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What's Up With So Few Tacoma Mentions? No Chow There?

OK, so I was told I *had* to eat breakfast at the Poodle Dog Diner on Sunday. It's apparently a Tacoma (Fife) institution. My breakfast reminded me of the old Groucho Marx joke, paraphrased thusly: "Ma'am, I've had a perfectly wonderful breakfast, but this wasn't it." But that's beside the point...

So today, I searched "Tacoma" here on CH, and I turn up a grand total of 13 mentions for all of 2013, and TWO so far in 2014.

What's up with this? There must be some good chow in and around Tacoma, right?

Aloha,
Kaleo

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  1. Southern Kitchen, in Hilltop. I say just go ask what's to eat and get it. For me, it was fried catfish. I can't think of a finer way to go than a heart-attack face-plant in a plate of red-beans and rice, fried catfish and jalapeno hush-puppies...

    3 Replies
    1. re: mrnelso

      I haven't loved Southern Kitchen as much as other. It's pretty good, but it felt a little too hyped. If you're looking for southern/soul food, there's a place called Uncle Thurm's across town, over by Lincoln High, that I prefer. They have live music on the weekend's and it's not as crowded or rushed.

      You know, sadly, I don't know that I have any places that I love in Tacoma...

      Wingman's a nice little brewery down there.

      1. re: GreenYoshi

        Thanks, what shall we order first at Uncle Thurm's?

        1. re: mrnelso

          I believe there's a "plate" with ribs, collards, fried chicken wings, rice & beans and some other stuff that's a nice experience.

    2. I've been to downtown Tacoma several times; each time I've done the Chow research. The most highly rated places I've found only so-so.

      1. The Poodle Dog is an institution...as like most of them it's probably not the best but I have some fond memories of eating there with my dad and Grandpa growing up.

        As for Tacoma...um...yeah. There's a good sushi place downtown (Two Koi) and Galanga on Broadway is good Thai. There's some newer places up on 6th Ave and I've always had a good meal at Primo. Granted I haven't lived down there since leaving for college but my parents aren't complaining when they go out...where ever that is :)

        1. Hi Kaleo!

          I was born and raised in Tacoma, here is my take on Tacoma dining:

          Marrow on 6th Ave : This place has a meat-centric menu called marrow, think oxtail stuffed piquillo peppers and bistro steak poutine. They also have an arrow menu which is all vegetarian, sorrel pesto risotto is delicious right now.

          Asado on 6th Ave: This place is hit or miss, I enjoy drinks and appetizers here but find dinner overpriced, their seared scallops have never been a miss.

          Dirty Oscar's Annex (DOA) on 6th Ave: Great breakfast, smoked elk hash is a stand out for me.

          Gateway to India on 6th Ave: I have been coming here for Indian food as along as I can remember. It may just be nostalgia but I think this is the best Indian in Tacoma.

          MSM Sandwiches on 6th Ave: This place looks like a dump of a convenience store.....but they have a great selection of local beer and the BEST sandwiches in the area. Get the Mike's Deluxe, don't change the bread.

          I can post more later if anyone would like but these are my go to dining destinations.

          8 Replies
          1. re: wildcat869

            Hi, wildcat:

            Hell yeah, post more. Thanks for the recs--I know 100% more than I did, thanks to you.

            Aloha,
            Kaleo

            1. re: kaleokahu

              Great! My boyfriend and I are big happy hour fans, here are the places we go

              Hilltop Kitchen on MLK: Kind of in a neighborhood that used to be rather rough, this place has the best mole tacos and pozole.

              Maxwell's in downtown: This place has a dark, romantic vibe with one of my favorite IPA's on (Boneyard) tap, goes well with their tenderloin skewer with chickpea hash

              1022 South J street: Pig jowl blt with gin caramelized leeks.....enough said. Not on HH but only $8! Many creative and strong cocktails.

              Duke's Chowder House Ruston way waterfront: I know, I know, this is chain but you can't beat the views or the fact that I can walk there from my home. Steamers used to be my favorite item on the HH menu but they replaced them with steamed mussels....dare I say they are even better! One order of mussels and an un-crab cake (less filler more crab) on HH is enough for 2 to make a full meal of.

              Moving away from HH

              The Fish House Café on MLK: Again in a rougher area, take the fried catfish to go with extra tarter. Go to point defiance park after and run it off.

              Frisko Freeze in the Stadium District: Some might disagree but I have fond memories of skipping class at my nearby high school to get strawberry shakes and greasy burger. This place is an institution.

              Art House Café Stadium District: One of my favorite newer places. Wild mushrooms topped with poached eggs served with duck fat fries (duck fat will never get old to me) for breakfast and brioche croquet madame for lunch. Not on the same day of course.

              Marzano's by Pacific Lutheran University: Great Italian food and wine list. Enjoyable service.

              All for now, let me know if you try any of these places!

              1. re: wildcat869

                Thanks, wildcat!

                My first choice among your suggestions would be Maxwell's. Are there any you would deal to the top of the deck over Maxwell's?

                Aloha,
                Kaleo

                1. re: kaleokahu

                  I would only put Arthouse first, but the service isnt as polished.

                2. re: wildcat869

                  Hi, wildcat:

                  Well, this afteroon Wahine and I found 1022 S. J Street exactly at... 1022 S. J Street!

                  Thank you for this recommendation. Wahine thought the pork jowl blt (#2 like you suggested) was the best she's had. And the charcuterie plate was quite good.

                  I liked the space--the equivalent of 9 2-tops and a dozen barstools inside, and about another dozen places outside. I hate the word, but the beer list was 'eclectic' if short. The menu features several dozen well-thought-out house cocktails. I found everything about the place very comfortable and classy.

                  This is the kind of neighborhood place I need in *my* neighorhood. I can understand now why you recommended it. Thanks again.

                  Aloha,
                  Kaleo

                  1. re: kaleokahu

                    Wildcat and kaleo,
                    I was sick to death of heavy traffic yesterday and in need of sustenance in Tacoma. We could. not. wait. for Seattle. I dreaded trying to find somewhere in Tacoma- but thought maybe trusted CH would send me in the right direction. Score! Found this conversation and GPS'ed my way to 1022 S J street. It was a great little place and just what was needed.

                    We split the Pork jowl BLT and a Jamon manchego sandwich, well seasoned home fries, two interesting and inventive cocktails each....outside on the little patio on a sunny day. Perfect.

                    I am so glad you peeps are reporting in. Thanks.

                  2. re: wildcat869

                    My wife is fond of Frisko Freeze where she went with her family over fifty years ago. It is apparently little changed from that time and the rather austere burgers have a certain charm.

                3. re: wildcat869

                  You had me at 'smoked elk hash" for DOA... please share more Tacoma 'finds'!

                  Thanks!

                4. The already-recommended Marrow is great, and for lunch I have really enjoyed Stink on St. Helens Avenue. Great sandwiches and the adjacent wine shop is fun to peruse.

                  1. Chiming in late to the party, as usual, I have a daughter at the University of Puget Sound, and so I'm always interested in good places to eat.

                    FWIW, I've always had a good meal at Pacific Grill (1502 Pacific Ave.). And Gateway to India was also good -- not great, mind you, but good. And we had sushi somewhere not too far from UPS that was pretty good, too.

                    Unfortunately I only have two entries in my address book for Tacoma: Pacific Grill and Hotel Murano. So, Kaleo, you and I are learning about Tacoma together . . .

                    1 Reply
                    1. I grew up in Tacoma, so here are some ideas:

                      Primo Grill (Pine & 6th Ave) has always been very satisfying. Their Caesar is very good.

                      Silk Thai (6th & Warner) is good. Not going to blow you away but it hits the spot.

                      Parkway Tavern is a great place to grab a greasy burger and a cold beer.

                      Katie Downs is good for a decent pizza and a beer on their deck on a nice evening.

                      Europa Bistro (Proctor) has always had very decent pasta dishes.

                      East & West (across from Europa) is good Vietnamese.

                      Pine Cone Cafe (University Place) is an old school diner. It will fit the bill if that's what you're craving.

                      The Cloverleaf has great pizza

                      1 Reply