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Dirty Dish: Visiting two favorite haunts

I left my sick cave for Alfred's Cafe and the Spar

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It is that time of year people. I finally got sick. It is tough not to succumb to it when everyone around you is hacking and sneezing. I never stood a chance. I did the obsessive hand washing, antibacterial soap, Emergen-C, and Zicam, which really helped the severity, because everyone else afflicted was down for the count. Unlike my peers, I am able to function like a normal person for the most part, which means I can still enjoy eating.

The husband and I love our breakfast dates, so this past Sunday we decided to visit one of our favorite haunts, Alfred’s Café. As you well know, there aren’t many breakfast places in this city, so when you find a good handful, hang on to them. Alfred’s has gone through some tough times recently with road construction and unsympathetic city officials. So it was wonderful to see them this past Sunday packing in the hungry patrons.

Neither the husband nor I dig the sports bar scene, and Alfred’s bar is pretty darn sporty. Lots of TVs, Bud banners and the like, not the worst I have seen, by far. That is the most negative thing I will say about Alfred’s, and that is really only a personal theme annoyance on my part. Everything else there is boffo.

“Wish You Were Here”, probably my favorite Pink Floyd song/album was playing when the bartender sat us. Nothing says, “You’re going to have a great day!” like hearing Floyd in the morning. The husband ordered a Denver omelet that doesn’t have cheese. How can you not have cheese on an omelet? Anyway, I ordered the Dungeness crab omelet that not only has Swiss cheese but also has hollandaise sauce! I assume my husband’s omelet was tasty because he ate it all, but mine was gooey-crabby goodness for only $11.95!

I happen to appreciate the unusual creature comforts at a restaurant, for instance: flatware. I hate cheap flatware. Alfred’s provides nice heavy restaurant quality flatware (18/10) when they could get away with the cheap stuff (18/0) that you can bend by looking at it wrong. Also, how could I walk out of a bar without noticing the vodka selection? Let’s just say WOW, it’s that good. Because of the sick, I didn’t have a Bloody Mary this time, but I have had them in the past, and they are stellar.

Monday was another day out. The husband escorted me to the doctor for a visit. I was not there for the sick, but for girly reasons, and that is all I am going to tell you.  After we arrived, the receptionist noticed the sick and made me wear a surgical mask as to not cough and sneeze on any other patients or employees. I felt like a leper. So to make me feel better, after the appointment the husband took me to The Spar tavern for lunch. Another haunt of long ago that needed to be revisited.

The Spar is always a restaurant/pub I can count on. It never changes. Until about two years ago when it did change its homemade hand-battered halibut to something from a TV dinner: pre-battered and boring. It was horrible, and we were devastated. Our latest visit hit gold; they went back to the old recipe.

I don’t know why The Spar changed its halibut, but note to restaurant owners: if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. If the hard cost of a popular menu item increases, don’t replace it with something cheaper, raise the price and keep it on. Your customers will pay for it and be happy to do so.
The details of my sick will stay with me. Let’s just say I need to wrap things up before my head explodes or I cough something up my cat would be jealous of. Stay healthy, wash your hands, drink lots of water and …

Eat out Tacoma. We need your love.

[Alfred’s Café, 402 Puyallup Ave., Tacoma, 253.627.5491]
[The Spar, 2121 N. 30th St., Tacoma, 253.627.8215]

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