In today's GOEAT I write about Enoteca, a tiny and tasty wine and cheese bar in Tacoma's Stadium District. Here are some other places in the South Sound that I think serve good cheese.
Isa Mira Gourmet Cheese and Cafe
3313 Harborview Drive, Gig Harbor, 253-857-7511
The tiny waterfront cafe serves about 50 cheeses – from delicate Purple Haze, a goat cheese scented with lavender and fennel, to the deliciously sludgy Roaring 40s, a stinky blue from Down Under. Guinness cheddar from Ireland is what it sounds like, and there is a bit of stout goodness in the checkerboard cheese. Mango-ginger Stilton is better than it sounds.
They're all sold by the ounce ($1 to $1.20 per ounce). Four-cheese sample boards with grapes and baguette are $10.95. Half-pound boards are $19.99. One-pound boards are $26.95. (A cheese-and-proscuitto board with toasted pine nuts is $15.99.)
Pour at Four
3814 N 26th St., Tacoma, 253-761-8015
Cheff Matt Brandsey says Grand Pont L'Eveque, a thick-rind soft French cheese, "is probably the stinkiest cheese I've ever encountered. You can smell the farm right on it."
That's one reason to try the $8 cheese plate, currently featuring 1.5 ounces of the following cheeses: Mimolette, a semi-hard tangerine-orange French cheddar; Persille du Beaujolais, a mild French blue; and Tomme de Savoie, a light and nutty semi-soft French Alps cheese. Cheeses are served with dried dates and cranberries, plus three kinds of crackers.
The Mark Olympia
409 Columbia St. SW, Olympia, 360-754-4414
Tunes in the retro dining den ranged from tiki to James Brown when I dropped in for cheese. So it's a bit disappointing that The Mark's cheese plates are not as broadly arranged. To wit: There's no combo cheese plate.
The menu currently features four cheeses, served individually: Idiazabal, a hard Basque smoked sheeps milk cheese; Mirableu, a mild-mannered Spanish blue; Pave D'Affinois, a soft French cow's milk; and Manchego, a hard Spanish sheep's milk cheese.
They're all beautiful cheeses. They're nattily presented, with bread and olive oil, or in the case of the Spanish blue, with honey and walnuts. Prices ($9.50/$9.75) overpower portions (about 2 ounces of cheese and four slices of bread).
Waterstreet Cafe + Bar
610 Water St., Olympia, 360-709-9090
Save three bucks and go with the $17 sampler. You'll get all five featured cheeses, with olives, crostini and quince preserves. Otherwise, each cheese is $4 per ounce. Or $2.50 per half ounce, with cheese and fruit, during happy hours (4:30-6:30 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays, 4:30-9 p.m. Sundays).
This month's cheeses are all from Spain: Idiazabal; Drunken Goat, aged 75 days; Nevat, with tangy-sweet penicillin mold; Cabrales Valdeon Blue, a tangy, earthy cow-and-goat's milk blend; and Mahon, a creamy, nutty cow's milk cheese.
813 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, 253-722-5079
Try three cheeses, with candied walnuts and pecans, apples, grapes and baguette slices for $12. A five-cheese platter is $15. This week, there's Stilton, Gorgonzola, brie, Manchego, and Compte.
2119 Pacific Ave., Tacoma 253-882-0009
After dropping a bundle on beef, it's nice to receive a little complimentary something-something. El Gaucho's apres-dinner cheese is Roquefort, served with a towering presentation of nuts and fruit.