Restaurant Review

Valentine’s Day is not a moment when Nyland men shine strong.  Our traditional Dutch practicality has some upsides, but efficacy in the romance department is a long-standing shortcoming.  Over time, Nyland men just sort of hope a potential mate recognizes the value of someone that can hold down a job, address the occasional plumbing crisis, and fold some laundry.  It has worked out so far, but there are bumps in the road.  Valentine’s day is one of those bumps.  Growing up, many a Valentine’s Eve were spent with some last ditch efforts on my father’s part to create some sort of show-of-appreciation for my mom.  For that last minute gift, Brown’s Flowers (4734 South Tacoma Way - ), LeRoy jewelers (940 Broadway, Tacoma, WA - ) and, most importantly, Johnson’s Candy Company (924 MLK Jr. Way, Tacoma WA) formed the holy trinity of mom-gifts.  If you’ve never been to Johnson’s Candy Company, you are missing out.  You may not know this, but Tacoma has a long history of making candy. Places like Johnson’s Candy and Almond Roca are all that is left of the major chocolate powerhouse we once were.  My Good Grandmother said everyone called Tacoma “Broken Bars Washington”, because of all the shops along Highway 99 (the main North South arterial before I-5) that sold factory rejects – everyone loves a deal.  Johnson’s Candy Company, starting as an ice cream counter about 100 years ago, shifted to making and selling chocolates in the 20’s, and haven’t really looked back.  Still owned by the original family (last time I checked, at least), entering the shop is a sure step towards happiness.  There is something about being in a proper candy shop that is somehow electric, and Johnson’s delivers in spades.  I’m no sweets man, but I do enjoy the occasional bit of chocolate, and Johnsons provides.  Walking around the shop, the possibilities for instant gratification seem endless.  The staff is sweet (see what I did there), and always happy you came in.  So, when you need that box of chocolates that says I love you – Johnson’s is a great place to make that happen.  You’ll be supporting a storied local business, you may score a free sample, and hopefully you’ll get a “meets expectations” on the next report card from your better half.  If a box of chocolates doesn’t light the fire of romance, it will at least keep the pilot light lit for a bit longer…

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