Weekly Volcano Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: June, 2014 (42) Currently Viewing: 11 - 20 of 42

June 9, 2014 at 7:49am

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with Jason Alexander of Tacoma Cabana

Jason Alexander co-owns the Tacoma Cabana with business and life partner Robyn Murphy. They have the largest collection of rum in the region.

Every week we swap out the Served banner art above, introducing you to the people who serve food and drinks in the South Sound. This week, meet Jason Alexander.

Server Banner Boy, June 9-15, 2014

Jason Alexander

The Tacoma Cabana is Tacoma's craft tiki bar, nestled in Tacoma's hip lower Pacific Avenue. Co-owner and bartender Jason Alexander, armed with recipes from Trader Vic's and Don the Beachcomber and his trusty fez, pours scratch tropical craft concoctions incorporating his own ideas, infusions and syrups.

Why do you serve?

Because it's fun. For as antisocial as I can be at times, I enjoy the social aspect of it a lot.

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

Whether he is serving up a keg of beer to me at the cabana or pouring a tall, frosty cold one at his taproom at Tacoma Brewing Company, Morgan Alexander has to be my favorite server right now. I love talking shop with that guy any chance I can get.

What are you most proud to serve?

I'm most proud to serve the awesome people of Tacoma and surrounding areas. I have really great customers that I look forward to seeing on a weekly basis

Current drink of choice?

Anything with high-quality, overproof rum in it.

Favorite movie?

Dredd (2012). I'd love to be a judge if that were a real job.

What don't you serve?

Anything that doesn't contain rum.

What's on your radar at Tacoma Cabana?

Forecast says, "it's all just rum, lime and sugar with pineapple wrapped in bacon." 

LINK: Meet Todd McLaughlin from Engine House No.9

LINK: Meet R.J. Adler from Pint Defiance

LINK: Meet Rose Peterson from 1022 South J

June 9, 2014 at 10:25am

7 local beer secrets learned at 7 Seas Brewing Life Jacket Session IPA rollout

7 Seas Brewing's Life Jacket Session IPA kept this group afloat at Cheney Stadium June 7. Photo credit: Kate Swarner

What's better than an evening full of craft beer from 7 Seas Brewing? An evening full of the craft beer coupled with warm spring weather, minor league baseball and hanging with the best beer minds of the South Sound, including Kendall Jones of the famed Washington Beer Blog.

The Gig Harbor brewery released its summer sipper Life Jacket Session IPA during the Tacoma Rainiers game at Cheney Stadium June 7. The sold-out parking lot crowd could grab the 4.8 ABV, Amarillo and Nugget hops heavy brew at four locations in the stadium. I was fortunate to sip the crisp Life Jacket, while wearing a promotional life jacket, from a top-tier party patio with the 7 Seas crew, including owners Mike Runion and Travis Guterson, quick-witted 7 Seas "Sails Ambassador" Rob Brunsman, plus the crew from Marine View Beverage, and the ownerships from Swiss Restaurant & Pub, The Red Hot, Pint Defiance, Eleven Eleven, among others. It was a night of taps line talk, price-per-pint analysis and new ventures, broken up only with the crack of the bat.

Here are the 7 local beer secrets I learned at the 7 Seas Life Jacket Session IPA release party.

1. 7 Seas Brewing guys aren't as chill as they seem. Yes, they can kick it back, pop open their pride and joy, and discuss life at a ballpark. Guterson digs the breakfast at Art House Café. Brunsman loves to chill the woods behind his house and sip beer around his fire pit. Yet, the wheels constantly churn. 7 Seas became the first microbrewery in the state to offer 16-ounce canned beer producing the same quality, shelf life and taste as a bottle. The brewery was one of the first to pour beers in distinct can-shaped glasses. Their trademark giant red "7" tap handle has a chalkboard up the side, which I believe is another first. Runion and Guterson hold regular staff meetings, calculating every move down to the minute detail, advancing to the next level only after complete satisfaction. They don't distribute outside the state - not until they do Washington right. Judging by their wide distribution, both retail and taps, they are doing it right. Plus, they had a group of people wearing bright orange 7 Seas life jackets at the ballpark Saturday night and the crowd noticed.

>>> 7 Seas Brewing co-owner Mike Runion and The Swiss Restaurant and Pub owner Jack McQuade at the Life Jacket Session IPA rollout at Cheney Stadium June 7. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

2. it's been confirmed X Group Restaurants has teamed up with Justin and Rob Peterson to revamp the Valley Pub by the Tacoma Dome. X Group owners John Xitco and Jeff Paradise (Masa, Asado and Engine House No. 9) are fans of the Peterson's Eleven Eleven, the sandwich and drinks hangout on Hilltop Tacoma. Together, the two organizations will bring an Eleven Eleven-feel and taste to the Valley Pub. Construction is underway, including a new backbar and lowered bar top. An exterior paint job will begin soon. Their goal is to open sometime in August 2014.

3. The Red Hot will move into its new space this month. As we have watched th eprogress on Facebook, The Red Hot is moving its hot dog and craft beer tavern next door to a larger space. Subtracting the new cold storage space and general storage, its operation will expand from 1,052 square feet to close to 2,000 square feet. With the larger kitchen, the menu will expand. It will look very similar to its current interior - red and yellow colors, historical Tacoma memorabilia, taps hanging from the ceiling - but less likely patrons will be standing in the middle of the room with a pint in one hand and a tricked-out hot dog in the other. If the inspections go as planned, The Red Hot will open Wednesday, June 18 25.

4. Heathen Brewing chose Tacoma over Seattle to debut its beers in the Puget Sound area. Typically, beers entering the region launch at a Seattle venue. Heathen Brewing, a small-batch craft brewer in Vancouver, Wash., will launch Wednesday, June 11 at Pint Defiance, before making its Seattle debut the following night at Brouwer's Café. Sure, Pint Defiance co-owner Barry Watson has driven south to visit with Heathen's owner Sunny Parson three times. Still, it's awesome to taste Son of Malice Double IPA, Transgression IPA, Imbibe Session IPA, Ete Saison and Dubhgal Dry Irish Stout a day before Seattle. Drop by Pint Defiance from 5-7 p.m. and gloat.

5. I learned former U.S. Army soldier and Fircrest resident Alex Scheel hit 1,000 unique check-ins on the Untappd app while drinking at Pint Defiance last week. He's added a few since then.

6. Kendal Jones of Washington Beer Blog uses his powers for good. It's a well known fact Jones is the man when it comes to Washington state beers. He knows all and drinks all. It's refreshing to hear his mission isn't to trash breweries, but rather highlight those he feels are worthy. Today, Jones posted an update on the opening of Tacoma's Pacific Brewing & Malting Company.

7. While not beer related, Tacoma Rainiers catcher Jesus Sucre needs to hit the pavement more. He hit the fourth triple of his professional career and his first since Aug. 8, 2010 to drive in outfielder Jabari Blash in the seventh. Sucre looked gassed hunched over at third. His teammates jokingly attempted to cool off the catcher by throwing water in his direction from the dugout. Xavier Avery collected three hits, including a first-inning leadoff home run, as the Tacoma Rainiers fell to the Albuquerque Isotopes 4-2 in front of 6,324 fans at Cheney Stadium Saturday night.

>>> Thanks 7 Seas Brewing Sails Ambassador Rob Brunsman! Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

June 9, 2014 at 11:25am

Eat This Now: Piccata de Pollo

Stare into each other's eyes over this dish at Asado. Photo credit: Jackie fender

My husband and I recently celebrated our two-year wedding anniversary. It's a small milestone but a milestone all the same that required some celebrating of our union. Naturally in Tacoma when one considers prime spots to wine and dine for such an occasion, fine dining establishment Asado is a lead contender with its warm candlelit ambiance, wonderful wine selection and inventive craft cocktails.

Asado's menu features cuisine with an Argentinian flair incorporating fresh and flavorful ingredients. The Piccata de Pollo ($21) stays the course - a light, fresh dish, yet filling. Caper berries, cherry tomatoes and wilted arugula are piled high upon a seared, tender chicken breast, then surrounded by a white wine lemon pan sauce. The matrimony of these fresh ingredients results in a delectably balanced experience carrying whispers of zest and hints of pepper.

Served with choice of starch, the portion size is satisfying. I personally would recommend the fresh roasted corn for those opting to keep the dish light and summery.

ASADO, 11:30 a.m. to midnight Monday-Thursday, 11:30-1:30 a.m. Friday, 4 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. Saturday, 4:15 p.m. to midnight Sunday, 2810 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.272.7770

Filed under: Eat This Now, Tacoma,

June 9, 2014 at 2:10pm

1022 South J heads into summer with a new menu and party

Bring On Summer: Chef Riley Morgan and Manager Rose Peterson of 1022 South J on Hilltop Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Even if you didn't grow up with it, Southern food is comfort food: big, satisfying flavors that are the antithesis of delicate and calculated haute cuisine. Most attempts to refine it are unsatisfying. It's generally best if the chef just gets out of the way and lets the flavors express themselves.

That's why I was interested to hear about Chef Riley Morgan's summer menu at 1022 South J on Hilltop Tacoma. The Southern-raised Morgan has created a Northwest meets Southeast menu, adding a Northwest touch to deviled eggs, pulled pork, collard greens, grits and other Southern staples. He's taking Southern flavors and airing them out for summer.

Read more...

June 10, 2014 at 10:37am

Beer Here: Doyle's to go big during World Cup 2014, plus upcoming beer events

Doyle's Public House in Tacoma is ready for World Cup 2014 action. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Maybe it's the geo-political pageantry. Maybe it's that study abroad you did in Germany. Maybe it's Lionel Messi's hair. Whatever your reason for paying attention, it's World Cup time, kicking off June 12 and running through July 13.

The average American's knowledge of futbol is limited to the following: "Ole, ole, ole, ole, ole" and an extended "goooaallll" or two.Others might believe underwear model David Beckham, who married Posh Spice, is STILL playing for Los Angeles.

That's not the case outside this country. The rest of the world is counting down the minutes. They'll be misspending all their waking moments between June 12 and July 13, hoarse and bleary-eyed. They're bat shit crazy over the game.

Read more...

June 11, 2014 at 8:01am

The Aroma of Tacoma Homebrew Championship is on

Tacoma's first sanctioned homebrew competition i son. Photo courtesy of aromaoftacomahbc.com

The Harmon Brewing Co. and Mash Homebrew Supply are teaming up to host "Aroma of Tacoma," a home brewing competition where homebrewers will have until July 17 to brew a beer in 23 beer styles using handcrafted products, containing ingredients available to the general public and made using private equipment by hobbyist brewers.

The Aroma of Tacoma is a Beer Judge Certification Program sanctioned home brewing competition with Pro-Am selections. Saturday, July 19, judges will gather at the Harmon Hub in Tacoma's Stadium District and sample the "brew"-testant's beers in a morning and afternoon session. Medals will be awarded for all 23 BJCP beer styles as well as Best Of Show and Pro-Am selections at neighboring Harmon Tap Room July 26. The Best of Show winner will receive at $250 gift certificate to Mash Homebrew Supply. Not bad for a $7 entry fee.

Registration is now open with details at aromaoftacomahbc.com.

Filed under: New Beer Column, Contest, Tacoma,

June 11, 2014 at 11:22am

New Moon, new menu

New Moon Cafe server/cooperative owner Eli Evans serves up the goods. Photo credit: Nikki McCoy

New Moon Café, which has sat comfortably along Fourth Avenue in downtown Olympia for the last 15 years, has made a few changes.

Fourteen new owners took over last July, turning the café into a cooperative, and the group has settled in enough to keep the popular breakfast/brunch/lunch spot reliable for regulars, with just enough change to call it their own.

The upgrades include new menu design and items, such as a chicken bacon ranch burger, build-your-own omelets, cobb salad, a grilled feta sandwich, Wild Cat - a house specialty that has sautéed onions, peppers, mushrooms and marinated tempeh over garlic rosemary potatoes - and for kids, a grilled Elvis, with peanut butter, honey and banana.

Read more...

Filed under: Olympia, Community,

June 12, 2014 at 1:28pm

Washington Brewers Festival consumes Marymoor Park June 13-15

Sails Ambassador Rob Brunsman of 7 Seas Brewing will be pouring this weekend in Redmond. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

The much-anticipated 9th Annual Washington Brewers Festival takes place June 13-15 at Marymoor Park in Redmond. The Washington Beer Commission welcomes more than 330 beers from 88 state breweries, including locals 7 Seas Brewing, Dick's Brewing, E9 Brewery, Fish Brewing, Harmon Brewing, Northwest Brewing, Top Rung Brewing and Wingman Brewers. Admission is $20 for the 21 and older, Hell's Belles rockin', 74 brewery Friday night; $25 for the all-ages Saturday or Sunday affair. Jump on Washingtonbeer.com for details and tickets.

Go in with a plan, or you'll wander aimlessly and get drunk. You could stick to IPAs or oatmeal stouts. Or, visit just the South Sound breweries. Or, sip newly released beers. Stay focused. The free Washington Beer Mobile App for Android or iOS will keep you on track with a brewery locator, festival information and more.

You may bring a picnic setup with you, but leave the tents, glass containers and your own booze outside the gate. Close to 20 food vendors will be on-sight. Kids are welcome Saturday and Sunday, accompanied by a responsible adult, of course.

Sorry, folks, no dogs are allowed.

Below are the South Sound breweries pouring at this weekend's festival.

Read more...

Filed under: New Beer Column,

June 13, 2014 at 9:24am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Steel Creek American Whiskey Co.

Lobster mac and cheese in a cowboy bar - yeehaw!

Macaroni and cheese may not be duck à l'orange, but it transcends so-called gastronomy by inspiring devotion and embodying sustenance. Adults fight over whose mother's recipe wins out. Friends have mac-and-cheese cook-offs. Even fancy restaurants try to capitalize on such greatness by adding things such as chorizo, cotija and aged English cheddar. Hmmm, that actually sounds delicious.

Anyway, it's Friday. You've had a tough week and you really want to treat yourself to make it all better. Best way to indulge? My weekly Mac and Cheese Madness report. This week I suggest wrangling the lobster mac and cheese at Steel Creek American Whiskey Co. Yup, this cowboy and whiskey bar not only features 3,000 awesome whiskeys (I could be off a tad) but a worthy mac and cheese to boot.

Steel Creek's lobster mac and cheese is my first creamy version since I began this insane weekly journal. I'm talking exceedingly creamy. The cheese-to-pasta ratio is perfect - pasta isn't left swimming in the cheese or, horror of horrors, there's so little of the good stuff. The only thing is that the subtle flavor of the lobster is hidden in the cheese. The lobster flavor is subtle but pervasive and really pops when you happen upon a bit of claw meat. But I still wouldn't kick this mac n' cheese out of bed.

Steel Creek, which is celebrating its one-year anniversary this weekend, has eased my disdain for mixing seafood and cheese.

STEEL CREEK AMERICAN WHISKEY CO., 4:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Thursday-Saturday, 4:30-11 p.m. Tuesday-Wednesday, 1114 Broadway, Tacoma, 253.627.1229

June 14, 2014 at 9:29am

Vikings of the 2014 Washington Brewers Festival

As last night progressed horns went askew. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Day Two of the Washington Brewers Festival kicks off at 11 a.m. at King County's Marymoor Park in Redmond. Last night's adult-only opening of the three-day festival was a blast, and the next two days promises more fun with more breweries and more kids. Yup, the next two days are a family affair. At noon today, the Washington Beer Awards will be doled out, followed by live music, including Luke Warm & Moderates and The Quick & Easy Boys. The BevMo! Brewers Keg Toss is at 3:30 p.m. and the kids playground and Rootbeer Garden are open all day. Oh, and approximately 250 different beers will be on tap.

The Washington Brewers Festival is a mecca for beer aficionados - but curiously, it seems to be home to something else: Scandinavians. Last year we noted a curious trend: The suds extravaganza wasn't just full of beer; it was also full of Vikings. So last night we were on the lookout for impressive horns - and their wearers. Below are the eight Viking types we spotted at Marymoor Park.

LINK: More photos from Day One of the 2014 Washington Brewers Festival

About this blog

Served, a blog by the Weekly Volcano, is the region’s feedbag of fresh chow daily, local restaurant news, New Beer Column, bar and restaurant openings and closings, breaking culinary news and breaking culinary ground - all brought to the table with a dollop of Internet frivolity on top.

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