Technically, Federal Way IS Around Tacoma. Sitting side by side with that North East part of Tacoma qualifies it as “Around”, right? Good! I had dinner at Verrazano’s the other night and not telling you about it is completely out of the question! My companion said “call Verrazano’s and see if they have room” and I, being dutiful and obedient (HA!!) called and was greeted and reserved and happy in less than 2 minutes….on a Friday!
We drove to the restaurant in the dark and since I’ve never been there before I have no idea really where I went. But it’s high above the coast on Pacific Highway and I bet if you go there when it’s not dark (which would NOT include November-March) you can have dinner with a very nice view. It even says so on their web site.
On to the good part…. the food! It all started with Mushroom Crustini. This was not at all the dish I ordered but my butchery of the menu meant we did not get the Bruschetta Della Casa, which I’d still like to try. In any case, the accidental Mushroom Crustini was divine, delightful, pure bliss. You think I am over the top on this but, no way baby! Mushrooms, sundried tomatoes, balsamic and béchamel on perfect little toasted crustini! I’ve never been so happy to discover I was wrong in my entire life! Well, there was this date once but that is for a different blog.
The entrées, while exactly what we ordered, were just as spectacular! I had Pollo Judea, which I roughly translate to “chicken of the gods”. Chicken that was tender, moist and covered in this buttery, lemon, artichoke goo that was beyond reason in quality and taste. My date ordered from the specials board and had pork tenderloins coated in béchamel (can you really have too much?) and gorgonzola. People, that sauce was enchanting, the kind of thing you ask to marry you on the spot! Had I been in my own dining room I would have quickly eaten BOTH plates!
Combine all of that heavenly food with a tasty bottle of red and fantastic service and you’ve got a dinner that is worth driving outside of the Around Tacoma we know and so love.
The Linnie Sapphire
Imagine my surprise when I found out, thanks to Tacoma Komo, that there would be zombies running aroundTacoma on Halloween. Not only that, but they are going to be in my hood—the North End!
Be aware and be very scared as these Zombies will try to zombify you and take you back with them to their lair in the 2011 Dawn of the Dead Dash. If you want to find out more, and are not too afraid, then check out the info at:
It’s bound to be a frightfully fun and a monstrous ghould time!
It seems writing a blog about Around Tacoma is much easier if you are actually out and about and Around Tacoma. You need to go to restaurants in Tacoma or museums in Tacoma; you know….places that don’t include your own living room. I know it has become obvious here but, I just don’t seem to be getting out much. Maybe it’s the cooler weather and shorter days, maybe it’s our woe-be-gone and well publicized economy affecting my wallet, more likely it’s that I’m just a home-body who likes to work from home and cook and enjoy the quiet of my (mostly) germ free house.
Still, I managed to get out of the house long enough to enjoy breakfast at Shakabrah Java on 6th Ave last Friday. I’m glad I chose a Friday, because Shakabrah now has table service (in the “back” room) Friday-Sunday. Not that I’ve got a problem with ordering my food at the service counter but we’ve established my lack of Around Tacoma-ing lately so it was nice to sit and let someone else do the ordering for me.
The food and coffee were, as usual, great. I had the “Tina”… a yummy breakfast sandwich of fresh eggs, cheese and bacon. The touch of tomato and mayo make this a pleaser, for sure. Tina and I need to talk, though. I think a sausage patty is a better choice for the meat. But then it would be a “Linnie” wouldn’t it? Hmmmm… ?
My only gripe with Shakabrah is the potatoes. Everyone knows I LOVE a potato, all shapes, sizes and preparation styles included. Shakabrah’s taste a little bitter to me and it over-powers the awesome spices and potatoey goodness. I tried them once again last week and still…
Potatoes aside, I keep going back to Shakabrah. The atmosphere and peeps are always enjoyable and it’s good food at reasonable prices. It is definitely a great Tacoma restaurant and my go to breakfast place. No wonder it was voted the “Best Breakfast in Tacoma” by Volcano Weekly readers… we know they really meant “Best Breakfast AROUND Tacoma”!
The Linnie Sapphire
Been to a great grocery store in Tacoma lately? We have a few. In general the “great” ones are the specialty stores like Metropolitan Market in the Proctor District and while I do love me some fabulous deli and bakery items you can’t really do any kind of serious, stock the pantry grocery shopping there.
I just did some serious grocery shopping and, long list in hand, I went to the WinCo Foods in South Tacoma. There’s been much debate about WinCo and the company’s entry into our market place. WinCo bills itself as employee owned and is non-Union. While that fact has its own impact on how people feel about spending money at WinCo I have to say….I spend way LESS money there. The Wall of Values is a great place to be shocked and amazed by their pricing. I can stand there, mouth open, reading the big signs and looking at the depth of their stock and think, “Well, I wasn’t going to get Spaghetti-Os but at 88 cents a can….who can resist?”
I never really like THE IDEA of going grocery shopping. I do however, LOVE grocery shopping while I’m doing it. While I’m cruising those aisles and comparing prices and trying to resist the temptation to buy Easy Cheese, I am in my element. I’ve been in most of the grocery stores around Tacoma and there are more than a few I would never consider stepping in again. Some are dirty, some have rude or stupid employees and amazingly, some have those skinny aisles that will not, in any fathomable way, fit more than 1 cart (what?). WinCo isn’t one of those grocery stores and I am happy to spend my hard earned money there. And seriously, in real estate right now, it IS hard earned!
At an average savings of $1.00 per item (yes!!), I can easily save over $50 on a typical grocery shopping trip. That’s worth driving an extra few miles and bagging my own groceries, for sure. Sometimes it’s not worth the crowds and the packed aisles, which can be overwhelming. But if you time it right, you can get in and out without bruised elbows or stepping in spilled coffee creamer (which can get really sticky between your toes, if you are wearing new, neon green flip-flops… just sayin’)
I still pop over to Fred Meyer for last minute kind of grocery shopping but WinCo has definitely added value to our shopping options in Tacoma. Plus, the Easy Cheese is way too affordable to pass up!
The Linnie Sapphire
Around Tacoma isn’t a blog about COOKING. I believe there are plenty of foodie blogs out there, so that’s a good thing. Still…. I really want to share with you one of my latest cooking adventures. Mostly because it turned out perfectly, but also because I LOVE the new cooking gadget I got to use!
I admit, the gadget is not mine. It was a gift for a friend and we used it together and I did LOVE it and now I covet it…..daily!
Check out… The STUFZ ULTIMATE Stuffed Burger System which was doubtfully purchased on the internet (I didn’t find too many stuffed burger systems around Tacoma) at www.stufz.net. I say doubtfully because, while I was interested in the ultimate outcome of the gadget (I’m getting to that) it looked a bit, well, cheap. However, I placed my trust in the bright red plastic glory of it!
I chose to fill my very first experimental STUFZ burger (say the “Z” like you mean it!) with a mish mash of cream cheese, mild green chiles, spices…not too HOT, and some pepper jack cheese. Getting the shape of the pocket where the stuffing goes was the only thing that wasn’t straight forward. That, my friends, is because we were skimping on the meat.
This is one BIG burger!! Those stuffed monsters came off the grill looking like red meat masterpieces and were quickly G.O.N.E! This is one great gadget and my works of art certainly made dinner in Tacoma a fabulous thing. I can not wait for the next one. What should I put in it???
The Linnie Sapphire
Ok, ok! I know you’re used to snappy posts about what we’ve been up to Around Tacoma but it occurred to me recently… if I didn’t already LOVE Tacoma and all the cool stuff we find to do around here, what then? So I went looking and boy, did I find plenty! Right here on the internet!
I know, you’re saying “Naw, you really found information on the internet?”. Really, I did!
Besides all of the fantastic blogs published by the many opinionated Tacomans out there, I found a plethora (cool, I got to use that word in a sentence) of super stuff about our city and all around Pierce County.
I will never have to say “Hmmm… what is there to do this weekend?” again and neither will you! Here are just a few links to local pages….
Have Fun Around Tacoma – The Linnie Sapphire
I love the farmers’ markets around Tacoma, especially the downtown Broadway Market on Thursdays. I really don’t need a reason to go other than the thrill of people watching and saying “hi” to friends but for those of you who keep putting off that visit, perhaps saving it for ‘next week’, here is a list of top ten reasons to attend this fabulous event:
- Food (Ethnic cuisine from India, Mexico, Peru and more)
- Fresh cut flowers (Say “I love you” or I’m sorry” or buy a gift for yourself because you’re cool!)
- Locally made arts and crafts (Fuzzy hats, hand blown beads, smelly…er, I mean scented soaps)
- Food (Fresh baked breads, rolls, cupcakes, cookies and other calorific goodies)
- Hand dipped chocolate bananas (Food that’s fun to watch people eat!)
- Locally grown and organic seasonal fruits and vegetables (a.k.a. the “goods”)
- Music (Lay on the grass in the sun and watch your ice cream bar melt while listening to local talent)
- Balloon Lady (Not just for kids anymore)
- Henna Lady (Not just for adults anymore)
- Food (Hot dogs, fresh pie and kettle korn)
So there you have it. If you are anywhere near or around Tacoma on Thursdays, come and see the Broadway Farmers’ Market (on Broadway of course). They have now expanded their hours from 10:30 am – 4:00 pm….YAY!