We had a beautiful day for breakfast at Smoke + Cedar. I had attended a golf tournament committee meeting a few weeks back at this golf course restaurant and had an excellent Prime Rib Dip. Since the restaurant is associated with Pacific Grill in downtown Tacoma, I had great hopes. Pacific Grill is one of my favorite Tacoma restaurants - great food and great customer service. I had already heard some disgruntlements about the prices and the food, but I always keep an open mind and a ready fork.
My hair Barber? Stylist? Salon operator? Sharon Levenson thought the selections for the Sunday brunch came up short. I wasn't there for brunch, but I was ready to tackle breakfast.
Quite often six of us meet for breakfast on Sundays. We're three long-time married couples and two of us were celebrating twenty-two years. Snarky comments about each other provide much of the entertainment for our weekly gatherings. We were sitting on the partially glassed in patio and debating the possibilities of an errant golf ball gate-crashing our affair.
Service seemed a little slow, especially for being just after nine and a light crowd. We discussed this at great length. Everything seemed awkward. Just getting seated took several minutes even after waiting a few minutes to be greeted. Our viewpoint? Each wait person has a large area to cover and the station at our end of the patio hadn’t been set up yet, despite being two hours after opening.
I ordered the Biscuits and Sawmill Gravy. I asked for the hash browns to be "Burnt, burnt, burnt, with an onion cut up in them." I was told there might be an extra charge on top of the $8.95 for my selection. My friends all knew it was a test anyway. Most restaurants don't do biscuits well, but I always order them the first time, just in case I'm surprised. The same goes with hash browns. I like them cooked extra crispy.
The gravy was a little thin for my taste and I didn't understand the reason for cutting the biscuits in half and toasting them. Who would ask for extra dry biscuits? However, the hash browns were absolutely perfect. The next time around I'll order sourdough toast instead of biscuits. Peg and I were the last ones served in our group and I was virtually finished with breakfast by the time salt and pepper arrived.
Peg had the smoked steelhead on a toasted bagel. We were a little disappointed when we found out that they serve it on a bagel and not on a thin cracker like they have at Pacific Grill. However, Peg was not disappointed in the taste. The poppyseed cream cheese was a perfect bed for this northwest treasure. The red onions and capers along with the cucumbers and tomatoes were excellent additions. I even got a bite.
Our friend Jan had whole grain pancakes with raspberries and pumpkin seeds served with maple syrup. She loved it. Her husband Mike had oatmeal. To me oatmeal is deceiving. It looks good enough to eat, but it's not. But then, that's just me.
Our friend Donn had what we assumed was a frittata, but turned out to be a Joe’s Special, scrambled eggs with spinach, mushrooms, and cheese. Donn grumbled about the additional $1 for mushrooms. He thought they should have been offered with the dish. I disagree, however. My friend Randy hates mushrooms. He would have complained the other way. I think I would have enjoyed the meal as it was . . . perhaps with bacon on the side, which, by the way is the only way it's served at Smoke + Cedar. What are they thinking?
Like my biscuits and gravy going salt and pepper-free until half-way through the meal, Donn suffered the same misfortune with his scramble cum frittata. I think four of the five us would try Smoke + Cedar again. Donn probably won't, but then his wife Debbie wasn't there, so that decision isn't his to make. The wait-staff was friendly and helpful, the view inside the glass-protected patio was beautiful, the food was good and I anticipate a move forward to outstanding, but management should look at creating half-way-stations to help the staff deliver top service. Management should also look at adding bacon into their breakfast selections. Just a few tweaks here and there and they'll become one of my favorite restaurants to recommend.
Our friends went home to work and nap. Peg and I continued to Sprinker in Parkland, where we joined our son and watched our grandson Riley play baseball. They finished third in the tournament, but lost six to four in the game we saw. It was a beautiful day. Our son Patrick brought along a canopy that shaded most of the bleacher where we sat – thank God! It was fun watching Riley play. The highlight was Riley's double; he drove in two runs then stole third. Then he caused an error and walked in for the run. He was responsible for three of their four runs. What a good player.
In-between watching the game we kept a close eye on a mama osprey and her chick atop a nearby pole.
After the baseball game Patrick picked up everything and the two of them, before the final ceremony, drove to Riley’s soccer championship tournament, which they won. All in all I think Riley played five or six baseball games and three or four soccer matches over the weekend. I’d have been exhausted just by the mid-80s weather!