Thursday, June 11, 2015

Chairs Public House closes its doors

Posted By on Thu, Jun 11, 2015 at 3:36 PM

Chairs Public House - SARAH WURTZ
  • Sarah Wurtz
  • Chairs Public House

After only a year and a half of business, Chairs Public House permanently closed its doors on the evening of June 9.

The shop, originally known as Chairs Coffee and located on east Indiana Ave., moved to north Hamilton Street by Gonzaga in November of 2013. After its move and makeover, the cafe added a full menu of appetizers and entrees as well as a bar, and changed its name to Chairs Public House.

The move to the Hamilton location seemed to cause a lot of trouble for the business. According to Chairs’ website, the shop closed due to various business issues, as well as the roughness of the restaurant industry.

Chairs sat directly across from a Starbucks, as well as Jack and Dan’s Bar and Grill. With a big corporate coffee shop on one side, and a Gonzaga staple on the other, the competition for customers was tough. Chairs had a strong focus on Gonzaga students to be its customers, but with more than five coffee shops on campus, as well as a Starbucks and several new restaurants entering the new student center, most students are opting to buy coffee and food on their meal plans rather than at local shops.

On its Facebook page, Chairs' management put out a plea for other bars and coffee shops to hire its bartenders, baristas, cooks, or managers. 
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Friday, June 5, 2015

Not too late to get your National Donut Day on

Posted By on Fri, Jun 5, 2015 at 12:28 PM


Feel free to indulge in the sweet taste of a doughnut today — after all, it is National Doughnut Day and that alone should dispel any guilt you feel about eating the sugary treat.

It may seem like every few weeks or so there is a day promoting some type of food like National Pie Day or National Cookie Day, however, National Doughnut Day is more legitimate than most. 

According to, National Doughnut Day originated in 1938 when women volunteering for the Salvation Army delivered World War I soldiers doughnuts in order to boost morale. National Doughnut Day became a way to raise funds and awareness of the Salvation Army. also says the Red Cross women picked up the doughnut tradition during World War II. The women, referred to as dough girls or dough lassies, became favorites of soldiers overseas.

Basically, an excuse you can use to grab a doughnut today could be that you’re supporting a long-standing American tradition of supporting our troops.

Luckily, there are many spots in Spokane to pick up that maple bar or jelly-filled delight.

You’ll have to hurry. Many doughnut shops, like Donut Parade, aren’t open all day. Donut Parade closed at 1 pm, and Mike’s Old Fashioned Donuts in the Valley closed at noon. And even though Mike’s Old Fashioned Donuts didn't give away free donuts, Mike Britton says they were very busy.

“We’re totally wiped out,” Britton said in the midst of the morning mayhem. “We can’t make them fast enough to sell them!” Britton said the rush began at 6 am, and said this is one of the busiest National Doughnut Days he’s ever had.

Casual Friday Doughnuts on Division is another location to buy the sweet treat, and thankfully, they’re open until 6 pm. 

For even more shops check out this Inlander article that mentions some great doughnut shops around town, and even breaks them down for you by type of doughnut. 
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Thursday, June 4, 2015

All-Star game meets all-star beer: Check out the label of a new No-Li brew coming soon

Posted By on Thu, Jun 4, 2015 at 3:08 PM

Some would say the world is made up of two kinds of people: Those who love baseball, and those who are wrong. Even those who profess to hate America's game can probably get behind the idea of spending a summer night sipping some tasty local brew in a beautiful park — even one with some aspiring professionals playing a game on it. 

This summer — Aug. 4, to be exact — the Spokane Indians' Avista Stadium is hosting the first-ever showdown of all-star players from the team's Northwest League and the neighboring Pioneer League. To mark the occasion, No-Li Brewhouse and the team are partnering up on a limited release beer called All-Star Game Golden Ale. 

Here's a look at the label: 
Pretty sweet, right? You have some Spokane landmarks on there, as well as the twin pine trees that great visitors to Avista Stadium. Very nice. 

The beer will start popping up on local store shelves after June 16, just as the fan voting for the All-Star Classic gets underway, and there are directions on each bottle explaining how to cast your vote for your favorite Indians player. Hell, even if you have a favorite Tri-City Dust Devil or Eugene Emerald, you can vote for them, too. You can also get details on the all-star voting right here. Of course, we won't know who's on the roster of the Indians squad until we're much closer to the team's June 18 opening night, but we know you like to plan ahead. And drink beer. 

No-Li's sales and marketing manager, Callet Ioane, said in a press release that "Spokane Indians baseball is an organization with a rich history, deeply rooted in our city. With so much of who we are at No-Li coming from our love of Spokane and the sense of pride we feel for being a part of this community, a partnership with the ballclub made perfect sense."

Baseball. Beer. Together. TOTALLY makes perfect sense to me. 
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Thursday, May 28, 2015

Celebrate National Burger Day with the Better Burger Project

Posted By on Thu, May 28, 2015 at 4:31 PM

Don't act like you didn't know it was National Burger Day. You've had this seemingly inconsequential Thursday circled on your calendar for months, just waiting for an excuse to place as much beef, cheese, bacon and God-knows-what-else as physics will allow between a couple buns and then wait on the couch for June to arrive.

Seriously, though, it's National Burger Day. This is a thing, and it's likely that someone on Facebook already pointed this out to you with a picture of some artery-cementing monstrosity like this. Don't get me wrong, I like burgers. Shit, I can't promise I won't eat one before I finish typing this sentence. But that said, a couple local restaurants are doing something pretty cool to help us rethink the burger.

The James Beard Foundation’s Better Burger Project is a campaign to promote a healthier and more environmentally sustainable burger by combining meat with mushrooms.

Sante unveiled its entry earlier this week. It’s a combination of 70 percent Wagyu beef from Thompson River Ranch and 30 percent crimini, Portobello and oyster mushrooms. It’s served on a ciabatta bun from Sante’s sister restaurant, Common Crumb, and accompanied with house-cured bacon, butter lettuce, grilled onions, morel mushrooms and more.

Manito Tap House, the South Hill gastropub already well known for its environmentally conscious efforts, also has a Better Burger Project offering. Manito is offering the Buffalo & Change, a creation by chef Molly Patrick that features ground buffalo mixed with king trumpet mushrooms and served with rhubarb ham and toasted almond butter on a toasted brioche bun. It’s available for $15 and can be served gluten-free on request.

“A blended burger also brings more sustainable, plant-based items to menus allowing Americans to enjoy the taste and flavor of the burgers they love, knowing it’s a healthier and more sustainable preparation,” reads a press release from the James Beard Foundation.

You can vote for your favorite Better Burger by uploading a photo of your preferred burger to Instagram and tagging it with the hashtag #betterburgerproject as well as the restaurant’s handle.

The burgers are on the menu at both restaurants through July 31.
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Friday, May 15, 2015

Orlison Brewing Co. to open downtown Spokane taproom

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 12:42 PM


Orlison Brewing Co. has made serious strides in the two years since they rebranded from Golden Hills Brewing. They've put their canned lagers in just about every grocery store in the Inland Northwest and made significant inroads in other Northwest markets, growing steadily along the way out of their Airway Heights warehouse location.

But now, Orlison is making another step forward in opening their own taproom in downtown Spokane. Previously, you could taste or buy a keg from the Airway Heights spot, but it was far from the beaten path and also a busy production facility. In the coming months, though, you can settle in at Orlison's taproom, which is set to take over the space at 1017 W. First Avenue (between Madison and Monroe streets) previously occupied by Luxe Coffee House, according to Orlison's Operations and Logistics Manager Kristen Silver.

Longtime Spokanites will know this spot as the Oddfellow's Building which also features a sizable ballroom. Orlison is working on having some access to that space, too, Silver says.

You can expect to find 16 beers on tap at the new space, including guest taps and experimental Orlison brews that you won't find elsewhere. The tap room will also sell cans and do growler fills. All brewing operations will continue out of the Airway Heights spot, Silver says, where you can still buy kegs.
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Powdered alcohol probably not coming to a store near you any time soon

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 3:55 PM

Ever wished you could carry powdered alcohol in your purse for impromptu shindigs? Just think of the possibilities. The product— Palcohol— exists, on the planet now and in stores some places this summer. But it probably won’t exist in stores in Washington. Ever.

Earlier in the current legislative session, the Senate had gotten the ball rolling with an effort to regulate the powder in ways similar to liquid alcohol. The House of Representatives did them one better on April 13, voting 91-6 to ban powdered alcohol for everyone but researchers.

Rep. Jeff Holy from Cheney worried that people would sneak Palcohol into places where alcohol has no place, like church, maybe, or the library. Schools. Anywhere, really. It would just be too tempting. Alcohol needs to be kept big and bulky and in need of a vessel to be safe in Washington. Senate Bill 5292 got kicked back to the Senate for approval on the changes.

Mark Phillips created Palcohol because he loves to hike and drink and he wanted to combine those hobbies without limiting his outings to hikes that could be completed comfortably while carrying beer and wine and whatever else he wanted to drink that day. He started trying to find powdered alcohol and it didn’t exist. He was, like, "Huh? How can this not even exist?"

From there things snowballed. He found scientists around the globe. They appreciated his vision and worked together to create Palcohol. Triumphant, he returned to the United States to share the good news: Portable alcohol for hiking and climbing and cycling. Plus, there are apparently science and military applications. Palcohol, yay!

Then Phillips' bubble burst a bit when several states started railing against his product. Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have already banned the stuff, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. But, more importantly for people in Spokane, what’s Idaho thinking?

Director of the Idaho Lottery & Idaho State Liquor Division Jeff Anderson says that though their state hasn’t outlawed powdered alcohol, he doesn’t envision it will ever be sold there.

“In the beverage alcohol business there is labeling on packaging that informs consumers about alcohol content, whether it be a 3.2 beer, a 13.5 wine or a 40 proof spirit,” says Anderson. “With powdered alcohol, consumers mix it and people could mix it improperly and end up with a beverage that is 170 proof instead of 80 proof.”

The Idaho State Liquor Division has the authority to regulate Palcohol and Anderson intends to use that power to keep the product out of the state.

“I presume if that were challenged the Idaho Legislature would step in and do the same thing they’ve done in Washington,” says Anderson.
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Liberty Ciderworks nabs top award at world's largest cider competition

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 3:07 PM


The cider revolution has hit the Inland Northwest in full force, and Spokane's Liberty Ciderworks is undoubtedly leading the charge.

Nearly a full year after the two-man cidery opened its downtown tasting room, owners Rick Hastings and Austin Dickey have taken home their biggest accolade to date: Best in Class honors for Liberty's Stonewall cider at the 10th annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP). Held earlier this month, April 10-12, the international competition received 480 entries of cider and perry (pear cider) from around the world. Liberty's Stonewall, aged in the whiskey barrels of another Northwest booze purveyor, Dry Fly Distilling, was one of just three ciders to earn the Best in Class distinction at the event, as well as a gold medal in a category with nearly 200 other entries.

"We were floored when we saw the results for Stonewall," says Hastings, Liberty's head cidermaker. "We've had great feedback from customers and our peers, but this is about as big an honor as anyone gets in the cider business. It's a big-league win for us."

This isn't Liberty's first time at GLINTCAP, as the cidery has taken home multiple awards in recent years for several of its other cider varieties. In 2013, the New World cider took home a silver medal. Last year, its English Style cider nabbed a gold medal while the limited-release Jonathan single-varietal (SV) and New World both took home bronze awards.

Aside from Stonewall's big win this year, four other varieties of Liberty's cider won silver medals: the Kingston Black SV, Macintosh SV, the dry-hopped Turncoat and the port-style Manchurian Crabapple cider.  

It's also worth mentioning here that Inlander readers already know Liberty's ciders are tops, voting the cider maker as producing the best local cider in the region for this year's Best Of readers poll. 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Are you an Inland Northwest foodie? Prove it with this quiz!

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 10:45 AM

We all know that Spokane's food scene has amazing things happening. How well do you know the history?

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Wall Street Journal highlights some of Spokane's finest cuisine

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 3:44 PM

Spokane knows food.

From farm-to-table fresh menus like Mizuna to Casper Fry's southern flavor with a modern twist, Spokanites are spoiled with a smorgasbord of dining options. These venues along with many others have earned Spokane food-lovers' fame. In recent week's we've seen Santé's Jeremy Hansen nominated for a James Beard award and go cook at the prestigious New York spot, and had professional foodie Alton Brown make the rounds through Spokane's dining scene before his show at the INB Performing Arts Center. And, of course, Inlander Restaurant Week at the end of February took locals all over the region for amazing food. 

Now the Wall Street Journal is on board, recognizing Spokane as one of "six small towns for food lovers" in an article today that offers some love to Durkin's Liquor Bar (the "over-the-top meat menu ... sets this place apart") and Italia Trattoria ("Spokanites love the changing menu of house-made pastas"), among other spots. For some reason, the Journal thinks Casper Fry is in Sacramento, but we'll cut them a little slack. 

Check out the full article here
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Monday, March 2, 2015

Alton Brown ate his way around Spokane this weekend

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 3:55 PM


Social media was abuzz yesterday with the hashtag #ABRoadEatsSpokane as chef and Food Network personality Alton Brown made his way around Spokane, sampling local offerings from coffee to waffles and banh mi sandwiches.

Brown tweeted, Facebook-ed and Instagram-ed his Spokane eating experiences, stopping at Coeur Coffeehouse, The Scoop, Indaba Coffee and Stella's Cafe before heading to the INB Performing Arts Center for his Alton Brown Live! show that evening.

Indaba manager Evan Lovell wasn't working yesterday morning, but his coworkers tell him Brown ordered a traditional flat white around 10 am.

"He was glad it was a real flat white," Lovell says, adding that some coffee connoisseurs — Brown posts online often about his love of coffee — disagree on the true characteristics of the drink, made from espresso and steamed milk.

After his coffee stop, Brown headed up to The Scoop on the South Hill for breakfast. Scoop owner Jennifer Davis — a huge fan of Brown's work — was doubtful he'd make it to her ice creamery and cafe, but says she planned to be there all day just in case.

"I was just like, you know, this is kind of the place [he'd like]; we have different food, we're off the beaten path and so he could probably check us out."

Shortly after learning of Brown's stop at Indaba, Davis says a woman stopped in to ask if they served breakfast, to which Davis replied that the Scoop is locally known for its liege waffles. She adds, "then I looked out the window and there he was!"

Brown signed Kyle Bowlby's (his nickname is "Chef Freak") cutting board and spoon since the Wandering Table sous chef couldn't attend the show last night.
  • Brown signed Kyle Bowlby's (his nickname is "Chef Freak") cutting board and spoon since the Wandering Table sous chef couldn't attend the show last night.

Lucky for Brown and his crew of two, Davis says foot traffic at the cafe was unusually slow that morning, and as such they were able to enjoy the Scoop's bacon nut, breakfast and minimalist waffles in relative peace.
"He took a super awesome Instagram picture and was able to take pictures of everything for Facebook and was asking about the neighborhood," Davis says.

Later that day, Brown showed off two mouthwatering sandwiches from Stella's Cafe — a classic banh mi and roast beef with provolone, kale and hot peppers.

At some point earlier, Brown also hit up Coeur Coffee just north of the Monroe Street Bridge for an Americano.

To end the day's eating, Brown ordered a long list of items from the Wandering Table in Kendall Yards, and had the food delivered because after his show ended around 9 pm, the restaurant was getting ready to close. Sous Chef Kyle Bowlby says a courier picked up an order of the restaurant's roasted brussels sprouts, crispy cauliflower, spaghetti stuffed meatballs, gnocchi gratin, bacon-wrapped bacon sliders, roast chicken wings, umami burgers and pepper spiced chips.

Since Bowlby had to work the evening shift and thus missed Brown's show, he asked if the celebrity chef would sign an epicurean cutting board and spoon, which the courier delivered back to the restaurant.  




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