Posts Tagged ‘Tacoma Washington’

The Proctor District is the oldest part of Tacoma, Washington, but it’s new to me. I’ve been changing my views of this port city on Puget Sound, which I used to think was just a gritty sawmill town–and worse, boring. That’s not Tacoma now. It’s a vital place, and one of its attractions is is this hilltop neighborhood, where my friend Terri and I are strolling quiet, leafy streets and admiring the views of Commencement Bay, well-kept traditional homes, and a cluster of cafes and shops. We only get a glimpse, but it’s enough to bring us back.

fish art, Proctor District, TacomaArt is a big deal in Proctor. The annual summer arts festival draws crowds for its art displays, sidewalk sales, entertainment, demonstrations, even a doggie fashion show and parade. I’d come for that alone. We get a good look at locals artists’ works in Proctor Art Gallery, a showcase of watercolors, oil and acrylic paintings, pottery, glass, and other media. The artists help staff the gallery, each coming in twice a month. If I’m looking for a uniquely Northwest souvenir, I might check out the Pacific Northwest Shop.

The Blue Mouse Theatre is a treasured bit of Tacoma history. Built in 1923 and renovated with style, it’s the oldest movie theater in the state still in operation. It shows movies daily, and the Rocky Horror Picture Show twice a month, on Saturdays. Also on Saturdays, April through mid-November, there’s a sizable farmer’s market in the district.  This isn’t a Saturday, so Terri and I venture into Metropolitan Market. We happily sample our way through this big, lively place where vendors sell high-quality meats, flowers, 90 kinds of breads, 1200 types of wines and beers, cheeses galore, produce, and pastries.  We buy a treat or two and head out to see a few of Proctor’s eateries.

The Old House Cafe, in (no surprise) a charming old house, serves highly praised American food; Pomodoro’s is casual Italian and has outdoor seating in summer. Europa Bistro specializes in Italian cuisine and wines. Babblin’ Babs Bistro’s menu shows some intriguing combinations I’ll try on the next visit; roasted trout with pecan rice and asparagus sounds appealing.  At Pour at Four, a wine bar, Terri and I peer in the window and wish it were open so we could taste the tapas, or maybe the Dungeness crab cakes, which I hear are a big favorite, and sample a few Northwest wines. That’s another time. We’d like to try Jubilee Cupcakes and Vintage Candy, too if only to taste a bacon or champagne cupcake.

Green Cape Cod B&BOur  bed-and-breakfast, Green Cape Cod B&B, is run by Mary Beth King, who has years of experience in the hospitality business. Her comfortable home, a short walk from Proctor shopping, has 3 guest rooms with private baths, down comforters, fluffy robes, and bedside chocolates. Our breakfast, in the sunny dining room, happens to be a perfect salmon quiche, and since Mary Beth generously gave us the recipe, I’m happy to share.

Green Cape Cod B&B Salmon QuicheSalmon Quiche breakfast

  • Uncooked pie crust
  • 4 T butter
  • 1/2 t dill
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Squirt of Worcestershire sauce
  • 6-1/2 oz fresh skinned salmon or smoked salmon
  • 1 T butter to spread in crust
  • 2 cups whipping cream or half-and-half
  • 4 eggs or Egg Beaters
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 lb grated dill Havarti cheese
  • 2 T chopped green onions
  • 6 sliced mushrooms
  • 1 t dill
  • 1/8 t pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees (convection oven, 325). Melt 2 T butter, add 1/2 t dill, lemon juice, and Worcestershire sauce. Spread over salmon and bake 20 mins. Let salmon cool; flake into large pieces. Spread 1 T butter on pie crust. Mix together cream or half-&-half, eggs or Egg Beaters, and salt. Stir in cheese, set aside. Melt 2 T butter in skillet. Add onions and mushrooms and saute until tender. Add to cream mixture. Add 1/2 t dill and pepper. Pour into pie crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes, then 325 for 35 minutes. (Convection oven: 400 deg. for 15 mins, and 300 deg. for 35 mins.)  Quiche is ready when knife inserted in center comes out clean.

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ceiling panel, chihuly bridge of glass, tacoma, washingtonTo get to the Museum of Glass, in Tacoma, Washington, I’m told I have to cross the Chihuly Bridge of Glass. That’s intriguing. A glass bridge? Isn’t it kind of, um, fragile? I’m staying at the Marriott Downtown, across Pacific Avenue and a block or so from the museum, so I trot over and look for the bridge. I find it up the stairs from the plaza where the Washington History Museum, Tacoma Art Museum, and Union Station are located. There it is, 500 feet long, a covered pedestrian bridge high above the I-705 freeway.

Happily, I’m not walking on anything breakable. The glass part is in the ceiling, where at least 20 panels are filled with shapes that resemble undersea life–kelp, jellyfish, octopus–in brilliant blues, yellows, greens and reds. The sides of the bridge have display windows, each holding a stunning piece of art glass.

A strange-looking building stands on the other side of the bridge. Museum of Glass, Tacoma, WashingtonIt’s the Museum of Glass, a giant, tilted cone on a broad plaza by the water, with pools and glass sculptures. Inside are galleries of changing and permanent exhibitions showing amazingly creative glass art works. One gallery has pieces designed by kids and made by the Hot Shop Team.

The Hot Shop is an amphitheater in the museum where artists blow and shape molten glass, and that alone is worth a visit. I watch enthralled as a blob of red-hot glass on a tube becomes an elegant, twisted . . . something. The museum also has a cafe and gift shop (wearable art glass, anyone?)

More glass sculpture in astonishing shapes is on showcased in the nearby  Tacoma Art Museum, and yet more in Union Station, a former railway station that is now a federal courthouse and historic landmark. Tacoma, south of Seattle on Puget Sound, has become a center for glass art because of one Tacoma native, the world-renowned glass artist Dale Chihuly. Chihuly led the contemporary movement toward large-scale, handblown works and the recognition of them as significant art.

The Museum of Glass is open 7 days a week in summer. It’s closed Mondays and Tuesdays the rest of the year and some holidays. Admission is free for museum members, $12 general,  $10 seniors and students, $5 children 6-12, and free if you’re under 6. It’s free to everyone the 3rd Thursday of the month from 5 pm to 8 pm.

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