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Monday, February 2, 2015

Best of the Inland Northwest Readers Poll voting is open

Posted By on Mon, Feb 2, 2015 at 12:26 PM


It's that time of year again, when Inlander readers furiously fill out ballots or online polls to determine the best of the best in the Inland Northwest. 

You can find the 2015 ballot in the current issue (Jan. 29-Feb. 4) or vote online, meaning that voting on your favorite local places, personalities and activities couldn't be easier. We have 48 categories on this year's ballot that weren't there last year; some are brand new, and some are old favorites making a return appearance. 

Many of the new categories reflect changes in and around Spokane, such as "Best Distillery" and "Best Retail Marijuana Shop," and we're expanding the opportunities to vote on your favorite area athletes, giving readers the chance to pick a favorite from Gonzaga, Eastern Washington and Washington State. We have a special focus on Sandpoint this year as well. We even included some questions suggested by readers on last year's poll, including "Best Pho," "Best U-Pick Farm/Orchard" and "Best Place to Take Photos in the Inland NW." Check out last year's winners if you need a reminder of 2014's reader favorites.

A few things to keep in mind as you consider your votes: 
1. We only accept one ballot per person.
2. Ballots must include your full name and a verifiable email address. We won't share your information, it's just to make sure you really exist when you vote for "Best Local Cat." 
3. You must answer at least 40 questions for your ballot to count. 
4. Paper ballots must be postmarked by Feb. 9, and you can only send one ballot per envelope. 
5. We'll reject any ballots that appear to violate the spirit of the poll. 

You'll read all about the winners in our Best Of issue hitting the streets March 19. Happy voting!
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Friday, January 30, 2015

CAT FRIDAY: Vote for best local cat in our 22nd 'Best Of' Poll

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 4:03 PM

Make sure to get your votes in by Feb. 16!
  • Make sure to get your votes in by Feb. 16!

The ballots are live — let the voting begin!

But before you start, know this important fact — for its 22nd year, the Inlander's annual Best Of the Northwest readers poll has a single important question: Best Local Cat. Yes, this is real, and we are serious, however, the story of how this question came to be included on the ballot this year is a little... less serious. In fact, after a brief lapse in memory this writer (aka the only one on staff who writes the Cat Friday blog) realized she is responsible for the existence of the "best local cat" category on the 2015 poll's ballot. What goes around comes around, it seems. (Disclaimer, it was not known during ballot creation that I was the one who jokingly (sort of) nominated "best local cat" as the "best question not asked" on the 2014 Best Of ballot.)   

Before you bust out that pen (paper ballots are included in the current issue of the Inlander, Jan. 29-Feb. 4) or log on to vote online for your own feline friends, hear me out. There are lots of publicly known cats around town, so perhaps choose from the following pool of nominees instead to give a local "celbri-cat" some deserved recognition! 

Bento the Keyboard cat is unarguably Spokane's most famous feline.
  • Bento the Keyboard cat is unarguably Spokane's most famous feline.

Bento the Keyboard Cat is the reincarnation of Spokane's most famous cat, Fatso the Keyboard Cat. Fatso is also the "original" internet cat meme, and should go down in history as one of the Lilac City's most famous residents of all time. Bento may already be an obvious choice for locals who know of his important role in pop culture, but in case you didn't know, we wrote about him last year. His owner is local artist Charlie Schmidt.

A somewhat dormant Cat Friday series profiling local business's resident cats highlights a few other felines in the public eye, like the two cats of Interiors By Robin, in the Garland Business District. Dolly and KeeKee often captivate passersby by laying in the business's storefront, adjacent to the Blue Door Theatre.

While they don't actually interact with the public, the three cats of Spokane Vintage Warehouse (Zoey, Aiden and Zelda) were our first "business cat" profilees, having gained a following by photobombing pictures of the business's inventory, often shared on its Facebook page.

Maddie keeps her officemates company at Design Spike.
  • Maddie keeps her officemates company at Design Spike.

A very special cat often makes the rounds of downtown Spokane web/graphic design firm Design Spike. Maddie was the second profile in the business cat series, and continues to make appearances now and then (when she isn't too cozy to leave the house) at the second floor office in the Liberty Building, above Auntie's.

While we've not profiled (yet) the following kitties, patrons of their business homes should recognize these friendly felines. 

Alfred greets clients at the Cat's Meow in South Perry.
  • Alfred greets clients at the Cat's Meow in South Perry.

Alfred, a three-legged, jet black cat, is the official mascot of Cat's Meow Feline Veterinary Clinic in the South Perry neighborhood. 

In the North Monroe Business District, Laney the calico has been greeting patrons of Dan's Barber Shop for nearly the past decade.

Although Northwest Christian Thrift Store sadly lost its well-known store cat, Mouse, in recent years, Kiera the tortie has been keeping the facility under her careful watch in her stead.

Kiera (right) cuddles the late store cat Mouse, of NW Christian Thrift.
  • Kiera (right) cuddles the late store cat Mouse, of NW Christian Thrift.

Both locations of local business Northwest Seed & Pet have beloved resident kitties. Gertrude, a black, former shelter cat from SCRAPS keeps an eye on things at the East Sprague store, while Wallace and Django keep the store's animals in line on North Division.    

Gertrude became NW Seed's Sprague location mascot after life as a shelter cat.
  • Gertrude became NW Seed's Sprague location mascot after life as a shelter cat.

Wallace the Scottish Fold keeps an eye on things at the Division NW Seed store.
  • Wallace the Scottish Fold keeps an eye on things at the Division NW Seed store.

His counterpart Django covertly keeps an eye on things from the store's plant department.
  • His counterpart Django covertly keeps an eye on things from the store's plant department.


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A sampling of 12th Man deals for the weekend

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 12:28 PM

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Before you snuggle into a cocoon of booze and chips on Sunday in honor of the Seahawks, Katy Perry, or both, you should probably consider putting your team spirit to logical use. You'll likely remain buried in various Seahawks paraphernalia all weekend, so why not be rewarded for your supportive garb? Sadly, there are far fewer financial incentives for wearing Katy Perry merchandise, but please don't let that stop you from doing so.

For the Spokane Chiefs fans, you'll want to display your Seahawks pride at the ticket office to receive their special offer of $12 tickets, in section 112. The Chiefs will duel with the Victoria Royals on Friday and the Medicine Hat Tigers on Saturday.

The Harlem Globetrotters are also offering a special $12 ticket deal for select games. Time is very much of the essence, though, as the Globetrotters deal only runs for 12 hours - starting today at 10 am and ending swiftly at 10 pm. The $12 deal includes certain tickets to specific games only, so be sure to check their site and use the code TWELVE when ordering tickets.
Should the sweet tooth start nagging you, be sure to grab a scoop (or 12) of Brain Freeze Creamery's limited "12" flavor — a classic blueberry flavor paired with white chocolate chips and cake mix ice cream. Pints are 2 for $12 through the end of the game.
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Claiming that "someone deflated their prices," Silver Mountain Resort in Idaho is offering $12 lift tickets on Sunday from 8:30 am to 3:30 pm. They will also be screening the big game for all guests.
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If a literal high on the slopes isn't exactly your bag, then maybe get a bit more metaphorical by stopping by Cinder. On Saturday and Sunday, you'll get 12% off your greenest possible purchase just by wearing some Hawks gear. Pair your greenery with a bag of Anthony's SeaChips (pictured above), available at De Leon Foods.

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Grab a drink with Punxsutawney Phil and River City Brewing

Posted By on Fri, Jan 30, 2015 at 11:00 AM

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If you've ever found yourself slothed out in front of the Roku box watching Bill Murray commentate the movements of a groundhog named Phil and thought if only I were drinking, then you should certainly join many others who have shared this sentiment at River City Brewing this Saturday, Jan. 31, from 3-9 pm, for their second-annual Groundhog Day Prediction Party. With drink specials aplenty, your only job is to wear your predictions on your sleeve — i.e. dress for the season you believe the tricky Philster is most likely to reveal with the presence or absence of his portly shadow.

If summer's your game, maybe you should dig up that cut-off Bon Jovi T-shirt and pair it with those cargo shorts that seem to have too many pockets and some canvas sneakers. If you're pulling for winter (what's wrong with you?), then maybe you should just wear what you were already wearing, only with more scarves and some touchscreen-friendly gloves.

River City will be tapping two kegs of Midnight Marmot Imperial Stout (one poured through the Randall) and one keg of Oako-Coco Nitro for the festivities, in addition to $3 pints and $10 growlers all day. They also have kegs on sale ($39 for a 1/5 barrel...crazy). The festivities kick off at 3 pm and wrap up around 9 pm.

For general Punxsutawney-based inspiration, we of course recommend a bit of Bill Murray circa the 1993 ultra classic Groundhog Day.


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Thursday, January 29, 2015

A guide to 12th Man booze

Posted By on Thu, Jan 29, 2015 at 4:09 PM

You should bring something to drink to that Super Bowl party on Sunday. That's just what you do, because if you're old enough to drink, you're old enough to realize that when someone invites you to their home to watch a game as enormous as this, you bring something to drink. Those are the rules.

Thankfully, there is no shortage of entrepreneurs looking to set you up to sip your way to a Seahawks victory. Here's a quick guide to the possibilities.

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THE 12TH CAN: HILLIARD'S BEER
This Seattle brewery does some excellent brewing across the board, but caught our attention last season with their 12th Can. It's a pale ale brewed with delicious Cascade hops that's extremely session-able (that means you can have more than one) with a 4.5 percent ABV. Get these 16-ounce cans cold, like really cold, in a cooler pre-game and it will reward you throughout the contest.

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12 MAN PALE ALE: DICK'S BREWING CO.
Available in six packs of 12-ounce cans, there's a cool story behind this beer, brewed by Dick's Brewing in Centrailia, Wash. The guy who came up with the idea for the beer is former Seahawks kicker (1982-1990) Norm Johnson. It's a little lighter in flavor than most pales and the ABV of 4.5 percent is equally tame, but it's another solid game beer and available in most grocery stores.

12TH MAN GROWLER: GROWLER GUYS SOUTH HILL
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You don't need to settle for one of these beers if you'd rather get a harder-to-find, draft-only brew for the game. Just put it in one of these special 12th Man growlers currently available at the South Hill location of Growler Guys, the new beer filling station we told you about a couple weeks ago. They are also giving away a Marshawn Lynch jersey to one lucky customer, so get in there. If you need some ideas as to what to put into that growler, here's a list of beers currently available.

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BATCH NO. 12 VODKA, BOURBON AND RYE WHISKEY: HERITAGE DISTILLING CO.
If the first half is anything like the NFC Championship, you might need something a little stronger than beer to keep your nerves at bay. This Gig Harbor-based distiller is in its second year of distributing its Batch No. 12, a collection of three different craft spirits. There's a bourbon, a rye whiskey and a vodka. Heritage even gives you instructions on their website on how to make Skittles-infused Vodka, on honor of Marshawn Lynch's favorite "power pellets." It's not the complicated. You basically just put the skittles in the bottle and shake it.


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Tuesday, January 27, 2015

City council is ready for some football (and some cute boys and fried chicken)

Posted By on Tue, Jan 27, 2015 at 12:05 PM

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Sometimes city council meetings can be heated and divisive events. But last night, city council appeared united on one topic: football.

The Inlander caught up with a few of the 12th men (and women) to see what they’re doing for the game.


Councilman Mike Allen
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What’s going to be the score?

“I think Seattle, defense under 20 points.”

Where are you watching the game?

"We're hosting a house party."

Do you have any rituals or food you’re planning?

“Pomegranate martinis.”






Councilman Jon Snyder
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What’s going to be the final score?

That’s going to be a tough one. 24-17, Seahawks.

Where are you going to watch the game?

“Probably at home with family and friends.”

Snyder says he doesn’t have cable, but does have an “ancient antenna” on his roof that allows him to watch the game.

Any special rituals or food?

“I gotta watch the game with people interested in the game. I always wear the colors. I gotta eat before because I get too nervous.”

“Last year’s game was the perfect Super Bowl because if you’re rooting for the perfect team you want no doubt. But this year could be a nail-biter.”




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Council President Ben Stuckart

What will be the final score?

“Seahawks, 34-24.”

Where will you watch it?

“At home with my wife and mother.”

Do you have any rituals?

“I just yell a lot and cook good food.”

What do you cook?

“I think we are going to have prime rib this year.”




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Councilwoman Karen Stratton



So where are you watching the game?

“I don’t pay any any attention to it. I look for the cute ones and point them out to my husband who tells me who they are, and then I watch the commercials. I don’t understand it.”






Councilwoman Amber Waldref
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What will be the final score?

“Seahawks by 14.”

Where will you watch it?

“At home. We’ll project it onto a wall and have people over.”

“I’m much more the football fan than my husband, so I gotta twist his arm.”

This weekend Waldref will be attending a conference in Baltimore. She told her husband that by

“Sunday you better have this figured out.”

Any special rituals or food?

“KFC this year.”

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Friday, January 23, 2015

CAT FRIDAY: Purringtons, the first Northwest cat cafe, opens this weekend

Posted By on Fri, Jan 23, 2015 at 2:53 PM

One of the cafe's first ever residents, Begonia, stretches in front of an amazing space cat mural. - PURRINGTONS FACEBOOK
  • Purringtons Facebook
  • One of the cafe's first ever residents, Begonia, stretches in front of an amazing space cat mural.

While it's a bit far away for us Inland Northwest cat lovers to visit as often as we'd like, the nearest cat cafe to the Spokane area is opening tomorrow, Jan. 24. This weekend, Purringtons Cat Lounge in Portland becomes the first such business in the Rose City, and in all of the Pacific Northwest.

Following in the steps of its forerunners — Oakland's Cat Town Cafe and the recently-debuted Meow Parlour in New York City — Purringtons is "staffed" with adoptable cats. Through a partnership with the nearby Cat Adoption Team, the cafe serves as a satellite adoption center, bringing in new cats when those on site have been adopted. To prevent impulsive decisions, all cat adoptions must be done by appointment and never on the same day an adopter becomes smitten with a kitten.

As a cafe, Purringtons serves small food plates, pastries, coffee, tea, beer and wine from an adjacent and separately accessed space to the cat lounge. On the weekend, guests can also enjoy "Meowmosas" as they pet a soft, soft kitty.

The American cat cafe trend has been steadily building since last year when the first in the U.S., Cat Town, opened in October. It's looking like the next Northwest cat cafe may be Seattle Meowtropolitan. The latest update from its owners predicts a mid-2015 opening, though they're still searching for an appropriate location in the city.

Meanwhile, you can book reservations to visit Purringtons starting this Sunday, Jan. 25. To ensure masses of hysterical cat lovers aren't overwhelming its feline residents, the cat cafe business model seems to have adopted the unwritten rule of reservations-based visits.   

For tomorrow's grand opening, the cafe's website explains that it won't accept reservations, instead allowing guests in for half-hour sessions on a first-come, first-served basis. For those who happen to be in Portland, expect to see a line of really excited cat lovers stretching down MLK Blvd. 

For fellow cat lovers not able to visit Purringtons in the near future, here's a sneak peak from Willamette Week:

A Look Inside Purringtons, Portland's First Cat Cafe (VIDEO) from wweek.vimeo on Vimeo.


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Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Inlander's new booze series: Distilled

Posted By on Thu, Jan 22, 2015 at 11:03 AM

JESSIE SPACCIA
  • Jessie Spaccia
The point of "Distilled" — the booze-related series of articles we launched on Jan. 1 — isn't simply about drinking. That's just the backdrop. The broader goal is to tell regular people's stories in simple, little moments, with insight and whimsy that often chase a raised glass. It's not about celebrating alcohol, exactly, because not every drink is downed joyfully.

So far, we've told the story of a family of tailgaters united on Saturdays. Then there was the scene at DUI court after New Year's Eve. And the painter creating art, song by song, for a live audience.

This week, Samuel Ligon — the novelist and professor behind the literary event Pie & Whiskey — writes about today's booze trends and the commodification of cool.

Much more is yet to come... If you have an idea for Distilled — about a person, place, thing or drunken rant — please tell us. Cheers!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Inlander is giving everyone a 12th man flag this week

Posted By on Wed, Jan 21, 2015 at 12:50 PM

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Even though we are on the other side of the state, the Inlander feels like the Seahawks are our home team. Pick up your free Seahawks poster in every Inlander paper on stands Thursday and wave your flag!!

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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Marmots and marshmallows: Spokane hits The New Yorker

Posted By on Thu, Jan 8, 2015 at 11:04 AM


People love it when Spokane pops up in popular culture, whether it's movie scenes from Benny & Joon or VisionQuest, or on TV in Z Nation. 

The latest, if a bit more "culture" than "pop"? I'm talking about an appearance in a new David Sedaris essay called "Leviathan" in the Jan. 5 issue of The New Yorker. In a passage in which Sedaris talks with a friend about his pet turtles, we get: 

"And you're giving them bread?" I said to Paul. It made me think of my first visit to Spokane, Washington. I was walking through the park that fronts the river and happened upon people feeding animals that resembled groundhogs. 
"What are these?" I asked a man who was kneeling with his arm outstretched.
"Marmots," he told me.
"And what do they eat?"
He reached into a bag he kept at his feet. "Marshmallows."
Read the whole story right here — you won't be sorry. 
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