CASUAL At the Junction & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & J & lt;/span & ust one word: "Plastics." & r & & r & Lunch in the dining area of APPLE SPICE JUNCTION is served on a three-section black plastic plate. Soup comes in a white Styrofoam container with a plastic lid, two slices of fresh-baked bread are enclosed in plastic wrap, two plastic packets hold real butter, and an individual mint has its own little logo-emblazoned plastic packaging. A shelf holds assorted condiments in plastic pouches along with black plastic forks, spoons, knives -- and oversized paper (not plastic) napkins covered with the ASJ logo.
Apple Spice is primarily a box lunch, delivery and catering franchise, and General Manager Chris Rollins explains that using disposables saves on overhead costs associated with everything from breakage and loss to storage and washing. Although not typical for the national chain, he and owners Evan and Emmy Hughes realized, "We had such a great location," he says, "we decided we had to have a dining room."
They don't cut corners when it comes to the quality of the food. They start with whole ingredients and do the cooking and prep in-house. "We chop the lettuce ... we grate the carrots and the cheese...." The coffee is 4 Seasons' Apple Spice Junction Blend. "We try and buy local," says Chris. "We use local as much as we can."
Local produce is obvious in the Chicken Caesar Salad ($8), which starts with fresh Romaine lettuce topped with a four-ounce boneless, skinless, oven-roasted and julienne chicken breast, with slices of egg and grated parmesan cheese and with creamy Caesar dressing on the side. This simply lush salad was ordered by several customers, including two LC students who got a free soda fountain drink with their meal.
Perfect for a cool mid-morning, the delicious cup of home-style creamy broccoli-cheddar soup ($4) had pieces of real broccoli and came with two slices of chewy and slightly sweet sandwich bread, made in-house -- "We knead it and roll it out and everything," says Chris. Whole loaves sell for $2.50 each.
Chris renamed the club sandwich deluxe box lunch -- oven-roasted turkey breast, Virginia baked ham, bacon, cheddar and provolone on honey-wheat bread with lettuce, tomato, a pickle spear and condiments on the side, plus a choice of salad, a fresh baked cookie and a mint ($8) -- the Spokane Club: "You know, because we have the Spokane Club downtown," he says with a smile. "That's our best seller."
-- M.C. PAUL
Apple Spice Junction, 514 S. Washington St., is open Mon-Fri 10 am-3 pm. Fax orders to 838-9300. Visit www.applespice.com/spokane.htm or call 456-2162.
EVENTS Odds 'n' Ends
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & L & lt;/span & ots of stuff to catch up on, now that school is back in session. On Friday, the Inland Northwest Business Alliance, a GLBTQ-allied business association, hosts a NEW ORLEANS DINNER AND MUSICAL REVIEW with jazz diva Abbey Crawford, along with Papa Scrubs' 6 Foot Swing. It all unfolds at the Glover Mansion at 6:30 pm; tickets are $50, and proceeds benefit the INBA scholarship fund, which gave out $7,000 to five local students last year and hopes to give out $10,000 this year. Visit inbaspokane.org or call 455-3699 for tickets.
The HISPANIC HERITAGE CELEBRATION is set for Saturday, Sept. 13, from noon-7 pm, at Riverside State Park, near the Bowl and Pitcher. Hispanic culture encompasses much of the Americas, so a wide variety of traditions, musical styles and foods will be represented. Favorite local entertainers like Son Dolce, Silvia Lazo and Milonga will keep the toes tapping, while food vendors dish up traditional specialties. Admission is free. For more information, e-mail HBPASpokane@msn.com or call 244-9737.
Also on Saturday, noon-8 pm, the EAST END NEIGHBORHOOD BLOCK PARTY will be a coming-out party of sorts for the new Main Market, a co-op food store due to open soon in the Community Building (44 W. Main Ave.). The Market aims to connect local food producers with the people who need and want their products. And on Sunday, the Main Market is spearheading a farm tour called IN THE FIELD -- buses will depart from the Community Building for a daylong (9:30 am-4:30 pm) tour of Zakarison Farm in Pullman. Visit www.mainmarket.coop for details.
Finally, we hear that the folks at Fresh Abundance's new store on North Division are throwing a LOCAL SUSTAINABILITY FAIR on Saturday from 10 am-7 pm at 2015 N. Division. Local vendors will be on hand, and Pedals2People will offer free bike tune-ups. Visit www.freshabundance.com or call 533-2724.
And if that weren't enough in the local food realm, the harvest of local fruits and vegetables is reaching its seasonal peak, so there's tremendous bounty to be had at LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS. (See the Calendar section for listings.) As Barbara Kingsolver noted in her most recent book, "Eating locally in winter is easy. But the time to think about that would be in August." Or September. So take advantage.