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BITE US: Caffe Dei, Minoela

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Caffe Dei

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Caffe Dei opens

Shuanna Holt and Shane Siegfried opened Caffe Dei on Sixth Avenue Tuesday. The coffee shop and café - or Caffe - offers Ritual Coffee Roasters and True North Coffee drinks, and Macrina baked goods. They also plan to hold art shows, like the one currently hanging featuring Julie Luke - which works well in the large open space with dark walls.

"We use two different types of espresso each roasted in very different ways to ensure that you get the espresso that best compliments your drink and personal tastes," the two posted on their Facebook page.

Caffe Dei serves grilled vegan and vegetarian sandwiches made from local artisan breads, vegan desserts, gluten-free cupcakes, breads and brownies, organic soups, as well as espresso drinks and tea.

They also serve the Mighty-O organic donut out of Seattle in French toast, chocolate and vanilla flavors. - Ron Swarner

[Caffe Dei, 2607 Sixth Ave., Tacoma]

Minoela's menu tweaks (CLOSED)

Minoela owner Danielle Kartes is the embodiment of a food lover. Kartes and staff celebrated a one-year anniversary at Minoela June 23, and as is typical, the restaurant took the opportunity to work some kinks out - and the resulting overhaul of the French and Italian cuisine inspired menu has been positive. Kartes' excitement over the "menu tweaks," as she described them, was infectious.

Pizzas have been replaced with five types of creative bruschetta. Caramelized Brie and fresh strawberries drizzled with aged balsamic should also be a favorite. Of the new, "tweaked" menu, Kartes says organic local produce is used when possible, and everything that can reasonably be made in-house, is. Specials like smoked paprika chicken potpie and lobster gruyere cheese ravioli sound crazy good. Daily fresh pasta - creamy penne with bacon and asparagus, for instance - will challenge anyone's anti-carb resolve.

Also, continuing what they started in 2009, Minoela's desserts are still simple creations with decadent flavors and made fresh; try brown sugar bread pudding, soft hot cookies and peanut butter brownies with a glass of port, champagne or local or import wine.

Lastly, discerning what customers want and then giving it to them is do or die in the gastro-business; on this note, Minoela began offering gluten free and vegan versions of select starters, salads and pastas for Gluten Free Tuesdays June 24. - Jennifer Johnson

[Minoela Wine House and New American Bistro, 604 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma, 253.503.1460]

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