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Monday, June 22, 2009

Moose Crossing Cafe

Tonight we tried the Moose Crossing Cafe. It's a little place that we have driven past quite a few times but never took the opportunity to try. It had our attention though because the sign outside reads, "Homestyle Favorites." We were surprised at how many people there were eating at the tiny place when we arrived, and were happy that we did not arrive to late to be served. They close at 7 PM.

It was a fun place to try as it had a bit of a Pacific Northwest flair. Really is kinda cute.  Decorated with all kinds of moose paraphernalia, and hunting and fishing themes, Geo liked it.  His favorite was the Moose Drool Beer Ads that were around.  Being Hungarian, he was surprised to even find something Hungarian in the restaurant, and this on the wall in front of him at our table! It was a picture of hunters hunting a picture of Hungarian pheasant!

As I mentioned, we have driven past this restaurant a few times and have seen them advertise different items from time to time. We kinda wondered if they were the kind of restaurant that made just one thing for dinner at a time.

Geo and I have often talked about a restaurant that would operate like this. Like your mom's kitchen, one night such a restaurant would serve only spaghetti and meatballs, the next it would be stuffed cabbage, and the next, maybe fish and chips... that kinda thing. (The idea would be that you, the customer, would basically eat whatever "mama' happened to be cooking for dinner that night.) We thought this might be like that, but it's not. There are plenty of items to choose from on the menu in addition to the daily home style specials that they advertise.

Tonight's special was meatloaf and mashed potatoes with gravy. It was served with a veggie side dish of corn, red bell peppers and onions, some delicious home made ( I presume) corn bread, our choice of soup or salad, (we both chose salad) and a cute little jello jiggler that was cut into the shape of a moose head. This made us chuckle. It was kinda like "mom's;"  who else but "mom" would serve you a strawberry flavored jello jiggler in the shape of a moose?

Oh yeah... this is the great northwest for sure!  Got to love it!

As I sat at my computer tonight, I discovered that this little cafe has it's own website where you can check out their menu and the prices, even see photos of the happy patrons who frequent here to dine. It is

Moose Crossing Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 12, 2009


Tonight we headed out for dinner, not really knowing where we would end up. We were kinda wandering around, looking for a new place to try, and were heading north on Maple St. when I remembered we were near a place I have been wanting to go for dinner. so you might say that it was on a bit of a whim that we decided to try the Moroccan restaurant called Marrakesh, here in Spokane. We turned back towards Northwest Blvd and found the place we were looking for, but I have to admit, the appearance of the place was a bit dilapidated.

It didn't even look like the restaurant was open. The outside had only a few entrances and from outside things inside looked pretty dark. The paint seemed faded and the parking lot unkept, almost as if the place was no longer in business, but there were people and several cars in the parking lot that kept us curious and then we saw a neon "open" sign in the window, and it was on. We we parked the car and made our way to the entrance on the main street.

It was dark inside and it almost felt like we had entered another world, another culture. Middle eastern music filled the air and scents of aromatic spices wafted by us as we were greeted by our host for the evening. He came through a decorated doorway dressed in a red hat, ( I figured this was probably a fez) and slippers as well as a silky sort of attire. Escorting us to another dimly lit room, he offered us a table, which was kinda small and only a a little more than a foot from the floor. It was enough to make a city dwelling person feel just a little Bedouin.

The walls, at least half way to the ceiling, were covered/decorated with carpeting and there were oriental type of rugs on the floor. Also the ceiling was draped with fabric. Geo commented that he had thought before of doing the inside ceiling of a yurt like that before and as I looked around, I have to say it looked and felt quite yurtish to me . We liked it.

Geo also commented that it brought back memories of Saudi Arabia... and no wonder; Arabic is the official language of Morocco and as we looked over the menu we saw that Arabic writing graced the page before us.

We read a warning on the menu that said not to leave valuables in sight in your car as their had been vandalism before. We took the warning seriously and removed our valuables from the sight of passersby. I have heard that in some countries, like Saudi Arabia, thieves are punished severely, usually by the public and gruesome cutting off the offending body part. I suppose that if we were in Saudi, we could have left gold in the car with the windows down and not given it a second thought. It's a little sad to think one would have to post such a warning on a menu in this city of Spokane.

Our host informed us that dinner was to be a five course meal, and that all we had to do was pick two entrees. We asked him what he liked to eat and he gave us some suggestions, but added that the question was a little like asking which child a father wants to visit with, he loved them all. He left us to make our selection and it ended up that we ordered the things he mentioned, Leg of Lamb and Honey Chicken with Prunes. We also ordered hot Marrakesh tea.

Our host disappeared, only to return with clean white towels which he handed to us and told us to put them on our laps. He then bought over what I thought to be a teapot and very large metal bucket which he placed it on the table. a bit perplexed we did as we were instructed, put our hands over the bucket and rub them together, and he poured warm scented water over them from the teapot. It was then that I remembered reading on the menu that utensils would be provided upon request... and I knew we would be eating with our hands. That being the case, the handwashing made perfect sense.

We were instructed to keep our towels, so we kept our towels on our laps and they made perfect napkins as well.

The first item on the menu was the Lentil Soup. It was a flavorful soup, a little spicy, but not much, like maybe a good chili. It was in a bowl, served without a spoon. With it came a glass of water and a glass of tea, which was ust a little unusual as I would have expected a tea cup or coffee cup for hot tea, but it was instead a beverage glass. The soup was delicious and when we finished, the bowls were removed, the tea was replenished, and we waited to see what came next.

Meanwhile the tea was fascinating. It had such a unique flavor. Our host told us it had no sugar in it, but was made in the restaurant using a special blend of herbs and spices only. We kinda doubted that was the case. We even joked about testing it for sugar content. Whatever it was it had our attention and it grew on us the more we tried it.

It was a very fragrant tea, kind of like perfume and it was alluring. It reminded me of scents like jamine and sandalwood, maybe licorice or mint. Whatever it was different from anything I had ever had before in a cup or a glass... and it was great! Our glasses were refilled several times throughout or meal.

Next came what our host called salad. Served with french bread slices, the salad consisted of finely chopped tomatoes, cucumbers (or maybe zucchini) celery and cabbage in some sort of tasty, mildly spiced dressing. It's taste, I thought, was simular to gazpacho, only it was not soupy.

After the salad, plates we taken our host retyurned with a pie lloking object that had been sprinkled with powdered sugar. He called it Bastela, announcing that this was an appetizer. He told us it was made with scrambled eggs, almonds and ground chicken. The dough was a filo dough and the Bastela was delicious!

Then came the entrees... Honey Chicken and Leg of Lamb; both served over rice. We ate it all; every bit, to which our host, (whose name was Mamdouh) said, "Life is good!" Then he brought the familiar teapot and basin and we washed hands again. Next he brought desert.

Desert was Baklava, which was a fine way to end the meal. It is a pastry made of layers of filo dough filled with chopped nuts and honey.

We enjoyed dinner very much and it was a pleasure also to talk with our host who for some reason joined us at the door as we left for conversation. He told us he was originally from Egypt and the chef was from Morocco... and that this restaurant had been here 18 years. He joked with us about not coming here before now and told us how people came from all around to eat here, at the Marrakesh. I am sure they do, we will probably return.

We do have some favorite restaurants in Spokane and this may be one we add to our list. As is said in the movie, Casablanca... (Casablanca being the economic capital of Morocco, )
"I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Missed the movie Casablanca? I did too. However, I did see the 30 second version performed by bunnies You can too at:

Casabunca... too funny.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


I have to wonder if the person who invented ice cream knew they made the world a happier place. I mean, tell me, how such a simple thing, an ice cream cone, be such fun? I have to thank McDonald's for a fun ice cream experience we had in Arizona. Nothing is better than an ice cream with friends, young or old.

When I was little, my mom taught us kids to sing this song and I have vivid memories of my oldest brother singing it too. It goes :

I scream
You scream
We all Scream,
Ice Cream.

Needless to say, my mom loved iced cream and she made sure to pass on the tradition by letting the babies "just have a little taste." whenever she could. My kids definitely like it too and as for me, I have some great ice cream memories in my own life.

I remember being able to buy a triple scoop, three-different-flavored cone at the Payless drug store for 15 cents. I had a neighbor who would load up the back of a pick up truck and sometimes the station wagon with kids in the neighborhood to go and get ice cream there. I remember me and my friend raiding the freezer, eating more than our share, and my mom complaining because we didn't lave any for her.

Today I carry a digital photo of my grandson licking the first ice cream cone he ever had. It was at an ice cream party for my birthday in 2009 and I remember him asking, "How do you eat it?" We got a great photo of him demonstrating the way you eat it too.

We took the folks out, through the McDonald's drive thru for a cone while we were visiting them and it was extremely fun. I have seen a lot of people have fun with ice cream but this was just about the best.
The grandpa had a hot fudge sundae, and the grandma had a cone. You would have thought they both died and went to heaven right then and there. We were all quietly sitting in the car minding our own ice cream, when between licks the grandma announced, "This is a dream!" As she continued to intently enjoy her cone, the grandpa said, "How come we never done this before?"

Surprised, I had to ask, "What, you two never went out to have an ice cream cone?"

"Nope." came the response.

"Wow!" I thought to myself, thinking of how I knew so many people who enjoyed ice cream, and I decide to make note that if you ever want to have some cheap fun with a grandma or a grandpa, ice cream sure would be a winner.

Going out for a cone costs a little more these days than a nickel per scoop, but I tell ya, for 1.79 at McDonald's those two had a lot of fun and we did too. I am not big on Macdonald's, but I have been known to go there for ice cream, especially soft ice cream cones. I am sure there are many ice cream places around, but I cannot think of anyplace where a soft serve ice cream cone is less that the $ .79 cone at McDonald's. The hot fudge sundae, with or without nuts, was only $1.00, and it came with a free spoon.

Does it get any better than that? What a deal!

Thank you Mickey D!

Now I know where to take both the older folks and the kids to have some fun!

Red Lobster

Sometime this past May, Red Lobster opened a store in Spokane. We did not go to the one in Spokane, but we did visit Red Lobster Restaurant, and it was really good. I can hardly wait to try the local one as well.

While we were visiting relatives in Arizona, we asked mom if she wanted to go out with us and what she wanted to eat. I have to tell you that this mom is one who loves to cook, is a very good cook, and will seldom take an offer to dine out, but after being sick for so long and finally starting to feel better she was excited to go somewhere with us. She wanted to have some lobster and steak, so after exploring options in the phone book, we decided to try the Red Lobster in Scottsdale.

The service was exceptional. They made us feel welcomed and were attentive to the needs of the grandma with the walker too. Not only that, the food was great and we all had a wonderful time talking, laughing and eating.

Between four of us we ordered lobster, clam chowder shrimp, salmon, flounder, scallops and shrimp scampi, and we ate everything except for one biscuit, which we took home and ate the next day. Everything was scrumptious and we decided that even if you just went there for the chowder, it would be worth it.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New Harbor

This restaurant has been in Spokane for 16 years...and so have we. Having driven past it hundreds of times we have never stopped to consider eating there. Part of the reason being that we had already found the places we liked the best and go there, but since we began trying new things, "New" Harbor came into view. Tonight we decided to drop anchor and see what the Chinese/America food this establishment offered was all about.

We began with an appetizer of "spring rolls," which when they came, were looking more like "egg rolls". When I commented on this to Geo, the waitress she said their egg roll and spring rolls are the same. That was odd to me. Spring rolls are usually smaller and fluffier, at least that hs been my experience. The eggroll/spring rolls came with a sauce that looked a little the the sauce our local Zips hamberger stop makes to go with their fries, only it had a horseradish, or hot mustard "kick" in it's flavor. (We affectionately called it, Chinese Zip dip.) Geo liked the sauce, and the rolls, which I thought were rather greasy. They were also really, really, really hot; like just-out- of-the-fryer hot.

It's a pretty restaurant with pretty Chinese lantern looking decorations over the tables, which reminded me of chandeliers. The menu choices looked good; all of our favorite Chinese eats were advertised there. The menu was even translated into Vietnamese, so they obviously have a lot of oriental patrons.

The service was great and the dinner items, like the egg rolls that came before them, were served hot. It tasted good, but it was a little different than we were used to when we order the same items elsewhere. Maybe it's because it was "Hong Kong " style food or maybe just different family recipe...or technique... I don't know. Anyhow...the dishes were prepared differently than how I have seen them served other places. I will explain:

Geo ordered Mu Shu Pork. I would have liked to order Chow Mein, but I am still learning about it, and do not want to oder something I do not want to eat, so I went with my old standby, Kung Pao Chicken. (We also figured that ordering this way was good for comparison.) I realize that all restaurants and cooks will have their variations, but there were no Kung Pao peppers in the Kung Pao Chicken.

Even without peppers, the Kung Pao was spicy enough. It also had water chestnuts which I like, as did our soup which started the meal. (The teeny tiny slivers of chestnut were a very nice variation I might add....) The Mu Shu Geo ordered, did not have a lot of gravy and it had a lot of Tofu. The pork was more like thin sliced pork chops as opposed to ground pork. So you see, things were different than we expected, not bad, just different. We ate it happily just the same.

Will we ever come back?

With so many places to try, and some places we really like, I doubt we would make a special trip back to this place, but I didn't really plan on going there tonight either... and did anyhow. So, I will just say, if it's the right time the right season and who knows what the reason...we might end up here again. I wouldn't mind, but It would not be my first choice. Instead, I look forward to either going back to one of our old favs or another someplace "new" next time.

I might try the American food one day.. just for fun. Somehow, I just never thought of ordering "American" at a Chinese place. Besides eating Chinese food seems like quite the American thing to do...

Monday, June 1, 2009

Sonic Drive In (not Drive thru)

Sonic Drive-in opened last summer in Spokane and it was all the rage for weeks. No doubt this was partially due to the fact that Californians who move to Spokane miss their old favorites and Sonic is one of them. I think that a lot of people just like the nostalgia of the 50's too. I never hear of Sonic before the new restaurant opened in our town, and I never took the opportunity to try them until last weekend after we watched Spokane Community College Theater's production of Hole in the Sky. (which, BTW, was an intense and amazing production~)

First we were simply going to go through Wendy's drive through, but before we reached the window we change our minds, thinking to try Sonic instead. We drove through the drive thru without stopping to order; we just drove right through. However, Geo decided that he wanted Wendy's not Sonic, so we drove back trough and ordered some stuff, then we went to Sonic for the rest of our order.

The nice thing about the experience was not having to hurry and and order because people were behind you. I also liked the fact that you sit there instead of drive away with your food. It's still eating in the car... but there is more mess control than what usually happens in a car when you go to fast food drive through.

Comparing Burger to burger... ice treat to ice treat...( between Wendy's and Sonic)... Wendy's wins, and I am sad to say, I did not think it was a very great burger, which was all I had.

Beth ordered a coconut something or another that didn't taste like coconut to her, but rather banana... George concurred, "banana." N. ordered food too... and I don't remember what Nate's verdict was on the matter, but I would probably not go there again as a first choice of someplace to go. We figured the confusion came about because Geo had to order the food three times because the person behind the speaker-phone and cash register asked him to repeat the order that many times. Later there was problem with the billing too and after swiping the card in the machine in front of him, the guy on skates had to go inside to redo the billing.

Okay, so maybe I am just being nice when I say that all in all, it was worth the experience. I was glad to finally be able to say I had tried the Sonic. I drive by it all the time, and now, I know that I am not missing much, except the unlimited selection of drink flavors you can order. If I do go again, it will probably be just for some fun slurpular thing... and I will check to be sure the order is right too. I will have to say that it was a kinda fun thing to do at least once. After all, it's not every day that you get your food brought to you on roller skates...and this while you sit in your car and eat, complete with kids in tow (in the back seat.)

I have to say that it was truly a family experience... a flashback in time...Before my time.. and yet, I think it might even be more fun... sipping a silly soda in say, a 57 Chevy, or maybe a mustang convertible.