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Monday, August 31, 2009

Hot Rod Cafe

Driving from Couer De Alene to Spokane or from Spokane to Couer De Alene, you can't miss it. Post Falls sits directly between the two.  Getting there from the highway might be a bit of a challenge if you are in a hurry, but finding it is worth the time.  if you can see the sign, you can figure out how to get there...or stop and ask a local for directions... right?

There along side the highway in Post Falls ID, I always saw the sign, HOT ROD CAFE,  and I always wanted to try it, but we were always going someplace else... and when Geo suggested we try it, get a hamburger and a shake instead of Thai food, I have to admit.. I was a little crushed, but I couldn't resist much, after all I have seen the movie CARS and I love Herbie the Love Bug too. I have even watched an Indy 500 and sat in the stands watching my brother either be in the pit or race a time or too. Besides that,  have a friend named Steve who always gives this place high reviews.  We simply could not drive by and not stop.

This place is amazing. We could only laugh as we walked past the old fashioned gas pumps outside and entered the restaurant to the sound of a revving car engines. Out mouths must have dropped with amazement as we looked up at all the motorcycles, cars and car paraphernalia decorating the place. This was a car lovers paradise.

Like a bar, there are video screens showing scenes, from every direction in the restaurant, so that no one misses what is on the screen, but it's not girls dancing or sports you'll see; its a peek under the hoods of sports cars, roadsters, dragsters and exciting scenes of cars racing. Their are parking meters at each table and as you read the cleverly devised menu, listen to the sights and to the sounds, you just simply know, it's completely understood that motorease is spoken here, and mechanics of every kind are welcome.

As for the menu, I really got a kick out of the fact that french fries were called wrench fries and cole slaw, car slaw. Besides that, there were many many other linguistic treats. The best of all was that they even serve Hot Rod Pad Thai! (THAT, and so many other interesting items (like... calamari) it was truly hard for us to decide what to eat!)

We ordered a hamburger to share, so it was cut in half for us. It was big! (1/2 pounder.) So we shared a hamburger bar b que style... and piston rings! Okay, well, they were really onion rings. : ) Geo had a 1950's style vanilla shake and I had rip-roaring strawberry lemonade. ( I just called it "rip roaring" it's officially shake rattle and roll on the sipsational menu...)

You can take a photographic tour of the restaurant here: Tour. I think it's pretty cool. A fun place to celebrate something special! Maybe like the acquiring of a license to drive... or a birthday or anniversary! (Geo and I were celebrating ... 29 years of marriage!)

As we left a little horn honked at us, going through the doorway as if say, "Ya'll come back now, ya hear!"

I hope to go back. I kinda liked it. I am thinking that with Pad Thia on the menu, it might even be an easy place to get Geo to drive to once again, and I might need that kind of lure with him, unless of course I am in the driver's seat!

These are photos from a subsequent visit there with my son. 

: )
 a sideways smile and a sideways shake!

Bangkok Cousine Exotic Thai Resturant (Sandpoint ID)

Another great dining experience!

We went to Sandpoint this weekend and in our travels decided to try this Thia restaurant located in the downtown area. It had a great atmosphere and I tell you, the waiter we had was one of the best I ever had. He was friendly, attentive and he definitely knew what he was doing, serving his customers with care. The restaurant is family owned and operated which is often a nice touch when looking for a place in the center of a busy touristy town, if you ask me.

We ordered an appetizer called Silver Bags. at our waiters suggestion when we asked which of the many delightful sounding choices he would recommend. These were a rangoon type of item, crabmeat and cream cheese deep fried in a pastry type of dough. They look like little loot bags, something an outlaw would carry, sort of like a bandanna with coins inside and tied with a string. Hence the name I am sure, "Silver Bags," or bags of silver.

I kinda think the appetizers on menus these days are expensive, at 6 or 7 dollars usually. I am surprised whenever we order them at all. These were no exception. They were exceptionally delicious and we ate them all. We also ordered Thai Tea, our new addiction since we tried it at Sam's place a few weeks ago. We ordered one Thai Tea and one Thai coffee.

I liked the Thai Tea best but the Thai Coffee was good too. These were served with creme on top and the straws had a swirly whirly presentation too. making them extra special I am sure!

We had soup, our favorite, Thom Ka Guy. This was good, it tasted just as good as we like it but it did have some differences in appearances. For example, I could not find any galanga. The taste was the same, but besides no galanga, there were different mushrooms (more normal ones at that!) and even a bit of a different presentation. It was served in a dish to keep it warm, but it was hard to ladle from. Kinda awkward if you ask me, but we ate it all.

Then we had a panag curry. This was different too, rather mild on the curry.
It had a lot of green peppers which I was surprised to hear George order as he is not big on green peppers. It also had a delicious peanutty flavor. Served with rice, we even had to order a little more because we ended up putting a lot of rice in the broth of out soup. (We like it that way too.)

This place was great. It was a busy atmosphere, pretty, and the prices were reasonable. We even enjoyed the special touches too, like fish tanks, swirly decorations on our straws and even smelling the lovely fragrance of some real roses on display in a dish as we left.

This was the kind of Thai food Restaurant that makes it hard to ever want to eat anything else.

Red Dragon

This place was a rather good find. It's on Francis, near the Fred Meyer store, (on the North side of the road.) The servers were not as attentive as I think they should be, but  service was adequate however, the food, good and the atmosphere, definitely fun and Chinese. The decorative lights in the window flashed like Chinese firecrackers!

(This restaurant closed on 2009... moved to a new location... please see post for Red Dragon in  Hillyard

The Red Dragon, for whatever reason, just simply was not very appealing to me to try for along time. Maybe that's because it's sandwiched between a tattoo parlor and a hair salon and another Chinese food place. Finally Geo talked me into it, and we decided to go. He tells me he ordered take out from here before that he liked, but I didn't remember.  So, with a brief discussion of it all off we went to see what kind of Chnese food they had. It was good!

For appetizers we ordered the potstickers which our waitress said were homemade there at the restaurant. These were quite good as was the sauce they were served with. I kinda liked the idea that they weren't from a frozen box the chinese restaurant bought from Costco, know what I mean. I could make THAT at home!

They brought us a cup of soup while we waited for our dinner to be served. I was not really sure if this was because it came with the meal or because our meal wasn't quite ready. It seemed like maybe our service was a little slow. We ate it.

Geo ordered a new dish, well, new to him. It's called Moo Shu Pork. This was a delicious blend of vegetables and pork, mostly cabbage, in a stir fry that gets rolled up in Chinese crepes. It's served with plum sauce and very yummy. The crepes we had didn't stand up to it all too well. I think the key to eating them without a mess might be to make them and eat them promptly, not let them sit on your plate while you make one for a friend.

I ordered Mandarin crispy beef, which I thought might be a little like the dish they serve at Panda Express. It was different, but tasty. It had lots of veggies too.

We also ordered hot tea which was served in a teapot as loose leaf tea. We had to strain the tea with a special sieve which was given to us with the teapot after it steeped a bit. this could add or detract from your dining experience depending on your preferences. I kinda prefer not to have to strain my tea with unusual strainers, and this only because I almost forgot to lift out the strainer once and Geo forgot the strainer completely once and ended up getting leaves in his cup. All was remedied.

The Red Dragon does take out delivery and catering too. Kinda interesting that you could simply call them up and have food delivered to your door.

I do not think they deliver to my neck of the woods, but they might deliver to yours.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Just American Desserts

This place is not "really" a restaurant, but it is a place to get desserts. I had tried this place for a b-day cake once before and didn't really care for the high prices and what I had was a "not so great cake," but yesterday was a different story....

Some friends and I went here, picked up some of their wares and headed to a special indoor party "picnic." My friend ordered a Tuxedo Cake and an"Almond Poppy Seed Cake and both were simply delicious. I should also tell you that we did not order whole cakes. (Have to watch the waistline you know!)

Was it "expensive"? Depends on what you are used to paying for dessert I guess, and depends on if you do not mind paying a little more for something gourmet...  beautiful to look at, made with real butter and elegance. One thing for sure is that Just American desserts does have a reputation for is using real ingredients, like butter, cream sugar... you know the "normal" things. (The cakes were also very pretty, perfect for our little picnic.") to be fair though, I have to say that I do not know about the price because she went in alone and came out with the cakes!

As with most food experiences, a lot must be taken into consideration when determining if something is good or not or expensive or not. Alot of the time, I think it depends on what you are used to and knowing that not every day is always a perfect day.  I am usually willing to give something a second chance.

When it comes to desserts, some people just do not like chocolate. Yes, it's true! My friend Derrick does not like chocolate. and if you gave him some, he would not like it at all. He would say that whatever it was he ate that had chocolate in it wasn't good. He HATES chocolate.  That is just how he is, and how it is with food sometimes.

And as for me, I like chocolate and I loved the white chocolate on the Almond Poppy Seed cake!

Just American Desserts on Urbanspoon

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Huckleberry's "Ninth Street Bistro"

Ninth Street Bistro is located at Huckleberry's Natural Market on Lincoln.

On Friday Geo and I got a bit of a late start to the evening so we didn't have the usual amount of time. We have different methods of picking where we go and tonight it was both, "Find somewhere that is not too far." and "Someplace quick would be nice." We wrestled with a few ideas, before making up our minds... and this too took a while. You see, one place we always seem to see and never want go was where we were near, and Geo suggested it again. I said no. Then I suggested Huckleberry's, and off we went!

Now, Huckleberry's, in case you did not know, is a food store that caters to folks who like nutritional supplements, organically grown produce and meat, and ecologically produced products. I was a little afraid Geo might worry about sunflower seeds in spaghetti sauce and the like because it also caters to the vegan/vegetarian crowd. But Geo, liked the idea. He had never been there before and he wasn't very hungry either. Besides that it sounded like someplace "quick!" So we trekked off to the South Hill to check out their Deli.

What a spread! They certainly have a lot of delicious looking things to select from. They claim to have 10-15 entrees, 15 different salads and 8 soup varieties daily. Our first stop was the soup bar.

We sampled a few soups and they were all delicious. Geo chose to have a chicken and noodle soup and I had the cream of mushroom. I. was hard to choose. We probably would have went with the Jalepeno chicken, but there was not enough left in the pot.

Every sandwich looked intriguing, as did the lasagna. One thing I noticed is that the people who work throughout the whole store are prepared to serve the customer and our first encounter with this was in the deli at the soup bar. It was such a hard choice that I decided to ask some questions of the attendant there. He told us about several of the items in the showcase when I asked him what things he liked to eat there. We selected the Gouda Chicken, which was then grilled like a pannini and cut in half for us.

It was great food and we ate every bite. After dinner we looked around the store a bit. At the bakery section we bought a marzipan hedgehog as a gift for a friend in town from England. After taking a peek at the bulk foods, groceries both organic and conventional and posting some flyers for an upcoming concert in the park that I had been carrying in my purse, we went on our way.

Huckleberry's is a fun place to visit. The little restaurant also has made to order items and you can take out or dine in. You can order waffles or pancakes, omelets, scrambles, burritos, burgers, or a little something from their hot pasta bar. There is espresso, Italian sodas and fresh juiced produce too. The grocery has a wine section, bakery, meat department, and uniquely diverse cheeses. They can make gift baskets and party trays too. They offer canning classes, (August 20th, 2009) have musicians come in an play on Saturdays, and sell flowers. For their sales see their website, or click here.

Huckleberry's on Lincoln has a lot of stuff for a little store, and they have good tasting, "quick" food at this great little bistro!

In April, I visited there again with Cherry and she liked it a lot.  We even had dessert!

Huckleberry's Bistro on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Peking Palace

This place has a website. Click HERE to visit it. (
Once there, you can check out their menu, get directions, see what time karaoke starts and read about their history.

Located on Sprague Ave in the Valley, it was a bit of a drive, but we love Asian food, so off we went. Actually I had no idea where we were going until we were almost there. The Peking Place is quite a place. As you enter, the ornate entrance with it's golden walls, pagoda type of architecture, gold dragons/lion statues at guard and enormous paneled doors do sort of give you the feel of entering a palatial estate as does the rest of the inner decor. (Never mind that you are on Sprauge Avenue, in Spokane.)

I loved the hanging decorations, Chinese Lanterns, I think they are called. These were really large, and beautiful. Not only that the ceiling was decorated with tiles making it appear that it was covered in ornate gold. The music was not 50's rock and roll, like SOME places we have eaten. It was a pleasant oriental classical style and I liked the the atmosphere of it all.

It's a pretty modern place too, meaning they have touch screen computers that their servers use to order food for the tables and it's definitely "Chinese." A lot of Chinese is spoken in the kitchen and the receipt you are given is written by computer is both English and Chinese.

Our lovely and very efficient waitress, with a cute sounding Chinese name was pleased when we ordered what said said were "very traditional Chinese dishes!" She also liked the fact that we ordered it a little spicy. We ate with chopsticks too so maybe we scored some points being the Americans that we are. Hey, ya know, when dining is a Peking palace, it is good to eat like the Chinese! For our dinner, Geo ordered us an appetizer of Egg Rolls, Hot and Sour Soup, Ma Po Tofu and Kung Pao Chicken.

So how was it?

Well let me begin by saying, 1) Geo likes oriental food very much, especially Ma Po Tofu and 2.) Geo is a really agreeable guy when it comes to food in general, especially if he skips eating lunch. He eats my cooking and he is usually happy with what I make and serve. (There is only one thing he has EVER complained about and asked me not to make again, and that is spaghetti sauce made with peanuts and sunflower seeds!)

The eggrolls were quite greasy. Now, maybe they are supposed to be that way, Geo thought they were great...but he didn't eat lunch and he was hungry too. I ate some of it, but I actually prefer when they are not so greasy.

The soup was made fresh for us and it was pretty good. I have had it other places that use maybe more fresh stuff...whatever that "stuff" is... (seaweed, mushrooms, lily stem...) that they usually put into this kind of soup. We enjoyed our portions and had left overs for tomorrow too.

The food they brought us was very pretty. The Kung Pao was colorful from the de;icious assortment of vegetables and it was saucy too. The Ma Po Tofu, was attractive too. Both dishes were tasty but to me they seemed a little salty. Our dinner was served with rice. We did not have to order it separate, which was nice because with saucy dishes like Kung Pao it's nice to have some rice.

I asked Geo if he would come back again and he said yes. Me, hmmm, it depends on why. If it was just to eat Chinese food, I would probably opt to hit some of the other places I like more. One thing for sure is a lot of people like it; it was a pretty busy place. It's been in business for over 30 years! Apparently some things never quite go out of style.

I might go back sometime, if I was in the area and particularly if it just happened to be Wednesday. Wednesdays, you see, are a discount for people like me.

Wednesday is ladies night!

Teriyaki Express

This place is one we have been too several times. It is where the Zips restaurant stood for years. It's kinda funny going there because the old Zips is really ingrained in our brains. Recently, on a Sunday, we showed up with a large group and then I went again one evening with Nate. I just forgot to write about it!

Teriyaki Express is Asian food but in addition to the food, they also have drive-up or order- in espresso. The restaurant has gone through several changes, even a change of ownership, but the most recent addition is that of a sushi bar. Personally, I was sad to see the Teriyaki bowls disappear, I still think it would be good for them to have at least a low cost item on their menu for the drive by eater... a small "to go"teriyaki bowl, but apparently they do not. Most items on the menu are around 8.00. Also, I do not get too excited about sushi, (except the kind with veggies only.) We do drop in here from time to time because of the convenient location, the cleanliness of the place and we like the people there too. Besides that, it's Asian food.

Nate almost always orders Bolgoki, which is a beef stir-fry sort of dish. Hew like it here because they are light on the onions. I ordered the combination plate, which I really enjoyed. I loved the way it was served on a plate with little compartments. They are a little light on the sauces in their foods, mostly they serve soy sauce, which to me is rather boring. It's like a staple food when it comes to oriental flavors, so its nothing "special."

They seem a little conservative, that is, not wasteful, which is a good thing in my opinion, but for example, in a large group we ordered two orders of goyza, and they brought it to us all on one plate. (made me wonder, "Are they conserving plates?") The service might be described as a little conservative too, tea is not served to the tables unless you order it. Also, because we lacked silverware at our table, and had to request our check, it seemed like they were not quite on top of things all of the time, but they are sometimes a busy place and I think perhaps there maybe a little bit of a language barrier to cross as well. None-the-less, these are very friendly and considerate to all their customers, the food is good, and good portions too.

I got a chance to peek at the sushi bar. I love the colors of sushi when it is on a plate and I love the flavors of ginger and wasabi, I like the rice and nori seaweed too, (mostly when it's filled with veggies.) I must say, the sushi bar looked wild and fresh!

I mean, there were octopus legs and to me that is just plain wild! There were many other delicacies I am sure, but what struck me the most was the octopus legs. (If you like octopus and other ocean wild things, this could be for you.) Everything was packed beautifully on ice in a beautiful array in their showcase and I could tell, they take their sushi making seriously. It kinda made me think about ordering a California roll, but I didn't.

Maybe I will next time. 

Friday, August 7, 2009

Thai On First

Tonight we went to Thai and Beth came with us. The place we went is one we have passed by several times and finally decided to try called, Thia on First. We are glad we tried it, the food was superb.

Located in downtown Spokane on First Avenue, it's kinda mixed into the storefronts as you drive down the road and I was surprised at how empty it looked as we drove past looking for a place to park. I even thought it might be closed, but Geo read the posted hours and someone came out through the front entrance so we knew they were open.

It was Friday and they did not close until eight o'clock.

Beth said she thought the place looked "a little scary." I think that was because the front has iron gates and the main entrance is not right on the street and one must go through the open gates down a small corridor to the restaurant's entrance. There was, as usual downtown, an interesting assortment of people walking by.

Once inside I better understood why it it looked closed. It is easy to think that the outside edge of the restaurant was the whole restaurant due to it's storefront location. It's not. It's actually a fairly large facility as you enter the building. The tables you see from the street side are actually on the outer edge of the place, spots mostly likely filed when the place is most busy. It seemed to be a fairly popular and well liked place. There were several groups of people eating when we arrived, mostly groups of men in casual attire as if they were their for a business meeting after hours, some college students and some families too. The restaurant was busy when we arrived and more people came in after us as well. Closer to 8:00 they even filled a take-out order.

The dining area was bright and festive. A lot of natural light came in to the restaurant from the windows. I liked the big plants and colorful umbrellas inside that decorated the room, and Beth liked the colorful plates. It felt a little island-y. We also enjoyed the photographs and decorations around the rooms. It was very pleasant atmosphere to say the least.

The male servers wore khaki shorts and striped shirts which made me think of a cruise ship and all spoke the language on the menu. Our server even understood Geo's rendering of the menu items that we ordered and tonight we actually got to have some of that incredibly wonderful coconut milk soup that we like!

In addition to the soup, we had spring roll appetizers, then the rest of our order came at once, the soup, a curry with chicken dish, an order of rice and a noodle dish. Unfortunately, I could not tell you exactly what the dishes that we ordered were as I did not write it down and Geo ordered them. With the exception of Thom Ka Gai, which I have learned to differentiate between Thom Yum Gai, the best I could do is remember the number on the menu. (One of them was 16) As time goes by I will perhaps get better at knowing the various names of the dishes, until then, I will just let Geo do the cooking. : )

The appetizers were yummy. The soup (ordered @ number 4 on the spicy scale) was pretty SPICED, although Geo thought it was perfect. The curry was delicious, especially with the rice. (You have to order rice separate if you want it with your meal here.) The noodle dish was something both Beth and Geo loved, but I really didn't care for it. They certainly did. Geo even woke up this morning telling me that he couldn't believe I didn't like it. I told him that I couldn't believe that Beth really liked it even though the spice level was at a three! She had thought it was spicy at first bite, but said several times during dinner that she thought it was really good. She didn't eat the soup much more than tasting it. At a four star spiciness, I tell you, it was spicy... yummy and spicy, and even a little hot for my liking.

Geo thought it was some of the best Thai food in all of our food adventures in Spokane. I thought it was good, but then I didn't like the noodle dish as he did. I thought the heat index for spiciness was a little above the average I would expect, well... no, actually, I have to turn that around and say that usually the spiciness of Thai food in Spokane is below what I would expect. The scale at this restaurant is hotter than other Thai restaurants that I have been. I should have known that though by the way the man happily smiled when Geo said he liked his Thai food spicy. I should have sensed the camaraderie.

Thai restaurants like to give their costumers candies after dinner, and this is always a nice touch. Tonight the three of us got four different kinds of hard, sweet candies to sweeten the bill. I like this better than fortune cookies which I never read anyhow. We had fun picking out who would get which candy. Beth took the Werthers Caramel, I took the butterscotch round and Geo got the A&W rootbeer and the peppermint candy too, since he got the "leftover" choice after we made our selections.

He let the ladies go first.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Asian Restaurant

 "Asian Restaurant" is really the name of this particular Asian restaurant. Clever huh? I thought so too. It kinda gets right to the point. This particular Asian Restaurant is located at 5306 W Sunset Hwy, and tonight, this was our dining destination.

Maybe it was the location, maybe it was the road construction nearby the place... (but then of course, isn't there construction going on all over this city right now?) Maybe it was the fact that we missed our planned turn and had to back track just a little, or maybe it was just the appearance of the place...but upon arrival I felt like we were pulling up to a truck stop, not an Asian Restaurant, but the sign outside said Asian Restaurant, so I knew we were at the right place.

It was nice and cool inside on that hot summer day and we were welcomed and seated promptly, but two people in fact, to two different tables, but we went with the first offer by the first person to greet us. The inside was simple and pleasant. Portraits of the king and Queen of Thailand were on one wall and stained glass works of art were hung about the place. We later learned that these stain glass pictures were specially made for the owner, some even portraits of himself, cooking and as a monk in his earlier days.

I have to say that it was a great dining experience. We didn't even mind that our plans for eating our favorite "coconut milk soup"
were thwarted because Geo tried to order it using foreign words instead of English, and we were brought something completely different. Apparently, in Thai language, one little syllable can mean a lot of difference. (Is Taiwanese is what you call the language?<-- I have since learned it is not... it is simply Thai. Ka Gai... the soup with coconut milk and galanga root. It just wasn't the same, not even remotely similar, if you ask me, but we liked it... a lot.

We thoroughly enjoyed our Chicken Curry as well as our appetizer of
miniature spring rolls, which the owner, Sam, was honored to inform us were made by his lovely wife. We also ordered some of the Thai teas. We ordered one regular and one "green Tea" that his wife had just brought back from her recent stay in Thailand.

Between the two flavors we liked the green tea the best. Geo said it reminded him of some Moroccan tea we had tried at another restaurant. I see the similarities, but it was different, and it was very green looking too. It had the kind of flavor that makes you happy when you drink it. Geo said, it made him laugh. It was kinda fun to take sips of the two teas and laugh together.

Sam, the owner of the restaurant was very busy that night, along with his wife because the regular waitress did not show up. Sam was seating people as well as cooking and in between he's talk to everyone.

He was a lot of fun to talk to too. I wondered if he enjoyed talking to people, as he visited and talked with us several times even though his wife was helping to serve food from the kitchen. We learned much about his life and a little about the King of Thailand too, whose photo is displayed in the dining area. Sam told us that the King of Thailand is an American citizen from Boston.

Sam is a great cook and a good talker. I left this place feeling like I had just been personally treated to a very special dinner at the home of a friend or something. Seriously. If I were a golfer, I would look forward to meeting Same on the golf course or something, but I am not a golfer. Instead I will look for him and his family at the beach the next time we go to a kite festival. However, I will probably see him before that, at his Asian Restaurant.

We liked it so much we visited again in March 2010.  This time we took photos.
Here isa part of the menu: 

(Double click on the menu for a larger view)

Our Special Ordered Soup:

This is Thai Ladd Na, (right) and Garlic Pork with Pea Pods, (left.)  The little dish is a sauce for the Ladd Na.

This is part of the restaurant.  

This is dessert;  it is Black Rice and Ice cream.  
The rice is warm and the ice cream is cold and the two things together are great.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

The Scoop

The Scoop is an ice cream place and I like that it's smack dab in the middle of a neighborhood. I kinda think that it would be a fun little place to have nearby your house, or to stop at on the way home from school. (There's a school nearby too.) I live on the other side of town, but sometimes I am on the South Hill so I have been past the place a couple of times, but never ordered anything from here until today. Geo and I stopped by the other day and we ordered an espresso shake.

The building where The Scoop is located houses three businesses; a natural foods grocer, a hair salon and this cute little ice cream parlor. Besides ice cream, The Scoop serves breakfast foods and sandwiches. (I read it on their menu.) While we were in line, I noticed some of their dishes that they use to serve food to customers and I must say, they were quite an eclectic assortment, some were even quite unique. This little tidbit seemed to add just a little pizazz to novelty of the Scoop experience and what is an ice cream shop without pizazz anyhow?

One thing that struck me as we waited for our order was a sign on the wall advertising for the brand of ice cream that they use, Brain Freeze Creamery. The sign read, "Brain Freeze Creamery... Our modest approach to ice cream, high fat, high quality and high price. Everything you'd expect from a ridiculously small company." It made me laugh. Honesty... I love honesty.

The ice cream flavor titles they have at the Scoop made me laugh too. I mean, I have heard of MooseTracks, and eaten my share of Cookies and Cream, but I had never heard of "Muddy Cups and Dirty Dishes." They had some kind of Cake flavor too... and even offer free sprinkles...

The free sprinkles add pizazz too. : )

As we left sipping our shake we noticed that the store sign on the sidewalk outside advertised a musician who was going to be coming to play. That would be a lovely touch to enjoying an ice cream cone with some loved ones on a hot summer day. I wouldn't mind sipping my espresso shake to the tunes of a guitar man playing tunes at the local neighborhood ice cream stand.

As we drove out of sight, I imagined that such a scene could be much like one of those contemporary "Norman Rockwell" type of paintings, one that captured "a summer moment" in a day in the life of Spokane." Colorfully clad people were eating ice cream under large shade trees outside a quint little ice cream shop. A dog, some kind of spaniel, was tied to the stop sign, a bowl of water nearby for him to take a drink. Some boys were riding playfully on their skateboards, even into the street, and a couple of girls with cones in hand took an interest in petting the ice cream wishing dog. Meanwhile a couple of old folks drove away smiling, enjoying a milkshake, hoping to return again.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Pic -A- Bu Bistro

Pic -A- Bu, ( ) located on the south hill ast 901 W 14th Ave, was a fantastic find, one place we will definitely have to go to again. Geo found it by Google-ing "Thai food" and surprised me with going there. His phone device gives information on restaurants in the proximity to where you are when you ask it to find you one and we weren't far away when he was looking, so we found it. I am glad we did. What a great little restaurant.

We called ahead to see if it was open on Mondays... ooops time for a funny story.... earlier today I was meeting with a friend and two of the three places we tried to meet at were closed Mondays. (We ended up meeting at a grocery store of all places!) Sooooo... this is why Geo called. First and foremost of importance was that they were: A. open; and we also wanted to know, B. if they served coconut milk soup.

The man who answered the phone must have simply heard "soup," for over the phone he said "yes," but when we got there, to our disappointment, they didn't have it. It didn't matter too much because the menu selection was terrific and ultimately, what they did have was simply delicious, and they even had Phad Thai, one of my favs, as well as curry dishes.
Just reading the things on the menu was fun. Everything sounded so good that it was hard to pic, but I finally did.

I had: Simple Salad (Just a nice “side salad” of organic mixed greens, tomato, parmesan, croutons. and blue cheese dressing) & Spicy Chicken Chop Wrap, (Chunks of spicy chicken tossed with black beans, tomato, onions, jicama, peppers, organic mixed greens, cilantro, and blackened ranch wrapped in a grilled flour tortilla.) Geo had Chicken Phad Thai (Rice noodles pan-fried with sprouts, scallions, Small Planet tofu, and your choice of chicken or shrimp, in a spicy-sweet sauce. Garnished with peanuts, cilantro, and lime. )

Are you convinced it was not only fun, but delicious?

In addition to the regular items they also have a Summer Salad Menu, and Kids Menu. This is just one place we will have to visit again and again. Did I mention desserts?
For dessert they offer items like Chocolate Peanut Butter Pie, Fruit Crisps and Ginger Creme Brulee. We didn't have any dessert, but they all sounded yummy.

Talking to the waitress who served us we learned that the restaurant has been open for about five years. Had to ask about the name too.

"Picabu" means "peek-a-boo." Apparently so named because you can see it "peeking over the hill" as you come up Lincoln St. This place is also a little hidden away, next to the big Rosauers.

I can hardly wait to visit here again.


On the way home from Art on the Green in CdA, we decided to stop by at Cabala's and see the store people have been talking about. The store opened in Post Falls ID, Nov. 2007, but this was my first time there. It was new too for N and B who were with us.

I had heard a lot about the store because Geo had been there with a friend who was visiting from India, but mostly what I heard about was the incredible animal displays. Our Indian friend had never seen animals like the ones he saw there. They were so out of the ordinary for him that he just could not imagine some of them even being real.

I guess I am jus not into the dead animal scenery because it really ws not that impressive, or at least it was not what the guys made me to imagine as they were telling me their animal tales about Cabela's. Personally I find the idea of taxidermy animals a bit morbid, but if you are interested in seeing animals, it's about the best thing we have to a zoo in this area which is a sad thing to say. There is a lion a rhino, a polar bear a moose wolverines puma warthog zebra moose, bears to name a few. There are also large fish that B. , like our friend from India, thought were not even real. However we went to Cabela's not just to see the animals, but to have a bite to eat.

I have to say, the store is a trip. I wondered around thinking it pretty funny that grown men would get such a kick out of shopping there for costumes to make themselves look like walking bushes and watch videos presented to them by amunition experts on video tape. And I also find the idea of baiting animals so you can shoot them when they come to feed disturbing... This kinda thing is not really "hunting" if you ask me.

They also have a bear trap display on the wall as you leave that we looked at. Those are some strange devices to consider. I have never come face to face with a bear nor had to feel like I needed to trap one, but I suppose they are not always so good to have roaming around in the neighborhood causing trouble for humans. The cruelty factor perplexes me as does the stories of people and other animals that have been known to accidentally get snapped in a hidden bear trap in the woods.

We did not eat at the art festival, because we were looking for the famous New York Sausages but never found them and had to lea e because we were running out of time before we had to be back home. We did find a vegetarian stand we were thinking of eating at but they were right next to a chicken eaters sandwich stand and the two stands, right next to each other was sort of ridiculing the other... one ridiculing the other for eating chickens and one the other for not eating chickens. It was a little unappetizing to have to choose between the two, so off we went....with Cabela's in mind.

Based on what I had heard, I was under the impression that the restaurant would be more than a cafeteria experience but it was not. A cafeteria experience it was, although they call it both a restaurant and a delicatessen. Basically you get in line and either order your selection and watch it being cooked real quick or you can take ready made items from the shelves. You put your stuff on your tray and then pay for it at a cash register in another line, and find a seat. Even B. commented that she felt like she was in a school cafeteria.

I guess you would say the restaurant is unique in that you can order unusual items, like elk, wild boar, Bison, and ostrich. Where else in Spokane can one find such delicacies?

You can order more normal things too like turkey, ham, tuna, roast beef, chicken, hamburgers, pizza, fries and hot dogs. Feeling a little vegetarian that day, I had a small salad and some cole slaw which I got from the shelves. Everything else on the menu seemed like it would be loaded with fat and sodium. The rest of the fam ordered things like: a chili bread bowl, chili fries and a hamburger that looked great. It was tasty, but I do not think I would make a special trip to eat there, unless of course I had a hankerin fer some ostrich or bison, yall know what I mean?