"Off the hook” is how owner Gary Stinnett describes business at Porky G’s since it relocated from Dalton Avenue to Coeur d’Alene’s bustling Northwest Boulevard. Indeed, cars buzz in and out like bees to the hive, lured by the enticing smell (and intriguing sight) of meat smoking in the contraption out front.
Fueled by seasoned hard woods, the smoker funnels heat and smoke through the full length of an enclosed barrel, allowing meat to absorb smoky flavors over several hours. Brisket cooks low and slow. For ribs, it’s a half-day affair. Chicken (available as a barbecued breast or in a juicy pile of “pulled” meat) takes considerably less time.
To sauce or not to sauce? Having spent my formative years growing up in Georgia, my notion of Southern-style barbecue is thick, sweet, tomato-based sauce, but Porky G’s sauce has a vinegar-kick more typical of the Carolinas. It gave our pulled pork ($6 sandwich/$8 meal) a nice blend of tang and smoke, and although it was fall-off-the-bone tender, there were also nice crispy bits of meat mixed in.
Porky G’s crisp, fresh slaw had an unexpected apple flavor and a little poppyseed punch, and it wasn’t overloaded with mayonnaise. It was one of several sides on the menu, but you can also choose smoked au gratin potatoes, green beans cooked with onion and bits of bacon, baked beans, and potato salad ($2, a la carte).
And, if you’d like to get yourself off the hook for catering the next family get-together, Porky G’s has a good deal for families: a rack of ribs, pound of pulled pork or beef brisket, four chicken quarters, two large sides, rolls and sauce for $30.
Porky G’s Southern Style BBQ and Catering • 1527 Northwest Blvd., Coeur d’Alene • Open Mon-Sat 10:30 am–8 pm • porkygscda.com • (208) 665-0044
The new hardwood floors at Vintage Vines almost sparkle in the light of the wine-glass chandelier hanging above. Despite the fact that it’s been open and operating since early May, the wine shop in Spokane Valley is preparing for its grand opening, which is scheduled for Friday, May 20, from 2-7 pm. Kelly Warner, the shop’s manager says they wanted to make sure they’d worked out the kinks first. “There was a lot to learn those first couple days,” she says.
Warner opened the shop with her aunt, Maureen Tracy, who owns Tracy’s Jewelers in the same strip mall. Tracy says that when a vacancy popped up, she decided to take a risk on a wine shop. She and her husband already tend to gear their world travel around wine tasting. Now she intends to share the fruits of her labor with her customers, offering wines that can’t be found in the grocery store, while always keeping value in mind.
“There isn’t anything in the shop that I wouldn’t recommend,” she says.
The racks at Vintage Vines are filled with everything from Pedestal Columbia Valley Merlot Vintage 2007 ($49) to Boom Boom Syrah WA 2009 ($16). They are bringing in wines from Washington, Oregon and California but also stock vintages from New Zealand, Italy and elsewhere. On Fridays and Saturdays they have free wine tastings. They also plan to hold book clubs and local art shows in the near future.
And they’re gearing up to host beer tastings, too. Warner, who is more of a beer drinker, has started to stock the shop with a nice selection of ales and lagers, which they say will expand as business grows. They now have Pyramid, Rogue, Anchor, Samuel Smith’s and others, along with a gluten-free selection.
Vintage Vines • 106 N. Evergreen Rd. • Open Tues-Sat 11 am-7 pm • vintagevineswineshop.com • 227-WINE