CASUAL Follow the Crowd & lt;BR & & lt;BR & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & pulled into the parking lot at YUMMY TERIYAKI determined that I was not going to follow the suggestion on the menu to "Try Our Best Teriyaki." At 11 am, I had the place to myself. Who besides an intrepid freelance food writer eats things like Korean short ribs before 11:30 in the morning?
Apparently, just about everybody in the surrounding area does.
Within five minutes, the place started filling up with parents and small kids, women dressed in office casual, and lots and lots of guys, some in work uniforms, others in jeans. One little guy, maybe 5 or 6, watching intently as his dad brought steaming boat-shaped dishes to the table, exclaimed, "That looks GOOD," while another boy added, "That SMELLS good!"
Located in the former Azar's building, Yummy Teriyaki offers assorted teriyaki dishes, noodles, vegetable entr & eacute;es and appetizers such as tuna rolls ($7 for 10 pieces) and a sampling of Korean cuisine such as Yuk Gae Jahng (a spicy soup with shredded beef and vegetables for $7.50) and Bibimbab (rice with vegetables in a spicy sauce for $7.50).
After scanning the photos behind the counter and eyeing other diners' dishes, I was still indecisive and finally asked for a recommendation. Owner/manager Nancy Shin gave a knowing smile. "The teriyaki chicken and short ribs are very popular," she said. So much for determination... gimme the No. 5 combo!
Like most items on the lunch and dinner menu, combination plates include a fresh salad of crisp iceberg lettuce with bits of red cabbage for color and texture, served with ample amounts of a tangy/sweet ranch-like dressing on top. My salad shared space with two mounds of short-grain rice and a heaping pile-o-meat; in my case, fork-tender teriyaki chicken and savory marinated Korean-style beef short ribs. I ate my fill and had enough leftovers for a light dinner.
Next time I can't decide, I'm going with the recommendation from Matt, a repeat customer who works in the area: "The spicy beef ($8) is really good... tasty... seems like they use good quality beef." And there you have it. Guy food anyone would find yummy.
-- M.C. PAUL
Yummy Teriyaki, at 3624 E. Sprague, is open Mon-Sat 11 am-8:30 pm. For orders to go, fax 535-4808 or call 535-7050.
BEER Double-Dog Dare
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & T & lt;/span & here's nothing funny about beer -- unless it's coming out of someone's nose -- so why are they smiling at LAUGHING DOG BREWING?
Customers are smiling because they like the beer (and the company's tongue-in-jowl humor), which is brewed in the soon-to-be 3-year-old Ponderay, Idaho, facility. Named for the family's golden retriever, Laughing Dog is owned by Fred Colby and Michelle Douglass, Sandpoint natives who turned Colby's passion for brewing and Douglass' marketing savvy into a formidable force in microbrews. Not long after opening, they took the National Home Brewer's Association gold medal for their Hot Chihuahua Chili Pepper ale. (This blonde bites back!)
Since then, awards have rolled in like barrels: People's Choice for their Huckleberry Cream Ale; from the 2007 North American Brewers Association, a bronze for their Cream Ale, Silver for the British-style bitter CSB, and a double gold for Devil Dog IPA. At the 2007 Fresh Hop Ale Festival, their Hop Dog beat longtime (and bigtime) brewer, Sierra Nevada Brewing, for first place.
With an ever-widening distribution -- Idaho, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and Pennsylvania (?!) -- Laughing Dog remains a hometown favorite. The tasting room that fronts the industrial-looking facility off Highway 200 offers free tours -- except when the kettle is brewing -- after which a taster hits the spot. Five bucks gets you a "bone" tray of seven 8-ounce tasters of whatever's on tap, from the smooth cream ale to the hoppy IPA to whatever's new and seasonal. Good behavior is rewarded with a pat on the head (just kidding about that) and a dog dish full of Chex Mix-like kibble to snack on.
Upcoming events include the rollout of DogZilla (formerly TailWagger), which is available in 22-ounce bottles, and the third-anniversary party on August 23. With festival season right around the corner, the brewery is cooking up a rye-based IPA called Rocket Dog for the Oregon Brewers Fest (currently only available at the festival). And in the fall, Laughing Dog will offer the Dogfather, a paradoxically dark "pale" Russian Imperial Stout, which ought to warm your soul on those cold Siberian nights.
-- CARRIE SCOZZARO
Laughing Dog Brewing, 55 Emerald Industrial Park Rd., Ponderay, Idaho, is open Mon-Wed 11 am-6 pm, and Thu-Sat until 7 pm (summer hours). Visit www.laughingdogbrewing.com or call (208) 263-9222.