Around MY Tacoma

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 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

Flowers and Cherries and Baked Breads, Oh My!

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:

  1. Food (Ethnic cuisine from India, Mexico, Peru and more)
  2. Fresh cut flowers (Say “I love you” or I’m sorry” or buy a gift for yourself because you’re cool!)
  3. Locally made arts and crafts (Fuzzy hats, hand blown beads, smelly…er, I mean scented soaps)
  4. Food (Fresh baked breads, rolls, cupcakes, cookies and other calorific goodies)
  5. Hand dipped chocolate bananas (Food that’s fun to watch people eat!)
  6. Locally grown and organic seasonal fruits and vegetables (a.k.a. the “goods”)
  7. Music (Lay on the grass in the sun and watch your ice cream bar melt while listening to local talent)
  8. Balloon Lady (Not just for kids anymore)
  9. Henna Lady (Not just for adults anymore)
  10. 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!

The Three C’s of a Craftsman

If there’s one distinguishing architectural style sprinkled all around Tacoma, it is the Craftsman. This type of home became popular between 1901 and 1930 and has a unique structure which tends to accentuate the living area.  Many are known for their fabulous woodwork and exposed beams and tapered square columns.  To find one that has not been modified or remodeled is rare, but when it comes around, it truly is a thing of beauty. 

This beauty can only be described in what I like to call the Three C’s of a Craftsman:  Cozy, charming and cute.

Craftsman homes are a popular and attractive choice for buyers because they are cozy with a big “O.” They tend to be smaller with most of the living space on the bottom floor.  There are often little hidden nooks with a lot of inconspicuous storage spaces accentuated with authentic leaded stained glass windows.  These little nooks make great sitting areas with an accompanying reading bench—or if you want a place to hide from the parental units.

The second C for charming, starts with curb appeal.  Craftsman homes simply ooze a certain pleasantness from the street.  The front porch is comfortably wide–perfect for a few Adirondack chairs, a small table and a great bottle of wine. Other distinguishing features include deep overhanging eaves, exposed rafters and hand-crafted stone and woodwork.

Charm continues on the inside with either soft or hardwood floors, decorative staircases and a kitchen that includes a delightful breakfast nook.  Back in the day, there was not a lot of room for the family to gather, so breakfast nooks became popular as they were a great use of the corner space and well-lit as most are under the bright light of double hung windows.

The final C is for cute.  After all these years in the real estate biz, I have to say that if we were playing Family Feud and had to pick the right answer with the question: “What one word describes a Craftsman home?”  Nine out of 10 Realtors surveyed would say… CUTE.  There’s really not much more to say… really.

Well, one more thing.  The Sapphire Real Estate Team can bring the three C’s to you.  We’re just one phone call away!

The Sapphire DIVA – Karen

Gettin’ down at Katie Downs

Even when it’s cold outside, Tacoma’s waterfront has an amazing power to draw people to visit.  Now that spring is in the air and it’s getting warmer even more people can be seen walking the boardwalk and the restaurant parking lots are full.  This includes Katie Downs Tavern and Eatery  at 3211 Ruston Way which has been drawing hungry and thirsty diners into their establishment since 1982.

There are many notable assets about this restaurant worth mentioning:  they serve award-winning pizza (Voted Best Pizza in Washington by Pacific Northwest Magazine Reader’s Poll in 2008), gourmet burgers and seafood that is out of this world…or should that be ocean?  The atmosphere is casual, the people are friendly and the view is outstanding.

Now back to the food.  With my ongoing quest for remarkable pizza I quickly zeroed in to the middle of the menu and there they were…the classic combinations of cheesy gooeyness I keep coming back for.  As usual, I was torn between the Great White (white sauce, breast of chicken, artichoke hearts and black olives) or the Rainier (white sauce, bay shrimp, artichoke hearts and red onions) or the Fearless (red sauce, smoked bacon, white onion, fresh garlic, provolone cheese and pepperoncinis).

 I chose the latter and waited in anticipation while still staring at the menu wondering how gluttonous I could be if I built my own masterpiece which is another marvelous option.  When I added up the additional toppings I could choose from my $16.50 pizza would end up costing a whopping $37.50!  It’s a good thing I’m not a glutton but the thought does make my mouth water.

Other menu options include steak, seafood, burgers, sandwiches, soups and salads.  Hands down, halibut and chips have never been a disappointment and I love the clever names of their Katie Cocktails.   Shark on the beach, Bikini Martini and Spider Juice are just a few adult beverages offered and one can enjoy these along with half-off appetizers for Happy Hour from 4 – 6pm Mon. – Fri.

If you are wondering about the pizza, yes, it was awesome.  It the perfect amount of flavorful toppings and I must say that I am glad I have a strange infatuation with garlic because their was plenty of it.  When I say plenty, I am just happy I did not have any face to face appointments but I definitely could have sold a house, let’s say, in Transylvania!

All in all, another great dining experience and I cannot wait until the deck is open for outside seating.  Ladies, word of note, don’t wear your high heels because even the best of the best Divas will find themselves taking an awkward spill.  If this does happen, keep smilin’ and hang on to that drink!   A note to all, this is 21 and over but you can still order to go and bring it home.

So is it the best pizza in Washington?  I don’t know—that’s for all you fabulous foodies to find out– after, of course, a few Bikini Martinis…but watch out for the Shark!

The Sapphire DIVA – Karen

Savvy About Split Level Homes?!

Split-level homes seem to be underappreciated but I am going on record to say that the split level of the past is just that…the past. Splits used to be about convenience; when you entered the house, there was either an upstairs or a downstairs. They were tight in the entry and exposed a not-so-nice feng shui. 

Who likes to come home after a hard day’s work, open the door, face an opposing wall, squeeze in with the groceries and then remember the kitchen is upstairs because you took the wrong stairway? Nobody.  Well, I’m here to tell you the split is back and, like the old Virginia Slims cigarette ads, “It’s come a long way, baby.” 

There are more than enough split level homes around Tacoma and many have been tastefully remodeled for today’s conveniences.  Take for instance our listing at 1712 S. 52nd Street.  This beauty has been completely remodeled and features an open entryway leading up to a generously sized living and dining area.  And check this out:  there are NO walls creating a cramped corn maze between the kitchen and dining area!

The kitchen and baths have been gorgeously remodeled with tile and granite and are accentuated with brushed nickel accessories.  There is new carpet throughout and an over-sized laundry room.  There are four nicely sized bedrooms and an enormous yard for kids to play, dogs to run or lots of backyard BBQ’s.  The house lives larger than its 1464 sq. ft. and it’s anxiously awaiting its new owners.

Oh, by the way, this home is what we in the real estate world call “turn-key.” You turn the key in the door and you move in.  It’s really that simple. 

So there it is; a brief on the split-level.  Don’t let it fool you; this style of home is making a comeback and of course I would love to talk more about this home but hey, I’ve gotta split. 

The Sapphire Diva, Karen