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Hop To A New Hip Shop And Try Some Pasta And Salad

(From For the Record, September 28, 1996:) Doxie’s Drive-In is in Wilbur, and Tonasket is north of Omak and south of Oroville. Both were located wrong in a story in Friday’s Weekend section.

The Pasta Shop a new place on Spokane’s North Side - has a hip feel.

For starters, the open, airy space is decorated in bright, sunny shades. Then, there’s a display kitchen where you can watch cooks grill eggplant or toss salads. And finally, there’s the food - a mix of salads, really good fresh pasta, along with gourmet condiments and prepared dishes such as lasagna.

The Pasta Shop’s short menu includes a rotating selection of green and pasta salads. (If it’s Friday, it must be tomato fettucine with roasted garlic and artichoke.) There are two different marinated vegetable salads served daily.

I recently sampled a Greek salad, roasted veggies in a balsamic vinaigrette, salmon with shell pasta, a spinach salad with honey mustard and penne with grilled eggplant and artichoke.

Unfortunately, I found the pasta salads bland. Maybe it would work to offer additional dressing at the time it’s served. The good news is that I was able to doctor them up with the dressings from a selection of condiments open for tasting. (The spicy olive oil was just right.)

I had much better luck with the green salads and the marinated vegetables, which were flavorful and nicely presented.

There’s only a small seating area, making The Pasta Shop a natural for take-out. The salads are available by the pound or in “Lunch Box Specials” - meaning various combinations ranging in price from $4.50 to $5.95.

The meals come with a boring, supermarket-type roll. They sell the tasty baguettes from Cobblestone Bakery, why not serve it, too?

The Pasta Shop is located at 6418 N. Wall, next to the S.S. Beryl restaurant. To hear about the daily specials, call 465-1129.

A little bite of heaven

Sometimes, it’s the little things that mean so much.

Hallmark sentiment aside, a friend recently dropped an amazing, still-warm chocolate chip cookie on my desk and made my day. It looked and tasted homemade but the little gem was actually baked in a dinky oven at Java City, a caffeine purveyor on the corner of First and Monroe.

When I went there to get more of these sweet treats, I discovered the small shop also does a great job with sandwiches. Turkey, roast beef and turkey pastrami, as well as a veggie sandwich are made with sliced-to-order bread baked by Han’s and Marianne’s Bakery in the Valley. And, a cookie is included with each order. Otherwise, they’re three for $1.

Chocolate chip cookies aren’t baked every day, though. But the alternatives - gingersnaps and chocolate chocolate chips are also pretty tasty.

Java City offers free lunch delivery between 11 and 1 p.m. Give them a call at 455-5282.

Town and Country redux

Town and Country restaurant has reopened with new owners, but with the same basic menu.

When the longtime fixture on Trent closed almost two years ago, loyal customers acted as if they were losing an old friend. Now, they can get reacquainted.

Brent Stubbers and his wife, Kristi, are the new owners serving up the same old-fashioned food that gave the restaurant its incredible following.

Steaks are still cut on-premises to ensure their quality. Specials sound like stuff grandma used to make - roast chicken and flank steak with mushroom sauce. Chicken-fried steaks sell like hotcakes.

For dessert, there’s homemade bread pudding along with a wide variety of pies such as peach, apple, cherry and blackberry.

Town and Country is located at 5615 E. Trent.

Road report

Just took a swing through the middle of the state and I noticed that Doxie’s in Davenport is serving ostrich burgers. When are restaurants in Spokane going to get on the big bird bandwagon? It’s tasty (and surprisingly lean) stuff.

Dean’s Drive-In in Reardan is now open daily under new ownership and is currently featuring huckleberry shakes.

If you ever find yourself in Tonasket (it’s a tiny town south of Omak), stop by El Tapito taco stand on the main drag. The chopped beef burrito was simple (lean meat, whole, mildly seasoned pinto beans, rice and lettuce - no cheese) and simply wonderful. Other fillings include pork, barbecued beef and tongue. The burritos are $2.50, tacos are a buck apiece.

Small bites

Another fast-food outlet is flying out of downtown Spokane. Taco Time has relocated to Third Avenue (a.k.a. Fast Food Lane). The new Taco Time is in the old Skipper’s at 303 W. Third.

The Longhorn Burger Stop in Airway Heights has closed after 20 years. Instead of putting money into improving that old facility, the company is instead building a new barbecue restaurant in Auburn, south of Seattle.

The Lotus Seed has closed for remodeling. When it reopens next month, the restaurant will specialize in take-out.

The Town Marketplace, an antique mall in Colfax, will have several theme tea parties on Thursdays in the next couple of month including a Mother-Daughter tea on Nov. 7, an Autumn Colors tea next Thursday and, this is my favorite, a Boston tea party on Nov. 21. I’ll bring my powdered wig. Call (509) 397-4727 for additional dates.

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