COOKING Crystal Logic & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & M & lt;/span & anager Eric Frickle, who co-owns THE KITCHEN ENGINE along with wife Nicole and parents Dan and Vicky Frickle, recently added 800 square feet to the shop's space in the Flour Mill. In addition to retail space, the expansion allows for a state-of-the-art demonstration kitchen for cooking classes (call or check out their Website for info) and "Spokane's only sea salt bar," which currently offers 23 varieties of gourmet salt from SaltWorks, a Woodinville, Wash.-based company.
"We started out small with a few flavors (of salt) that sold well during Christmas last year," explains Eric. With the added space, he says, "We wondered what we were going to put behind the counter -- like what we have in front of the front counter, the teas and coffees -- and we thought, 'Why not salts?'"
Nearly two dozen glass jars containing salt of various colors, textures and flavors line the back wall near the newly remodeled north entrance. If you're looking for nonflavored salt there's the delicately apricot-hued Murray River variety, harvested out of the Murray River in Australia, or the Sonoma Gourmet salt, harvested off the coast of California -- it's the only sea salt harvested in the United States.
The shop's wide range of flavor-infused salts include Smoked Serrano, alive with an earthy fire; a roasted garlic salt that imparts an intense garlicky flavor; and the surprising Lime Fresco that does indeed have the flavor and aroma of fresh lime.
Most sell for $2 per ounce, though the Black Truffle salt is $5 per ounce -- not surprising considering truffles cost more than gold.
An informational guide with suggested uses is included with each purchase, but the fun is in getting really creative with them. "We have an Espresso Brava salt that tastes like coffee," Eric says. "I use it for barbecue rubs. It makes some of the best steak rubs ever." It would also go well as a finishing touch for homemade dark chocolate truffles, he says.
The Kitchen Engine carries most of what SaltWorks offers, and Eric has asked them to add a wasabi salt to their line, but he says, "I don't know if we have any sway yet -- I guess it depends on how much salt we buy."
-- M.C. PAUL
The Kitchen Engine, located in the Flour Mill at 621 W. Mallon Ave., Suite 416, is open Mon-Thu 9 am-8 pm, Fri 9 am-5:30 pm, Sun noon-5 pm (closed Saturdays). In November, the shop will close at 4 pm on Friday but will open Saturdays 4:30-8 pm (starting Nov. 15). Visit thekitchenengine.com or call 328-3335.
CASUAL K.C. 'Cue
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & f there were a Top 10 list of American foods, barbecue would surely rank. To me, former Georgia peach that I am, barbecue should be slathered in tangy, vinegar-based sauce. Sweet tea washes down biscuits, cole slaw or cold salad, maybe even hush puppies (a type of corn fritter), if the barbecue was tied into a catfish fry.
But there's more than one way to grill your grub. In Kansas City, for example, barbecue tends toward large cuts like brisket or a slab of ribs, with spicy-sweet sauce on the side. That's according to James Hansen, who recently opened JIMMY'S BAR-B-Q in Sandpoint. He also includes the Kansas City staple of sliced white bread, which doubles as both a sandwich maker and a sauce sopper.
Hansen's ties to Sandpoint include working on the mountain as a Schweitzer firefighter. In fact, Hansen has a standing offer of a 25 percent discount to any on-duty fire or EMS worker or nearby Bonner County General employee.
Prior to moving to Sandpoint, Hansen mastered meat smoking from his father and is continuing his culinary training here with a 100 percent certified Angus beef provider.
"It's all in the meat," he says, dishing up scratch-made baked beans with applewood-smoked bacon. Entr & eacute;es include the half "beer can" chicken or the pound of your choice: hot links, pulled pork or beef brisket ($7-$9).
The baby back ribs ($7) are a half-rack smoked tender and served with your choice of creamed corn, baked beans, cold salad or Jimmy's cornbread. And that slice of white bread, of course.
Not enough meat? Try the Big Jimmy ($22), a half-pound of pulled pork and beef brisket, a quarter rack of ribs, hot links and two sides. Oh, and two slices of white bread (cuz you're gonna need some carbs after all that meat).
Located just behind Pend d'Oreille Winery and Eichardt's, Jimmy's has all the makings of a good little joint. Not a lot of pretense in the furnishings -- corrugated tin, painted concrete, indoor and outdoor seating, an order-in/pickup counter -- but the portions are plentiful and the meat should satisfy even the most avid carnivorous cravings.
-- CARRIE SCOZZARO
Jimmy's Bar-B-Q, 418 N. Third St., Sandpoint, Idaho, is open Mon-Thu 11 am-10 pm, Fri-Sat 11 am-2 am and Sun 11 am-8 pm. Call (208) 265.JBBQ or visit www.jimmys-bbq.com.