Up before five, I had my marketing work done by ten. It was Friday. I started planning out a date with my wife. Peg came home from errands and by 11:30 we were ready for lunch and a movie. We live about two minutes away from Point Ruston. Just uphill. So, we had time for lunch and a movie.
I parked the car and while Peg went to buy movie tickets, I headed around the corner towards the WildFin American Grill.
I paused to take this photo of a couple of grandparents. While Grandma took phone photos, Grandpa placed the kids on the dancing rabbits ("Hip Hop" by Georgia Gerber). The rabbits are very substantial, so there was no problem with possible damage to the sculpture nor the kiddies.
Peg and I can hardly wait to see more shops, cafés, and restaurants appear in this beautiful shopping center filled with art and northwest views.
Next to WildFin is a small plaza, which this morning was set up for a small ceremony or celebration of life. On stairs leading up from the plaza is a flower and driftwood construction offering a view of Puget Sound and Vashon Island's Quartermaster Harbor. Quite often ships anchor in the middle of that view while waiting to be filled with grain just a little further towards the Port of Tacoma. The ships don't block the view, but simply add to it.
On this particular morning there were two hot dog vendor vehicles nearby. I hope this is something we have to look forward to in the spring and summer. It seemed a little premature in late February. However, there are always people walking from Point Defiance down to the Thea Foss Waterway in all kinds of weather. A nice hot dog in the cold and rain might be welcome.
Peg joined me at the entrance to WildFin and soon we were seated by a window. If we looked east from our table and out the side window we could make out Mt. Rainier shrouded by a little cloud cover, but if we looked directly out the window north we saw a play boat, built to resemble the sales office of Point Ruston, which floats on the eastern side of the property.
The play boat has all kinds of objects to climb on and pretend with for children of all ages. If you look just at the small, ruffle-like roof, you could consider the giant toy a pea-green boat like the "Owl and the Pussycat" went to sea in.
Most of our grandkids are just beyond the age that could get lost in their imagination with the play boat, but several of our good friends have grandkids that would love it. Other friends have children that could just run wild on it and sail away to far off places. The second star to the right?
Peg and I didn't coordinate our orders very well and so both of us ended up with a bowl of northwest chowder. I was hoping she would get the onion soup, so we could sample both available soups. I had already tried out the chowder and loved it, but I enjoyed it again, as did Peg.
The chowder has chunks of northwest seafood (clams and salmon), roasted corn, shaved fennel, sweet red peppers, Applewood smoked bacon and a splash of dry sherry. A little extra splash of sherry, like we get with the lobster bisque just down the street at The Lobster Shop, would make it perfect. I twisted my hands and our waiter, Joseph took the hint and grabbed a pepper mill, but it gave us only fine grain. I asked for course grain, but Joseph couldn't get the mill to change. He returned with a pepper mill that gave us course ground pepper and we were happy.
In the end I was disappointed that after having lunch twice at WildFin I still haven't had the onion soup . . . but not heart-broken. The chowder was excellent both times.
On my first trip to WildFin I had the combination of half-sandwich and bowl of soup. The half sandwich I had was their French dip. It came with a very nice broth (which I drank, also). My friend Fred Hornshuh took his wife Kari to WildFin for Valentine's Day. They were originally planning on dining in Seattle and riding the big wheel, but with a rainey day, they decided to stay in Tacoma. Fred loved the bread for the French dip, which was crusty and soaked up the broth nicely. Switching the venue to Tacoma and Wildfin was perfect. Fred and Kari own Carlson Brothers Jewelry, so they recognize a jewel when they see it.
I kept switching my mental order between a slider and a street taco. I finally chose the Wagyu beef slider featuring Snake River Farms Wagyu beef, roasted onion aïoli, crispy sweet onions, on a brioche bun. The French dip also features sliced Wagyu beef. A diner at the next table ordered street tacos. Since each street taco is about the same price as the slider I chose wisely. I would order the slider again. If hungry, perhaps a slider AND a street taco.
Peg chose one of the three flat breads. The flat breads are a great alternative to pizza, and they are delivered more quickly. Peg chose the Sausage, Mushroom and Smoky Bacon with Onion Jam Flat Bread. Whoa, what a wonderful choice. In addition sausage and bacon it had wild mushrooms, caramelized onions, and blue cheese. The bread was both crispy and chewy. To save on calories and cash, a two-some could order a salad each and share a flat bread. Or a bowl of soup, a salad, and a flat bread.
Several pieces of the flat bread came home with us. They made a nice afternoon snack on Saturday. Peg heated her pieces up in the microwave. I ate mine cold with a little red pepper flakes sprinkled on top.
As we discussed the menu and our other interactions with Joseph, we noted a nice southern drawl. He kept our glasses of pomegranate ginger ale full. The menu calls it "The Original Shirley Temple," I might differ with that, but I really enjoy the tang of the pomegranate juice and the ginger, even though there are no cherries.
By the end of the meal, Joseph had become Joe. Peg had wondered if his accent was affected and so she eventually asked him where he was from. "Here," he responded, "but I moved to Mississippi as a child." (He said it slower, however.) As an adult he moved back to Tacoma and now most of his family are here, also. He is a perfect waiter for WildFin. He's friendly, attentive, and informal . . . much like WildFin.
Peg and I left the restaurant with smiles and a nice memory. We walked hand and hand past a family with several young children. We laughed as one little girl, perhaps two years old and trailing the herd, stopped, hugged a building stone and gave it an open mouth kiss. Peg and I had a great time, but we didn't kiss any buildings.
Since we already had our tickets we walked into the theater and straight to our seats. For the 12:30 afternoon showing, it was the Point Ruston Doman Cinemark Theater. We were the only people there for Race: "Jesse Owens' quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy." I never had the idea that Jesse Owens was on a quest, he did win four gold medals, however. I thought the first part of the movie was a little slow and didn't think the movie got going until he hit Berlin. The most moving part came when Jesse, played by Stephan James, was befriended by the German broad jump champion, Carl Ludwig "Luz" Long, played by David Kross. Long encouraged Owens to take a final jump even though he had already beaten Long's record-setting jump and won the contest. Owens jumped once more and broke his own record, then the two of them ran arm and arm in a victory lap around the stadium. I don't know if that part was true, but Long did help Owens. Long was an attorney who later served in the German army and was eventually killed in Sicily (1943). Long was awarded posthumously The Pierre de Coubertin medal (also known as the True Spirit of Sportsmanship medal) in 1964 (the first time it was given).
Owens suffered monetary problems throughout his life. He died in 1980. "A few months before his death, Owens had tried unsuccessfully to convince President Jimmy Carter to withdraw his demand that the United States boycott the 1980 Moscow Olympics. He argued that the Olympic ideal was supposed to be observed as a time-out from war and that it was above politics."
After the movie, I walked back to the car and drove it to the loading zone outside the theater. As I waited for Peg, I reflected on a wonderful day. I laughed again at the memory of the little girl kissing the building. Although we had no children with us, my date with Peg had really started for me with the family of grandparents and children taking photographs with the rabbit sculpture. The loading zone ends right at the Hip Hop sculpture. Dancing rabbits . . . Alice in Wonderland . . . little kids . . . my wife and best friend . . . and memories.
Peg and I went home and relaxed for a few hours before heading out to an excellent roast pork and sweet potatoes Friday night dinner with friends. By nine Peg was in her favorite chair reading a book, watching Father Brown on TV, and napping. I was probably already asleep.