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Moments after stepping into Hay J’s Bistro in Liberty Lake you forget where you are, unless your personal tour guide for the restaurant business has his hand wrapped around a nice glass of wine and a subject to expound on. Bantering about this family-owned, 6-year-old establishment starts with dad’s old saying: “Never judge a book by its cover.”
In the company of a veteran restaurateur, there is more than a little guilt when walking into a dining establishment brandishing a coupon. We’re not exactly cheap but we enjoy a good deal almost as much as we enjoy kibitzing over a glass of wine. By being attentive to the wallet, we can afford to meet for lunch a little more often.
You might sit down to dinner with strangers at Blue Table Kitchen. It won’t stay that way long. A blue door and simple sign point the way to the business, tucked into the alley behind the original Rocket Bakery on North Argonne Road in Millwood. The space was once home to the commercial bakery for all of the Rocket Bakery goodies, but now longtime friends Julia and Jeff Postlewait and Karen and Wayne Johnson have created a new dining experience there.
SANDPOINT – Maybe Sandpoint is on the way to your next lakeside destination for summer fun. Perhaps music during the Festival at Sandpoint, Aug. 2-12, will be the draw. Either way, don’t miss some of the town’s gastronomic highlights while you’re in the area. During a recent visit, I tagged along with Mark Rivers, a consultant for the city’s downtown and economic development initiatives, to talk about new efforts to highlight the town’s foodie offerings. He’s working with city businesses on plans for a Taste Trail that would point visitors to some of those homegrown flavors.
Judie and Ryan Sowards are leasing a downtown Spokane storefront for a new Euro-styled creperie called Beignets, in the Crescent Building.
A former downtown Spokane restaurant will be replaced later this year by two new eateries – Rex’s Burgers & Brews and Fraiche Contemporary French. Both are taking space at Riverside Avenue and Post Street last used by Niko’s Greek Restaurant and Wine Bar, 725 W. Riverside.
Now that the dog days of summer have arrived summer has finally arrived, Spokane Valley residents have another option for al fresco dining at a familiar favorite that’s gotten a makeover and a new name. Mel and Tony Kupcow, who bought Pinocchio Italian Express near the corner of Sprague and Bowdish three years ago, have remodeled, revamped and reopened as T-Pranos Italian Dining.
OLYMPIA – Senators heard testimony Wednesday on a bill that would extend temporary taxes on hotel stays, restaurants and car rentals to help fund an expansion of the Washington State Convention Center and several other economic development projects. Revenue from the taxes, first created in 1995, has been paying off the construction of the Kingdome, Safeco Field and Qwest Field. The debt on Safeco Field – where the Seattle Mariners play – is expected to be paid within the year.
Dining at Masselow’s Restaurant at Northern Quest Resort and Casino is all in the approach. If you aren’t staying at the hotel, but want intimate fine dining, here’s my advice: Park in the garage at the north end of the resort and stroll down the long hallway to the hotel lobby and the entrance of Masselow’s. There are large, framed black-and-white images of the Kalispels along the way, a nod to the humble beginnings of the tribe.
To paraphrase an old quip from some unknown wit, the only things that will survive the impending nuclear holocaust are cockroaches, Cher and Hudson’s Hamburgers. Eventually, all situations must go pear-shaped and come to an end, and so is the sad fate of this humble little local section of the newspaper you hold in your ink-smeared fingers. You can put away that bottle of Jack Daniels and dry your tears – shameless plug alert – because new columns will continue to happen at www.getoutnorthidaho.com.