I recently had a chance to visit the Mandolin Cafe, a coffee shop/eatery, in Tacoma. I had been hearing about it quite a bit for the past year--how they had free internet access, good coffee and a nice decor. It was actually more than I expected. It occupies a large building which used to be an auto parts store I think, and the decor is delightfully funky. It's warm and friendly with a large number of places to sit. I really get irritated with places that don't have enough seats for their patrons. Their parking lot, however, is small and from what I hear it is sometimes hard to find a place. They have their own large coffee roaster and a large supply of coffee beans in several gunny sacks. Apparently they have music on every day but Monday. Nobody was playing when I was there in the morning, and there wasn't a time indicated. I also saw a wine bar which I assume opens later in the day.
Last Thursday I also met Jessica and her fiance at a Korean restaurant on South Tacoma Way in Tacoma. I don't know the name of the dish we ordered, but it consisted large amounts of raw beef, pork, chicken and bacon which we broiled on a broiler set into the middle of the table. There was also the usual small dishes of various vegetables: rice, sprouts, Kim Chee of various types, etc. The typical way to eat all this was to place rice, meat, and any of the other dishes on a large leaf of lettuce and then cram it into your mouth. You have to cram it, because if you take small bites it falls apart. As usual it was very tasty and I came away stuffed. The highlight of the evening was when Jessica said that they had (finally!) set a date for their wedding--next May!