Saturday, February 10, 2007

Grilled Cheese and Backroom Surprises

It's always a thrill to introduce visitors and locals to my favorite haunts, nooks and crannies in Tacoma. Sometimes I even trip upon a new one myself. A recent thrill includes ...

Opera Alley & Over the Moon Cafe (709 Opera Alley/Court C)
This hidden treasure is one of my favorite spots to introduce to people. While this tantalizing cafe has been an Opera Alley destination for more than five years, there are still entire segments of the T-town population who either haven't been there, or simply can't find it. So when it comes to meeting folks for lunch, it's a great go-to ... as the location, ambiance and edibles are all completely rave-able. But again, you have to be able to find it.

Recently, I was meeting a former coworker for lunch and this person, having never been there before, decided to locate it in advance to make sure they weren't late. No luck. This person drove all over downtown, through the theater district and around Antique Row -- but could not find the cafe. (So we met at my office instead and walked over.) Which is part of the spot's charm.

Over the Moon Cafe is located in Opera Alley ... a block of buildings and businesses that seem to take you back in time or transport you to some far-off European neighborhood. It's mysterious and charming, and also home to Fibers Etc. (a destination for weavers, spinners, knitters and more), Ruby Collection (decor divine), The Horatio (a black box theater for Tacoma!) and more. It's between St. Helen's and Broadway, between South 7th and South 9th, and seriously is an enchanted slice of Tacoma.

But back to Over the Moon ... I'll admit I've only been there for lunch, but I've heard dinner is divine as well. I can vouch for all their sandwiches, especially the unique French-style grilled cheese that has bread soaked in a white wine sauce and contains various oozing cheesy goodness. And I'm always up for trying one of their specials -- which the other day included a salmon sandwich with crazy-good dill mayo. The crab bisque has become a favorite of mine, and apparently many other folks' -- the used to only serve it once in awhile, and now it's every day. Desserts are also delectable.

And then there's the charm of mismatched silverware and coffee cups, decor done by the divas next door at Ruby's Collection, and a bathroom that's more "gotta see it" than anything Hard Rock Cafe venues have to offer.


And behind door 2 ... it's Ruby's Room
A recent lunching pal and I wandered a little further than the bathroom during our last trip to Over the Moon and tripped upon the "Over the Watch Tower" room, which is a quaint brick-walled, simple-yet-funky room with a eye-popping view of downtown Tacoma charm that's available for intimate dinner parties, wine tastings, dessert parties, etc. It fits about 50 sit-down guests or 60 mingling meanderers. And it's run by the folks at Ruby Collection -- and just as awe-inspiring as their window displays. A mystery room behind a sometimes mysteriously located restaurant on an enchanted hard-to-find block in Tacoma. Does it get any better?

1 comment:

ry said...

Over the moon has a new website: www.overthemooncafe.net