Adam and Derrick celebrate St. Patrick’s day at one of Tacoma’s favorite Irish pubs: Doyle’s.
One of the best things about being an American is the shameless appropriation of other cultures’ holidays. Whether it’s sucking down a cool margarita on Cinco de Mayo, pounding a Marzen at Oktoberfest, or throwing back a Guinness on St. Patrick’s day Americans love getting loaded in honor of cross-cultural celebrations. And why not? Thanks to many of our ancestors’ non-discriminatory romantic proclivities, any given person’s potential for Irish blood in this American “melting pot” (or “salad bowl” as it is more recently being referred to) is just high enough that we can all say “hey, I’m probably a little bit Irish according to my grandmother….or was it my grandfather?”
“Kiss me, I’m potentially Irish.”
Today everyone’s a little bit Irish. We happily promote stereotypes by way of consuming mass quantities of meat, potatoes and Guinness, surely making the world outside Ireland jealous of our pseudo heritage – even our beer is green with envy. This St. Paddy’s Adam and I celebrate the only way we know how, at Doyle’s public House.
You voted, we listened. We visit El Zocalo in the Lincoln District for some tasty tortas and Mexican pastries.
It is with some embarrassment and a healthy dose of humility that I must confess: my first torta ever was had here…this year…in the Lincoln District walkthrough video. The one you watched before you voted on this place. Remember? I’m not sure how I managed to avoid them for so long, perhaps the thought of having a sandwich at a Mexican restaurant was so much less intriguing than having something smothered in delicious sauces, served alongside roasted vegetables, beans or rice with a side of warm fresh-from-the-griddle tortillas. After all, sandwiches are a downright invasive species in this country, why bother with another one? El Zocalo is why.
We visit McKinley hill for a taste of the top at Top of Tacoma.
“Man, top of tacoma is really great. I mean, seriously guys, it’s fantastic.” ~Adam
When Adam uploads the photos for an entry, he sometimes leaves little messages to me. The quote above was his last such message. He never expected it to see the light of day, but there it is. It could be Adam being hyperbolic, or him sarcastically doing his best Derrick impression, but I think it’s genuine. Adam really friggin’ likes Top of Tacoma. Never mind the super attractive bartender/waitress who seemed incapable of comprehending my petty pleas for service (a running joke all night), or the hipster cook who looked at me like I was from Mars when I introduced myself as Derrick from GCF. ToT has good beer and excellent food, including some of the best sandwiches you’ll ever eat. I’m fairly certain it would be in Adam’s top five of restaurants he’d take with him to a deserted island. Although the logistics of that seem a bit complicated.
A Recap of our joint birthday extravaganza on 6th Ave
Adam’s and my birthday are the 20th and 21st of November, respectively. This is perfect fodder for all sort of sordid and exciting joint birthdays in the future, but our first foray into this – celebrated a couple weeks ago across much of 6th Ave – was relatively tame all things considered. We convinced nearly 30 friends and relatives to join us on a crawl which started at Masa and ended in disarray, with 8 different restaurants visited in between. Each location had a “required” drink and food purchase. Whoever crossed the most items off their to-do list was crowned the unofficial GCF badass of the night. This write up is a recap of that evening with highlights, lowlights, and hopefully a few words of wisdom from one blogger who’s twenties are officially behind him.
Adam’s got a couple more year of irresponsibility and debauchery ahead of him however.
We get treated to dinner at Quickie Too, a vegan soul food restaurant on Hilltop
Gritty City Food is a labor of love. We love food and we love Tacoma. We’re not journalists and we don’t make a cent off the site (but we are certainly open to offers). When it comes down to it, this website is simply a vehicle for two guys with no culinary training at all to wax poetic about their favorite food and drink. We’ve met those who think any food critic should broadcast flaws with the same gusto they praise the food, perhaps wishing that we too turn our pinkies out and do our best impression of the waif-like journalist in Ratatouille. Good news. We’re not food critics. We’re just food nerds. Big dif.
We had the pleasure of meeting another food nerd in our travels, her name is Sandy. In fact Sandy shares our passion for the reveal, the sharing of excellence, so much that she graciously treated the GCF boys to dinner at Quickie Too, a vegan soul food joint on MLK. And I gotta say, I was ready to bust out my Ratatouille pessimist persona for this one, but I just couldn’t. The rat won me over. (There was no rat in this scenario. That was an allusion.)
We Attend 1022′s new menu party on 10/22
Hilltop. A place infamous to those in even the most remote places. Even Pullman, Washington. I’m not sure how a kid like me, growing up amid wheat fields and fraternities was allowed to develop any preconceptions about a geographical locale within a city on the other side of the state. The mention of Hilltop would elicit Compton-esque visions of drug trafficking and gang violence, all enshrouded within a stinky cloud of Tacoma Aroma so thick one could barely make out the unsavory spectacle before facing a mugging and/or an untimely death. Once I moved to Tacoma, and faced the reality that is Hilltop today, I felt a little…well…let down.
Hilltop. You used to be so…exciting. Whatever happened to that mystique? What will rural white boys fear beyond the comfortable confines of their idyllic little towns? Good luck attracting Anderson Cooper any time soon. Luckily for us there are a few places keeping Hilltop funky, keeping souls lubricated and expectations high. Places like 1022. The most literate bar in Tacoma is ready to teach you a few things.
T Town Taster for Tatanka Takeout. Yay alliteration!
BBQ pulled bison sandwich
Tatanka Takeout in Ruston has been a staple for Point Defiance visitors for years. It features burgers and sandwiches showcasing it’s namesake: bison, but has an equally large vegetarian menu full of grilled vegetables and fake meat. The place has a gritty Western theme with cowboy boots wrapped around the legs of their outdoor tables and the world’s most uncomfortable built-in stools made from what look to be former tractor seats. These must have been some skinny farm hands because my hips were spilling over the side – and while I’m no waif, I’ve got nothing on the average Tacoma ass.
The pulled bison BBQ sandwich was a messy one. The meat was extraordinarily lean, as advertised, but a bit chewy. The sauce was good, and the grilled onions nice, but this place doesn’t hold a candle to the pulled meat sandwiches at a joint like Papa Jones. Of course, the sandwiches at Papa Jones are pork, chicken, and beef – all less healthy options than bison. The Tatanka menu is loaded with pro-bison propaganda. Did you know that bison has 1.8 g of fat per 3 oz, compared to 3g for chicken and turkey, or 18g for beef? Now you do! In addition to burgers and sandwiches, the menu features such things as bison sausage, bison tacos, bison burritos, bison chili, nachos and taco salad.
Bison not your thing? Don’t worry, there are a few items featuring organic chicken, and as I already mentioned, the veggie offerings are pretty substantial. The veggie BLT was large, but pretty standard all things considered. The fake bacon is exactly the same stuff you’d find at the store. It would be neat to find some homemade somewhere. Business advice is always free here at GCF!
Tatanka takeout is closed for the month of November, so stock up now!
Tatanka Take Out
4915 North Pearl Street
Ruston, WA 98407-3119
We get a bit messy at Papa Jones BBQ at South 19th and MLK.
Pork 'n Fries and fried okra. Refuel that soul.
What is the hallmark of a good barbecue joint? I used to think it was the decor: rustic Southern inspired interior with a smattering of sweet tea and 70′s funk. The floor would be a mix of stained hotel carpet and yellowed tile, everything would be coated with slightly sticky residue, and there would be altogether too much gold accenting. The decor would age along with the well loved menu and master barbecuer, and the clientele would consist mostly of local equally aged regulars. Papa Jones proved this rather stereotypical assertion incorrect. The place exists at 19th and MLK within a brand new strip mall in the shadow of St Joe’s hospital. Spotless, full of busy working folk, and quite modern. The menu however is timeless.
Our first ever showdown! For this maiden voyage, our mission is to find the best reuben in Tacoma, and we think we did. Hit “continue reading” to read the full write up!
This post has been a long time in the making. The brilliant idea of a showdown-style no-holds-barred food battle struck us very early on, we just wanted to wait for the right moment to tackle such an epic undertaking. We settled on the reuben partly from an earlier post about the MSM Deli, in which I get carried away about the reuben, suggesting that maybe it was one of the best in town other than perhaps The Swiss. I spent some time thinking about that statement, and realized how incredibly naive I was being. I hadn’t tried every reuben in Tacoma. How could I even begin to suggest it might be one of the best? Turns out it’s not. I am a dick. Simple solution: we needed to find the best. Ladies and gentlemen, this post is my redemption.