Bridgett Crews and Krista Keithly, the ladies responsible for the awesome Hilltop Pop Shop, have another venture started early this year. Free-Range Kitchen, a culinary incubator located on Tacoma’s 6th Avenue, is a way for small food businesses to get started in a relatively low-risk way. It’s a pretty cool idea, and one that was needed in the South Sound.
It was an idea born from necessity. Bridgett and Krista needed a permanent place to produce their local, organic fruit popsicles for Hilltop Pop Shop. They also wanted to share the knowledge they’ve learned from their own food business, while fostering a sense of community.
Free-Range Kitchen is more than just a commercial kitchen. Upon first meeting Bridgett and Krista, I was immediately impressed with their passion and dedication to the community and desire to help small food businesses become successful.
The concept: Free-Range Kitchen creates an low-cost opportunity for fledgling food businesses to start up and learn the business, as well as a commercial kitchen in which to produce their food or products. Businesses utilize the commercial kitchen part-time, and many sell their goods at local farmers markets.
Starting a food business is often a daunting process. There’s insurance, licenses, food handler’s cards…and that’s all before you can begin doing what you actually love, cooking or producing a food product. Then you add up the equipment costs to get started, rent for a production space, and you get the idea. It’s expensive and can be confusing for new business owners.
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Our second anniversary was this past Tuesday, and it called for a special dinner out. We were originally thinking of heading to Seattle, but decided to stay in Tacoma since it was a work night. You don’t need to go to Seattle for great food, right?! Duh, that’s why you’re reading this right now!
We decided on Asado Cucina Argentina since we never end up making it there. Why? I’m not exactly sure. It’s a little pricey for an every day dinner, and for some reason I never think of it for a special occasion. I’m glad I remembered it this time because we had an excellent meal.
First off, Asado happens to have half off bottles of wine on Tuesdays. Score. Didn’t plan that, but it worked out nicely. You can try a bottle you might not normally order because of its price, or you can just get a killer deal. Either way it’s a win.
I like the look and feel of the restaurant. When you walk in, you can smell the mesquite wood they use in their grill. The whole front of the restaurant opens up garage door-style to an outdoor bar, and it’s an awesome place to sit on a sunny day. The only thing I don’t love about Asado is that it gets a little loud in there, so having a conversation can be tough. You end up yelling, so that’s not great.
Go to Asado for what they do best: their grilled seafood and meats. It’s unlike any other restaurant in Tacoma in its flavor profiles. Big, bold flavors of chimichurri, salsas, herbs and spices are integrated seamlessly into steak and seafood dishes that are cooked to perfection.
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Looking for a great deal and a satisfying lunch in Tacoma?
Look no further than MSM Deli (or Magical Sandwich Makers — yes, that’s really what it stands for).
Don’t be afraid of the sketchy mini mart exterior. Sure, you can get your cigarettes and beer there. But that’s just the beginning.
Craving a good sandwich for lunch, I dragged my brother along with me to explore. “There’s cops eating here. You know it’s good,” was his observation.
Before going in, i asked one of those cops, “So is this place good?” “Best sandwich in Tacoma” was his reply. We’ll just see. Continue reading →