CASUAL Endless Summer & r & & r & & lt;span class= "dropcap " & D & lt;/span & ecorated in Tiki fashion with bright oranges, yellows and blues, a huge mural of surfboard dudes in silhouette, seashells and netting in the walls, THE MONTEREY CAF & Eacute; is "a fun escape from your office," says manager Misty Straley, and a place that aims to offer "a warm and cozy break" from those long, dark days of winter.
For downtown office dwellers, an ever-changing selection of pizza slices ($2) are kept hot, fresh, and ready to go. "The pizza is rich and filling, so a slice or two is all most people need," says Straley. Salads, from pear and Gorgonzola to Summer Lovin' Pasta, are also available in the front display case.
For those with an extra 10 minutes or so, a dozen 16-inch specialty pizzas come divided into eight generous slices. La Mexicali pizza ($16) is as colorful as it is tasty: The deliciously chewy, thin but sturdy crust is liberally coated with enchilada sauce and topped with a blend of provolone, mozzarella and cheddar cheeses, chunks of savory pulled pork, big slices of mellow red onions, tasty yellow bell peppers, black olive rings, and huge pieces of mild, red chipotle peppers. Chilled medium-hot tomato-based salsa and sour cream topped with slices of fresh green onion and cilantro leaves are served as sides, with sliced jalape & ntilde;os optional as a topping or side.
More interesting is the selection of dawgs: pigs in a blanket, served with chips ($6). You're gonna order the Dirty Gerde because it's just so darn fun to say. Smothered in cream cheese, wrapped in pizza dough, sprinkled with parmesan cheese and baked till the dawg is hot and the crust is golden brown, this big, mild, juicy Polish sausage, made locally by Sonnenberg's Market, will soon be whispering your name in the night... or at least in your office cubicle.
In addition to canned sodas ($1), there's an assortment of beer ($3-$4) and red or white wine by the glass ($5) or bottle (prices vary). A full-service bar, as well as an espresso bar, will be added early in October.
"It's always sunny at the Monterey Caf & eacute;," the sign says.
Bring on the snow.
-- M.C. PAUL
The Monterey Caf & eacute;, 9 N. Washington St., is open Mon-Tue 11 am-9 pm, Wed 11 am-3 am, Thu 11 am-10 pm, Fri 11 am-3 am, and Sat 6 pm-3 am. Call 868-0284.
FARMS Grow Your Own
& lt;span class= "dropcap " & A & lt;/span & s more people re-evaluate where their food comes from and the demand for locally grown food increases, our community needs more people committed to growing produce or raising livestock on a more personal, smaller scale. If you've got some acreage and you've been wondering what would be involved in such an operation, then the CULTIVATING SUCCESS program might be for you.
A joint effort of WSU, University of Idaho and the nonprofit group Rural Roots, the program offers classes at more than 20 locations across Washington and Idaho. In its first seven years (from 2001-06), the program trained nearly 1,600 students in real-world farming situations. Students from the two universities may take the classes, and the program makes a special effort to reach recent immigrants interested in farming. Established local farmers partner with the program to bring internship and mentorship opportunities to potential new farmers who want to learn from their accumulated wisdom and experience.
This fall, the program will offer a 12-week course called "Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching" on Monday evenings at the WSU Spokane County Extension office starting next Monday. During the course, students will learn how to evaluate their own resources and goals to decide what kind of agricultural enterprise would be the best fit for them. Guest farmers will visit the class to share their experiences, and students will take field trips to local farms to see small-acreage operations first-hand.
For more information, visit www.cultivatingsuccess.org. To register for the Spokane class, contact Pat Munts, the small farms and acreage coordinator for the extension service. (The same course will also be offered in Sandpoint starting Oct. 21; for information, contact the Bonner County Extension office at 208-263-8511.)
-- ANN M. COLFORD
"Sustainable Small Farming and Ranching," part of the Cultivating Success program, will be offered Mondays, Sept. 29-Dec. 15, from 6-9 pm at the WSU Spokane County Extension office, 222 N. Havana St. Cost: $200 per family. To register, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-2173.