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Super Best of Tacoma 2011 Staff Picks: Consume

We chose Mad Hat Tea Company, Tacoma Boys, Sanford & Son Antiques, urbanXchange and others ...

BEST RANDOM ASSORTMENT OF WACKY AWESOMENESS: Sanford & Son Antiques / Photo credit: Steve Dunkelberger

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The Tacoma Food Co-op Finds a Home

What do places like Tacoma, Olympia, Portland, Seattle, Bellingham and even Port Townsend have in common? Well, soon they'll all have a food co-op ... a food co-op with an actual physical location! I don't use exclamation points lightly, but the fact that the Tacoma Food Co-op, literally after years of planning and rallying and pushing, will soon be opening shop inside the old Sixth Ave. Market is very, very exciting. The co-op won't just be a place where the people of Tacoma can finally find organic and sustainably produced food with ease, regularity and without having to pay out the nose, it will be a community epicenter and a constant reminder of the power of people working together. In other words: It's a big deal! - Matt Driscoll

[Tacoma Food Co-op, 3002 Sixth Ave., Tacoma,]


Jada Moon's Moon Soap

With all natural ingredients like poppy seed, cinnamon, cornmeal and oats, and aromas like mint, lemon, orange and cinnamon-clove, I can't help but want to take a little nibble of Jada Moon Gridley's homemade Moon Soap. Is this soap you want to lather all your bits with? You bet. Sustainably made and minimally packaged for the green consumer in you, Moon Soap leaves you walking away silky smooth and smelling delectable. Someone is sure to take notice and appreciate it ... maybe take a nibble themselves. - Jackie Fender


Photo credit: Steve Dunkelberger


Metropolitan Market

You might feel all fancy heading to a wine bar and paying $10 for a slice of cheese on a cracker and a glass of wine, but seriously - you can do better. Metropolitan Market in the Proctor District is there for all your cheese needs - even the cheese needs you never knew you had. Almost every hour that the store is open a selection of cheese samples is available. If tasting isn't enough, Met Market has a staff fromager (cheese expert) and free cheese classes about once a month. - Kristin Kendle

[Metropolitan Market, 2420 N. Proctor St., Tacoma, 253.761.3663]


Mad Hat Tea Company

Ever had a conversation with Mad Hat co-owner Tobin Ropes? It's a mental exercise, that's for sure. Ever had a conversation with someone else while at Mad Hat? Who wasn't with you? Via cell phone?  This type of conversation, my friends, is not something I recommend. Having reached his tolerance level for cell phone users, Ropes purchased and installed a phone booth inside Mat Hat for your telephonic chatting pleasure. It's a much safer way to go. - Steph DeRosa

[Mad Hat Tea Company, 130 Commerce St., Tacoma, 253.441.2111]

Photo credit: Steve Dunkelberger


Tacoma Boys

Oh, Tacoma Boys. I went to buy some fruit and instead stood in awe of an impressive selection of wine and beer (fermented grapes and hops are produce-like). With every visit it's all too tempting, and naturally I'm sucked into buying at least a selection or two of vino or brew. Tacoma Boys' online wine list boasts an impressive 4,000 bottle selection. The store's beer selection is just as mind-boggling, featuring beers for those with more domestic taste buds, as well as the most worldly and exotic types. The intention was to buy healthy produce. Instead I got drunk. - JF

[Tacoma Boys, 5602 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.864.8568]


Expand Yoga

A dream come true for lovers of hot yoga, Expand Yoga in downtown Tacoma offers original, 26-pose hot yoga and hot Vinyasa yoga in a heated studio overlooking a tree-filled park. Bonus: the studio has shower facilities. The 60- to 90-minute classes are more than affordable. At $5 and $7 a pop, skip a latte or a cocktail and you've got the cash for a class. Sharing the belief that yoga changes people's lives, Expand Yoga's owners set a goal of providing  "awesome, affordable hot yoga to everyone and anyone who is interested." Goal achieved. - Jennifer Johnson

[Expand Yoga, 1015 Pacific Ave., 2nd Floor, Tacoma, 856.472.9642]



It's pretty obvious Tacomans can't go more than a few hours without a Slurpee, package of jerky or Monster Energy Drink. These products are vital to our existence, as are quarter-pound Big Bites and those crusty little taquito things that spin on the hot dog roller next to them. This, of course, explains why there's a 7-Eleven popping up on EVERY DAMN CORNER. No, the 7-Eleven at Sixth and Cedar wasn't enough ... there needed to be one 11 blocks to the west! It was obvious. And South Tacoma Way and Pine was literally SCREAMING for a 7-Eleven. And that's just the start. The News Tribune reports a total of five new 7-Elevens will open in Tacoma by October. Oh thank heaven there's a 7-Eleven fucking everywhere. - MD


Supernova Hair and Tattoo

There aren't many hair salons where you can get a piercing or a tattoo the same day you get your faux hawk. You can do just that at Supernova Hair and Tattoo. Head hairstylist and owner Jana Lencioni has about two decades of hair mastery behind her, and other stylists specialize in cuts, color and the great hair beyond. While Supernova can do normie hair, this is especially the place to go if you want something unique and edgy. Kick back and enjoy the music (don't expect any elevator tunes here) and get ready to knock the socks off your hair salon expectations. - KK

[Supernova Hair and Tattoo, 817 Division Ave. #A, Tacoma, 253.428.8288]


Willow Salon & Spa

There are tons of places to get your hair cut or have a spa treatment, but none quite like Willow. This cozy, modern salon takes the time to make you feel really special. Even if you get a simple haircut, expect an aromatherapy head massage and a style included in the cost of the cut, which is pretty reasonable. The array of services is quite cool as well, from eyelash tinting to glossing and highlighting treatments for your hair, as well as foot treatments, waxing and facials. - KK

[Willow Salon & Spa, 2702 N. 21st Ave., Tacoma, 253.759.2000]


Dwell Home Decor

Dwell is tucked into a small strip of shops on 21st Street. The store may not reach out and grab your attention unless you know it's there, but this is a place worth checking out. Dwell has vintage home décor that looks decidedly Old World, often French-inspired. Everything in this store is heavy on personality and charm, sure to elicit oohs and ahhs from most women and placating nods of agreement from most men. Many items sold at Dwell are repurposed, created by local artists or both. - KK

[Dwell Home Decor, 2716 N. 21st Ave., Tacoma, 253.761.1889]

Photo credit: Steve Dunkelberger


Learning Sprout

The movie Big immortalized Tom Hanks youthfully dancing "Chopsticks" on a giant piano in a massive toy store. While most toy stores pale in comparison to such extravagant portrayals, Learning Sprout is an exception. With two floors full of stuffed animals, puppets, puzzles, games and more, Learning Sprout is a destination of fun and gifts for all kids - from your itty-bitty wee one to the not so wee. And the store plays host each week to Lego discovery, tot time and other play-centered events. - JF

[Learning Sprout, 809 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.274.0136]


TOP Food & Drug

My wife loves Ben & Jerry's ice cream. Perhaps more than she loves me. I don't really hold this against her, as I often leave something to be desired and Ben & Jerry's rarely disappoints. But this means I spend a lot of time going to the store in search of Ben & Jerry's for my wife, and thus I know TOP Food has - hands down - the best selection of Ben & Jerry's in town. My wife loves Karamel Sutra; while other places struggle to keep it on the shelves, TOP always has it. Top also has all the new, fancy flavors. If you're looking for Ben & Jerry's, TOP is where you'll find the good stuff and not just a few blasé pints of Cherry Garcia. - MD

[TOP Food & Drug, 3130 S. 23rd St., Tacoma, 253. 591.0155]


Vertical Club

Dropping from a lofty height is not something the average person does very often - climbers do it all the time at Vertical Club in Tacoma. Here, climbing coaches and instructors teach bouldering techniques to get you up the wall and back down safely. But that's just a small part of it. Vertical Club goes big with intro rock climbing classes that cover basics; monthly workshops; private instruction; and technique and gear critiques by knowledgeable staff with the patience of Job. Indoor walls averaging about 15 feet tall, with cushy protective mat flooring at the base, make Vertical Club ideal for practicing before climbing in the wild. - JJ

[Vertical Club Tacoma, 102 S. 24th St., Tacoma, 253.683.4791]


Sanford & Son Antiques

An emporium of fantastic finds and exotic treasures, Sanford & Son is also home to many micro-shops inside its three stories. If your shopping list consists of 1940s paste jewelry, organic soap, a hand-made corset and petticoat, mod boots, a church pulpit, educational books from the '70s, Asian furniture, cabinet hardware or East Indian scarves, this labyrinth of rooms and shops connected by sloping ramps and twisting staircases will satisfy all your desires. - JJ

[Sanford & Son Antiques, 743 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.272.0334]



Your closet is full of amazing clothes you haven't worn in ages because, well, you're tired of them. UrbanXchange has a solution: its in-store buyer will pay you for unique, in-fashion-now clothing, shoes or accessories. It's how the store stocks its shelves with awesomeness. You get a voucher for store credit or cash. Shopping here means chances of someone wearing the same dress as you at a party are slim. True story: I once bought my own shirt back. - JJ

[UrbanXchange, 1932 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253.572.2280]


Patricia Lecy-Davis of Embellish MultiSpace Salon

Tacomans who know anything about downtown businesses also know Patricia Lecy-Davis. Involved in a multitude of local pro-Tacoma pursuits, Lecy-Davis owns Embellish Multispace Salon while also performing various feats for Go Local Tacoma, Shift Happens and the Downtown Merchants Group ... just to name a few. How does this tiny woman acquire the ability to reach such great professional heights? Her shoes. The heels are at least four-inches and the designs alone increase stature. Screw Michael Jordan. Lecy-Davis should be the next mogul with a shoe sponsorship. - SD

[Embellish Multispace Salon, 1121 Court D #A, Tacoma, 253.752.8144]

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