Tacoma, it’s been a long couple months. We feel it too. Which is why we’ve created this special May edition of our blog. While there are a few events listed, we wanted to focus on showing love to our local businesses, artists, historians, hungry neighbors, and each other. So we’re also sharing about some of the businesses and organizations we’ve been supporting recently and hope you’ll share a few with us as well.
You’ll like Tacoma?
Nah, You'll love it.
(Now extended through the 31st!)
Emergency Food Network (EFN) is an essential resource to several families living in Pierce County, where one in seven individuals are food insecure. To kick-off Hunger Awareness Month, EFN is hosting a Hunger Walk & 5K! This year’s walk will be a little different, as all participants will be putting in their miles from the comfort of their own homes and neighborhoods. While the official race date is May 2nd, the event has been extended through the entire month of May, giving people a chance to walk for hunger all month long! So, for those who are looking for ways to give to local organizations during this time, it’s as simple as moving your feet! For every $1 given to EFN, 5 meals are provided to families in need. Last year alone EFN distributed over 13.9 milllion pounds of food to 76 different meal sites, shelters, and pantries. This then went directly to our neighbors all across Pierce County. Let's help EFN ensure that no person goes hungry!
T-Town Tacoma: Tacoma Strong
Local businesses are the heartbeat of Tacoma. They are what sets us aside from other cities, what has formed our unique culture, and often where we find our pride. Unfortunately, for several restaurants, shops, businesses, and art studios, their work has been either minimized or shut down entirely with no re-open date in sight.
This is where T-Town Apparel has stepped in. Through their Tacoma Strong project, T-Town Apparel has partnered with over 75 local businesses to print customized T-shirts with $10 of every shirt sale going directly to the local business. When we found out about this project , we jumped right in to support our beloved Red Hot (We miss you guys!)! But that’s not where it ends! Several business including Pomodoro, Climb Tacoma, Old Milwaukee, Tacoma Glass Blowing, and The Swiss are all being supported through this effort. With an incredible goal of $50,000 to support local businesses, there’s still a ways to go!
Check out the Tacoma Strong shop here.
Speaking of local swag! Check out...
Catie’s Stay Home Stay Healthy Look!
T-Shirt by: TTown Apparel
As mentioned before, we love The Red Hot. Which is why we got matching T's to show some hometown love! $10 from this purchase went directly to the Red Hot, supporting them until their doors open again! Thanks T-Town Apparel!
Earrings by: Splendor & Stone
Gretchen is an incredible artist who puts her whole heart into her craft. These earrings are beautiful, unique, durable, and make a great gift (Hint Hint... Mother's Day is this month)! Check out her Etsy Shop for more products and sales items. I can attest that my latest pair shipped in record time!
Headband by: Pieces to Peaces
In this era of, "When did I last wash my hair?", these headbands have been a wonderful investment. While this business is actually out of Olympia, her work is so good that I wanted to share. Currently, Pieces to Peaces has added Hero Headbands to their collection. Hero Headbands include buttons on either side to hold up medical masks. This saves healthcare workers ears from the constant pulling. How neat is that! While the bands themselves are currently sold out, you can make a donation to provide one for a local health care worker.
After Shower Body Balm: KV Apothecary
You may recognize the friendly face of KV Apothecary from the Tacoma Night Markets (and maybe even behind the bar at The Parkway back in the day!). Sweet Kendra has been working away on her hand crafted herbal products, and shipping them all over to her adoring regulars. Anything from dry shampoo and sunscreen, to teething elixers and stress tinctures. Catie's favorite product however, has been this after shower body balm made of calendula infused oil, coco butter, bees wax, and lavender essential oils. It's a real treat for your skin (Another Mother's Day hint). Kendra has even produced a few batches of hand sanitizer when it seemed the world went dry. Follow her instagram @kvapothecary253 for products and releases!
A fresh glimmer of normality is coming, as the first farmers market of the season is set to open on May 7th! Down on Broadway, you’ll smell some familiar smells and see some familiar faces, albeit behind some masks. Guidelines have been developed for vendors, staff, and shoppers to keep the market a safe and healthy place. All vendors and staff are required to wear masks and will be pre-packaging whatever products they can. The market itself will be set up in a “one way shopping” format, with entrance only on south 11th. So, what can we the shoppers do? Well, quite a bit actually! Of course, you can maintain 6ft distancing, bring hand sanitizer, and wear a mask if you have one. But you can also make a list, bring exact change, avoid touching products until they are purchased, and prepay whichever vendors offer prepayment services. Finally, be sure to enjoy the market. Allow the sunshine to hit your face and feed you some vitamin D as you pick out a fresh bouquet. After all, endorphins are great for the immune system.
Here’s what we’ve been eating!
Man, we really treated ourselves this past date night. No seriously. Like three entrees, an appetizer, and a side of sweet potato fries treated ourselves. The skewer salad combos were incredibly satisfying. While we can go on about how smoky the steak was and how tender and juicy the prawns were, it was the ensalada de heirbas that set it off. This bright ensalada is an arugula and mixed green salad with shaved manchego cheese, mango, mint, jicama, and spiced walnuts, topped with passion fruit vinaigrette. I’m salivating just thinking about it. Oh, and the crab cakes? Just get em. Trust me on this one. Check out their easy online ordering for pick-up and delivery.
When the sunny days hit, we Douvilles decided to have a little picnic in Wright Park. It was no ordinary picnic though… it was a pizza picnic! We called Sammy’s and placed an order for a large Italiano pizza, covered in pepperoni, salami, sausage, fresh basil, and whole roasted garlic, on their specialty Blue Moon beer crust (so worth it). We also added some sun dried tomatoes for a little zing. Within 20 minutes we had a hot, delicious, and half dairy-free pizza. Those who know Catie, know that good pizza is hard to come by when you’re lactose intolerant. Thank goodness for Sammy’s! Just add sunshine, good company, and a little crushed red pepper flakes, and you’ve got yourself an excellent day.
Even with several restaurants offering take-out options, it’s safe to say that several of us are cooking at home more than usual. Another way to support our fellow Tacomans is to shop local grocers. Tacoma Boys has a long history of providing an excellent selection of produce, meats, cheeses, beer, and wine. They believe in quality and freshness, and it shows. Our most recent shop included maple breakfast sausages (we’ve been doing breakfast waaaayyy more), some elusive Cosmic Crisp apples, fancy in-house made pickles, and pint of ginormous fresh local strawberries. Their spicy Italian sausage has spruced up our spaghetti dishes on several occasions and their homemade salsas have accompanied us on a few Taco Tuesdays as well.
Check out their blog for upcoming specials, ideas for meals and meal prep while staying at home, gift baskets, and more!
While you won't be able to wander the vast Washington State History Museum with drink in hand, you can enjoy this History After Hours from home... with drink in hand. Virtually join in the fun as historian Renee Cebula tells us all about the history of whiskey and mixology in the Pacific Northwest. Be sure to watch until the end, because Renee will finish her talk with a lesson in making the PERFECT whiskey sour.
This live event is free, but if you wish to make a donation to keep the history (and the drinks at future After Hour events) flowing, you can do so here!
Date nights with dinner and a movie look a little different right now. We know we have missed the smell of popcorn and the feel of a good ol theater seat, but don't worry, the Grand Cinema has got you covered. Tacoma's beloved non-profit theater is offering a Virtual Screening Room with current films including kid flicks, documentaries, dramas, and a few comedies sure to keep you laughing. As mentioned before, The Grand Cinema is a non-profit organization, and certainly much more than a theater. Offering classes, camps, festivals, and a place to view local features, they connect the community through film experiences. So in this trying time while the physical theater is closed, a portion of each virtual screening purchase will go directly to the Grand Cinema. So, grab your favorite movie snack and your favorite people, hunker down and get ready to stream some new flicks directly from your sofa.
And for Dessert…
After a brief closure, Ice Cream Social is back in action! Made with locally sourced flavors from your favorite places, like Mad Hat Tea, Spooner Farms, and Valhalla Coffee, these cool-treats are no joke. Visit their online shop to check out the seasonal flavor selection, place your order, then simply pick-up your order at the 6th Ave location. Shout out again to our lactose intolerant and vegan friends, Ice Cream Social has you covered! The day they re-opened Catie nabbed a pint of her absolute favorite Coconut Almond Poppyseed with a couple of dairy-free cones. No sunny day is complete without a scoop of ice cream!
Another face familiar to the night market scene is Girl Loves Cake Desserts, Erin! This lady makes some of the tastiest macarons around. Always soft, always chewy, always tasty. With flavors like Dulche de Leche, Peanut Butter Cup (Dairy-free!), and Mango Tajin, they are hard to resist! During this Stay Home time, she is taking orders and doing pick-up at various locations around Tacoma and neighboring cities. The next pick-up is on May 9th in Lakewood, just in time for Mother's Day.
Catie's Vegan Peanut Butter Banana Cookies
We did a few surprise porch deliveries for Easter this year and these soft delicious cookies seemed to be a hit! So we've decided to share them with you!
Ingredients (Makes 36 cookies):
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
3/4 cup room temperature vegan butter (we use Earth Balance)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup brown sugar
150 grams banana, mashed
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups (390 grams) flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or baking liner.
-In an electric mixer, cream together peanut butter and vegan butter on medium high until completely mixed (no bits of butter!).
-Add both sugars, and again mix on high for 2 - 3 minutes until completely mixed (seriously, whip it up!).
-In a separate dish mash the banana smooth until little to no chunks are visible (I've gone so far at to run mine through a strainer) then beat in the vanila extract.
-Add banana/vanilla into mixer and mix on low until just combined.
-In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt.
-Gradually pour flour mixture into rest of ingredients and mix until dough just comes together.
-Roll dough into 1.5 inch balls and place on cookie sheet 2in apart (being a slight perfectionist when it comes to baking, I can tell you the dough balls should weigh about 34 grams each). Press each dough down roughly 1/3 of the way with a fork into a crosshatch pattern (AKA Poundsign, AKA Hashtag #).
-Place in oven for 10-11 minutes or until the undersides begin to brown.
-Remove from oven and allow to cool for a couple minutes before removing to cooling rack.