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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Chaps Coffee Company

Chaps is located 4237 S Cheney Spokane Rd. a bit south west of the city center area.  It's a bakery, and restaurant/coffee house, and a fine one at that.  I had not heard of the place before so  I didn't know what to expect until we got there. My friend had only told me about it that day and said she had heard that this was a good spot to go.  Ready to give it a try, we then headed out to have lunch together at Chaps. 

You can tell a lot of thought has gone into the decor as well as the fare. The atmosphere is eclectic, airy, warm and rustic and more than a restaurant the place is a bakery.  I never would have thought!  Not only that, they are open as a restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner. 

As is often the case, I read the webpage on this restaurant AFTER going there...  and I can only say, that if you want to get a flavor for this restaurant, who is behind it and what they offer, visit their website. I think it's a good reflection of the kind of thought, and  attention to detail I observed and even felt while I was at this restaurant. 

My friend and I had fun just looking around the place at the decor.
Come to find out, this little restaurant began with a little old farmhouse that was bought and placed right here on this little spot!  (see the photos in the gallery on the restaurant's website.)


But on to the food.....

For lunch we went to the counter and ordered, then after being seated, the food was brought to our table by our server.  We were seated at a rustic table with a lovely view out the window into the courtyard. I would say this place is rather casual, a sort of come on in and make yourself at home kinda place.  You can tell... especially when your water cup is an old mason jar, I think.

 I have to say that is was hard to choose what to order because it all looked interesting. I ordered the Monte Christo.   After ordering and sitting at our table, , I took another look at the menu and decided  to try the corned beef and sauerkraut next time!  They do not call it a Ruben, but the man behind the counter had told me it was like a Ruben.  I was thinking that it will be good to compare it to the other Rubens I have had.  Today it would be the Monte Christo.... a sort of french toast sandwich.

I opted for the Monte Christo because I do not see it offered very often and ever since reading the book, the Count of Monte Christo a few years ago, I just kinda like eating a sandwich of the same name and fame. 

Here it is... served with salad.

My friend ordered fish. 

I am not positive, but I think that it was the Salmon and Brie s(open faced) sandwich.  I thought it looked great, Salmon being, a Pacific Northwest favorite kind of thing   She liked it.

Both of our lunches were served with our "side" of choice that day, the Chaps Signature Salad, which is a sweet vinaigrette salad with lots of greens, cranberries, feta and nuts, perfect for the holiday season if you ask me.

We had a look-see at the baked goods, but didn't eat any.  The kitchen was right in the same room basically.  There were pies, muffins, cookies and all sorts of treats,  We also learned they serve something called "Bouzie Bread" and learned that  Bouzie's is a local bakery.... on South Perry Street.

I love learning new and interesting stuff about the people and places of Spokane.  

So, this was my first visit to Chaps...  I will probably visit again.

 They are proud to announce that it rated as one of Spokane's Best... and I didn't even know it "existed" until today!  Well, now I do, and so do you! I enjoyed my lunch here with a friend.  (BTW, great suggestion Jan!)
But wait.... there is more!

In more of my exploration of their webpage I discovered also that they have a band play, usually on Friday nights.  The current band is a local group called SaveLefty. I can hardly wait to go an hear them play in person on a Friday evening while sippin' some coffee with Geo.  I am also hoping my brother will come and visit soon so we can hit the local Spokane music scene and check out more places around town that have local music like this. 

(That is an invitation Frank!)

Till next time.....

Chaps Coffee Co on Urbanspoon

Friday, December 2, 2011

Asian Bakery and Restaurant -Chai Hana Salam

Geo keeps telling me that we have been everywhere in Spokane, but I am pretty much convinced that Spokane will never run out of places that we have never been.  New restaurants open every month, or so it seems.  I happen to think Geo simply has discovered some favorite restaurants among all the places we have been and he wants to revisit them.  We do occasionally revisit our favorites for sure, but while he would like me to believe that we have been everywhere there is to go, I do know better. 

 So there we were, contemplating the possibilities, waxing and waning between old favorites and something new, when we drove past Chai Hana Salam  Asian Cafe and Bakery, located at 3329 E Sprague.  Needless to say, we both agreed, this was to be our diner destination.

I love ethnic food.  I think that it is very wonderful to enjoy the food and flavors that originate in faraway countries.  Tonight it was the faraway flavors of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Tajikistan. (Click on the country list to see them on a map.)  Our hostess brought out a globe and showed us the countries where the food is from.

I had originally heard about this little restaurant sometime after they had first opened.  It has taken me so long to head this way because being a cafe, I falsely thought it was only open for lunch.  I was wrong.  They are open until eight o'clock!  The place was very comfortable, the hospitality quite welcoming, and the food... delicious!

I was a little bewildered looking at the menu when we first looked at it.  Even with pictures of the food, I had no idea where to begin ordering things with such foreign names, things that we had never heard of...things like "manti" and "plov" and "samosa." 

There were some things that we had heard of too, like "borscht" "kebab" and "baklava"  but neither of us really knew what would be good to try.  Besides, really, it all looked great.  The hostess came to our rescue though, and gave us some suggestions of new things to try.  When we ate it, we loved it all. 

We began the meal with black tea and a triangular shaped biscuit-like food called samosa.  

The samosa was a sort of pastry with meat inside, served with a container of a mildly spicy, almost ketchup-like red sauce.  This food actually reminded me a little bit of the highly coveted "pasties" that were consumed in mass quantities by the Finnish and Scandiavian "locals" of the UP in Michigan where I once lived.  These were a little different than those pasties.  I never really liked pasties much, though my kids did.  I did like the samosa. It was the perfect appetizer.

Next we were served our soup.  

The soup, called Lagman... (I think this is what it was called!) was fantastic!  We liked it because it too reminded us of another (and a very favorite) food we were familiar with, one called, Lecs├│. 

The food connection between this food from our own ethnic heritage and this one here was kind of neat.  It made me think about how food connects people, how foods have certain, "dialects."  We could taste something here that was famliar, and yet it was something we had never eaten quite like this before.

This soup also had some great noodles, ones "like mother used to make."  Needless to say, we really liked the soup.  Geo happens to love soup... of almost any kind.  He even thought that the soup alone would have been a great meal... but "no,"....  more delicious things were yet to come our way.   

Next was the Manti,  

the Plov  

and  the Carrot Salad.   

The Manti was a dumpling dish served with sour cream.  The Plov was a rice dish with some tender meat served on the top.  The Carrot Salad was basically shredded carrots with vinegar and seasoning.  All of that was good as well.  Then there were these Cream Puffs for dessert.

(These are not your freezer case cream puffs!)

I was fascinated by the Tandir ovens and even got a glimpse of the big one in the kitchen while I was there.  It's huge!  I have since learned that it was shipped specially overseas to Spokane for use here at this restaurant.  In addition to the big one in back, there is a smaller one in the dining area, which is used for cooking as well.  It was hot to the touch. 

I knew these ovens were used to bake bread.  I have seen them before, but not so up-close.  I have to admit, I had no idea that the bread was cooked while being adhered to the side of it!

Here are some other resources on the internet about this restaurant and their ovens.
--A Spokesman Review Article about Chia Hana Salam

--A You Tube Video:
Placing Laposhki into Tandir oven

Its good to know that one needn't have gone everywhere before revisiting restaurants.. right Geo?

Asian Cafe and Bakery on Urbanspoon

Monday, November 21, 2011

Jimmy John's

I have driven past for month's, each time reading the neon sign outside that says, "FREE SMELLS." This alone is rather funny to me.  But, oh my!  I just got back from Jimmy John's and I am still smiling!  The sandwiches are great and all the other signs around the place, hilarious!


But first the food.

Jimmy John's is pretty much a sub and sandwich joint with an extensive repertoire.  They are pretty much ordinary, bread is either white sub or whole grain sliced, and then their is a vast array of condiments whereby your sandwich, sub, or not, is made just the way you like them, and they are good!  What more could you want?  A pickle?  They've got them too.

My boy loves pickles!  Geo too.

We got two!
The boy ordered bacon lettuce and tomato sub with extra bacon.  He really liked it.

Geo and I tried something new to us... the UNWICH!  Yes, we just could not resist.

What is an Unwich?  It's a sandwhich without bread.  Instead of bread your sandwich makings are wrapped with lettuce. 

Here is a Classic Italian.

Here is a Tuna, adorned with sprouts.

These specially wrapped Unwich beauties come with special instructions.  You must slowly and carefully, unroll the paper as you eat.  Eating an Unwich was rather fun (Maybe should be called Funwich?) and eating it made me feel like I was cutting a calorie corner by not having high carb bread.

The music was loud and fun, the signs all over the place were just the right kind of "wacky." We even liked the way that some of their tables were designed.

One of my favorite signs, (on the upper right hand side of this photo,) read, "If walls could talk we wouldn't need all these signs." The sign was shaped like a mouth.  

Maybe it was just my mood- o- de-day, but I thought that even the napkins were funny.

They even have a drive thru.

There is another thing that made me smile about this place, and this had to do with another neon sign on the outside of the storefront that read:

I had to smile, because I think it's true.  There I was eating my food, sorta minding my own business, reading the signs.... taking a bite of my Unwich, unwrapping my Unwich and taking another bite.  Every so often a delivery person would run...literally run...around the corner and out the back door,,,, box of deliverables in hand.  I was impressed.  I also liked the sign they had that said:


(And you can bet it is probably be delivered extremely fast!)

Eating at Jimmy John's wasn't just delicious, it was rather FUN.

In Spokane, they are located at 105 E Mission Ave.... at least that is the one I visited.  I read though that one is located at 601 W Main Ave, too.  Jimmy John's is a franchise, so you can buy a store instead of a sub if you are so inclined to do so.  (I know this only because I read the sign on their wall that said so.... HA! )

Preview the Jimmy John  menu here.

Jimmy John's on Urbanspoon

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tony Ferraro's Burgers and Italian Bistro

I was introduced to this place when a friend of mine was very excited to celebrate her birthday by having lunch here with friends.  She told me, (and she's Italaian,) "Tony makes the best lasagna!"  Appararantly, she and Tony are on a first name basis; He came over while we were there and chatted for a bit.

This friend of mine, who is quite keen on Spokane history, was excited to show me and tell me a little bit about the history behind Ferrarro's Italian Bistro and his family too.  Adriano Ferraro, Tony's son, is quite the musician.  He has been on  and plays live music here on Thursday nights.  My friend's birthday was fun and the food terrific... so.....on a recent trip down Market Street, in Hillyard, Geo and I steered into Ferrarro's for a dinner out, and I got to introduce him to the uniqueness of this place.

Ferraro's used to be a "Steer Inn"... now it's got an Italian accent!

 And, if you don't want to go in and order (to eat your food indoors,) you can use the drive-thru!
However, if you go in, you can get a little bit about the history behind this place and Tony too.

We went in, up to the register and placed our order.   Then we settled. 

What did we order?  Well, it was not a Tuesday, so sadly, we missed out on lasagna,  Geo's favorite Italian food.  (That was depressing.)  The story is that Ferraro's only makes lasagna on Tuesday...  and it was not a Tuesday.  So if you like lasagna, remember, Tuesday at Tony's is the day for you.  They only make it on TUESDAY... and they like to serve it fresh.  Missing out on lasagna was a disappointment, as you might can tell, but there was a lot of other good sounding stuff on the menu.

 I  ordered Chicken Parmigiana, which came with a salad and bread.... and spaghetti.
 Geo went with Chicken Alfredo.  Instead of a salad he ordered bread... meanwhile, the pasta already came with some bread, so he had two.
 The food was yummy.  The atmosphere was comfortable and quaint.

 I enjoyed the memorabilia, which could be found all around the room.  I enjoyed reading about Tony's family and how it took them 11 days to travel across the ocean via ship when they immigrated to the US.  I found myself wondering what this place is like a Thursday night when Adriano comes in and plays his music on the piano.  I think it must be pretty special.

I like the idea that Tony is such a big part of the heart of Spokane.  On my friend's birthday, everyone in attendance knew who "Tony/" was.  I am impressed at how he and his family have an open heart to share their lives with and serve the people of Spokane and how they take care and pride in their restaurant's Italian food. 

Though I have never been there, I have learned that Ferraro has another restaurant on Sprague Ave...  we might have to try that one too.

Ferraro's Burgers and Italian Bistro on Urbanspoon