For the third installment of Jack and Mimi’s Cheap Date, Mimi and I had decided to go to the Pacific Grill. I had heard they had a new menu and I wanted to go someplace nice. Not to mention, I’d been meaning to go to dinner at Pacific Grill ever since owner and chef, Gordon Naccarato was kind enough to join me for 5 Question Friday last year.
We arrived Friday night without a reservation and sat at the bar until there was a table ready for us. We looked over the menu which included many small plates that were intended to be shared family style. Mimi and I talked about how to work this into the rules of ‘Jack and Mimi’s Cheap Date’ which are that we order the two cheapest entrees on the menu. And then something happened.
“I don’t care what we do next,” Mimi said, “but no matter what I’m ordering the Soy Whiskey Whiskey Chicken.”
This was not the cheapest thing on the menu but at $8.95 it was also not the most expensive. The description said “chicken thighs marinated in soy, garlic, bourbon + ginger w/ smoky sweet potato salad.“ I entirely understood why Mimi wanted it. However, since rules are rules, it was clear that we were no longer on a ‘Cheap Date’. And so I ordered a full plate of ‘Stan the Man’s Killer Clam Linguine’ for $24.
Mimi’s chicken was tender and juicy, but the real treat was the smoked potato salad. The clams in my clam linguine were crazy good and the full plate was indeed full. Luckily I had a big appetite. Later, Gordon stopped by our table and we finally met face to face. He told us how the dish I was eating was named for his father, Stan Naccarato who used to make that dish all the time when Gordon was younger.
Mimi and I had a great dinner at a great place, but we still had a column to write. We were too full of good food to go somewhere else. So Saturday morning we decided we’d fix this problem by having ‘Jack & Mimi’s Cheap Breakfast’.
And so we went to Tacoma’s Old Milwaukee Café on 6th Ave. Mimi had been telling me about this place for weeks and I’d never been there. Located at 3102 S. 6th Ave., the Old Milwaukee has been a local favorite for fourteen years. It’s run by a couple named Pat and Chad. She waits tables. He cooks. There are eight tables and the whole place probably couldn’t fit more than twenty people in it comfortably.
When we arrived around 9am on Saturday morning, all of the tables were taken and there were a couple of people already waiting. We needed a table for three as Mimi’s mother had chosen to join us for breakfast. While there was no list, Pat made it clear that we were to sit when and where she wanted us to sit. As she put it, “I’ve got you handled.” We were seated after 15 minutes.
Mimi ordered two eggs sunny side up along with home fries and English muffins for $6.99. I ordered thick sliced bacon and scrambled eggs with hash browns and English muffins for $8.99. We also had coffee.
The atmosphere in the place was friendly though I noticed a few parties arrive and leave as they saw that the entire place was packed. Unfortunately Mimi had to work at ten and ended up leaving before our food had arrived. We let the waitress know that while Mimi was leaving, we’d still be bringing the food to her.
My bacon and eggs arrived. The first thing I noticed was that they weren’t kidding about the thick sliced bacon. It was good, thick, and tasty. The hash browns were just that right balance of crunchy but not burned.
When it came time to go, our waitress had the cook freshly make Mimi’s eggs. I asked Mimi later what she thought of the food to go. She said, “I liked it. It’s also the simplest thing I’ve eaten there.”
So there you have it. Jack & Mimi’s Cheap Date didn’t go exactly as planned, but I think in this case that was mostly a good thing.
– Jack Cameron
Jack & Mimi’s Cheap Date by the numbers:
Address: 1502 Pacific Ave., Tacoma, WA 98402
Soy Whiskey Chicken: $8.95
Stan The Man’s Killer Clam Linguine: $24
Old Milwaukee Cafe
3102 6th Ave., Tacoma, WA 98406
Two Eggs: $6.99
Thick Sliced Bacon and Eggs: $8.99
*Note: Jack & Mimi’s Cheap Date does not include drinks, tax, or tip. I’m a bit of a drink snob, tips are very subjective, and sales tax is 9.5% for those who need exact numbers.