Weekly Volcano Blogs: Served blog

Posts made in: June, 2014 (42) Currently Viewing: 31 - 40 of 42

June 23, 2014 at 6:40pm

Olympia Food Co-op's new Read and Eat book and potluck club

Not as idyllic as you might think.

When the weather starts to turn warm, there's nothing we love more than to spend a night with a great book and spicy stir-fried fiddleheads with chile paste, sesame oil and walnuts. OK, maybe we also enjoy a little company, but where to find someone with the same weaknesses? Consider heading to The Commons at Fertile Ground Thursday at 6 p.m. for the Olympia Food Co-op's new Read and Eat book and potluck club. This week, the book they will discuss is Farm City: The Education of an Urban Farmer, Novella Carpenter's story of her move to an Oakland, Calif., neighborhood plagued by gang violence and her decision, despite the circumstances, to dive headfirst into urban farming.

Do you hear late-night gunshots while feeding your rabbits carrots? Then whip together a fava and pecorino crostini with mint and pea shoots and join this group in the beautiful and serene Commons. Fertile Ground's mission is to cultivate urban sustainability on a neighborhood scale, the perfect spot to discuss urban farming, drive-by shootings and recipes. Potlucking is not required to come discuss the book, but if you do bring a dish, be sure to write down the ingredients. You bet your recipe is open for discussion.

READ AND EAT SERIES, BOOK GROUP AND POTLUCK, 6-8 p.m., Thursday, June 26, The Commons at Fertile Ground Guesthouse, 311 Ninth Ave. SE, Olympia, free admission, 360.357.1106

LINK: Olympia Food Co-op's class schedule

Filed under: Books, Community, Olympia,

June 24, 2014 at 9:47am

Eat This Now: Little Basil

Harbor Greens' Little Basil isn't so little. Photo credit: Jackie Fender

Harbor Greens grocer boasts farmers' market fresh produce and hyperlocal food finds. Though University Place is not completely void of quality and healthy food finds for diners, the options are sparse, making Harbor Greens' deli selection a little oasis for local foodniks.

Serving up a variety of pizzas, sandwiches and sides the Harbor Greens deli is an awesome option for lunch or dinner on the go - though you can also opt to dine in with a few cozy tables on site. My recommendation this week is the Little Basil ($7.49). Tucked inside a tasty rustic roll you'll find thinly sliced chicken breast, gargantuan ripe tomato slices, mozzarella cheese, greenie goods such as fresh basil and spring mix - all complemented with a pesto mayo. Every ingredient is delightfully fresh and creates a lovely matrimony of pure deliciousness.

If you ask the Little Basil to be toasted you'll discover a crisp and warm rustic roll that has melted the mozzarella cheese while the remainder of the sandwich is still fresh, meaning no soggy mess or limp leafy greens.

HARBOR GREENS, 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, 2620 Bridgeport Way W., University Place, 253.460.2703

June 25, 2014 at 9:04am

Guess where we ate a Monte Cristo with huckleberry dipping syrup?

Ham, turkey, powdered sugar, and preserves: while these ingredients may sound like an unlikely flavor combination, they make up the old-school Monte Cristo sandwich. A variation of the French croque-monsieur, the Monte Cristo is usually finished with a quick dip in the fryer, sprinkled with powdered sugar and served with fruit preserves for dipping.

In the South Sound, where breakfast isn't the main focus, a restaurant serves a Monte Cristo on the weekends. Its version doesn't skip on bread, and offers a huckleberry dipping syrup.

Can you guess where we ate it?

Win tickets to DB Cooper Music Festival: Anyone who gives the first correct answer in the comments sections below to a Guess Where post - on our Served in the South Sound blog, not on Facebook or Twitter - will be entered into a contest pool to win two tickets to the DB Cooper Music Festival Aug. 2 at the Southwest Washington Fairgrounds. It's an $80 value. We'll announce the winner next Wednesday.

Filed under: Guess Where,

June 25, 2014 at 9:22am

"Fed Up": Our sweets are a bitter pill to swallow

Is sugar the new cigarettes? The film "Fed Up" offers evidence in the affirmative.

Years before I got into the high-stakes, lucrative world of journalism, I once toiled in the bowels of a fast food restaurant. It wasn't nearly as glamorous as the movies portray it, and never was that more obvious than the time a rat the size of a hoagie sandwich got in after closing and jumped in the deep fryer like Sigourney Weaver at the end of Alien 3.

I won't elaborate further. Suffice it to say that if you ate fries at a fast food joint in Washington sometime during the mid-oughts and found they tasted slightly gamier than expected - a delicate amouse-bouche redolent of greasy vermin hair punctuated with a subtle undercurrent of rabies froth - now you know why.

I share that story to make a point: even if you did unknowingly eat rat fries, that isn't the worst thing you've ever eaten.

According toFed Up, the latest from writer-director Stephanie Soechtig, Oscar-winning producer Laurie David (An Inconvenient Truth) and Katie Couric, (who also narrates the film), sugar reigns supreme among the most corruptive comestibles lining shelves and plates across America, not to mention our digestive tracts and circulatory systems. And according to this documentary, we eat a lot of it, whether we know it or not.

Society's come a long way in regard to our health. We no longer use asbestos insulation or leaded gasoline, and we don't let the Flintstones hock Winston Cigarettes on TV anymore; but with our nutrition it's as if whenever somebody tries to admonish us about what we eat, all we can hear is the Archies singing "Sugar, Sugar."

There's a reason for that.

When thegovernment first issued dietary guidelines three decades ago, they were as blissfully ignorant as the rest of us to the long-term health risks excessive sugar intake could pose. The end result was virtually unregulated sugar content in our nation's food, and a generation of short-lived, sickly and obese children.

You'd think they would revise the guidelines as new information came to light, right? Perhaps they would, but "Big Sugar" is so entrenched in our government and our way of life at this point - with bottomless pockets to grease any palms - it could be that the hydra has too many heads.

Then there's the fact that we all really like sugar, and not just because it tastes good. It's addictive. Not like how Pringles are addictive. Like how crack is addictive. Sugar triggers the same biochemical responses in our brain as cocaine. If sugar were outlawed starting tomorrow morning, jonesing "sugar-tweakers" and warring cartels would make the whole country look like an episode of The Walking Dead by sundown. How do you take a generation of junkies that's grown up getting their fix daily and make them quit cold turkey?

Personally, I think I'd rather die than miss my next hit of sweet, sweet "S".

NOTE: Tacoma Farmers Market Executive Director Stacy Carkonen will be leading a post-film discussion of Fed Up following the 2 p.m. screening Saturday, June 28.

FED UP, opens Friday, June 27, The Grand Cinema, 6060 S. Fawcett, Tacoma, $5-$9.50, 253.593.4474

Filed under: Screens, Tacoma,

June 25, 2014 at 12:35pm

Scenes from the new Red Hot's opening ...

The first "cheers" at the new Red Hot on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue. Photo credit: Kate Swarner

Calling all imbibers: Get thyselves to The Red Hot. After months and months of permit issues and construction, The Red Hot has finally re-opened in its new, larger neighboring space.

A lined formed before 11 a.m. today waiting for co-owner Chris Miller to open the door. A few tried to enter early but were 86'd as the inspector was still inside. Early this morning, Miller stood outside the city of Tacoma's permit desk to pay a 30-day Temporary Occupancy fee while he worked out accessibility issues at the new Red Hot. With permit in hand, Miller led the inspector through the new space. At roughly 11:30 a.m., the inspector left the building and the beer began to flow.

Tacoma band Plastards front man Bill Schlanbusch - who entered the joint the backdoor (natch!) - received the first beer. Bartender Carla's first pull was a couple of Scrimshaw Pilsners.

As you can see below, the new Red Hot is much larger, with 25 tap handles, a larger chalkboard than the previous spot, couches (!) and the trademark red and yellow walls.

Below are a few photos we snapped during the first few minutes of the new Red Hot.

THE RED HOT, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Monday-Thursday, 11 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sunday, 2914 Sixth Ave., Tacoma, 253.779.0229

June 26, 2014 at 2:01pm

Cooking Class Alert: HG Bistro Chef Rich at Bayview Monday

This salmon dish photo arrive with the cooking class alert.

Last night I stopped by HG Bistro, or The Goose, for its crab mac and cheese, a dish that will post in my Mac and Cheese Madness column in the near future. It's been awhile since I visited the Tuscan style, fine dining spot buried in on of Puyallup's less attractive areas. Two baseball games and a boisterous dude happy with his waterfront living situation entertained the bar.

Owner Tim Hall and his ancestors have owned the building for 45 years, from fireplace shop to the Hungry Goose Eatery and eventually HG Bistro, when Tim went from manager to owner in 2005. Instead of sandwiches and gifts, HG now serves 14-ounce Kobe New York steak from Snake River Farms ($32), Creole seafood and grits ($24), quinoa sautéed with kalamata olive salsa, shallots and zucchini-squash ($15) and a mighty tasty "Crab Mac" ($19), just to name a few.

I have Goose on the brain because I just received word HG Chef Richard Bretana will be sharing his seafood expertise at 6 p.m. Monday, June 30 at the Bayview School of Cooking in Olympia. According to Bayview hype, "Chef Rich loves to feature seasonal, local food in dishes that are as beautiful as they are scrumptious. His menu this evening starts with a Grilled Prawn Salad with Asparagus, Charred Tomato Crema and Greens with Strawberry Vinaigrette. The entrée is a summery Oven-Roasted Herb-Rubbed Salmon served with Greek Quinoa-Orzo Salad with Olive Salsa and Honey-Ginger Vinaigrette. The sweet finale is a decadent Flourless Chocolate Cake with Fresh Cream and Berry Compote. Learn to make the special dishes tat make HG Bistro a destinations restaurant."

Bayview says there are a few spaces left in front of Chef Rich, so jump on the $55 ticket now. Complementary wine pairing is part of the deal just in case you need a nudge.

HG CHEF RICHARD BRETANA DOES SEAFOOD, 6-8:30 p.m., Monday, June 30, Bayvoiew School of Cooking at Bayview Thriftway, 516 W. Fourth Ave., Olympia, $55, 360.754.1448

June 26, 2014 at 3:13pm

Beer Weekend: Beerversary, brew dinner ... plus photos

Monkey works the taps during Double Mountain Brewery Night at The Swiss June 18. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Americans are drinking more craft beer, but they're also making more of their own at home. This is a friendly reminder the Aroma of Tacoma HomeBrew Championship competition is on, with an entry deadline of July 17.

OK, a few beer events happening over the next couple of days. ...

SATURDAY, JUNE 28

Northwest Brewing Company (1091 Valentine Ave. SE, Pacific) celebrates its second anniversary with an all-day party beginning at noon. A $5 cover lets you see a bunch of bands.

Fremont Brewing beer will flow at Morso (9014 Peacock Hill Ave., Gig Harbor) beginning at noon. Casey Gish from Fremont will be onsite from 1-4 p.m. to discuss and pour Wandering Wheat, Seasonal Summer Solstice Ale, Universale Pale Ale, Interurban IPA and Brother Imperial IPA.  There is a $5 fee per person for this event, which will be refunded with a growler fill. 

SUNDAY, JUNE 29

Brett Porter, brewmaster at Goose Island Brewery joins Jere Scott, executive chef at Stanley & Seafort's, for a five-course beer dinner at the fine-dining restaurant on the cliff above Tacoma. The cost is $69.95 per person. Reserve your spot for the 6 p.m. dinner at 253.473.7300.

Let's take a look at people drinking beer in the South Sound this past week. ...

Pint Defiance on the edge of Fircrest hosted Deschutes Brewery Wednesday, June 18. >>>

The Swiss Restaurant & Pub hosted Double Mountain Brewery Wednesday, June 18 >>>

Puyallup River Alehouse hosted Narrows Brewing Co. Wednesday, June 25 >>>

LINK: Photos from The Red Hot's re-opening on Sixth Avenue

June 27, 2014 at 9:56am

Mac and Cheese Madness: Rosewood Cafe

Four cheeses and two wheels at the Rosewood Cafe in Tacoma. Photo credit: Pappi Swarner

Listen. Do you hear it? It's a subtle sound, but getting louder every minute. It's the velvety whirr of bicycle tires gliding over Northern Tacoma's roads, punctuated by the clicking of changing gears, with the occasional thud of a pothole, pedaled by people you know. If you follow the sound, you'll probably end up at the Rosewood Cafe, the neighborhood hangout between the Proctor District and Old Town Tacoma. During warm weather, cyclists often end their rides at the Rosewood. Sandwiches, salads, beer and wine don't get in the way, but offer rewards for time in the saddle. And it's all quite good, especially the mac and cheese.

Rosewood's mac and cheese arrives bubbling with cheddar, Havarti, Swiss and blue cheeses. The dish is elevated with nutmeg and ground mustard — topped with golden panko and grated Parmesan. Penne pasta provides a tender chew; the wide ends of the noodles slicked with cheese, which will have at least one string dangling from the fork. The shotgun-riding bread slices should be used to dig out the leftover cheese.

If ever there were a macaroni and cheese that could unite bicyclists and car drivers, it's this one.

ROSEWOOD CAFÉ, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, 3323 N. 26th St., Tacoma, 253.752.7999

June 27, 2014 at 3:03pm

Beer:45 - Time for China Davis and Harmon Brewery's drINK THIS IPA

China Davis's "Anjilla" is blasting out of our publisher's office.

Every Friday after 2:45 p.m., when workday decorum is thrown out, Weekly Volcano publisher Pappi Swarner pops open a local brew, tilts back in his rickety office chair and cranks his Frazier Model Seven speakers. And as interns inappropriately learn from Pappi during their orientation, nothing tastes better than pairing local music with local beer. Pappi picks one song and repeats it until he can see the bottom of his glass. When the music stops, we know he has left the building.

Today, Pappi has paired China Davis' "Anjilla" off their new Arctic Days album with Harmon Brewing's drINK THIS White IPA.

Singer and principal songwriter Ben Fuller and his musical mate and brother, guitarist Ted Fuller, have been making music since their junior high days in Gig Harbor. They're both music freaks, but Ben takes it one step higher. He'll chat music for hours on end, and he can pull it off. He hears every note, and remembers every note he hears. The Fullers' band, China Davis, is firmly rooted in the foundation of Americana and singer/songwriter tropes with the ability to bring the rock. They recently released Arctic Days, their Dark Side of the Moon, but haven't officially released it to the public. How about that release show, guys?!

"I think ‘Anjilla' sums up the feeling and the theme of the Arctic Days album," explains Ben. "That's the reason it's the first song because it sets the tone of the whole thing. I'm a huge music fan and I love most of the music that has come out of our region that has become really big, I'm just not sure that I look at any of it and say, ‘that feels like Washington to me.' That was a real goal of mine in making this album. What does it sound like here? I can hear England in The Beatles and The Who. I can hear California in the Beach Boys and the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Jamaica in Bob Marley, Minnesota in Bob Dylan, New York in Lou Reed and Oklahoma in Woody Guthrie. What sounds like the Northwest? I wanted the land and the water in these songs - my grandparents' struggles as commercial fishermen. The connectedness of family and being connected with our past in the present. I've been working at this idea for a long time, but it's quite the task because this group of songs is a lot more revealing than anything we've ever done as a band.

"When we put out Shadowdancing I was in a really tough place in my life, mostly in the relationship sense. It's kinda hard to get into but my personal life was feeling like a ship that was going down slowly. I kept on patching the leaks and finally the bottom of the boat broke open. I decided to just let the damn thing go down and let go for a while. I actually didn't date for a couple years and got myself on track. Then I met Faye out of nowhere. 'Anjilla' is a song about that I suppose — I needed to look at things differently and see things about life that were always there but were being ignored. I named the song 'Anjilla' after my grandfather's fishing boat. The real boat was called Angilla after my sister Jill and cousin Angela. I thought if I made it 'Anjilla' it would be pronounced more like it is intended to sound and maybe even make my sister a little bit uncomfortable, which I think would be funny.

"('Anjilla') is really about a dream of a shipwreck rescue, about hitting the restart button and pulling yourself out of the muddy shore. I think the line 'All the singers you used to love, all dead men' says it all — just being OK with yourself to move on and start over. Our band has been around for quite a while right now and we needed to really look at what is important for us artistically as opposed to trying to make it. So, this song leads us as a band into the first chapter of our Great American Novel, the one about the Northwest. Each song is a small piece of a bigger story; 'Anjilla' is the welcoming to that world."

Since Ben is a fan of IPAs, we're pairing "Anjilla" with Harmon Brewing's drINK THIS White IPA, which was brewed in conjunction with the "Ink This" contemporary print arts exhibition at the Tacoma Art Museum.

"I am not only a singer-songwriter but I am also a guy who drives a beer truck for a living," says Ben. "Laugh all you want but Elvis Presley was also a trucker! Lately, I would say that I have to go with IPA as my ‘go to' beer."

drINK THIS is a medium-bodied IPA brewed with three different malted barleys that make up 60 percent of the grain bill. White wheat makes up the other 40, with five different hop varieties - Simcoe, Centennial, Cascade, Amarillo and Citra - used in the kettle. It rings in at 7.6 percent ABV and 65 IBUs.

"The Harmon also makes a pretty good Vanilla Porter," says Ben.

LINK: China Davis on SoundCloud

Filed under: New Beer Column, Music, Tacoma,

June 30, 2014 at 8:52am

Served Blog Banner Boy: Q&A with Morgan Alexander of Tacoma Brewing Company

Morgan Alexander serves his Tacoma Brewing Co. beers 4:20-9 p.m. Wednesday-Friday, 2-9 p.m. Saturday.

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 Morgan Alexander.

Server Banner boy, June 30-July 6, 2014

Morgan Alexander

Morgan Alexander began brewing beer in high school. He used Baker's yeast and apple juice, which was according to Alexander, "horrible stuff, but it was alcohol." In October of 2013, he converted his beloved Amocat Cafe into the Tacoma Brewing Company. "It was a sad day for me," says Alexander. "The previous three years had been filled with so many good memories. But now there's beer, so it's not so bad." Tacoma Brewing Company is at 625 St. Helens Ave. in Tacoma's Triangle District.

Why do you serve?

"I'm social and I like people. If you're in the service industry and people annoy you, then you are in the wrong industry."

Who is your favorite server in the South Sound?

"I would say it's a tie between Jason at Tacoma Cabana and Sean at the Parkway. They are both always friendly, professional and happy to serve."

What are you most proud to serve?

"I try not to serve stuff I'm not proud of. Lately, I am most proud of my Broken Window IPA. It's a very unconventional beer that appeals to people." 

What's your current drink of choice?

"I've been getting more into sour beers. My latest favorite Rodenbach Grand Cru.

Favorite movie?

"I don't really have time to watch movies. I've been watching Louie on Netflix lately though and love it!"

What don't you serve?

"Wine ... at least for now."

What's on your radar at Tacoma Brewing Company?

"A new space! It won't be in Sea-Tac."

LINK: Meet other South Sound servers

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.

Recent Comments

Ted Smith said:

Thank you for the list of restaurants to try out. I will have to try their Mac and Cheese....

about Tournament of Mac and Cheese: It's Cheesy 16 time!

tastymakan said:

I like your post on Bakery restaurants I like ...

about Mac and Cheese Madness: The Homestead Restaurant and Bakery

Angela Whitten said:

Any Spring beers? www.myharmonyphotography.com

about Cheers to Winter Beers in Puyallup

Web Developers Delhi said:

Amazing blog and very interesting stuff you got here! I definitely learned a lot from reading...

about Eat This Now: Radiator Whiskey Tots

Why Adam? said:

Why Adam? loves the Volcano and Northwest Military! We are honored to be a part of the local...

about Why Adam? Why Odd Otter beer? Here's why: rally behind Team Knowing Stuff