When we used to have our video production studio in downtown Tacoma, on occasion I would visit The Harvester for breakfast. Sitting with my notebook and pen making a "to do" list I would munch on sausage links, sourdough toast, and a cup of sausage gravy.
Instead of pouring the gravy over the toast, I would dunk a piece of toast into the gravy and then eat it. I would do the same with the sausage links. This way I had the flavor of the gravy without consuming the entire cup of good stuff.
The Harvester is located in the Stadium District, less than a hundred yards from Stadium High School and a little over a block from Wright Park.
The Harvester is one of my favorite breakfast places. The wait staff is excellent. Rocio and her daughter Carla work well together as do the other excellent waitresses. Of course on Sunday they all wear Seahawks jerseys. The Harvester means middle-America food. Good basic food at reasonable prices. They always have specials (check out the white board by the entrance and the black board once inside). Although we sometimes find ourselves there for lunch or dinner, it's breakfast that pulls us in on a fairly regular basis. Primarily, perhaps, it's Rocio and her daughter that keeps us coming back.
When I was a kid, we sometimes had fresh squeezed orange juice. It was usually my job to cut oranges in half and then squeeze them back and forth on this little up-turned cone, which collected orange juice, pulp, and seeds. After a couple of oranges were squeezed, the juice (minus the seeds) was poured into a pitcher. When there was enough juice in the pitcher to fill three small juice glasses I was done.
Several years ago Peg and I went to Italy and Spain with friends. Many of the restaurants and bars we visited had orange juice squeezing machines. I fell in love with fresh squeezed blood oranges. I can't find any place in Tacoma that offers fresh squeezed blood oranges, but both The Harvester and Knapp's Restaurant on North Proctor (another favorite breakfast place) have the machines. Rocio and Carla know our routine. When we walk in, they know Peg and I want to start off with two large glasses of fresh squeezed orange juice. I drink my glassful in a minute and then usually drink the last third of Peg's near the end of the meal.
Last Sunday we dropped in for breakfast with our friends Donn and Debbie Irwin of immedia. They do fulfillment, digital printing, and direct mail. We were enthusiastically greeted by Rocio and Carla. We chatted and laughed. We felt at home.
Looking around we noticed that the front window has been changed. It now rolls up like a garage door, but only from part way down the wall, not from the sidewalk up. This means that in hot weather, the windows can be rolled up to let in a cool breeze, while keeping drafts from blowing up your pant legs. Meaning, that you can enjoy the breezes of spring and summer without enduring any chilled moments. I like it. I think this will give patrons a great experience next year. In the late fall, it's probably not so wonderful. I guessed (correctly) that Kurt Schmitz of City Glass, who does excellent storefronts and both commercial and residential windows, recommended Scott Mathew of Overhead Door Tacoma for the window roll-up.
The four of us have dined at The Harvester countless times, so Rocio pretty much knows exactly what we want. Although, we may change our orders a little bit, Rosio knows Donn wants a glass of milk but only with his breakfast, and Peg and I want our hash browns dark brown and crispy. Peg likes rye toast, I prefer sourdough. But Peg usually has the yoghurt parfait.
We always look at the specials. Sometimes the pancakes have seasonal flavors: fresh blueberries, blackberries, apples, and like this morning Pumpkin Spice. I passed on the pancakes, but Donn ordered a stack of "regulars." I went with chicken fried steak, which comes with three fried eggs (over-easy), hash browns (extra crispy) and toast (sourdough). It was all perfect.
Peg ordered the granola - yogurt parfait in a bowl. It was served with fresh blueberries on top. It was more than Peg could eat. I had a spoonful, but was already full from coffee, my meal, and a glass and a half of fresh squeezed orange juice.
Peg had a few bites of my chicken fried steak. My other favorites are biscuits and gravy (with sourdough toast instead of biscuits), and waffles with fried eggs on top to make it a waffle sandwich plus, of course bacon or sausage. Actually, although I love pork sausage, The Harvester has chicken-apple sausage links that I enjoy, too.
I like the layout at The Harvester. We've had groups as large as twelve for breakfast before. They have a long upholstered bench and tables set up with side chairs. Mostly we have six people, which puts us in a great location for watching a Sunday morning football game (big screen above the back stairs by the bar) when the Seahawks travel east. We enjoy The Harvester throughout the year, however . . . not just during football season.