Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Casper Fry giving "farm-to-table" a new meaning with upcoming dining event

Posted By on Wed, Aug 17, 2016 at 12:30 PM

Casper Fry's chefs are briefly exiting their familiar abode for the Swine Dining event.
  • Casper Fry's chefs are briefly exiting their familiar abode for the Swine Dining event.

Anyone who's ever felt that the farm-fresh eggs, milk and meat available at organic grocery stores still don't hit quite close enough to home should consider attending an upcoming event hosted by local restaurant Casper Fry, dubbed "Swine Dining."

For this special occasion, the chefs behind the southern fusion eatery are venturing outside the doors of their south Perry home to deliver a dining experience that is, in the written words of Casper Fry co-owner Ben Poffenroth, "a farm to table six-course meal on the farm itself." The event takes place at local CasaCano Farms, located just off the Palouse Highway, on Monday, Aug. 22, at 6 pm.

Swine Dining will, fittingly, see a pig, raised this year on the host farm, pit-smoked and taking center stage as a recurring element in several of the dishes served. The courses include a collection of mouth-watering pork delicacies, from smoked pork shoulder to baby back ribs in apple barbecue sauce, as well as lighter fare such as a tomato salad with vinaigrette, and grilled romano beans. Poffenroth says that most ingredients present in the meal are sourced right from CasaCano Farms.

$75 buys one access to all six courses plus a cocktail, and covers tax and gratuity. Reservations are required and can be made by calling Casper Fry. 

If there's ever a time to overeat and feel good about doing so, Swine Dining is it.
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Thursday, August 4, 2016

It's IPA Day, everybody, so let me tell you about the hoppy goodness you should be drinking

Posted By on Thu, Aug 4, 2016 at 4:21 PM

Today is National IPA Day, a holiday that seems to be rather loosely organized yet widely celebrated, not that I need to tell you that. I'm sure you woke the family up early to gather around the hop vines and exchange six packs of India Pale Ale while grandma played all your favorite IPA Day carols on the piano.

Now, don't be one of those naysayers who spin that worn trope that "IPA Day used to be about the beer and now it's just another over-commercialized holiday." Get out there and drink some hoppy beers this evening. Here are some recommendations from around the region.

UPDATE: We're getting word that River City Brewing has all their IPAs on tap for $1 a pint. They do good stuff. Get after it.

Dunn Day IPA — Big Barn Brewing Company
There's something distinctly hearty about this beer. Maybe it's because the hop-forward ale is brewed on a farm up on Green Bluff. But you don't have to head all the way out there to get it. I've often found it at Growler Guys on the South Hill, and other places.

Big Juicy IPA — No-Li Brewhouse
If you haven't heard about this beer, you might be hanging out with the wrong drinkers. I think it's my favorite beer of the summer. The citra hops give it a crisp and slightly fruity back end that makes it a great warm day beer. The fact that it's in six packs of cans at most stores helps too.

Impaler IPA — Iron Goat Brewing
Be careful with this one. I rarely drink imperials because the high gravity makes my ears ring and my mouth say outlandish things. But this one has super floral nose to it that invites you to drink a whole pint and not regret it. It's 8.5% ABV...keep that in mind.

IPA — Laughing Dog Brewing
Don't run up to the north-of-Sandpoint town of Ponderay to try this one at Laughing Dog's taphouse. They're currently closed while moving to their big ol' production facility that will position the 11-year-old brewery to become one of Idaho's biggest. Instead, head to your beer store and get this IPA in cans. Get it really cold and crack that bad Larry.

Single Malt IPA — Perry Street Brewing
This new release from the only brewery on the South Hill is a solid and tasty creation that served as the basis for their popular kumquat IPA they had on this spring. Get a taste of it on PSB's newly revamped patio today.

These are just a few of the IPAs I've been fancying as of late, and, of course, there are many, many other breweries with awesome IPAs. Use our Drinkspotter app to find a place near you that serves a good IPA.
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Thursday, July 28, 2016

Spokane chef advances to final round of vegan cooking competition

Posted By on Thu, Jul 28, 2016 at 4:30 PM

Atania Gilmore, owner of Allie's Vegan Pizzeria, poses with one of her restaurant's signature pies. - MEGHAN KIRK
  • Meghan Kirk
  • Atania Gilmore, owner of Allie's Vegan Pizzeria, poses with one of her restaurant's signature pies.

Chef Pavel Nosov, the head chef at locally owned, much-lauded Allie's Vegan Pizzeria & Cafe, recently emerged as a finalist in Round 1 of Vegan FoodService's Vegan Chef Competition. 

Vegan FoodService is a California-based organization that works to connect vegan restaurants with sources for ingredients. In hosting this competition, the organization hopes to "provide innovative chefs a platform to shine with a personal twist on health and taste," as per its website. 

In the first round, participating chefs had to prepare a 
Head Chef Nosov will compete in Round 2 of the competition early this month.
  • Head Chef Nosov will compete in Round 2 of the competition early this month.
dish with ingredients requested from Vegan FoodService. Their resulting recipes were sent into the organization for judging in a variety of categories by a panel of three professional chefs.

Nosov advanced to the second and final round of the competition, along with four other vegan-food chefs, who were chosen from an entrant pool of 100. Three of the first-round victors hail from California, and one from Oregon. Nosov is the only Washington-based chef to advance to Round 2. 

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Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Check out these Spokane-area coffee shops off the beaten track

Posted By on Wed, Jul 27, 2016 at 1:00 PM

Tom Sawyer Country Coffee is tucked away, but well worth finding. - SARAH PHILP
  • Sarah Philp
  • Tom Sawyer Country Coffee is tucked away, but well worth finding.

The scent of fresh espresso permeates the air, and a charismatic barista mans the counter to take your order. Hip-looking college kids sit at some tables, basking in the soft glows of their laptop screens as they sip on their tasty beverages. The place is sleek and clean, dusted to perfection, but also decorated tastefully and distinctively.

The above imagery describes just about every good coffee shop in existence, and can likely be applied to your preferred espresso destination. When you're on the hunt for your morning (or afternoon, or evening) joe, sometimes your favorite cafe fits the bill. But other times, you want to venture somewhere new, somewhere besides the established local greats — the Rockwood Bakeries and Atticuses of the world. When that urge strikes, you don't want to be left helpless to frantically Google an appealing option, or resort to one of your safe bets. Instead, prepare for the situation beforehand by educating yourself on the below trio of great, lesser-known espresso joints in the Spokane area.

Tom Sawyer Country Coffee
608 N. Maple | 818-3355
Nestled just west of the Kendall Yards commercial strip on a corner you might never find unless you're looking for it, Tom Sawyer qualifies as a true hidden gem. Its owner, 73-year-old Gary Tom Sawyer, has been roasting coffee for the better part of 55 years, but the doors to his Spokane shop just opened last October. A gaping garage door opens when the weather allows for it, while the company's large, red metal roasting equipment gives the inside an almost industrial feel. Old coffee cans, containers, and french presses adorn the shelves on the walls, contributing to a vintage vibe, and several glass-covered tables give the room a communal feel. It's usually quiet in the shop, but comfortably so, with customers sounding the door's chime as they enter and exit from time to time. The menu isn't overly ambitious, but the flavors are top-notch, and the baristas are willing to lend suggestions. It isn't uncommon to hear them asking their customers' names; the place seems intent on building the kinds of relationships that make for an enduring, beloved business. If you're in the mood for a refreshing treat, try an iced latte with Tom's signature toddy shots. You won't regret it.

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Monday, July 25, 2016

Spokane Brewers Festival looking for folks willing to trade time for beer and gear

Posted By on Mon, Jul 25, 2016 at 3:46 PM


One aspect of Spokane living that I was totally unaware of before moving to the Lilac City was the booming beer culture. 

Little did I suspect that so many breweries dotted our fair city and the surrounding areas, nor that there seems to be a beer festival of one sort or another virtually every weekend. If it's not a Fresh Hops festival, it's an all-cans festival. Clearly we can't get enough beer around here. 

Enter the brand-spanking-new Spokane Brewers Festival to the lineup. It will have its inaugural celebration of all things frosty and delicious Friday, Aug. 12 and Saturday, Aug. 13 at the Spokane Arena. Besides a bevy of beverages available for the cost of a $7 sampling mug and $1 per beer token, there will be live tunes from local bands tapped by The Inlander and the All-ages River City Root Beer Garden, and there's no admission charged just to check it out. 

Throwing such a to-do requires some serious manpower, and the organizers are looking for volunteers willing to trade some time working for a t-shirt, souvenir mug and 15 drink tokens. The basic requirements: 
• be at least 21 years old
• be able to stand or walk from 3-5 hours at a time
• be able to lift 25 pounds. 

Many volunteers will be pulling taps, so you could end up chatting with friends old and new for a couple hours, and at the end you have more drink tokens than you'll know what to do with — oh, who am I kidding, you'll be drinking lots of beer! Just do so responsibly, mmmkay?

The earlier you sign up, the better shift you'll get, so get to it right here
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Monday, July 18, 2016

Couple of Chefs ready new brunch spot for September opening in Spokane

Posted By on Mon, Jul 18, 2016 at 2:49 PM

Couple of Chefs co-owners Allen Skelton and Joile Forral outside the future home of their new brick-and-mortar restaurant Bruncheonette, scheduled to open this fall.
  • Couple of Chefs co-owners Allen Skelton and Joile Forral outside the future home of their new brick-and-mortar restaurant Bruncheonette, scheduled to open this fall.

The ever-expanding culinary scene in Spokane will get a new entry this fall from an old favorite, as the folks behind Couple of Chefs Catering & Food Truck will open Bruncheonette, a "casual-dining gourmet brunch restaurant." 

Husband-and-wife team Allen Skelton and Joile Forral started Couple of Chefs in 2011, and their food truck was voted the best in the Inland Northwest by Inlander readers in 2016. Bruncheonette will expand upon the menu available in the truck to include a small selection of liquor, local craft beer, wine and cider, and will focus on made-from-scratch dishes, Forral says.

Their goal is to open the space at 1011 West Broadway in September. That's the former Knockaderry bar space, and Forral says the plan is to expand the prep area a bit so the restaurant can act as home base for the continuing catering and food truck aspects of the business. Otherwise, just a few cosmetic changes to the place should get Bruncheonette ready to launch. As of now, the plan is to be open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch. 

A brick-and-mortar restaurant was Step Three on the couple's business plan for Couple of Chefs, following the catering and food truck aspects, but after searching for a good space for months, "we had actually decided to stop looking," Forral says, since the summer is such a busy season. Naturally, that's when a prime spot opened they could use.

"[Breakfast] is the food that we really like to make," Forral says, hence the focus to expand on the to-go breakfast items — breakfast sandwiches and burritos — currently available in the truck. 

The move was made possible through a loan by Craft3, a regional nonprofit that provides loans to Washington and Oregon small businesses and nonprofit organizations. 
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Thursday, July 14, 2016

Go behind the scenes of our Cheap Eats issue

Posted By on Thu, Jul 14, 2016 at 4:27 PM


If you're not hungry now, you're going to be soon. That's because you're either going to read our fresh-off-the-press Cheap Eats issue, or due to the fact that all humans need food eventually.

This year's edition of our annual corralling of food from around the region that won't bust your budget or your gut is divided by the way you'll consume these goodies: with your hands, a fork, a spoon, a straw or with some sort of stick.

You can find all the stories right here, along with some valuable utensil history, which will give you ample small talk for your next dinner party. 

Here's a behind the scene's look at our photo shoot for the issue.
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Monday, June 20, 2016

No-Li, River City and Eastern WA brewers take home Washington Beer Awards

Posted By on Mon, Jun 20, 2016 at 11:57 AM


The annual Washington Beer Awards were given out Sunday, and while several Spokane brewers came home with medals, the big news was No-Li Brewhouse's recognition as the state's Large Brewery of the Year. 

No-Li and some other Spokane breweries did well in the individual categories as well. A total of 950 beers were entered in the competition, by 139 Washington breweries. All of the beers must have been both brewed and made commercially available in the state of Washington. And they were all judged in a blind taste test by panels of trained beer judges who awarded Gold, Silver, and Bronze medals. 

In addition to the big prize for large breweries, No-Li won a few medals, including a gold in American-Style Pale Ale category for Poser, a silver for its Spin Cycle Red in Bitters, a silver in English Ales for its Born and Raised IPA, a silver for its Crony in the American Brown & Black Ales category, and a bronze for its Oyster Stout collaboration with Taylor Shellfish in Specialty & Historical Beers.

Other Eastern Washington brewers made a mark at the festival, too: 
River City Brewing won a gold medal for its Huckleberry Ale in the American-Style Fruit Beer category, a silver in the Strong Lager category for its Congratulator Doppelbock, and a bronze for its Wine Barrel-Aged Huckleberry Ale in the Wood and Barrel Aged Beers category. 
Waddell's Brewing won a silver for its Scottish Ale in the Scottish Shilling Ales category, and a bronze for its Alligator Stout in the American-Style Stouts category. 
Big Barn Brewing in Mead won a bronze in Smoke Beers for its Mountain Smoke Porter. 
• Pullman's Paradise Creek Brewery won a bronze in Irish Stouts for its Invective Stout. 

Go here for a complete list of winners
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Thursday, May 12, 2016

Local farmers market season has arrived — where to find those fresh goods

Posted By on Thu, May 12, 2016 at 4:30 PM

The 2016 market poster, by Sarah Edwards of Sarah Smiles Creations.
  • The 2016 market poster, by Sarah Edwards of Sarah Smiles Creations.
While some of us have yet to get our summer gardens started (me included), the fresh produce, flowers, vegetable starts and other locally grown/made/raised goods are already filling the vendor stalls of many regional farmers markets.

Several markets have already hosted their 2016 season kick-offs, and many others debut for the year in the coming weeks. We'll continue to update our online listings of farmers markets as more arrive; below is a round-up of those whose schedules we have so far. To find farmers market info in our online events calendar, head to this link.

Spokane area markets:

South Perry Thursday Market | Now open on Thursdays, from 3-7 pm, through October. Located at The Shop, 924 S. Perry. More info at and on Facebook: Thursday Market.

Spokane Farmers' Market | Open on Wednesdays and Saturdays from 8 am-1 pm, starting May 14 and through October 29; Wednesday markets begin June 8. Located at 20 W. Fifth Ave. More info at and on Facebook: The Spokane Farmers' Market.

Kendall Yards Night Market | Open on Wednesdays from 4-7 pm, starting May 18 and through mid-October. Located on West Summit Parkway in Kendall Yards. More info at and on Facebook: Kendall Yards Night Market.

Emerson-Garfield Farmers' Market | Open on Fridays from 3-7 pm, starting June 10 and through September 30. Located at the SCC IEL Adult Education Center (new this year), at 2310 N. Monroe. More info at and on Facebook: Emerson-Garfield Farmers' Market.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

[UPDATED] Jones Radiator is no more

Posted By on Tue, May 10, 2016 at 4:40 PM


It appears Jones Radiator as we know it is no more.

A farewell Facebook post arrived on Tuesday afternoon, with co-owners Lucas McIntyre and Jocelyn Macklem writing that since they don't own the building or the name, there might be another Jones Radiator at some point, but it "will be without our involvement."

Jones Radiator is best known for packed-out trivia nights, live music, its "open mic of open-ness" and (at least in my house) Whiskey Wednesdays. It closed abruptly on April 22, and according to another Facebook post, it was "due to circumstances beyond our control." The bar was scheduled to be one of the venues for the Inlander's Volume music festival in early June, but had to drop out.

On Wednesday via a Facebook chat interview, McIntyre explained that the shuttering of Jones Radiator came through a series of financial setbacks that ultimately led to the state revoking their business license. 

The couple took over Jones Radiator at the beginning of 2015 knowing it would be a challenge as their first business, and it was all that and then some. Beyond the day-to-day things like meeting payroll, stocking the bar and booking live music, both kept their day jobs (she managing a veterinary office, he doing billing for a local firm) while trying to make Jones work, they said. 

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