Restaurant Review

A high school English teacher – Mr. Mac -  used to talk about a burger place in his home town.  It was a take-out window, and only sold burgers, fries and soda.  And they only prepared burgers one way.  No Burger King, this place.  Mr. Mac loved it – especially when someone would try to order the burger without onions, or somesuch.  The owner would scream at them to get out of there. Mr. Mac was one of my favorite teachers, and did a great job of teaching me how to write a descent essay.  He also wrote and self-published one of the worst pieces of fiction I’ve ever read.  Worse than Twilight (although I loved the Twilight movie, I’m embarrassed to say).  As they say, those who can’t do teach.  Anyway, I’ve always like the simplicity of that burger place – even if it probably only existed in Mr. Mac’s mind – he was a bit of a fabulist – a trait that got him sacked at some point, I believe. Anyway, simple menus are my friend.  I ate at the Cheesecake Factory the other day for the first time, and was simply befuddled by the sheer list of options on the menu.  I really just want a couple choices – there is some elegance in that. Too many options makes my head hurt.  Same with beers.  Really – 30 beers on tap?  I can’t make that sort of decision.  Do I go with the hoppy IPA, the really Hoppy IPA or, the really, really, really hoppy IPA?  Does every beer brewed in the Northwest have to be an IPA? If they could just stop using hops, I’d be happy.  But then it wouldn’t be beer, it would be Gruit.  Anyway, a favorite spot with a limited (just sandwiches and salads) but tasty menu, although way too many beer options, is Peaks and Pints in the Proctor District ( - 3816 N 26th St b, Tacoma, WA 98407).  In addition to being within walking distance of my house, it is a great spot to meet friends for a pint or two.  Created out of thin air (well, it was a movie theater at the turn of the century and many things since, most recently a bike repair shop, I think), they created a lovely bar that feels more like a mountain lodge.  And a lovely bar it is – some 30+ linear feet of it – with 20+ taps and 600+ different bottled varieties in the coolers.  I usually just tell them to surprise me with a beer – I’m all out of decision making skills by the time I wander into a pub.  Sadly, they don’t have a deep fryer – normally a mortal sin for a bar, but fryers seems to be a less common in the fashionable tap rooms these days. Alas. They do have some great sandwiches, and that makes up for it.  The Peterson Brothers - Tacoma Restauranteurs of note – I love their 1111 bar– have the sandwich thing down – and their Rueben is worth the calories.  The vegan Rainier is also a favorite.  Often I just get the pretzel bread sticks and a pint.  Being so close to my house – I can’t help but run into friends there – which is a pleasant thing unto itself.  It is a great spot for a night out with some buddies or a couple couples.  So you know, the Proctor district is getting busy, so plan to park a block or two away – the horror of walking 2 minutes to a restaurant. It won’t be long before Proctor get to the point where, as Yogi Berra so aptly put it, nobody goes there anymore – it is too crowded. But until then, take a step into the mountains and enjoy a couple hours of vacation from the rat race.   

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