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First Taste of Spring

In Knife & Fork on March 30, 2009 at 3:47 pm

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The sweet, tender stalks of asparagus placed temptingly just inside the front door of area grocery stores are the first dependable sign of spring. Bundled in bunches, wrapped in string or rubber bands and displayed upright, like a box of tulips or daffodils in the flower market, they herald a return to sunshine and blue skies. Whether the vegetable is served as a side dish at Easter dinner, grilled with steaks for the first meal on the patio, or chopped and blended into eggs for a Saturday morning omelet, the taste is unique. In the coming weeks look for fresh asparagus at your area winter farmers’ market:

Community Building Winter Farmers’ Market: Organic artisan breads, pastries, fruits, vegetables, and free-range eggs and beef, plus local arts and craafts and live music. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursdays. Community Building Lobby, 35 W. Main Ave.; 509.232.1950

Community Roots Winter Market: This monthly winter market is the second Sunday of each mont, and will transition to a weekly Sunday market in late spring. Brouth to you by PEACH/People for Environmental Action & Community Health, a non-profit dedicated to creating a “Buy Local” economy by connecting local foods and goods with local people. 11 a.m.-4 p.m. April 19. Fresh Abundance, 2015 N. Division; 509.533.2724.

Local Market CdA: Kosher beef, lamb, chicken, wild caught salmon, fruits and vegetables, homemade bread and pasta, tofu, salsa, coffee, tea, honey and eggs, plus arts & crafts. 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays through April. Inside the Plaza Shops at 210 Sherman ave., Coeur d’Alene; 208.659.4213.

Millwood Farmers’ Market: Locally raised chicken, beef, winter vegetables, artisan breads and pastries, and local craafts. Noon-5 p.m. Wednesdays. Crossing Youth Center, just east of the Millwood Presbyterian Church parking lot, 8919 E. Euclid Ave.; 509.924.2350.

New Deli in The Garland

In Knife & Fork on March 18, 2009 at 8:45 pm

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The Corner Store Deli and Espresso has been open for about a month, in the former Andy’s Teriyaki location inside the Price Rite on Garland and Post. It’s too bad the Price Rite isn’t a little more ambitious—it’s a great location and the store itself reminds us of neighborhood bodegas in cities on the East Coast: Crowded corner stores started by Puerto Rican and Dominican entrepreneurs in the 60s and 70s. They typically offer just enough of a selection for neighborhood residents to get by without hopping on the bus or hoofing it to a larger chain grocer. This one even offers a very limited assortment of fresh produce, although the bananas were a tad old and the tomatoes weren’t overly ripe.

Back to the deli: We stopped in the other day and picked up the special: Reuben on marbled rye with a cup of chicken-n-rice soup for $6.75. Definitely one of the better Reubens we’ve tried. And the soup was pretty good — homemade, white meat chicken, with fresh-cooked carrots, a nice addition. The menu also offers Black Angus beef burgers, hot and cold sandwiches, sodas, hot and iced tea, and coffee. We’ll have to go back and check out the espresso bar. They serve Boyds. Corner Store Deli and Espresso, 733 W. Garland Ave.; 509.327.1025. Hours: Mon.-Sat., 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Free delivery on Garland between Howard and Monroe streets.

St. Mick Has His Day, Too

In Knife & Fork on March 12, 2009 at 9:12 pm
Gabe Smoley gets into his work at C.I. Shenanigans

Gabe Smoley gets into his work at C.I. Shenanigans

Imagine the looks Gabe Smoley gets when he admits he moved to Spokane for two reasons: sports and beer. “People think I’m a frat boy,” says Smoley, the brewmaster for C.I. Shenanigans, who is also earning his master’s degree in sports administration at Gonzaga University.
At age 30, Smoley might seem young for a brewmaster, but he’s been making beer for most of his adult life, since he first cooked it up in his basement as an undergrad. After spending some time as assistant brewmaster at C.I. Shenanigans, Smoley became brewmaster there three years ago. Since then, he’s been reintroducing the brewery, one of three in Spokane.
For the St. Patrick’s Day season, Smoley is bringing back an old favorite, Ole St. Mick’s Dry Irish Stout, which won the gold medal at the Great American Beer Festival in 2000.
“I’m dusting one off the old brew log,” Smoley said.
Ole St. Mick’s is a classic dry stout: malty up front with a caramel and coffee flavor, distinct for its dry finish.
Shenanigans’ brewery is sort of the fine-dining branch of The Ram—remember the old spot across the street from the Arena back in the ’90s, when it was the Coliseum? They carried such popular Big Horn Brewing Company beers as Washington Blonde, Buttface Amber and Big Horn Hefeweizen, which is known for its traditional German yeast strains and exotic banana aroma.
With all these flavors at his disposal, what’s Smoley favorite beer? He gives the politically safe answer: “The one that’s in front of me.” – IJ

C.I. Shenanigans, 332 N. Spokane Falls Ct.; 509.455.6690.

Sushi City

In Knife & Fork on March 6, 2009 at 2:15 pm

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Spokane is becoming quite the sushi Mecca. Almost a dozen sushi bars dot the city, including the new Aqua Asian Bistro (formerly Blue Fish, across from the Davenport), and the recently opened Sushiyama, located in the old Arctic Circle on 3rd Avenue in downtown’s west end. We haven’t tried the latter, yet, but friends Cathy and Scott Miller say they are familiar with owner Charlie Yamamoto’s other sushi establishment, Baek Chun Sushiyama Restaurant in Airway Heights. The Millers’ description of that sushi bar started with Yamamoto driving weekly to Seattle to obtain fresh fish for the weekend menu, and ended with the words “live shrimp crawling across the table … now that’s fresh!” Sounds worth the trip. In the meantime, check out Jim Kershner’s 2007 review of the Airway Heights restaurant here. Sushiyama, 1321 W. 3rd Ave.

Farmers and Grocers and Chefs, Oh My!

In Knife & Fork on March 1, 2009 at 11:55 pm

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What happens when a group of local chefs, grocers, sustainable-ag activists and foodies flees the city and heads north for a two-day summit on an organic farm? Metro wasn’t invited to the table (it was one of those “the-media-gives-us-hives” events), but we did get the recap upon return: Ideas were shared, new relationships forged, a local food Web site (aptly named EatSpokane.org) is forthcoming, and ultimately, Spokane can look forward to an increasing quantity and variety of local foods on the menus of fine-dining establishments around town. To read more, click here.

Making Room in Your Drawers

In Foodie on February 5, 2009 at 12:13 am

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This month Slow Food Spokane River (SFSR) offers the perfect excuse to clean out the kitchen, liberating unused gadgets, cookbooks and other items cluttering up the cupboard in pursuit of a worthy cause: The First Annual “Second Chance Kitchen Sale,” a March 7 fundraiser at Thomas Hammer headquarters in downtown Spokane. Proceeds benefit SFSR’s effort to promote a food system that is good, clean and fair. Don’t miss this chance to recycle your gently-used countertop appliances, utensils, bake-ware and other kitchen items—like the iced-tea maker you got as a wedding gift that has yet to see the light of day. Or the old George Foreman Grill that seemed like a good idea in the ‘90s but which now darkens a large chunk of real estate on your ever-diminishing countertop. Meanwhile, those cute little dumpling presses have been floating around in the utensil drawer for years with nary a use. Get them out—as in out of the house. Even commercial equipment is welcome, so long as it isn’t large (countertop appliances only). Drop off items now through March 1 from 7 a.m.-5 p.m. Mon.-Fri. and 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays at Peters & Sons Flowers, 170 S. Lincoln; and now through March 5 Mon-Fri. 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. and Saturdays 10 a.m.-2p.m. at The Book Parlor, 1414 W. Broadway. For more information contact Kristi at 509.209.2851.

Dollar Store Date Night

In Knife & Fork on February 4, 2009 at 9:30 am
Chef Ray Delfino uses the new kitchen at Taste Cafe & Gourmet To Go

Chef Ray breaks-in the new kitchen at Taste Cafe and Gourmet To Go

With the slumping economy taking a bite out of our Valentine’s Day budget, dishing up a romantic meal for two on the cheap makes a lot of sense. It’s a challenge we posed recently to three local chefs, all of whom joined us Jan. 6 for the first annual “Spokane Metro Chefs Invitational” at the new Taste Cafe and Gourmet to Go in downtown Spokane.

The contenders, selected for their culinary ingenuity and willingness to experiment with dollar-store fare, included the Spokane Club’s venerable Chef Ray Delfino, the Globe’s freewheeling Chef Howard Bateman, and Chef Race Jones, formerly of Europa and now a culinary consultant. The challenge? Prepare, cook and plate a dinner for two—comprising an appetizer, main course and dessert—for $10 or less. In under an hour. Click here to read more.

Let the Bellyaching Begin

In Knife & Fork on February 1, 2009 at 6:16 pm

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2/21 • Perhaps you’ve grown weary of the lack of vegetarian dining options in Spokane. Or maybe you’d like to see a local trend toward healthy breakfast joints. Or more late-night dining establishments. Or cheaper beer. Whatever your culinary beef with the Spokane food scene, now is the time to share it. This month a group of local chefs will meet at Quillisascut Farm for a chance to get to know one another better while sharing ideas about the state of the Spokane market. In addition, they plan to test the too-many-cooks-in-the-kitchen theory, leaving local foodies to fantasize about the culinary heights achieved when a cadre of highly skilled food handlers hangs out on an organic farm.

Ah, but we digress; back to Spokane and its dining woes. Whatever your rant or rave, leave a comment on this post at David Blaine’s blog (of Latah Bistro) and he will pass along the information. Fingers crossed for some Ethiopian.

The Spokane Metro Martini

In Knife & Fork on June 8, 2008 at 2:56 pm

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Yes, thanks to the fine folks at the
Glover Mansion, we now have our very own signature drink – the Spokane Metro Martini. The concoction proved popular at our May 21, 2008, launch party, so we thought we’d share the recipe.

Shaker ½ full of ice
1 ½ oz. premium vodka
½ oz. Grand Marnier or Cointreau liqueur
1 oz. sweetened pomegranate juice
Generous squeeze of fresh lime

Shake for 15 seconds and strain into a 10 oz. martini glass. (Optional sugar rim on glass). Garnish with a whole blackberry and wedge of lime.