Entering a restaurant tells you a lot about the place, but it doesn't reflect the food. The Great Taaj Indian Cuisine in Spokane, Washington was just this. Upon entering the glass door was a bit dirty, the floor and tables seemed frumpy, but the aroma and food quality were smacking good. The two young men staffing the restaurant were pleasant and welcoming. Two televisions blared a bollywood show, which added to the far-away ambiance. The server asked us if wanted naan (flatbread) and we ordered two types (there are eleven types to choose from). The deli-style lunch offered about twenty or so options from tandoori chicken, several curries and vegetarian options. The naan at Taj was exquisite, freshly prepared, with a perfect flavor-texture balance. My experience at Taaj was transcendent because now I understand that you really can't tell a restaurant by its cover.
Growing up in Spokane, Ethiopian food was relegated to upscale cities like Seattle, Portland, and New York. A few years ago an Ethiopian restaurant called Queen of Sheba opened its doors in Spokane, and my food-adventuring family recently enjoyed a delicious Ethiopian meal. The flat bread, called injera, was soft, moist, spongy, and served its purpose for wrapping up the delicious lentil, vegetable, and meat sides. The exotic spice blends wafted from the large platter to your palate, lifting you to far away lands. All of the food was delicious, and like my daughter mentioned "it's sad when your stomach gets full". The owner, Almaz, greeted all of her guests with a welcoming smile that was as warm and joyous as her food. I'm looking forward to our next food adventure at Queen of Sheba Ethiopian Cuisine.
We came. We ate. We enjoyed every bite. Sometimes you know you're "in the flow", when events line up making life full of joy. Such was our food experience at Spokane's 2015 Interstate Fair. We stopped at Izzy's Bar-B-Que for fire roasted corn and a brisket sandwich drenched in bbq sauce, then proceeded to Aebleskivers to delight in the soft, spongey, and chewy texture of this ball-shaped Danish pancake - both sweet and savory were divine. There are many more options to write about, but these two were majestic.
Spokanites showed up in droves for Pig Out in The Park 2015, marking its 36th year and boasting 45 food booths and 3 live music stages. My family was part of the hungry herd that visited this food-wonderful event. We bee-lined for the flame roasted corn on the cob and while happily munching happened to meet up with some friends. Even though it rained a few buckets, Spokanites stood in line for foot-long corn dogs, funnel cakes, deep-fried Oreos, gyros, dim sum, and many other Pig-Out foods. After the corn, we grabbed some Thai food, then a foot-long corn dog, and finished our foray with a funnel cake doused in powdered sugar. We enjoyed watching a family work together pouring batter in 440-degree oil, then shaking on the powdered sugar. Pig Out runs September 2 - 7.
There's something soulful about picking your own fruit and vegetables, providing an alchemy of movement, tai chi, yoga, and je ne sai quoi . For my daughter's 17th birthday today, she wanted to visit Greenbluff, Washington, an association of small family farms and food stands located a few miles north of Spokane. Today it rained heavily for the first time in several months, drenching the rich soil and releasing earthy aromas. The photos below were taken on this trip.
My family likes street food that delivers flavor and stays with you for awhile. While perusing the Kendall Yards night market, open Wednesday's from 4pm - 8pm, the apple-green 3Ninjas mobile food truck caught our attention. We waited in line for 10 minutes before the cheerful team ninja food-dude took our order and within another 10 minutes we were happily slurping our peanut chicken noodle bowls. We look forward to trying several other delicious menu options like mahi mahi tacos, burritos - sort of Latino-Asian meets American Bistro. You can learn about 3Ninjas backstory here.
The title reads:
FRIDAY, Feb. 20, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Stop chugging sugary soda and munching sweet treats. Cut back on red meats, butter and other sources of saturated fat. Lay off the salt shaker. Eat plenty of fruits and veggies.
When's the last time you responded favorably to someone telling you to "stop, cut back, or layoff"? The revised Dietary Guidelines for Americans has plenty of that language. In my 20+ years of nutrition consulting I found this style of guidance counterproductive. That type of language misses the real issue - that people "enjoy" those foods, and taking that enjoyment from them and replacing it with vegetables is asking for a food tug of war. Instead, how about putting the emphasis entirely on the many good and healthful foods that Americans can "add" to their plates. Put the emphasis on "adding" not "cutting". It's natural to feel threatened whenever something is going to be taken from you. Finally, how about making those foods more accessible and affordable for people. I've seen asparagus at $6 per pound, and peppers for $3 each - not exactly in the budget for many well-intentioned people. Sure, you can buy frozen or canned, but that's side steps the "fresh is best" message. Let's make the entire message sustainable and doable.
Dr. Katz explains how we know enough about diet and lifestyle habits to prevent 80% of the big 3 diseases: diabetes, heart disease, and obesity. This 2 minute video is well worth your time!
Link to video here.
Chaps Cafe and Bakery. Spokane, Washington. High-ceiling chapel for food and gathering. Welcomed before you set foot in the door. Food soul is evident. Arrive early. Food is well crafted. waitstaff pleasant. Unlimited fill-your-own coffee. Family friendly. Looking forward to returning with my family.
Kalico is word most often associated with cats, but Spokane's Kalico Kitchen is a different breed of restaurant. The building is fairly non-descript, but the roadside sign displaying "Where Old Friends Vist & New Friends Meet" says it all. My bro-in-law, Vic, and I visited Kalico and enjoyed breakfast. Vic ordered a breakfast burrito with eggs, sausage, onions, and green peppers. When eating he used words like "excellent and subtle flavors", and "this is really good". I ordered: two hot cakes, 2 strips bacon, and one over-easy egg. Because I like to mix the flavors of my food, I piled the bacon and eggs atop the pancakes, poured on a bit of syrup, and enjoyed the blend. The coffee was refilled without asking. Vic noticed a shelf with patron's names on the cups, a testament to the down-home kalico vibe, complete with Gonzaga University sports homages decorating the walls and waiting room. Some restaurants are known for their craft food, but Kalico definitely has its own niche of "craft gathering". Don't go to Kalico if you're a coffee snob (as I sometimes am), or need gluten free and organic. It's organic and healthy in a much different and far more important way - connecting people to people. Kalico's FaceBook. After Vic and I left Kalico, we drove to a nearby park for quick walk. We've been doing this for several weeks and I've neglected to mention that our meal is always paired with walking afterwards. Corbin Historic District and Park was just a few blocks from Kalico. In the late 1800's Corbin Park was a renouned horse race track and served as the Washignton Idaho's fairgrounds. The park is replete with historic homes, a kid's play area, and plenty of old trees. And you could almost hear the horses thundering around the track.