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Monday, September 28, 2009

Sri Prasert Thai Bar and Grille

Very good food!  but let me tell you our story...

This place is also known as The Thaiway Lounge. It is a bar, banquet room, and restaurant and they have karoke, pool tables and golf games as well as a banquet room available for rental. It is located at 5908 E Broadway Avenue in an industrial type of area, but it has been at this location, or so the server told me, for about eight years. That would mean, since about 2001. I have never been to this place before, but the other day w were driving past and Geo said we have always wanted to go there.

"WE?" a-hem.....

I think maybe he has, as he probably dries past it mere than I do. I never remember "wanting" to go here. In fact we drove by recently and I had no idea what he was talking about and told him I didn't think I wanted to go there anyhow. (It simply did not look that exciting to me it looks a little like a nightclub, which by the way it is. (see above)  Plus, I just didn't get the name.

"Sri Prasert".... 

I have since come to realize or rather learn that "Prasert" is a last name... and that it was a great place for delicious food!

I think it was kinda funny how the prospect of trying this restaurant must have been on Geo's mind all week long...since driving by last week,  because this is exactly where we found ourselves tonight.

On the menu (for us) this evening was:
Coconut Milk Soup (Thom Kha Kai)
Green Curries (Gaeng KeowWhan)
Hot Spicy Ginger (Padh Prik Kblong)
Fried Bananas and Vanilla Ice Cream (Fried Banannas and Vanilla Ice Cream)

The sign outside as you drive by reads, "Best Thai food in Spokane." (I am sure that is what got his attention!) In Geo's opinion is that the sign comes pretty close to being accurate... he really loved it. And I have to agree, the food was absolutely great!
As I mentioned, we have driven past this place before and quite frankly it looks like a bar, a guy's hang-out kinda place...maybe even a little like a truck stop to me. Mind you, I have eaten at great truck stops, and I have heard that bars can serve some great food, but I generally just look for the sign that says restauratnt.  This place looked a little closed when we drove near. Then, we saw the open sign.   But it looked dark and barrish.

The restaurant part is not a bar, more accurately, it is a restaurant attached to a bar and it was a very nice restaurant room. Geo says you cannot judge a book by it's cover. We ignored the sign to "Mama's Lounge Upstairs" and we went in.
When we arrived no one else was in the restaurant but us, but soon a couple other tables filled up as well. Then the food arrived and we tasted it. It was fabulous.  This place just got better and better to us by the minute.
One thing Geo really liked was that they had pictures of the food dishes on the menu. (You can even see these on their menu at their webpage.) I prefer just reading the menu but I kinda like the pictures going with it too. I think that if I just had the picture to go on I wouldn't know what is actually in them.
We liked the tables, we liked the glasses, we liked the way that the waitress brought us everything we needed, without us needing to ask. There was no music playing that we could hear. and I kinda liked that too. At least it was different... very relaxing, quiet except for tables of happy customers talking, eating and enjoying their food.
As for the food, The Hot Spicy Ginger dish was quite unique, at least for us. It was spicy. Geo and I were laughing because we are so different sometimes. I like "spicy," but he likes his food hotter than I do. However I like jalenpenos and he does not. We were wondering, "How does that work?"
I am not sure, but at first I liked the ginger dish better than the curry, and he had ordered the curry so I was happy with my selection. However, I tasted the curry again..... and again... and...... well, before long I liked the curry better than the ginger. Funny thing was that Geo liked the Ginger better than the curry! I have a new appreciation for curry I guess.
We do not usually order dessert, but I was curious to try fired bananas, I mean I cannot remember the last time I fried bananas, if you know what I mean. It was very yummy and the dessert was big enough to share to which is always fun to do when you are with a friend.

We have our favorite places for Thai food, places where we have eaten some of the best Thai food ever but none of them advertise" the best in all Spokane," ( at least that I remember.) Our conclusion tonight was that the sign outside this restaurant is pretty close to being accurate. If you love Thai food, this may well be "the best Thai food in Spokane!"

And just a note:  Bar and Grille, doesn't that sound a little bit like Boy and Girl to you?  (I thought that was funny!)

Sri Prasert Thai Bar & Grille on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blue Island

Tonight we dined in Cuba. Well, not the actual CUBA, but in terms of the blog, it was Cuba... for it was Cuban food, right here is Spokane!  As we drove to Spokane's first Cuban restaurant, I had a lot of fun thinking of one of the more famous Cubans I know, Desi Arnez. I do not actually know him personally, but he has graced my living room over the years on that little box called a TV. He and Lucy. Fred and Ethyl too. Fidel Castro came to mind too, after all he is a Cuban, but that was not as pleasant of a thought as Desi and Lucy.

So why Cuba? Well, it came at the suggestion of a friend who said she really liked Cuban food and that a new Cuban restaurant had opened very recently in Spokane. She could hardly wait to go and suggested that we might want to try it sometime on our many food adventures, so we did. I read in a Spokesman review article, here, that the owners are political refugees from Cuba.

We had no idea what to expect as we headed to the corner of Sprague and Vista, (8122 E. Sprague Ave) but when we arrived we were pleasantly surprised by a very interesting rock/stone building and a rather elegant atmosphere. One of the dining rooms had a piano in it and there was a large banquet room as well. The restaurant is connected to a lounge/bar called Club Edge where we were told live music often plays. Being inside the building felt a little like being in a ski lodge, or a Bar B-Q restaurant. It didn't really feel like the jungley Cuba I was thinking about, except for the rubber plants used for decoration and the great Cuban sounding music that played while we dined.

Interestingly they serve chips when you come in, with garlic/lime sauce that you drizzle on your chips. The chips are not like those you are served in a Mexican restaurant, they are not corn either, they are flour tortillas, fried. It was quite tasty and unusual too.

The menu had a lot of pork selections. There was pork roast, pork Creole,egg dishes, pastas and sandwiches as well as more foreign sounding things like croquettes, roulettes and Congri. (Congri is rice with beans and pork seasoned with garlic and onion.) I ordered chicken creole and Geo had pork roast. We both were served fried palntains, congri and salad. Geo was was actually served French fries.

We did not like the plantain, but everything else was tasty. We ate our plantain though, In Cuba, the plantain serves as a sort of bread. We were not thrilled by it, but my friend who recommended Cuban food said she loves it.  It's  not my favorite, but not bad.  Different...

We had a lot of fun with our waiter who was not Cuban. He tried to be helpful, and he really was, but we had some memorable dining experiences by the time the evening was done. For example, he asked us if we wanted our coffee before or after dinner... we said after, but he insisted on bringing it so we so OK and then it seemed to us as though he had forgotten. Now as to whether he was thinking to bring it to us when we wanted it instead of when he wanted us to have it (before dinner while we were waiting), I do not know. But I am glad he ended up waiting.

I didn't quite know what to expect for Cuban coffee, but I knew it would be some kind of espresso. I guess that is why it was funny to me when he said, (while serving us the coffee, in it's tiny cup and saucer, "It's a little strong, but it's good!" I thought it was funny to warn us that Cuban coffee, which is basically espresso, is strong. He was right though, it was a little strong, but it was sweet, and as advertised, it was good.

You not only get to experience a taste of Cuba when you eat at the Blue Island. You can get a bit of Spokane history too. I told my friend about how I liked the building and she mentioned that the building was a historical sight for Spokane. It has been there for years and is located on what was once the Mullan trail. In fact, between 1858 and 1862, John Mullan, a Captain in the Army and an engineer, built a wagon road, the first wagon road to cross the Rockies to the Inland Northwest. It was a 642-mile road designed to support the westward expansion of settlers and this was where it lay.

There is a pyramid shaped marker on the corner of the street in front of this building that reads, "M-R Military Road located by Captain John Mullan A.D. 1858-A.D. 1862 crossed the highway here. This location monument erected by Washington State Historical Society 1922."

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Pauline's Place

Pauline's in closed on Hwy 2, but I received this note from a reader June 2013:

"Pauline's is now located in Deer Park. The location you visited is now   
called The Boat Launch."

This little restaurant is relatively new. It has been open now for at least a few months, and I intended to try it sooner, but it has just taken me a while to get there. Located at 14819 N Newport Hwy, there have been several attempted businesses at this spot. There was a donut shoppe for a while and then it was the location of a middle eastern food cafe, but one day I looked up and saw the sign in front of the place. It had become something new, Pauline's.

I have to say that I thought the sign was hard to read from the highway though. It took me several drives past at highway speed before I was able to actually read what it said, and even then I pulled my car over to do it. It said, Pauline's and had a rodeo-riding ropin'-cowboy on it.

"YEehaw!" I thought to myself, " Bout time we got us a cowboy place in this neck of the woods!"

Seriously, my first thought was that all those "Big R" buckaroos across the street would love a cowboy themes restaurant! ("Big R" is a farm store where you buy tools and feed, cowboy boots, work clothes and saddles fer yer horsies.) I check the parking lot when I drive past and it seems there is often a bit of business. Cowboys and cowgirls, it seems are big on breakfast.

I understand this Pauline is the same Pauline who ran Pauline's in Deer Park. I discovered this fact when one day I was talking to a friend about how this little restaurant opened on Highway 2 and she told me that she thought it was the same person who had a restaurant where she lives, in Deer Park, and said that if it was, then it was definitely a good place to go. When I went there today, I asked the waitress and was happy to find out that it was!

The owner, Pauline, was not there, but the other Pauline was. There is more than one Pauline. I really got a kick about the fact that this was really "Pauline's Place," or maybe "Paulines Place." And my friend from Deer Park was right! They have good food.

I think their specialty, besides breakfasts, is hamburgers, and they had quite a selection. I was quite tempted to try the Chipolte Rasperry one, but since I was not sure I would like it, I went eating partner did too, but he had the bigger version. Mine was a 1/4 lb patty and his was a 1/2 pouinder... and the bun on his was BIG! I do not usually eat hambergers out unless they are on the dollar menu at some greasy frill so this was a rich and rewarding experience for me. I really liked my sandwich and Nate liked his too.

We also ordered fries. They have two kinds, home style and crispy. Nate ordered the crispy and I ordered the homestyle. Nate liked the crispy better and I liked the homestyle better. We ate it all... except the last bite or two, but only because we simply couldn't.

There was a variety of sandwiches on the menu that got my attention. It was a nice selection and bar-b-q sandwiches too. They even had strawberry shortcake for dessert, but we couldn't eat that if we tried. The people were friendly, welcoming and the service was good and the food was great. I liked the cozy, cowboy atmosphere too.

It really wasn't too cowboy inside, but one could tell that Pauline likes horses. It was fun listening to country music on the radio too.

So, if'n youser driving highway 2 up in that neck o de woods, gittin feed or going to town and need a bite to eat, Paulines might be a good little water'n; hole fer ya. And if'n yous in a hurry or yer don't wanna git outta da saddle, these's got a drive thru winder to boot!

Kay.. so maybe it's not exactly a "cowboy" place.. everyone's welcome... cowboy er not.... just come hungry.... cuz dem is good eats fer sure! 

Pauline's Place on Urbanspoon

Friday, September 18, 2009

Wah Hing

Great Chinese Food in North Spokane!  It seems like you have to travel a ways down Division to find a Chinese Food Restaurant, so being a northsider, I was glad to see this restaurant open, especially way North, near the Wandermere Center.  There is a lot of restaurant competition in this area and that is good.  Now that there is an Ace Hardware and the theaters... the sky's the limit! Who knows what will be next?

We have been to Ming Wah more than once, but I did not write about the last time because I was not writing this blog yet. Needless to say, we did visit there again.  It was just as good as the last time!

It was kind of funny though because it was late (9:15) and the place looked closed. Geo saw people inside so he went to check it out. They would be open another 15 minutes, and the people were very inviting to us even though it was late, so we went in.

It was very nice, although a little dimly lit. Almost a blacklight atmosphere in fact... black lights and chandeliers... amazing.

Geo ordered Mapo's Tofu and I ordered Mu Shu (Chicken.)

The Tofu was different than we expected it to be, different than any place we have ever been. The pork was not ground pork and it was not too saucy, but it was good. the diced bamboo was really different to us too and it made me feel like a bit of a panda.

The moo shoo (pronunciation) was great! It's is a new favorite dish of mine to be sure! Also we had a lot of food leftover for another snack... and Geo likes snacks...

...We sometimes call leftovers "Scooby snacks."

It was very nice to eat Chinese food with the background music not being fifties rock and roll. It was Chinese food, Chinese music, Chinese people, speaking Chinese... and speaking English with Chinese accents.. and bamboo too. You do not get too much more Chinese than that!

We thoroughly enjoyed our "late night" dining experience there as well as their kind hospitality.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Thai at My House

We have been home in the evenings!
So it is not that I have forgotten to post or anything, just that we have been eating at home. However, being home has given me reason to cook some Thai flavored food, something that I thought I would never really do very well... so the verdict...

Here is a recipe...

Easy Thai Chicken

2 whole chicken breasts, skinned, boned & cut into bite-size pieces
( I used pre-cooked chicken, but you can cook it as you make the recipe below.)
1/2 c. peanut butter, chunky or not.
1/2 c. water
2 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. peanut or vegetable oil
2 or 3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp. crushed red pepper, (I used 1 1/2 tsp. of red chili pepper sauce.)
3 to 4 c. sliced broccoli or mixed frozen Asian veggies.

In a small bowl, blend peanut butter, water, soy sauce and sugar; set aside. Heat oil over high heat in skillet. Add garlic and pepper; stir-fry 30 seconds. Add chicken, stir-fry until firm and white, about 5 minutes. Add broccoli or veggies, stir-fry until bright green, about 3 minutes. Stir in peanut butter mixture. Cook, stirring constantly until sauce is smooth, about 3 minutes.
Serves 4.