Friday, November 4, 2011

208 Garfield - Champagne taste on a beer budget!

Students at PLU should just forego the meal plan and eat at 208 Garfield!  Talk about gourmet on a budget.  This college run cafe makes you feel like you are at one the best restaurants in town without the giant bill at the end.  Large windows let in great light and lend to the casual yet upscale atmosphere.  On our first visit I had the Tuscan Chick Pea Soup with rosemary and garlic and a piadini.  Its served with a light and lovely arugala salad.  I had the cup which is only $3!! Yes, that's what's pictured below! The soup was flavorful and creamy with the wonderful complement of the spicy light arugala salad.  What an amazing bargain!

My daughter had the Pappa Pomodoro soup with San Marzano Tomatoes, Ciabatta and Extra Virgin Olive Oil and a Smoked Turkey panini with housemade pesto, romaine, lingonberries and parmesan reggiano on grilled bread.  The soup was an amazing light yet hearty blend of italian flavors again a huge bargain at $3.  The sandwich was also reasonable at $6. 

On our next visit we had the Caesar Salad with Pecorino Toscano and Prosciutto Chips.
Yes, that's it in the picture.  Yes, I said Prosciutto Chips.  Yes it's $5!!

208 Garfield focuses on locally sourced food, wine and beer.  They have the new local beer from Wingman Brewery and wine on tap so every glass is perfect.  We had these wonderful herbal spritzers with lavender and lemon and one with elderflower!  

This is the place you can go to several times a week and not break the bank,  in fact I've convinced myself that it's cheaper than eating at home.  I certainly know the food is better than what I cook at home.  I can't wait to try the pork belly and a glass of wine!  Think of a reason to go to Parkland.....wait this is reason enough to drive to Parkland!  

208 Garfield is at 208 Garfield in Parkland and is open Mon-Fri from 7 a.m. to 9 pm and Sat and Sun from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Cupcake Nirvana

Yummers 2 the 3rd Power
Cupcake Factory
317 Garfield St S.
Tacoma WA  98444

Strawberry Lemonade and Salted Caramel! So yummy and moist!

Talk about cupcake creativity!  The Eddie Monster is Monster Energy Dink in the frosting & cake w/poprocks!  This place is really got some inventive flavors...I mean they have an Avocado cupcake and a Sweet Potato Pie cupcake!  Super friendly people.  My daughter is lactose intolerant and they offered to frost a cupcake with a dairy free frosting.  They offer sugarfree and gluten free versions of all of their flavors. Great place!  Have dinner or lunch at 208 Garfield (blog to follow) then stroll across the street for a cupcake!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Socially Hot Stuff!!

The Social Bar and Grill
1715 Dock St.
Tacoma, WA

Okay I'm Norwegian so I'm not entering any jalapeno eating contests, but I still like a little spice in my food.  For the most part; however, I like to taste the food and not get a 3rd degree burn in the process.  The Social Bar and Grill is in a great setting on the Thea Foss Waterway.  Their menu has a spanish flair and is filled with interesting combinations that are all reasonably priced.  I just needed some more of the Cassava doughnuts they bring you at the beginning of the meal to temper the heat that emanated from every dish.  We tried three different dishes.  First the Smoked Pork & Pineapple Tacos ($8), which sounds like they should have a some spice with onion, cilantro, jalapeno and slaw, but look at the picture...all those green chopped up things are fresh jalapenos along with the sliced ones on the side! Whew!
  Next we had the Roasted Smoked Pork Belly Sandwich ($8) which doesn't necessarily sound like it should be super spicy but rather smoky and salty.  When you look at the menu description it does say it has a chile-garlic aioli, carmelized onion, roasted peppers, JALAPENO and slaw.  I really wanted to taste the pork belly in that sandwich, that didn't happen.  Again notice the large jalapeno in the picture!
Last we had the Grilled Octopus ($9), this doesn't sound hot at all and the menu description has no mention of the attacking jalapeno!  It says it is served with potato, roasted garlic, roasted red pepper, and an "herb sauce".  So that's where the little suckers are hiding!  This dish was the hottest of all! Also if you order the Grilled Octopus, eat it quickly.  Once it gets cold it's just rubbery. 

Overall I would try The Social again.  The service was great and the food is inventive and well priced.  I would just be more careful about asking about the heat level of the food.  In looking closer at the menu it's clear the chef likes playing with fire.  Even the ribeye is served with jalapenos!  Bring a fire extinguisher and give The Social a try (or maybe I'm just a wimpy Norwegian and you won't need one)!  

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Bainbridge Island Nibbles

Bainbridge Island Nibbles
Just as a quick note before my nibbles of Bainbridge.  I am going to be doing a lot more short mobile blogs.  I think it will be a lot more fun just giving you my quick impressions on the run.  Not that I won't also do longer blogs about bigger topics but there are a lot of times where I just try a great place and want to say...go here!!  So here we go!
There are lots of great places to try on Bainbridge Island and we have just begun!
First was a really great sounding place called The Harbour Public House, anything called public house peaks my interest.   We had the Classic Montreal Poutine that was described as having Mt Townsend creamery cheese curd and house made gravy.  The fries were overcooked, the gravy was bland and the cheese was cold and disappointed!  The Smoked Salmon Tartine (French open faced sandwich) was okay but the house smoked salmon was dry and the dressing under the greens was too heavy on the vinegar to be any help.  Overall I wasn't terribly impressed with the Harbour Public House, swarms of flies, lackluster service and blah food, which is a shame because its such a great waterfront location.  Harbour Public House, 231 Parfitt Way SW, Bainbridge Island.
Our little excursion was definitely redeemed at the next stop, Cafe Nola.  Bacon wrapped peaches with gorgonzola cheese and a lovely glass of Chardonnay absolutely appealed to my love of the sweet savory combination.  Great little neighborhood to walk around and try different places.  Cafe Nola, 101 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island.
Sent from my HTC smartphone on the Now Network from Sprint!

Monday, August 1, 2011

A Farm Reunion - Brix 25 Farm to Fork Dinner at Peace of the Earth Farms

My 30 year high school reunion and the farm to fork dinner all in one weekend made me think about how things evolve over the years.  In this case it just gets better and better!   Just as I saw the changes in my high school friends so I saw the changes on the farm.  The farm has grown to almost twice the size as last year with lots of new crops flourishing.  Funny how the aging of a farm brings more bounty and beauty, in sharp contrast to how I feel about my own aging! 

After Katy and Holly greeted us in true Brix 25 fashion with a glass of champagne, we began the evening with a tour of the farm lead by farmers Hillary and Brian Bergren who are so passionate about what they do you can’t help but feel the same way.  Walking through the farm and being pampered by the Brix 25 staff gliding by with champagne, oysters casino and oxtail rillette really made you forget for a moment, the amount of work these farmers do to provide this wonderful produce and it just feels as though it’s simply magic.

I felt the same enchantment as we moved to our tables for the farm dinner.  Elegance magically appeared in the middle of the field in between the trees and the rows of vegetables.  Waiting at our table were miniature mason jars with an almond and mushroom terroir with baby vegetables and herbs that looked as though it was a tiny garden unto itself. 

Chef Thad about to present our next course
Chef Thad then presented a bison tenderloin tartare with bright red baby beets, an olive oil poached steelhead with fresh from the farm bok choy, a cottage pie with slow cooked duck and roasted root vegetable ragout with potato puree.  The grand finale was Chef Thad’s Grandma Kennedy’s recipe of green tomato pie with lavender gelato. Every course was paired with a wonderful wine and we finished with a house-made coffee liquor and lemoncello….I’m pretty sure I let out a big sigh of contentment!

Bison tenderloin tartare

You know how you have such wonderful memories of an evening and you think they must be exaggerated?  Maybe you had a little too much wine, maybe the stars were aligned just right and that magic can’t be repeated.  Here we are sitting with great friends that we made at last year’s dinner, talking about our sense of community with the farmers who grew the fresh produce and I realize the enchantment has only grown and I can’t wait until my next reunion with Peace of the Earth Farms and Brix 25. 

Monday, July 18, 2011

Oh My Mac N Cheesy Goodness!!

Honestly as a child I don't remember having mac n cheese, certainly not from a box.  My Mom wasn't the "from a box" kind of cook.   I do remember; however, making mac n cheese for my own children out of a box and if I was feeling especially creative adding hot dogs or chili.  Hey, don't judge! It takes a lot of energy at the end of the day to make something your kids will eat!  I do love mac n cheese.  Creamy, with a sharp bite and a crusty top.  In light of my love for mac n cheese and the current trend for upscaling some of our most traditional and ordinary dishes, I decided to go on a "macabout", you know sort of like a walkabout only involving food!  My Dad's nickname was Mac and he could be pretty cheesy, my grandsons nickname is Mak and he is definitely a cheeser, but let's begin our exploration of some different macs. 

Bite at the Murano
1320 Broadway Plaza
Tacoma WA  98402

No bite at the Bite, all velvety earthy and even looks like a cloud (I mean look at that looks like you could lay your head on it).  Three cheeses, truffle oil and shaved truffles, it's $15 and worth every creamy bite. 

Crown Bar
2705 6th Ave.
Tacoma WA  98406

Made with Cougar Gold cheese, great bite.  Let me make one caveat, it has a great bite "sometimes".  It seems inconsistent, one time way too salty, one time no bite.  Most of the time great though!  A small is $7 and large is $12.  No reason to mess around with a small!

Top of Tacoma Bar
3529 McKinley Ave.
Tacoma WA  98404

Order it with prosciutto and tomato - that's all I'm gonna say, I mean really it's amazing!  $9.50 add $1.50 for the tomato and prosciutto.  It comes with salad and garlic bread, it's the best deal.

1913 N 45th St.
Seattle WA  98103

Crunchy and wonderful. Made with spaetzle and black sesame seeds, loved the contrast of the creamy inside and the crispy outside.  $10

This is by no means a comprehensive list of all the great mac n cheese in the Puget Sound but rather a broad sampling and I do mean broad,  from Joule (Rachel Yang of Iron Chef Fame) to the wonderfully gritty Top of Tacoma can't say I don't get around!  There will be more mac n cheese to come, I want to try Rosewood Cafe and Stink in Tacoma and JW's in Gig Harbor.  Any other suggestions?

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Gourmet Burger Shop - Worth the drive!

Roadside burger heaven! I had the braised onion burger with horseradish havarti and my partner in burger noshing had the fried oyster sandwich. All burgers come with a choice of beet chips, herb fries, cole slaw or potato salad.  Cute little place with picnic tables inside and out and stacks of time life books for perusing while you wait. The burgers are all hand made and the buns are amazingly hefty and made at a local bakery.  My burger was drip down your arm good!  I'm not a fan of the super skinny crunchy fries but their flavor was great.  Beet chips? How cool is that? They were delicously crunchy and salty. I can't wait to go back and try the cole slaw, the potato salad and all the rest of the burgers! Drive over the Purdy Bridge out 302 to the Gourmet Burger Shop and make sure you get plenty of napkins! Yum!