The Skyride tram at Riverfront Park in downtown Seattle.
SPOKANE, WA — Sure, Seattle may have the Mariners, Seahawks, Amazon headquarters, and James Beard Award-winning chefs and restaurants. But Spokane has a spectacular waterfall in the center of the city. Take that.
Seattle may get more attention, but Spokane definitely deserves its own fanfare for attractions and attributes all its own. That’s what I discovered when I was invited to visit the state’s second largest city recently by Visit Spokane.
It’s a most livable city — with home prices not surprisingly a fraction of those in Silicon Valley — a revitalized downtown that’s safe to walk around in at night, a renovated waterfront, a thriving convention scene, fabulous bakeries, and cool restaurants opening in repurposed old buildings.
What’s more, it gets less rain than Seattle.
And it’s the birth place of Father’s Day.
Get to know what else there is to love about Spokane.
It Takes Bread & Beer Seriously
Does it ever, especially at the newly opened The Grain Shed, a bakery and brewery all in one.
At The Grain Shed, they revere local, heirloom grains, but keep their sense of humor about it all.
Yes, come for a pint and a loaf. And for Pizza Mondays.
A fun little snack of Spanish sardines at Barnacle.
SEATTLE, WA — When you land in Seattle on a late-Thursday afternoon, what is — and should be — your first stop after checking into your hotel?
The Walrus and the Carpenter for Oyster Happy Hour.
Oh, yes, it is so worth it to make a beeline for this Monday through Thursday Happy Hour, if you are a fan of oysters on the half shell because these are some of the best around. From 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., the oysters are half off. From 5 p.m. to 6 p.m., they are 25 percent off.
Of course, everyone else has the same idea, so no doubt you will arrive to find the restaurant already packed, as my husband and I did. No matter, it just gives you a great excuse to enjoy a cocktail at adjacent Barnacle bar.
Actually, this one building houses THREE Renee Erickson establishments.
Both places are owned by James Beard Award-winning Chef Renee Erickson. In fact, she even has a third restaurant, Sea Creatures, in this one building. Plus a whole lot more.
Look for my new “East Bay Cooks” cookbook to join this group in summer 2019.
See that stack of beautiful cookbooks above? Soon to join them will be “East Bay Cooks” — by yours truly.
Yes, that’s what I’ve spent the better part of this year working on. In fact, I just finished the manuscript this month.
The cookbook, which will debut in September 2019, will feature 40 of the top restaurants, bars and bakeries in the East Bay, with their stories and recipes. The photography will be by the incredibly talented Bay Area-based Eva Kolenko.
Chef Jose Andres. (photo courtesy of the ThinkFood Group)
The Commonwealth Club Hosts Chef Jose Andres
Jose Andres is so much more than one of the world’s most talented chefs. He’s also a committed humanitarian, as evidenced by his Herculean efforts to feed people in Puerto Rico last year, following the devastation wrought by Hurricane Maria.
Andres, who was named “Humanitarian of the Year” by the James Beard Foundation, led a force of volunteers and chefs, who cooked nearly 3 million hot meals for the island’s residents.
You can learn more about his experiences, 6:30 p.m. Sept. 17, at “Feeding Puerto Rico with Chef Jose Andres,” a Commonwealth Club program that will be held at the Marines’ Memorial Theatre in San Francisco.
Old Kan — aka OK — serves up a more than OK time.
It seems that everything that Chef James Syhabout, Oakland’s shining son, touches turns to gold. It’s not just his Commis, which boasts two Michelin stars, the only restaurant in the East Bay to garner that illustrious ranking, it’s also the care he puts into his other more casual restaurants in the city.
Case in point: Old Kan Beer & Co.
This brewery-gastropub is in an old industrial area of the city off the beaten track. It’s welcoming from the get-go and feels like a genuine part of the community.
My husband and I visited one lazy, sunny Sunday afternoon, paying our own tab at the end. A DJ was spinning tunes outside. And a pop-up had been invited to grill Japanese street-food specialties on the deck.
Gotta love the logo.
A great place to take it easy on a sunny day.
Syhabout teamed up with Adam Lamoreaux, who founded the pioneering Linden Street Brewery in Oakland with his wife Alice. The Old Kan Classic goes down easy with a good hoppy kick of an IPA. The Old Kan Light Cream Ale is brewed with corn, and is light and refreshing.