Weekly Volcano Blogs: Walkie Talkie Blog

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February 1, 2011 at 11:05am

Weekly Volcano wins award


Last night the Weekly Volcano received the Community Stewardship 2011 award from Go Local Tacoma during the Shift Happens event at the Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center. Go Local President Patricia Lecy-Davis commended the Volcano on its community involvement, its dedication to championing Tacoma and its support of all things "cool," handing the award to co-publisher Ron Swarner.

"There are so many cool things happening in our beloved city, and I want everyone to have the chance to be a part of them," says Swarner. "Last night's impressive turnout, Mayor Marilyn Strickland's State of the City address, the energy - I left Shift Happens proud of our city, and especially proud of our weekly newspaper. I would like to thank Go Local Tacoma from my heart."

The Weekly Volcano, and its parent company Swarner Communications, is a founding member of Go Local Tacoma.

Filed under: Business, Tacoma, Weekly Volcano,

January 31, 2011 at 5:31am

5 Things To Do Today: Be Green/Pecha Kucha/Shift Happens and more ...

MONDAY, JAN. 31, 2011 >>>

1. The Greater Tacoma Convention and Trade Center will be home to an event aiming to help businesses, individuals and communities discover ways to aid sustainably and promote healthy business practices from noon to 8 p.m. The day-long, three-part event is intended to help community members step past the standard "buy local," "go green" mindset. Because if a flourishing community and healthy environment is the end goal, there's a lot more to be done than just buying and going. Read the full story here.

2. Marked: Susan Dory, Michelle Grabner, and Margie Livingston show their abstract paintings in Kittredge Gallery's large space from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Marked highlights painting's potential to simultaneously operate as a material thing and communication mode.

3. Billy Stoops and Jim King stop by Harmon Brewery's Blues Night at 7 p.m.

4. The S.R.O. swing band performs music from the '30s and '40s from 7-9 p.m. inside the Imperial Dragon Restaurant on Tacoma's Sixth Avenue.

5. Surreal Ultra Lounge's electro Euro Night gets trashy beginning at 9 p.m.

LINK: More arts and entertainment events in the South Sound

January 26, 2011 at 11:17am

Water to Wine in Gig Harbor closes its doors … and everything must go

Steve Lynn, owner of Water to Wine in Gig Harbor, is selling wine at reduced prices through Jan. 31. Photography by J.M. Simpson


Often, when a business closes it's viewed as a negative situation. On the other hand, the closing of Water to Wine, a favorite wine shop in Gig Harbor at the corner of Peacock and North Harborview Drive, may just be one of positive change and future promise. It may mean better things are to come. In existence for about 11 years, Water to Wine has held the Peacock Hill location since 2005. 

The shop offered regular tastings - the Friday wine tasting were a favorite of patrons. Attentive staff could answer almost any question regarding selections of affordable global wines and those made in wineries right in our backyard, and did so in a manner that was not condescending. So why close the wine shop?

In an e-mailed announcement of the impending closure sent to the Weekly Volcano, shop owners expressed that "if there was a way to make Water to Wine in our current space we would." Changes in how wine, beer and liquor are regulated in Washington state may have contributed to the decision.

On a bright note, the owners go on to say that there's a good chance of "exciting things around the corner," possibly hinting at a new store location in the near future.

A list of inventory up for grabs is in PDF format on the Water to Wine website. The shop will open at 9 a.m. daily through the end of the month, but hurry - the doors will close for good on Jan. 31.

[Water to Wine, 9014 Peacock Hill Ave. # 103A, Gig Harbor, 253.853.9463]

LINK: Wine tastings today

Filed under: Business, Food & Drink, Gig Harbor,

January 26, 2011 at 10:50am

Inside Tricky’s Pop Culture Emporium

Tricky's Pop Culture Emporium PHOTO CREDIT: Megan Adams


Only about 0.001 percent of the population would actually go looking for the kinds of things you will find in Tricky's Pop Culture Emporium in Tacoma. Nevertheless, I insist everyone on the planet must visit, even if only to see with your own eyes that such a place exists. I'm not usually one to sing the praises of Americana, but it is pretty cool that you can sell a candle shaped like Jesus next to a Star Wars action figure without governmental retribution. 

Tricky's isn't your average collector's shop, antique store or thrift outlet - it's an emporium in the truest sense. Although most of the references go over my head (because (a) I am pop culturally challenged, and (b) I didn't grow up in the '70s), the store has a timeless quality everyone with a sense of humor will enjoy. Eugene Kirk, owner and mastermind of Tricky's and current champion of my personal 2011 Raddest Person Award, hand picks everything he sells. He says he's, "pretty damn cheap," which is why he calls his store "the Wal-Mart of antique stores."

Kirk looks exactly how you would picture a man who sells comic books and Pez paraphernalia would look: tall, dark and handsome with a full head of completely natural hair. Or at least that's how he made me promise to describe him. I knew from the minute I asked how to spell his name that we would get along.

Me: "Is that Kirk, K-I-R-K?"

Kirk: "Yep, as in captain."

Me (silently to myself): "Oh yes, I'm going to have fun writing this article..."

I may have already convinced you Tricky's is the coolest place ever, but you haven't even heard the best part yet! The best part is (drum roll please): Every single thing Kirk sells is completely and utterly useless. He even said so himself! His exact words were, "Nothing I sell will make you smarter, richer or will solve a problem."

I know what you're thinking, why would I want something useless?

But really, why wouldn't you?

In a world full of useful things, devices to save you time, money and energy (even devices to make your hot chocolate), what people really want are things that have no purpose. Why else is the Snuggie so popular? Why else is it that the coolest thing people do on their iPhones is throw angry birds? 

Visiting Tricky's taught me an important lesson: Just because something's pointless, doesn't mean you can't sell it, or that people don't want it. That's what I learned from Eugene Kirk today. Oh, and stay away from Hot Wheels collectors. Those people are nuts.   

Filed under: Business, Pop Culture, Tacoma,

January 24, 2011 at 4:36pm

Comment of the Day: People STILL up in arms about the Funky Monkey's demise


Today's comment comes from Resulliin regard to the news that broke waaaaaay back in November that the Funky Monkey 104.9FM was disappearing - with the frequency changing formats and changing names. Almost three months after it happened, the neu-metal loving nerves of the South Sound still seem frayed.

Resulli writes,

Awwww man, this was the only station I really listened to for the last few years. They were the only station in the area (that I knew of) that bothered to put up some real metal like Metallica, All That Remains and Bullet For My Valentine. Everyone else puts up more older rock and occasionally some metal but nothin like Funky Monkey.

I'll miss these guys, I really will. I'll miss Idiot of the Day and Justin.

R.I.P. 104.9 Funky Monkey!

Filed under: Music, Tacoma, Business,

January 11, 2011 at 5:26pm

Person, Place or Thing with Steph DeRosa

99 Bottles

This week ...

Thing: My short-lived career at 99 Bottles

Term of employment: One month (seasonal)

Times I fucked up the register: Three

Customers I pissed off: None! (I think.)

Who I irritated the most: Craig Adamowski

Work BFF: Dennis Best

Types of beer at 99 Bottles: Over 1000

Shelves I dusted: 35

Bottles and Glassware I cleaned: 1,426

Cuts on hands from bottle caps: 12

That my pride is long gone becomes painfully apparent during situations like public pleas for employment, like last November when I updated my Facebook status asking for a part-time job.

Only one of my 408 "friends" responded to my Facebook plea: Tiffany Adamowski of 99 Bottles. Lucky her.

I jumped on the offer to temporarily work at her beer store, which she co-owns with husband Craig Adamowski, during the busy holiday season. Get this: I was going to get PAID to work with BEER ... which is mainly purchased by MEN. Oh. Hell. Yes.

What I quickly learned upon my arrival at 99 Bottles is that, without having any other valid reason for wanting it, men will go nuts for beers mentioned on television and radio shows. (Hello, Men's Room and Bitches Brew.) 

I learned that Mac & Jack's only comes in a keg, bacon beer does exist and canned beer is completely underrated. I was educated on European versus domestic hefeweizen, beers aged in bourbon barrels and how mead is made. Oh, and the "perfect pint" glass made by Samuel Adams? AWESOME. Go get one. Now.

My favorite thing to do at 99 Bottles was listen to Tiffany Adamowski talk beer.  That girl knows anything and everything there is to know about beer and how it's made: what it's made from, how it's brewed, where it came from and in what way you should drink the beer. Cold? Warm? Type of glass? Keg stand? She can answer those questions. I'd like to suggest attending 99 Bottles weekly Wednesday beer tasting with Tiffany from 4-8 pm.  Completely worth the $1.

Aside from the random girl who came in talking like a northwest version of yesterday's valley girl (learn to annunciate, please), working at 99 Bottles provided me with a plethora of beer knowledge, a handy holiday paycheck and a sweet discount on anything in the store. With all that good grub, who needs pride?

[99 Bottles, 35002 Pacific Hwy S, Federal Way, 253.838.2558]


LINK: Community Produce and Jason Barker

LINK: Sabrina T. Scale of Menchie's Frozen Yogurt in Federal Way

LINK: Puyallup Forza

LINK: Spartacus T. Ladle of Infinite Soups

LINK: Louie G's Pizzeria "Little Italy" Pizza Challenge

LINK: Aaron Tumale, dough-tosser at The Rock Wood Fired Pizza & Spirits

January 10, 2011 at 10:25am

The Good Word: STINK

The STINK logo was designed by Jason Ganwich of Tacoma.


My first taste of ripe, raw Vacherin (this December in Seattle - oh the nerve of me!) with a bottle of sturdy red (I think it was Marietta Old Vine), a chunk of naturally leavened Kalamata olive bread, and a dollop of this pudding-like rarity brought me closer to God. Smooth, startlingly deep, and with just the right amount of bacterial funkiness, it was cheese perfection. Afterward, I grabbed all said ingredients and recreated the experience the next day at home.

This heavenly scenario can happen in Tacoma in early April 2011 when Kris Blondin, of Vin Grotto Cafe & Wine Bar, and Jack Noble, a hospitality veteran, open STINK - a shop specializing in cheeses, old world meats, soups, sandwiches, beer, wine and "a whole lot of stinkin' attitude," according to their website. STINK will open across the street from Amocat Café and The Mix, with 30 rotating cheeses and salamis, prosciutto and other cured meats from a fine foods distributor and local cheese makers stored in their walk-in refrigerator. Call in your orders and they'll have them ready for your drive home.

Or you can dine in. With a gritty Tacoma feel - industrial meets old world rustic - five or six tables, plus a hi-top along the front window, STINK will offer a spot to read a book or meet with friends over a glass of wine or beer from two draft handles.

I caught up with Blondin - who has penned many a food and drink story for the Weekly Volcano, including our Grocery Stories series - over the weekend to grab the scoop on STINK.


BLONDIN: We came up with STINK because the first thing you notice when walking into a cheese shop is the smell - it stinks. It's a little edgy, but Tacoma can handle it. We are the Grit City after all. ...

As for the reason why Jack and I are opening up this shop ... well ... there are many reasons. First and foremost, I love cheese and salty things. Secondly, there's nothing like it in Tacoma. I think people long for comfort food and STINK will provide slightly elevated or "old world style" comfort food. Thirdly, I miss cooking for people and educating them about the amazing relationship between food and wine/beer.

WV: Did you stalk other cheese and meat shops for ideas?

BLONDIN: I did. There are several regional shops that I pressed my nose against, dreaming of what I could do.

WV: If you had a spotlight shining on a certain cheese in your shop what would it be?

BLONDIN: A mother doesn't favor one child over another.

WV: What cheese will never pass through your delivery doors?

BLONDIN: No one will ever peel the plastic covers off Kraft Singles in my shop.

WV: If someone, God forbid, didn't want to nosh on cheese or cured meats as they sip on wine inside your shop, what will be their other options?

BLONDIN: The cuisine will be similar to what I served several years ago at my downtown Tacoma cafe Vin Grotto. Eclectic sandwiches, salads, soups and creative small plates will grace my menu and specials board.

WV: Why Belgium-ish beers? Were you born there?

BLONDIN: Nope, I'm born and raised in Tacoma. I favor Belgium beers more because they are less hoppy and more food friendly. Although loaded with wonderful flavors, Belgium beers sport a more subtle essence than American beers.

WV: Will folks be able to sip a glass of wine while they wait for their cheese to be cut and packaged to go?

BLONDIN: Yes, but I'll probably not have a strict plan for what I serve by the glass. Most likely, I'll list what I have open for the day on a board, which will also be available by the bottle. I'll rotate through my wines monthly.

STINK is a blank canvas as of this writing. The shop is an empty space, waiting for the love of the two owners' years of expertise. However, STINK does have a website, and a Facebook page. Blonding and Noble also have big dreams, beyond their stinky shop. Stay tuned for more details.

STINK - Cheese & Meat

11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday-Thursday
11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday-Saturday
628 St. Helens, Tacoma

Filed under: Business, Food & Drink, Tacoma,

January 4, 2011 at 2:34pm

1022 South exposed as awesome in highly regarded, fancy-pants newspaper

1022 South packs them in


Local business owners have made the mistake of giving me their private cell numbers before. Chris Keil of 1022 South is not the first. As soon as I caught wind of 1022 South's epic breakthrough into high-class journalism with The New York Times Magazine's food blog , I gave Keil a jingle to congratulate him.

STEPH DEROSA: I bet your phone has been blowing up today with phone calls.

CHRIS KEIL: Yeah, I kinda knew it was coming. I got a bunch of calls this morning and was a little foggy when I first glanced over the column, but I like it.

DEROSA: It's a great article. The writer did a good job encompassing what 1022 South is about. But I can't help but be a little jealous. He HAD to have missed something, right? So, what would you like to add to that New York Times piece?

KEIL: Actually, what I'd like to throw out there is that there is such a sense of community out there when it comes to 1022 South. Just during our last big freeze it was 25 degrees in the bar and I had loyal customers all bundled up, drinking gin and tonics and playing cribbage.  It really means a lot to me that we're allowed to do this.

DEROSA: Now that you're a celebrity, does this mean you are going to move to LA and start wearing sunglasses all the time?

KEIL: Ha-ha! No, I won't - but people have approached me about moving up to Seattle and doing something like 1022 South up there. Although it would be easier for a place like this to do well up in Seattle, I wouldn't be anywhere else but Tacoma. I come from a working-class family, this is where I'm from, so this is where I'm happy.

DEROSA: Awww, Chris, you are so sweet - you are going to make me tear up.

KEIL: Well, that being said, if I were to receive any New York job offers, that might be something I would entertain.

DEROSA: Before New York steals you, can I get your autograph?

KEIL: Ha-ha!

DEROSA: No, really, can I?



1022 South

1022 South J St., Tacoma

LINK: 1022 South also told us how to drink better

January 4, 2011 at 2:22pm

Person, Place or Thing with Steph DeRosa

Jason Barker of Community Produce

This week ...

Thing: Community Produce

Co-owners: Jason Barker and Deanna Riley

Location: Doyle's and King's Books shared parking lot

Open: Daily

Been open for business: Five weeks

Distributor: Snow Valley (Seattle)

Weather: COLD

Shelter provided by: 10-by-10 tent

Walls: None

Heat: None

Layers of warm clothing worn by Barker: Five

Did I feel like tailgating under the tent?: Yes

Did Jason Barker allow me to tailgate under his tent?: No

Did I go home afterwards and make a tent out of furniture and bedsheets?: But of course

In the freezing rain, which seemed to be coming down sideways, Jason Barker and his friend, Kevin, stood outside Doyle's Public House and chatted. Part of me felt like a dumbass for not saying "screw this" and running inside Doyle's for a hot toddy, but the curious part of me stayed strong enough to stop and ask questions.

In front of me, and squeezed under the tailgate tent, were plastic bins of sundry produce such as jalapeños, potatoes (of the red, gold and russet varieties), avocados, apples, oranges, carrots, bell peppers and onions.  Damn, these were all the basic ingredients to cook just about any dinnertime meal! I suddenly craved jambalaya and my stomach began to rumble. Ugh, how embarrassing.

Barker politely ignored my gastro-intestinal issues and quickly got back to business. He informed me that his intentions were to lower the infrastructure and cut down on produce costs sometimes found in grocery stores - and his endeavor (the tent filled with produce) is called Community Produce. While currently relegated to the parking lot next to Doyle's, Barker also told me he'd like to provide convenience for families by opening more of these tent-locations in the urban community, thus making it easier to stop daily to grab fresh produce. 

Although he does not yet carry organic goods, he looks to add some to his inventory, while he also mentions that he hopes to teaming up with local CSA gardens for distribution. Competing with other local home delivery options, Barker also provides weekly delivery that feeds three to five people, for a $10 fee.

Barker and Riley's intentions are inventive, gutsy, passionate and show their extreme loyalty to bringing food into our community at fair market value. If anyone feels as though they share the same mindset, has a willingness to learn, is punctual, has great customer service and (obviously) is not afraid of extreme weather - Barker can hook you up and help make you some extra scratch.

Hell, I won't even charge you my usual 30 percent finder's fee.  You're welcome.

[Community Produce - Doyle's and King's Books shared parking lot, 253.301.0838]


LINK: Sabrina T. Scale of Menchie's Frozen Yogurt in Federal Way

LINK: Puyallup Forza

LINK: Spartacus T. Ladle of Infinite Soups

LINK: Louie G's Pizzeria "Little Italy" Pizza Challenge

LINK: Aaron Tumale, dough-tosser at The Rock Wood Fired Pizza & Spirits

January 4, 2011 at 12:00pm

Short Order: Downtown Tacoma grocery store, beer dump, pizza eating contest


Downtown Grocery Store: The News Tribune is reporting The Meyers Group will lease space in Pacific Plaza to operate a full-service grocery store, which could include "grab-and-go" prepared food. Read their full story here.

Cellar Days: 99 Bottles in Federal Way finished their annual inventory and are selling their limited bottles to the public.

New Winery: Ray and Kristi Curtis have opened the Northwest Mountain Winery at 2825 Marvin Road N.E. in Olympia. They produce dry Riesling, Chardonnay, Syrah and Cab Franc, along with several fruit wines and spiced mead. They are open 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday-Sunday.

Future Things Are Coming: Farrelli's Wood Fired Pizza in Lacey (4870 Yelm Hwy. SE) will host a pizza eating "chompetition" at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 5. How much pizza do you think you could put away in 15 minutes? The winners take home cash.

Food Matters: Neanderthals had a sweet tooth like us, study finds.

LINK: Beer and wine tastings today

LINK: Join our Nosh League foodie/drinkie group

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