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Creature comforts

Winter warmers and comfort foods to get you through the season

Some spaces excel at setting the cozy vibe. Photo courtesy of Alma Mater

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The autumn and winter seasons are made for eating. It's the law of nature. Biology courses were never my strong suit but I think it's a thing ... right? As the days get shorter, we are trapped in a perpetual darkness, chilled to the bone, and craving for something to warm our spirit. We seek refuge in creature comforts that include a cozy ambiance and hearty meals. It's with this in mind, I've included a few of my favorite establishments that provide a little of what my heart desires this season.

TibbittsFernHill serves up big flavors in a small space. Chef Shawn Tibbitts crafts downright indulgence like the Meat and Gravy Bomb boasting roasted Yukon Gold potatoes, scrambled eggs, farmed greens, pepper jack cheese, candied bacon, all in a toasted sourdough bread bowl, topped with herbed sausage gravy. It's a thing to be conquered. Not only are the dishes pure bliss but service is top-notch and will leave you feeling like you've just made new friends. Tibbitts can also be found using the establishment as a resource to do good deeds, hosting campaigns throughout the year that help families in need. It's all the warm n' fuzzies you could dream up in one space. 8237 South Park Ave., Tacoma,

Within Hotel Murano you'll spy Bar960. Though it's a common misconception that lobby lounges are geared towards hotel guests only, Bar960 is a space I recommend for its lush seating, fireplace, and hip art. You can sip on a craft cocktail, take in the sights, and feel just a wee bit swanky. Eclectic staged seating areas, boozy libations and carefully curated artful touches throughout equate to a space that feels luscious and cozy. If you have a few too many, you can opt to make your visit more of a staycation and shack up in the fabulous Hotel Murano accommodations. Pure brilliance. 1320 Broadway, Tacoma,

Matriarch Lounge at Alma Mater is another space that boasts ultimate comfort vibes in their ambiance. Velvety couches and coffee table-styled dining makes one feel like they're visiting a loved one's pad, rather than hanging in a bar. You'll spy house plants throughout, plus dim lighting, heck, even the bar stools are velvety to the touch with high backs and ample kush seats. It's a rare find around these parts to find rail seating that almost holds you hostage with its comfort. Compelling craft cocktails and dishes like Matriarch's Braised Oxtail or their monstrous burger highlighting big flavors will leave you feeling like you could hibernate for the rest of the season. 1322 Fawcett Ave., Tacoma

When I'm daydreaming about Sizzling Rice Soup there is only one spot that comes to mind: Yen Ching. This Lakewood gem oozes the classic "Chinese Restaurant" vibe and has been a main staple for decades now. A koi pond and Chinese Zodiac placemats only skim the surface when it comes to setting the stage. The space is well worn but maintains its lure and seriously serves up the best dang Sizzling Rice Soup ... it may be nostalgia talking, but I don't think so. 8765 S Tacoma Way, Tacoma

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