Fans might be cynical about post-strike major league baseball (just check attendance at most parks and the letters section in last week’s Sports Illustrated), but softball can still inspire warm, fuzzy feelings.
Like the lump you get in your esophagus watching your favorite hothead lose a fight with the ump.
A few Spokane pizza parlors salute hard-hitting teams by knocking down the prices on food and beer for postgame play.
The Savage House in the Valley takes 10 percent off the food tab for teams in uniform.
Pitchers are $4.
Five Mile Heights Pizza gives discounts on pop and beer.
But Lincoln Heights Pizza deserves the Mickey Mantle cup for its promotional pitch.
It offers the team that logs in with the most pitchers over the course of the season a pizza party. Now, that’s something to shoot for.
Lincoln Heights also takes 15 percent off menu items and charges $4 for pitchers of brewski.
Lotus Garden revamped
The Lotus Garden recently made some dramatic changes on its menu, dropping Vietnamese, Thai and Korean foods and replacing them with Chinese fare and New Orleans-inspired seafood.
The restaurant’s new management recently relocated from Louisiana. That explains the appearance of seafood specialities such as deepfried catfish, popcorn prawns and several versions of poor-boys, a Southern take on a sub sandwich. I’d give the nicely seasoned catfish a big thumbs up, but had trouble tackling the thick poor-boy.
Also, the Lotus Garden is no doubt the only eatery in the region to serve beignets, or the type of donuts made famous by the Cafe du Monde in New Orleans. They weren’t available earlier this week, though.
On the Chinese side, I was less than impressed when a vegetarian in our party ordered a meatless dish and it was served with pork fried rice and a pork-stuffed egg roll.
The Lotus Garden is located at 14415 E. Sprague, just west of Sullivan. For reservations, call 891-5786.
Wine and dine
Spokane’s Knipprath Cellars will be showcased during the Glover Mansion’s inaugural winemaker’s dinner June 30.
The five-course feast starts with char-broiled tiger shrimp served with a papaya and mango butter sauce. That’s followed by a salad of wild greens with pistachio-roasted breast of squab. The main course will be a New Zealand loin of lamb served with wild mushroom potatoes and spring vegetables.
Each course will be served with a wine chosen to complement the flavors of the food.
The dinner, which begins at 7:45 on June 30, is $50 per person. An hors d’oeuvres hour precedes the meal starting at 6:30. For reservations, call 459-0000.
Cool name of the week
A Taco Dude recently opened in downtown Coeur d’Alene, a second location for the chain. The original Taco Dude is on Kauai in the Hawaiian islands.
Owners Leanne and Tom Blount specialize in fresh, Southwesternstyle Mexican food served in a casual atmosphere.
The menu includes daily specials such as a Southwestern pizza made with a cornmeal crust, jack and cheddar cheese, red and yellow peppers and black beans. Another menu feature is a Southwest lasagna - tortillas layered with cheese, a choice of meat, green chiles, onions and olives and then smothered with vividly seasoned enchilada sauce.
An award-winning Key Lime pie is on the tempting dessert list.
Taco Dude, located at 415 Sherman Ave., is open daily for lunch and dinner. They serve non-alcoholic beer and booze-free margaritas. Nothing on the menu is over $5. Phone (208) 666-9043 for take-out orders.
Pizza delivers on taste
It might take a little longer, but the gourmet pies from the Pizza Oasis are worth the wait.
After griping in my last column about the 45-minute wait for a pizza, I decided to give them another shot.
I phoned in an order on a Saturday night and it was delivered about 30 minutes later. It seems as though they’ve smoothed out some initial kinks in their operation.
The pizzas, a wild mushroom and a smoked chicken with pesto, were wonderful. The crusts were thick but tender. A generous dose of several types of cheese made them wickedly rich.
The Pizza Oasis, located on Northwest Boulevard in the same building as the Marrakesh Moroccan Restaurant, specializes in takeout and delivery. The phone number is 327-1100.
The Park Bench is open for the season at Manito Park. Let’s hope the weather warms up so we can enjoy this lovely spot. Among the new offerings are a tuna-almond sandwich and a curried egg salad. The Park Bench is open from 8 a.m. until 7 p.m. daily, but they stop making food at 6:30 p.m.
Coeur d’Alene has its first Thai restaurant. The Thai Palace opened a month ago in Appleway Square. Among the house specialities are curried mussels and chicken in peanut sauce. A buffet is served at lunch. The restaurant is open for lunch and dinner daily.
The Big Mamu Burrito Co. will serve California-style burritos. That means they’re, like, heavy, man. Featuring various fillings, the burritos will weigh between two and three pounds. Big Mamu is scheduled to open June 20. It will be located at 8 N. Howard, just down the block from David’s Pizza.