51 percent of the vote. This one will go down in the burger history books.

Game 4: Norma's Burgers vs. Tides Tavern

Norma's Burgers quickly comes to the lips of many when discussing the best South Sound burger. So, perhaps it isn't a surprise that the burger house next to Interstate 5 won handily, kicking the Tides Tavern to the dock while garnering a respectable 63 percent of the vote. Norma's moves into the Second Round to face The Spar March 30.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

  • Lunchbox Laboratory
  • Powerhouse Restaurant and Brewery
  • The Spar - Old Town
  • Norma's Burgers

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's First Round burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's First Round Burger Games

Game 1: Flipping Out Burgers & Fries (4008 S. 12th St., Tacoma) vs. Classics @ LeMay (2702 E. D St., Tacoma)

Game 2: Friesenburgers (308 E. 26th St., Tacoma) vs. Crown Bar (2705 Sixth Ave., Tacoma)

Game 3: Herfy's (10417 Gravelly Lake Dr. SW, Lakewood) vs. Herfy's (315 Cooper Point Road NW, Olympia)

Game 4: Dirty Oscar's (2309 Sixth Ave., Tacoma) vs. Red Robin (3901 S. Steele St., Tacoma)

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

March 24, 2014 at 9:14am

Tournament of Burgers Day 5: Sunday's winners and four new burger games

<<< MONDAY, MARCH 24 GAMES CLOSED >>>

If the South Sound had a signature dish, what would it be? I think it must be the hamburger. And who doesn't adore a juicy ground patty of beef in the mellow embrace of a good bun? In fact, the most common last meal requested by death row inmates is the cheeseburger, and it's a favorite of office workers, too, who only feel like they're on death row.

Welcome to day five of the Tournament of Burgers, featuring 64 of the South Sound's best against one another in the mother of all burger brackets. Below is a recap of yesterday's burger action followed by eight new burger joints hitting the grill today.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: NetShed No. 9 vs. Harmon Brewery & Eatery

NetShead No. 9 beat The Harmon in downtown Tacoma by 270 votes. That's a mind blower.

Game 2: Five Guys Burger and Fries vs. Engine House No. 9

The buzz about Five Guys' famous burgers being the best burgers ever flipped into existence has reached the Tournament of Burgers. The thinnish, griddle-cooked patties grabbed 62 percent of the votes yesterday against E-9. Five Guys' daily-ground beef is lightly packed and grilled to a savory, caramelized crunch, then stacked into twos and loaded into a supple, sesame-seed bun. It faces off with NetShed No. 9 in the Second Round March 29.

Game 3: Meconi's Pub Tacoma vs. The Hub-Gig Harbor

The Hub in Gig Harbor led the game at noon, riding the back of its delicious Stumpjumper Burger and used a strong burger flipping style to build a working margin. The Hub took its biggest lead at 1 p.m. Then The Hub suddenly went cold, going 60 minutes without a point while Meconi's started inching back into the game. By 6 p.m., under the leadership of its Mushroom Burger, Meconi's shot ahead in the vote count. It doesn't matter The Hub in Gig Harbor has a better view and airplane rides. Meconi's grabbed 72 percent of the votes and a spot in the Second Round.

Game 4: Tatanka Takeout vs. The Swiss

"If you live to be 100, I hope I live to be a 100 minus 1 day, so I never have to live without you." That famous quote comes from the beloved Winner the Pooh. That quote could have easily come from a regular at Tatanka Takeout speaking on his or her love for the Ruston joint's bison burgers. And while Tatanka makes a tasty bison burger, I imagine if this were the Tournament of Chalk Board Writing, Tatanka would still have gathered 75 percent of the votes. Don't mess with Tatanka, at least until March 29 when Meconi's Pub gives it a shot.

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

  • NetShed No. 9
  • Five Guys Burger and Fries
  • Meconi's Pub Tacoma
  • Tatanka Takeout

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's First Round burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's First Round Burger Games

Game 1: The Ram (3001 Ruston Way, Tacoma) vs. The Forum (208 S. Meridian, Puyallup)

Game 2: Frisko Freeze (1201 Division Ave., Tacoma) vs. Tacoma Cabana (728 Pacific Ave., Tacoma)

Game 3: Gourmet Burger Shop (4120 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor) vs. Little Jerry's (8233 S. Park Ave., Tacoma)

Game 4: Mikie Burgers (4915 Center St., Tacoma) vs. Carl's Jr. (6215 Main St. W., Lakewood)

Confused? Read our Tournament of Burgers introduction here.

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

March 23, 2014 at 8:23am

Tournament of Burgers Day 4: Saturday's winners and four new burger battles

Marrow's Wagyu Burger is a thing of beauty.

<<< SUNDAY, MARCH 23 GAMES ARE CLOSED >>>

Sixty-four South Sound burger joints were selected and seeded by readers throughout February for the Tournament of Burgers, which is now four days into the competition. Brackets don refrigerators, break rooms, restaurant hallways and birdcages. Birthday parties have been moved to burger restaurants. Everyone is discussing patty thickness and lettuce varieties. It's crazy fun.

Yesterday's Results

Game 1: DeLong's Deluxe vs. Blazing Onion

Lakewood burger house DeLong's Deluxe sticks to a formula: good seasoning, perfect cooking and good meat. Delong's burgers are fundamentally simple and textbook perfect, whether it's a Fair Burger, Old Fashioned or DeLong's Cowboy Burger. It's just like what you could make at home, only much, much better. Lakewood doesn't mind standing outside, listening to amplified tunes while waiting for DeLong's Deliciousness. Blazing Onion came out blazing with its gourmet burgers, but at the buzzer, lost by 45 votes. DeLong's Deluxe moves into the Second Round to face Maxwell's March 29.

Game 2: Maxwell's Restaurant & Lounge vs. Famous Dave's

Maxwell's Restaurant and Lounge grabbed 86 percent of the votes over Famous Dave's. Maxwell's take on this classic tops the burger charts with an unconventional potato bun, grilled onion aioli and a patty that stays plenty juicy - a boon for both the sweetness and sturdiness of those buns and the sharpness of white cheddar. High quality arugula and tomato come standard if you swing that way, but the aioli alone does a great job of highlighting the meat. Famous Dave's might have antlers on the wall and fast take-out, but it apparently doesn't have a burger that can compete with Maxwell's A game.

Game 3: Asado vs. O'Malleys Irish Pub

Argentine-inspired steaks, seafood and an in-house ground sirloin and chorizo burger with fried provolone and Serrano ham surrounded by sunset colors, an open kitchen and toasty fireplace. That's a winning combination, at least according to the vote totals in the Tournament of Burgers. Asado put the hurt on O'Malley's Irish Pub with 71 percent of the votes. Number one seed Asado moves into the Second Round to battle with Marrow March 29. No hocus pocus, just focus on Sixth Avenue that day.

Game 4: Marrow Kitchen + Bar vs. King Solomon's Reef

Finally, in yesterday's closest battle, Marrow edged out Olympia's King Solomon's Reef with 53 percent of the votes. This one was surprisingly close. Dubbed "The Best Diner in the Galaxy," The Reef has a solid lineup of burgers, including the popular double meet, double cheese Liberty Burger. Holding the day's trend, fancy won again. Marrow's artisan cheese Beecher's Marco Polo probably sealed the deal. Marco! Polo!

Let's weed through the condiments. The following are advancing to the Second Round:

  • Delong's Deluxe
  • Maxwell's restaurant
  • Asado
  • Marrow Kitchen + Bar

The daily burger battles on Walkie Talkie are sponsored by Ricky J's Restaurant and Lounge in Puyallup.

OK, let's dive into today's First Round burger battles. Vote for one burger joint per game. Voting for today's burger battles ends at 11:45 p.m. 



Tomorrow's First Round Burger Games

Game 1: Lunchbox Laboratory (4901 Point Fosdick Dr. NW, Gig Harbor) vs. The Office Bar & Grill (813 Pacific Ave., Tacoma)

Game 2: Powerhouse Puyallup (454 E. Main, Puyallup) vs. El Gaucho (2119 Pacific Ave., Tacoma)

Game 3: Boathouse 19 (9001 S. 19th St., Tacoma) vs. The Spar - Old Town (2121 N. 30th St., Tacoma)

Game 4: Norma's Burgers (7210 Martin Way E., Olympia) vs. Tides Tavern (2925 Harborview Dr., Gig Harbor)

LINK: Hot Damn! Yes, I want the South Sound Happy Hour App!

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