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Showing posts from November, 2008

Tito Macaroni's (Cda)

210 E Sherman Ave
Coeur d 'Alene, ID 83814
(208) 667-2782

Here's why I like Titos: My kid gets to don a tall white hat, go to the kitchen with the chef and make his own pizza. I do like the minestrone soup, pomadoro angel hair pasta and the steamed clams, but it's about my youngest son who gets into playing chef that truly that makes it delightful.

Hogan's

2977 E 29th Ave
Spokane, WA 99223
(509) 535-7567

Lost in the 50's - this diner takes you there.
I always try to sit in a comfy booth, but my son prefers the stools at the formica counter to watch the cooks - so that's usually where we are. He likes to chat it up with the cooks and watch them make our meal. The staff has little turnover, so if they don't know your name they usually recognize you after you've been in a few times. They serve breakfast all day and the hash browns are nice and crispy. I prefer the breakfast there, but they make a good old fashioned shake with the extra in the silver mixing cup (love that)
For some unknown and silly reason we started calling it Snag-ohs, which is Hogan's backwards.

Luna

5620 South Perry Street
Spokane, WA 99203
(509) 448-2383

Oh, DO get FRESH with me.

Luna serves wonderful FRESH gourmet food in a delightful and tasteful decor.
Wonderful weekend breakfasts, which include one of the best eggs benedicts EVER, served with perfectly roasted potatoes.
I adore the Luna Signature Salad (cranberries and candied walnuts) and delightful Crab Bisque. Dinners are exquisite and Luna boasts an very impressive wine list. There is a nice little bar that serves a wonderful lemon drop.
Luna also has one of the best garden patios for dining el fresco.
By now you must be saying; sounds so blissful, what go anywhere else?
They are stuck up and over priced. Okay, I said it.
So once in awhile, I can't help myself. Its close to home and I know what I want without a menu.
But here on the South Hill, I have choices.

DOMA Coffee Roasting Company

Coffee with a cause.

While dining out, when the coffee has been noticeably good enough to ask what they pour - its DOMA. Not just now and then, but every time.

DOMA Coffee Roasting Company is a small family-owned roastery located in North Idaho. DOMA is certified organic, fair trade and direct relationship coffee.It must be Coffee Karma. Character is what is revealed by what you do when no one is looking. DOMA has plenty of character. DOMA's company culture and ethics is as rich and soulful as the coffee they roast. Therefore you end up with a great cup o' joe.

PS - So far I've discovered DOMA is poured at Lindamans, Madeleine's, Bittersweet, Ferrante's and available online for home coffee bliss. www.domacoffee.com

Big Al's Country Club

6131 E Seltice Way
Stateline, ID 83854
(208) 777-8312

Most fun you have with your boots on.

Big Al's Country Club (Formally Kelly's) is the area's largest honky tonk. Okay, I honestly couldn't hang there more than a once a year and the band has got to be good one or forget it.

If you are looking to relive the Kelly's days, The Kelly Hughes band does still occasionally play there. Now and then a Marlboro man type will show up and you'll think you CAN do country. You can't count on that, so go with a big group and whoop it up.

There's dance lessons and bar games ( keg races, hoops for beer). Let's face it without a drink, its hard to ride the mechanical bull and it only looks sexy in movies.
So my vote is to laugh at everybody else doing it and take a pass.

Villagio

2013 E 29th Ave
Spokane, WA 99203
(509) 532-0327

Here's a tasty yet tragic tale, that you just know isn't going to end well.

I've been to Villagio only twice. That's at least one time too many.
This is a quaint place with cheery red umbrellas on the patio. Nice crisp decor with personable owners, obviously living their dream of owning and operating a neighborhood restaurant.

When we arrived the small patio was pretty full. There was no one in the compact, yet well laid out restaurant, besides a couple of preoccupied employees. Somehow, we walked in completely undetected (?) We politely stood by the door chatting and waiting. No one acknowledged our presence for an uncomfortable amount of time. I wondered if we had somehow gained super powers and were in stealth mode. Finally, the guy less than ten feet away with his back to us, turned around just long enough to inform us we could take any table. Okay, we can do that.

The wait staff did take our order and slowly got us …

Forza Coffee Company

2929 E 29th Ave
Spokane, WA 99223
(509) 535-7179

Updated Post November 2008
Betty and I complained on line to the company headquarters, even sending them the previous review.
They responded promptly via email and said they'd address it with the franchise owner.
Ta da! Two days later - new music!
A little review wields some major power and we are done with oh so sad songs. Now it's the ideal hot spot.

Original Post - Dated September 2008
When this placed opened it quickly became our usual stop to rant, rave and plan our escape from our careers. Great assagio toasted bagels, pretty decent coffee, a cozy fireplace and free WI-FI for all.
We called it our corporate office and became instant regulars.
But here's where they lost the stars - the music. Sad song central. Seriously, if you came in feeling positive, you left feeling bummed out. With so many niche XM stations out there this may be called music to lose all hope to. We joked about with the baristas and they unanimously ag…

Dick's Hamburgers

10 E 3rd Ave
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 747-2481

Sometimes you just need a dirty burger and greasy fries.
When thats the case, Dick's Drive-In is the place. Dick's has been a Spokane tradition since the early 60's. A walk up window and some unsanitary picnic benches are about it. Most people eat in their cars. But there's a certain charm to the whole experience and you can count on them to be open late.
Professionals, students, families and those down-and-out all unite at Dick's Drive-In.
They sell burgers by the bagful and true natives order a whammy five, fries and a shake.
I go a couple times a year. No, its not going to win a gourmet award for best burger but once in awhile its just about perfect.

The Shop

924 S Perry St
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 534-1647

The South Perry neighborhood got a little more character when an old gas station was refurbished into a coffee house and simply named The Shop.
Besides the good coffee and the usual baked goods, The Shop has quickly became more than just a neighborhood coffee destination. Parking-lot concerts and the highly anticipated summer night movies series, shown on a adjacent building create summer traditions that extend business beyond the morning commute. The original artwork constantly changes the unique decor and the taco truck is frequently parked out front giving you just one more reason to stop by.

Huckleberry Natural Markets

926 S Monroe St
Spokane, WA 99204
(509) 624-1349

Rock on crouton!
Fresh, organic and delicious. Wonderful salads, savory quiches, and great sandwiches are just a few choices at the Bistro located inside Huckleberries Natural Market. Its a tad bit pricey, but immediately you can taste what your missing if you don't shop organic and local. There are many ready made entrees for gourmet-to-go meals when you don't feel like cooking and vast and unique wine section will have you paired up in no time. The juice and espresso bar make it a great place to gather. There's a decadent bakery, picture perfect fresh produce and a good selection bulk foods.

AMC Theaters

808 W Main Ave Ste 334
Spokane, WA 99201 (509) 747-3456
This is my favorite place to see a flick. I think it's the comfy high back seats that make the difference. Its called AMC 20 - since there's suppose to be 20 theaters on three floors. I call "No way" on this one. I haven't counted, but if you look at whats playing, they certainly aren't using all 20 screens, if they have them. Regardless, there's at least a dozen in use, which provides plenty of selection. A nice touch is the $5 movies before noon. Save your ticket stub as they validate parking. Let's face it many movies aren't worth more than that, so its nice to see a cheap new release. The theater is extremely clean and well maintained which adds to a good experience. Same-O Same-O on the food and drinks - popcorn, hot dogs and over sized boxes junior mints... I suggest packing in your own snack or since you're downtown, you have many great choices for grabbing something tasty before o…

ROW Adventures

314 E Garden Ave
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814
(800) 451-6034

Row Row Row your raft...

We went with Row Adventures for a class 3 white water rafting trip down the Clark Fork.
We had a great day riding the rapids! Our guide, Ivan was the best, helping us to maneuver through best parts of the rapids. With Ivan's guidance of rowing in just the right direction, we actually backed up on the river and had a do-over on one of the best rapids of the day.
We stopped to jump off rocks and had lunch on a riverside beach.
Here's where we were disapointed. Lunch was nothing special, which may have been acceptable if we hadn't had a gourmet lunch with a competing company the year before.
Make-your-own-sandwiches just doesn't cut it compared to the spread they served us.
Sorry Row. We gotta go back, even if its just for the lunch

Pangaea River Rafting

18 S. Fork Nemote Creek Rd
Superior, MT 59872 (877) 239-2392 http://www.leaveboringbehind.com/ Dearest Pangaea,
We are so very sorry. I'm not sure why we did this. We had such a good time with you rafting the Clark Fork, we went with ANOTHER rafting company this year.
Crazy, I know. Doesn't make any sense. The only thing they have on you is sassy RED rafts that look great in pictures. That's it.
Very same stretch of the river in the same style rafts.
You had good guides, they had good guides.
The difference came down to LUNCH! You got us with the gourmet spread you served versus the make-your-own sandwiches they set up. Of course, the river didn't disappoint. It really came down to the lunch and that made all the difference.
Missing you and looking forward to seeing you next summer,
River Rats

Wall Street Diner

4428 N Wall St
Spokane, WA 99205
(509) 325-4730

Tucked away in more of a residential area on, you guessed it, Wall Street, is a one of my very favorite places for breakfast. You can sit at the bar and watch the kitchen prep or grab a booth, but either way you're gonna to love the breakfast. Good things come to those who wait and on a weekend you're definitely waiting. Don't give up, its worth it. Perfectly crisp hash browns are a standout and your breakfast will not disappoint. So what's the big hurry, some things are worth waiting for.

Bennidito's Pizza

1426 S Lincoln St (South Hill)
Spokane, WA 99203
(509) 455-7411

When the moon hits your eye like a big pizza pie, that's amore.
Bennidito's is the place for a bucket of beers and some really good Za. The unpretentious and laid back style can sometimes result in inattentive service, but all is forgiven when the thin crust perfectly baked pizza arrives.
Bennidito's has some grown-up and gourmet combinations, along with the usual pizza offerings. The calzones are fantastic as well.
When the weather is decent, I prefer the intimate deck, but the newly expanded interior means you don't have to wait anymore. That's Amore!

The Centenial Trail

(Spokane, WA. to Cda, Idaho) Hit the road jack, and I bet you'll be back!
The Centenial Trail is a 81 mile non motorized path connecting Spokane to Coeur d'Alene and for the most part is along side the Spokane River. Walk/run, in-line skate, or bike, but get out there and enjoy it. There are places to canoe, kayak, rock climb, fish and swim along the way. Log on the website for a map with access points and choose a manageable stretch to explore. Five mile to Post Falls is considered the Centenial Trail (37 miles) and Post Falls to Cda (24 miles) is considered the North Idaho Centenial Trail. So you better get busy, thats a lot of trail to cover. Its always been peaceful regardless of the 1.75 million people that access this trail every year. Keep your eye open for wildlife and know there's plentiful places for the perfect picnic. We like to to start at Minihaha rock climbing area and continue on to a stop at the Rocket Bakery for a little snack. The trail has both urban and …

Donut Parade

2152 N Hamilton St
Spokane, WA 99207 (509) 487-9003
Not just any donut will do.
I'm not even a big donut fan. But these...these I like.
You can't miss it - the yellow vertical sign spells out the word "Donuts" on the corner of Hamilton and Indiana. They've been doing this over 30 years, so lets just say they got this one. For fluffy, sugary deep fried bliss you need to check it out. It's a unpretentious place for coffee and conversation. Always a few elderly gentleman huddled together over coffee and oh-just-one-more. They are content as all-get-out and you just know they've been doing this for quite some time. My co-worker used to randomly bring hot maple bars to the office. Always liked that guy. Published in Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living Magazine February 2009

Tracy's Jewelers

8800 N Division St
Spokane, WA 99208 (509) 467-5132
Now the building matches the bling, as Tracy's has recently moved into it's new oh-so-nice showroom in the Spokane Valley. This family owned and operated jewelry store with fabulous designer collections has been a tradition for generations of area families since 1950. Besides some of the coveted designer lines, Tracy's has unparalleled customer service that sets it apart from every other jeweler in town.
There's an cute espresso stand next door, so you can play Holly Golightly and have Breakfast at Tracy's.
(Published in Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living Magazine, November 2008, Best of)

Spa Paradiso

10 S Post St
Spokane, WA 99201 (509) 747-3529 http://www.spaparadiso.com/

Spa Ta Da!

Okay, you feel pretty special just walking into the Davenport, BUT have you been to the spa in the basement? Oh la la! Ahh, paridise found. This little oasis is waiting to pamper you like the princess you are. All right its not just for us girls or fabulous gentlemen. They even have a "Sports" package, so your manhood can justify it. We know you want to. SP not the cheapest, but this is worth the splurge. Don't wait for a special occassion. Don't you deserve this? Just hand over your money and make the statement that you know your worth with no regrets. A mani-pedi and glass of champagne at Spa Paradiso is a treat you must indulge in. At least once. Beware! Nail care is often a starter spa treatment and before you know you'll be making an appointment for the day of beauty. You could become addicted, a real spa junky. Its okay, you're not alone. I'll go with you. (Published in S…

Ferrante's Marketplace Cafe

4516 S Regal St
Spokane, WA 99223
(509) 443-6304 http://www.doitalian.com/
Someday, my prince will come. Until then, I'll be charmed by Ferrante's Marketplace Cafe The restaurant is a quaint Cafe nestled by the soccer field on the South Hill.
Small cafe tables, wrought-iron lamps hanging from the ceiling and the walls are painted a deep olive and dark chocolate, which may be the perfect combination. There's even a delightful gift shop with unique and special finds. One for you, one for me.... The menu is simple classic Italian. Ferrante's specialty is perfect hand-tossed thin crust pizzas, just-right baked calzones, creative salads and Italian street-side quality Gelato. They use only the freshest ingredients available and that makes all the difference. There's a small room in the back with one table, where there are chalkboard walls and a TV with classic cartoons usually playing perfect for a small family gathering.
Though the varieties change up, I can't pass up the…

The Melting Pot

707 W Main Ave Crescent Bldg, Skywalk Level Spokane, WA 99201
http://www.meltingpot.com/

Some things should not make a comeback. Fondue however definitely should and did thanks to the fairly recent opening of The Melting Pot in downtown Spokane. At the Melting Pot, dinner is an event within itself, so expect to linger longer and enjoy yourself. Everything from your appetizer all the way to dessert takes a dip right there on your table cook top. You be amazed at what you can fondue and how incredibly yummy it is. Who knew pineapple dipped in chocolate infused with baileys would be so good? Sure there are other Melting Pots in other cities, but Spokane's is special in decor and design and a dream of a local business owner, William Miller who is passionate about his first venture as a restaurateur. Though when all is done it adds up to a spendy dinner, but the MP is worth the occasional splurge for a memorable evening.

The Viking Tavern

1221 N Stevens St
Spokane, WA 99201 (509) 326-2942
Giving Beer the respect it deserves. The Viking Tavern boasts 100 different bottled beers and 35 beers on tap.
Bring your passport and tour the world by beer at this traditional pub. The Viking tavern has been offering the best selection of common and uncommon brews along with uncommonly good grub for over 30 years.

(This mini-article I wrote was published in Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living Magazine, November 2008, Best of)

Hudson's Hamburgers (Cda)

207 E Sherman Ave
Coeur d'Alene, ID 83814 (208) 664-5444
Simply delicious!
Quite possibly one of the best burgers of all time. It's worth the wait for one of the just 17 chrome stools at the formica counter. Hudsons has been a Cda tradition for almost 100 years. That should really say it all. The menu is short and steady yourself - there are no fries! But just ask any local and they don't care about the fries, because at Hudsons, it's all about the burger and the pie. The secret - the owners says its the beef supplier but after 100 years, the Hudson family knows a thing or two about how to cook a burger.
(This min-article I wrote was published in Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living Magazine, November 2008, Best of... Spotlight Cda)

Latah Creek Winery

Latah Creek Wine Cellars, Ltd.
13030 E. Indiana Ave. Spokane, WA 99216 http://www.latahcreek.com/
The HUCKLEBERRY D'LATAH is reason enough to be a fan of this local winery.
We've dubbed it a perfect Summer Wine, as its light and delightful. We all know it's the regional Huckleberry that makes this Riesling our favorite. To take it for a whirl stop by the tasting room, conveniently located just off I-90. There you'll find an unexpected shopping opportunity. Latah Creek Winery can boast one of the best gift shop at a tasting room. You'll find Gourmet foods and wine related accessories that provide the perfect pairing to the award winning wines. Wine does make a good gift. Cheers!

(Published in spokane Coeur d'Alene Living Magazine, November 2008, Best of..)

The Two Seven Public House

The Two Seven Public House
(South Hill)
2727 S Mt Vernon St
Spokane, WA 99223 (509) 473-9766 www.wedonthaveone.com


Updated Post: Dated October 2008

All is well again on the South Hill.. After a loooong hiatus, I returned to Two-Seven-Five.
The waitress reassuranced me that the recipe had not been altered, so I ordered the corn pasta salad as my accompaniment. Yes, it was my old favorite. "Kick" and all.

Original Post: Dated July 2008

Here's the way I looked at it. The Elk opened on the South Hill. If you happened to read my review of the Elk, you'd know I am passionate about the place, and especially about the corn pasta salad as my favorite meal accompaniment. So when I heard the buzz about a South Hill location to be called The Two Seven Public House, I was thrilled. The atmosphere is similar (laid back and unpretentious) and the menu (whew) was almost identical.
But today was a sad day. My corn pasta salad was very different. Elbow noodles and NO KICK. That's right, s…

Tangerine

Tangerine
Downtown Spokane

Dream in Tangerine.
Downtown Real Estate specialist Patricia Sampson recently dreamed up Tangerine, a new women's clothing boutique located by the newly closed CenterStage. I adore the decor - its an urban warehouse feel, including a wall painted in what else but the signature color - tangerine. Cool funky clothing giving us yet another reason to shop locally. Tangerine carries unique lines ripe for the picking in a store you want to hang out at.

(Published in Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living Magazine, New to Town November 2008,Coco Irving)

360

360
1 North Post
Down town Spokane

Pulling a 360!

Fugazzi at Hotel Lusso may be a restaurant you simply forgot about , but now is the time to get reacquainted, as its done a complete 360 with a new owner, new look and new menu. William Webster, owner of Zola and Isabella's Gin Joint adds another downtown establishment to his entourage with the newly revamped 360, taking over where Fugazzi once was on the corner of Post and Sprague. The décor has changed. We're calling it modern metro with its sleek lines and bold contrasts. The menu selection reminds us a bit of Fugazzi before we stopped going there with steaks, seafood and Italian influenced selections. 360 will provide full room service for the Hotel.

(Published in Spokane Coeur d'Alene Living Magazine November 2008, by one of my pen names Coco Irving)

***This is now CLOSED and now is revamped by the new owners as Post Street Pub.

First Night Spokane

Since 2001, more than 100,000 people have attended First Night Spokane, making it the biggest and best New Year's Celebration in the Inland Northwest. First Night features a combination of visual and performing arts and takes over downtown businesses, event centers and streets.
There's a party going on and the whole family is invited. So bundle up and join the fun. If you've never been before, here's what to expect at the biggest New Year's Party ever:

*One of the best fireworks shows of the year in Riverfront Park.
*You can see chainsaw ice carving and then Irish dancing. You can listen to African drumming, rock and roll, the Spokane Symphony, and Big Band Swing all in one night. *Take in the Children's parade, watch street performers and the popular snowboard rail jam in Riverfront Park. And there is much more!
Each adult will need a First Night button, which runs $12 when purchased in advance. There are a number of locations where you can get buttons in advance…

RiverPark Square

River Park Square
808 W Main Ave
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 232-3377
http://www.riverparksquare.com/

I'm not a mall shopper. It could be the fluorescent lights, the horrible architecture, the endless parking lots or that it seams like every mall in America has exactly the same stores with the same inventory. Meh!
RiverPark Square, located in downtown Spokane, however I like. It has a galleria-type feel and there are some original-to-Spokane shops such as Labor of Love Creations, Washington State based Bohem's Chocolates and Children's Corner Books. There are solid collection of chains stores, most of which I do like such as Banana, Pottery Barn, Restoration Hardware, Ann Taylor , Albercrombie, Black House White Market, and William & Sonoma to name drop a few. There's a Children's museum, Mosaic in in the basement and Twig's, a locally owned martini bar which serves unmall-like bistro style food on the top floor by AMC theaters, that boasts 20 screens.
There…

Luigis Italian Restaurant

Luigi's Italian Restaurant
245 W Main Ave
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 624-5226


If I made a list of restaurants that could use a good scrubbing, Luigi's would be on it. They are passed due for carpet cleaning and need to look into carpet replacement. Yes, it's that bad. The whole place could use a good professional cleaning. I have had some really good experiences there in the past, however last night one of them and apparently they haven't cleaned too much since then. We were seated up in the banquet room (over flow area) by a drafty single paned window. Upon commenting it was a little cold by the window, his demeanor and lack of effort to see if there was another table option told us our waiter couldn't care less, so we just kept our coats on. Our waiter went on to be inattentive and not only never asked if he wanted more wine or bread, he didn't even refill our waters until we were ready to go. My wine had cork in it and to the waiter's credit he noticed it u…

Morty's Bar & Grille

Morty's Bar & Grille
5517 S Regal
Spokane, WA 99223


The menu features bar fare with pizazz with tasty offering such as Alaskan Amber, hand-dipped halibut and chips, steak kebobs and a variety of specialty hot wings. Morty's is a great place to watch sports. This is some really good food. Who says you can't go gourmet while watching a Sunday beating? The Korean stir-fry, slow-roasted prime rib dinner and shrimp ravioli is a dead giveaway that Morty's serves gourmet grub. Even with the fancy food, prices are reasonable and nothing, including the Surf & Turf is over $15. Appetizers averaging around $5 and lunch coming in under $8 means you don't have to spend a lot to enjoy above-average bar food.

Morty's Tap & Grille is a neighborhood bar with a modern décor. The panel walls echo that of a manor estate that contrast nicely with the cool hammered steel-top tables. There's an abundance of conveniently scattered TVs and comfortable seating making th…

Waddell's Pub & Grille

Waddell's Pub & Grille
4318 S Regal St
Spokane, WA 99256
(509) 443-6500

Reminiscent of an Irish Pub with warm wood paneling and hunter green booths, Waddell's Neighborhood Pub & Grille feels like a well-established watering hole, despite being less than two years old.

The Sunday Ticket and DirecTV Sports Package ensures your game will be shown on one of the seven conveniently scattered TVs. There are two more in the restrooms so you won't miss a play.

There are 20 draft beers on tap, over 50 chilled bottled beers and grab your passport because Waddell's can take you around the world with the Beer Sampler: for $20 you get 20 taster-size International selections.

Gameday specials include $8.50 Hefeweizen pitchers and $6 Coors Light pitchers during all NFL games.

As the weather turns colder, the Guinness Stew orders pick up. This stout chunky beef stew slow cooked with carrots, potatoes, onions, and celery can be ordered with mashed potatoes to make it into shephe…