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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