Usually Derrick does the writing around here, but sometimes I get a wild hair and decide to put a few words together. After a recent GCF outing, we decided to head over to our beloved Red Hot and as I gazed at the chalkboard of liquid delights, I was excited to see the Wingman ACE IPA on tap. I’ve had many of their beers- starting back in the September Tacoma Craft Beer Festival, a few around town and also up at the Hale’s Winter Beer Festival (Not Tacoma? Oh no!) – my impression has always been good but sometimes the flavors weren’t quite right. I’m an IPA guy, but one of my biggest complaints to some pints is the syrupy after taste that coats the mouth (i.e. 7seas Balls Deep). Not here with the Wingman. The ACE IPA seemed hold on to the light characteristic that I’ve had before but this time an explosion of hoppy flavors danced across my tongue. I am excited to have another great Tacoma start up making a name for themselves. Keep your eyes out for the Wingman beers across Tacoma. We’d love to sit down with the guys over at Wingman, so reply to a tweet sometime! (Hint Hint)
A recap of my return trip to Medi’s, no longer in its infancy
It’s been too long since I put up a Taster. I like these short little posts. I get to feel a sense of accomplishment with minimal work, very appealing to a lazy person with high aspirations such as myself. I am lazy, but I want it all…like mail order lottery tickets.
Medi’s is perfect for someone like me. You can go and spend two and a half bucks and come away with a giant slice of pizza. Small effort = great reward. Don’t believe me? Look at this piece of pizza:
Either that is approximately one fourth of a large pepperoni pizza, or that is a very small fork
(the fork was pretty normal…very fork-ish)
Then and Now
I wrote a quick impression of Medi’s after a visit within a couple weeks of its soft opening. In that first visit I was overall happy with the pizza and atmosphere, a bit nonplussed with beer prices, and just ecstatic that a pizza joint had finally graced 6th Ave with its presence. I Nostradamusized that Medi’s would be a hit with families and college kids, ensuring its 6th Ave success. How’d I do? Let’s make some then and now comparisons shall we:
- THEN: The pizza was thin and flavorful; the low prices appealed to my inner scrooge and I was happy because I was full of cheese
- NOW: The crust is less thin and crispy (maybe it was a fluke that first time?), totally standard medium-thickness bread crust. Sad. The pizza is still huge, covered in goods and cheap – although $.50 more than it was those first couple weeks.Very solid. Cheesy, greasy, meaty, and bready. The menu has expanded on specialty pizzas, and apparently they make a mean cheese steak. Salads, calzones, and breadsticks are all super cheap too and solid. Perhaps a slight decline because the crust and price. Kudos.
- THEN: I don’t drink domestic except when I have to or when it’s funny, so I can’t attest to those taps, but I believe all beers were $5 and there was no happy hour.
- NOW: Still no happy hour, micros are $5, but there is a rotating $3 tap which today turned out to be the Deschutes White IPA. Score! Hopefully my first write up had something to do with that. Maybe a small victory for some, but this is a huge plus in Derrick’s book of awesome eats.
- THEN: the space was big, but the chairs were arranged strangely and the seating was limited. The stage was covered in DJ gear and was unused. I was giddy by the sight of the old school sit down arcade and Donkey Kong machine. The waiter was super cool, probably a transfer from O’Malley’s.
- NOW: They’ve met demand by rearranging, adding extra tables and moving the DJ gear away until it’s needed on 6th Ave Booty Night, otherwise known as Friday. The waiters have a much better knowledge of the menu and are mostly still awesome, although I think they’re pretty convinced I’m an asshole. Maybe it’s my scrutinizing of the place, menu, and harassment about the lack of a happy hour. The things I do for my adoring fans…
Medi’s has mostly outgrown its awkward phase. No more uninvited voice cracks and zits, Medi’s has finally realized that Axe deodorant smells like ass. Medi’s is asking mom for the keys to the mini van now. Maybe one day, when its all grown up, it will re-embrace thin crust. Dare to dream.
The prices are a teensy bit higher, but we were warned of that. Over all, the place is solid, cheap, and I’m still blown away that it took this goddamn long to even get a pizza place on 6th. Plus, $3 micros? I’m sold. Oh, and my earlier prediction about this being a hit for families and college students? Dead on. Although that didn’t take a savant to predict. Just a lazy person with high aspirations such as myself.Medi’s Pizza and Pasta 2710 6th Ave
Tacoma, WA 98406
T Town Taster for Tatanka Takeout. Yay alliteration!
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
We put a bird on it at Metronome coffee, the hippest cafe in town.
Metronome Coffee is a coffee nerd’s wet dream. If you also happen to enjoy wearing skinny jeans and reading Huffington Post on a Macbook Air while drinking said coffee, then this place has transcended nocturnal emissions to total Nirvana. The decor is hip Portlandia-influenced, the menu includes beer and wine, and the food is tasty. The coffee list is impressive and you can order your cup of joe brewed in a variety of methods: Chemex, Syphon, Trifecta, pour over, cold brewed, or French pressed (read about these different methods here). The apothecary-esque approach to coffee making should make for an interesting visit later, but today we just swung through for a quick espresso and a basil pastry.
The drink list is typical coffee house; I got a macchiato and Adam had a cappuccino, I know…we played it safe today. The espressos here are widely known to be some of the best in town, but our drinks were a bit on the acidic side – I’ve never been a barista, did she pull the shot late? Metronome does allow you to choose your shot, but we didn’t even realize this until after.
I am mired in a chest cold so I also ordered a “My Throat Hurts” tea to go. The tea is provided by Mad Hat Tea Company, and in this case hand made by a local herbalist. My tea had ginger, licorice root, and cayenne. Crazy. The tea was tasty, but the cayenne on a sore throat was a bit like salt in a wound. I think the name refers to the experience, not the symptom.
The one real pleasant surprise was the basil pastry. It was fresh, light, flakey, and filled with cheesy basil goodness. Perfect study fuel.
Metronome Coffee, where your cup of Joe is more of a Josef.
Another GCF Quickie, this time about Medi’s, a new pizza and pasta joint on 6th Ave which will be celebrating its grand opening this weekend.
I’m not sure how this is even possible, but it’s taken more years than I have Tacoma living experience for an inexpensive by-the-slice pizza joint to grace 6th Avenue. UPS students, your brain food has arrived. Medi’s Pizza and Pasta opened its doors a couple weeks ago under a soft opening in the old Sluggo Music location next to Six Olives and across from Pastiche. The short menu includes $2 slices and $10 16″ 2-topping pizzas, $6 calzones, and some basic pasta dishes. The atmosphere is family-friendly without being a kid zoo, and the stereotypical vintage arcade games actually work.
This post will almost immediately become obsolete, as Medi’s grand opening is slated for this weekend (Saturday, Sept.24) according to our friendly waiter. The new menu is rumored to have up to 15 specialty pizzas, including some with white sauce, but perhaps some slightly increased prices as well. The place is under the same owners as O’Malley’s Irish Pub down the street, and the bar is evidence of that as it is fully loaded with a large assortment of liquor and quite a few taps. There is no happy hour as of yet, and the micros are a bit steep at $4-5, but the quality inexpensive food should settle the score for most.
The pizza comes on a fresh crispy thin crust, the cheese is extra gooey, and the ingredients generous. The calzones are large and equally loaded with your favorite goodies. Medi’s has a ways to go before they become my favorite pizza joint, but at these prices and this location it should become an easy hit for 6th Ave.
Medi’s Pizza and Pasta
2710 6th Ave
Tacoma, WA 98406
Another Mexican quickie, this time Taqeuria El Antojo on 38th and McKinley
For a mere $4.99 you too can eat delicious Mole Enchiladas at Taqueria El Antojo in South Tacoma. Kiddy Corner to the now defunct McKinley Elementary, the little taco and burrito joint is bursting with deals and traditional Mexican goodness. You can easily spot it. It’s the one with the slightly disenfranchised looking guy out front with the iPod spinning the $4.99 lunch special sign. What’s with those guys anyway? The Little Caesars guys kill me. I like to imagine they’re listening to something completely opposite to their appearance, maybe some Carpenters or Bread.
The special seems to rotate through different delicious offerings, but incase it’s not up to your standards you can always pony up for some $.50 tacos or $1.99 burritos. The place is interesting, having the appearance of an airport fast food counter: big lcd screens displaying brightly colored menus hang above the long multi-register counter, full sized posters on every window, orders spoken over an intercom system to the chefs working their asses off in the back. It is a small chain with restaurants in Tacoma, Lakewood, Lynwood, and a truck in Birmingham, but it totally feels corporate. Needless to say, I was leery. I was however comforted somewhat by the big round tortilla baking stone up front.
The food is fresh, flavor packed and surprisingly fast. I recommend you ignore the wild sign spinner gesticulating on the corner and head in as if this were a typical mom and pop shop. It’s almost as good.Taqueria El Antojo 3801 Mckinley Ave, Tacoma - (253) 475-0375
A short write up about a tall lunch order
Vuelve a la Vida, or “The Purple Octopus” as it is lovingly referred to by us here at GCF, is a fabulous authentic Mexican joint in the South end at 53rd and Pac Ave. It is a great place for slow roasted meats, killer horchata, and hand made tortillas. Although the place is well deserving of a full write-up, this is just a quick look at one of our favorites here: the Tres Taco Platter.
The Tres Taco Platter is one of the more delicious and inexpensive lunch specials on the South side. For around five bucks, you can get three massive tacos overflowing with any assortment of traditionally cooked meats and accented with fresh onion and cilantro. Be sure to quickly smother them in the two salsas provided by your waitress though, because she’ll no doubt take them from you as fast as she brought them. They must be in short supply of squeezie bottles or something.
I recommend the carne asada, birria (goat), and luenga, by which I mean cow tongue. Tasting something which was once itself responsible for tasting is a bit complicated. Complicated but delicious. Yup.
As always, mention us and get…nothing! Maybe some tongue. That isn’t meant to sound dirty.Vuelve a la Vida 5310 Pacific Ave
Tacoma, WA 98408