by Ann M. Colford and Susan Hamilton & r & & r & Culinary Conveniences SHOPS & r & All cooks need gadgets to make their culinary creations successful. Barbecuing steak calls for different tools than grilling shrimp. Baking cinnamon buns requires specific utensils; making cream puffs demands other implements altogether.
A newly opened shop in Spokane's Flour Mill, THE KITCHEN ENGINE, has gadgets for every culinary requirement. The gourmet kitchen supply shop features cookware, dinnerware and utensils, as well as bulk coffee beans, teas and spices in a Tuscan atmosphere.
"Everyone's been asking about another kitchen store here since the Copper Colander closed a few years ago," says co-owner Vicky Frickle. "So our family decided to open a personable kitchen shop with great customer service and reasonable prices."
Walk through the shop's doors and you're greeted by an Aero-Garden display of lettuce and herbs next to the full Mario Battali line of utensils (from basting brushes to extra wide spatulas) in orange, olive and brown. Straight ahead is the Steven Raichlen barbecuing area, including wood for smoking. Nearby, bright Emile Henry bakeware and dishes in primary colors made of durable French clay can go right from the freezer to the oven or microwave, Frickle says.
"We're looking forward to having demonstrations with our Bosch bread-making machine using ground whole grains," Frickle says. "The bread has such a sweet, fresh taste."
Customers will get to sample the bread after it comes out of the shop's ovens. Samples of Cravens and Doma coffee are also available, and customers can buy bulk beans as well as tea from Market Spice, Montana Tea Co. and Cravens' Two Leaves and a Bud.
Aficionados of the Food Network's Alton Brown will find the same knives he uses -- Shun -- at the Kitchen Engine. Classic German Wusthof cutlery is also available. "These knives are so great to use," Frickle says. "When you cut a carrot, it won't go flying across the room."
Completing the atmosphere, an arbor hung with gourmet stainless steel and copper pots stands next to a display table set for four that looks straight out of House Beautiful. High chairs and tables set against a brick wall are perfect for browsing cookbooks or savoring sample food and drink. -- Susan Hamilton
The Kitchen Engine, in the Flour Mill at 621 W. Mallon Ave., Suite 416, is open Mon-Thurs 9 am-9 pm, Fri 9 am-6 pm, Sun noon-5 pm. Call 328-3335.
Ungulates Traversing CAF & Eacute; & r & Every neighborhood needs a place where locals can gather over coffee and food to swap stories, catch up on news or just hang out someplace comfortable. Diane Pierson drew upon her extensive restaurant experience to create just such a place in northeast Spokane near the intersection of Nevada and Wellesley: the MOOSE CROSSING CAF & Eacute;. Sunny and cheerful inside, the former mercantile is now decorated with moose memorabilia, from coffee cups to bobble-heads to the wallpaper border that circles the room. The country music floating in overhead adds to the down-home ambience.
"I always thought I had the right idea of what customer service was all about," Pierson says. "It's just a feeling that I want my customers to have when they come in: I want them to feel welcome. I wanted a place where customers could come in and feel really relaxed."
Even breakfast is relaxed here; it's an all-day affair, and it focuses on the basics, with two eggs -- any way you like 'em -- served with hash browns, toast and the option of adding meat. The pancakes fill a dinner plate. Lunchtime brings burgers and sandwiches, including favorites like Reubens and BLTs, along with salads for those seeking lighter fare. A fresh fruit cup is always available, along with a different home-style soup each day.
Dinner choices harken back to the comfort food of Rockwellian America: pork chops, roast turkey, baked ham, pot roast, meatloaf. Meatloaf! With "real made-from-scratch mashed taters." Just like Mom used to make, if your memory is particularly gauzy and nostalgic.
"That's what I was raised on, that's what I know," says Pierson. "It's what my mother taught me to do."
With dinner, the caf & eacute; also serves wine and beer -- Moose Drool, of course. The moose theme carries into dessert as well, with the Muddy Moose Delight -- "a warm brownie with Moose Tracks ice cream, chocolate syrup, peanuts, whipped cream, and chocolate mooses on top" -- and another occasional special known as Moose Droppings. No, it's not what you think: Pierson takes five cake doughnut holes, rolls them in a chocolate-coconut blend, and piles them up on a plate. They're outstanding in the field.
"The neighborhood around here has been just awesome," she says, "really welcoming, coming in and introducing themselves. With any place, you build up your regulars, and that's what's been happening. I couldn't be happier." -- Ann M. Colford
The Moose Crossing Caf & eacute; at 4803 N. Nevada St. is open Mon-Sat 6 am-8 pm. Call 483-0155.