Sunday, September 30, 2007

Meet Tacoma's Strange(r) delivery crew

I've at long-last lured my baby brother back to the homeland of T-Town and, well, I haven't had much time yet to show him the sights and sites (or blog, as some of you may have noticed). So three cheers to T-Town character Christian "the old hippie" for showing him about town as they deliver the Stranger to all the lovely and odd nooks and crannies around town.

Since I'm ever-nerdy when it comes to behind-the-scenes Tacoma, I'm quite giddy that little bro has found this little part-time gig and a very knowledgeable guide. You can check out his video blog to see his adventures ... in this, you'll find a newbie exploring, a bit about the recently departed ex-journalist and history buff Walt Crowley, and promises for more to come.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Dear Cupcake fans: Add Margaret's to your mix

So, I went and bought a half-dozen goodies from Hello, Cupcake this week to celebrate the kiddies' first day back to school -- which we sliced and diced and shared and grinned over. But I have to say, that as cupcakes go, Margaret's Cafe still reigns number one in my book (though admittedly, that's one of the things I haven't tried at Corina's yet.)

So, first, before I get shot by fans, I love Hello, Cupcake's ambiance and pricing and selection and frosting. Great stuff. But I've been spoiled by my darling Margaret (don't let the occasional scowls fool you) and her wonderful concoctions -- one of which is the cupcake.

My addiction with Margaret's started with her salads and quiche. She changes salad specials daily, her Thursday "Fiesta Salad" being the most popular of the downtown crowd, and not what you expect. No tortilla chips here. And you just gotta try it. She makes her own dressings. She makes her own rolls. And she makes her own goodies -- cookies, biscotti, brownies, cupcakes and more.

The first cupcake that hooked me months ago was her coconut. It's at least 50% bigger than other cupcakes I've seen, slathered in smooth and flavorful frosting, all coating a scrumptious and MOIST cupcake beneath. Moist being key. So far, the cupcakes I've tried in town have counted on fabulous frosting to save them, and the cake can disappoint. Which is disappointing.

Margaret doesn't know HOW to disappoint.

At the moment, Margaret carries a handful or two of coconut and chocolate/peanut butter cupcakes (just $2) daily with her salads and soups and rustic tortes and quiches and other such yummies.

And if you're truly a cupcake afficionado, you'll add Margaret to your cupcake-lusting rounds. One SMALL problem you'll find is that she's a breakfast/lunch place only open during the week. So no nights, no weekends. But Margaret's is worth the time to schedule her into your day.

Margaret's Cafe
754 Saint Helens Ave.
Tacoma WA 98402
(253) 274-8788

p.s. ANYONE WANT TO JOIN ME FOR A CUPCAKE TASTING? I think each place has its strengths, and I think it would make for a fun time -- let's compare and contrast! I wonder what wine you'd pair that with ... I have a nice blackberry wine ...

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Did you know? Checking in on City Council just a click away

Just to prove how Tacoma nerdy our household is, we didn't get cable until this year -- so that we could watch TV Tacoma. But now that I know that City Council meetings are available online -- and you can view them by agenda item (rather than waiting and waiting for the subject you're interested in to come up), I'm not sure how I'm going to justify my cable bill. Oh, wait, there is the Food Channel. ...

Anyhow, I am just still so tickled that, when I read or hear about something seemingly interesting that went down at a City Council meeting, and I'm curious to to see what REALLY happened rather than interpret an interpretation, I absolutely LOVE that you can watch it online, and you can skip right to the agenda item of the topic you're curious about. Because, while some meetings may be short and quick, others, well, aren't.

The meetings (and study sessions and other council meetings) are available online here, and it's fairly easy to figure out how to select the portion you want to view. So kudos to whomever started that. I feel smarter already.

Giggle fest

So, the revamped Puget Park on Proctor passes the test of every kid in the family, including my husband. I don't think I have ever heard the 6-year-old giggle so hard, for so long, without me having to stand ready at a tire swing for half an hour or something like that.

Seriously, my daughter is a tire swing addict. She likes to spin and spin and spin ... the kids have a tire swing game where they pretend they're being "flushed." All fun and good, but out of the three kids, she enjoyed it the most, then the others would want to do other things, and they're younger and require more assistance, but the eldest would need to be spun. It got rather tiring.

At the freshly re-toyed Puget Park, there is no tire swing.

At first, I thought there would be protests, as this was the main reason the kids used to lobby to go to this park. But in the place of the tire swing were many, many spinny things. Including one kind of bucket-chair-like thing that basically spins an individual as if they were on a tire swing, and it's very easy to self propel.

And self propel she did. Practically the entire time we were there. And giggled. And giggled. And let her hair fly. She leaned back and figured out how to twist just so, so that she'd spin more and more and more. And here and there her mommy or daddy would go over and spin her extra fast and make her shriek with glee, but it was not mandatory. We were also free to chase the 2-year-old around the play structure as she climbed the rope ladders, hung from bars and slid happily down slides to repeat again. The 4-year-old managed to make a buddy within 10 seconds, a buddy who had two play swords, so they ran around the place having fake -- and surprisingly very safe -- sword fights as they ran around their castle making manly noises, until more kids arrive and the parents all decided that the swords were becoming a bit too much of a risk, so then the boys continued to run around, pretend to be cheetahs, sell ice cream, pretend to be in an office, pretend to be cheetahs, and generally run and jump and play and spin and slide and ...

Oh, then there were also all the 12-year-olds gathered having nearly as much fun. And the grownups were trying out many a toy as well.

Well done parks folks, well done ... can't wait until Jane Clark Park gets its face lift! (It's way closer ...)