Posts tagged ‘food’

August 18, 2011

SoDo Is So Terrific! Bikespedition #2 a Must-Shop (Part I)

Bike rack made of bike parts at Sun People Dry Goods/Spokane Public Market.

This bike rack awaits you at the corner of 2nd Ave. and Browne at the entrance to Sun People Dry Goods, Market Place Wine Bar, and the Spokane Public Market.

The Second Avenue stretch of SoDo offers so much for the bikespeditioning* shopper that I’m writing a two-parter.

We started by parking our bikes in the rack made of bike frames by the west entrance of the Spokane Public Market, a destination at the corner of Second Avenue and Browne for people interested in talking to those who actually grow or make the things they sell.

Food first, since treats constitute an essential element of every bikespedition: Here you’ll find veggies, fruits, organically raised meat (I’m a vegetarian but the Susie & David sausage dogs were a hit with the carnivores I love), preserves, and pastries—oh, the pastries, including gluten-free options.

Just some of the goodies you’ll find:

  • Sands Trail Farm cilantro pesto and honey maple dressing/marinade.
  • Woman holding scones at The Scone Ranger, Spokane Public Market

    In case of a scone emergency, call The Scone Ranger.

    Maple walnut treat from The Scone Ranger—moist, delicious, and a manageable size, not one of those monstrous dry biscuits some places serve up. (And he offers a gluten-free blueberry/huckleberry)

  • Organic veggies and fruits but you have to ask—not all growers are organic. Some are pesticide-free without being certified; some vendors are all-organic.
  • Gourmet Foragables: Mushrooms and wild berries.
  • Toddy or latte from Natural Start Bakery, which offers several gluten-free/dairy-free pastries (not vegan—they use eggs).
  • If I were a fan of flavored popcorn I’d stop at Apple Crisp Farm and the Popcorn Patch every time. They’ll catch you if you enter through the wide opening on Second and offer you tastes of everything from popcorn to cherry juice.  They had striking Fourth of July heirloom tomatoes that look like fireworks bursting and chocolate/yogurt-covered cherries.
  • Pastries in case at Modern Tart, Spokane Public Market

    Just some of the goodies available from Modern Tart.

    Next trip for sure I’m scoring something amazing from Monica at Modern Tart—you should have seen the size of the brownies with fresh macadamia nuts.

  • If it’s lunchtime you have your choice of the Taza Truck (Mediterranean) or Tuscan Sun wood-fired pizza oven out back.

Other vendors offer up jewelry, handspun yarn, felt hats, soaps, knives and sharpening, eco-friendly Man Pans cookware made right here in Spokane by Lloyd Industries (we have two of the pans—love ‘em), and more.

Particularly striking: Sculptures and wall art by Lyn’s Custom Metal Art, including large-scale lighted pieces wired for outdoor use that would look incredible in your yard (or mine).

Many of these vendors are just now getting their websites up on OurTownZip.com, another Spokane business, and you’ll find a list of all vendors on the Spokane Public Market website.

Still Waters Jewelry display at Spokane Public Market

Some of the beauties at Still Waters Jewelry.

But wait—you’re just getting started. The first space occupied in this renovated warehouse belongs to Sun People Dry Goods, established by Juliet Sinisterra and staffed by a dedicated group of people who know the products inside and out. You’ll find candles, canning supplies, kitchen items for made-from-scratch cooks, refillable cleaning products, baby stuff galore, bedding, and other down-home products for living an eco-smart, non-toxic and highly enjoyable life, along with classes on everything from urban chickens to canning and composting.

Best of all, she carries hats by Old Man’s Pants! These nifty and adorable lids of recycled fabrics are made in Newport, WA, and available in Spokane here and at Tangerine Boutique (Betsy scored one there on Bikespedition #1 to Carnegie Square).

Each hat is unique so if you try it and like it and it’s the right size buy it—buy it now. Rachel, Betsy, and I each scored one on this outing. Perfect for hiding helmet hair or just looking cute; they really frame the face and bring out your eyes.

Rachel Scrudder, Barb Chamberlain, and Betsy Lawrence model hats made of recycled fabric by Old Man's Pants, available at Sun People Dry Goods, Spokane.

Rachel Scrudder, Barb Chamberlain, and Betsy Lawrence model hats made of recycled fabric by Old Man's Pants, available at Sun People Dry Goods. Barb and Betsy are wearing Ruu-Muus available from Bike Style; Rachel, in true Bike Style fashion, wore a skirt for the bikespedition.

Also in this building, a 1918 warehouse on the Spokane Register of Historic Places, the perfect place for a date getaway: Market Place Wine Bar.

Glass art by Sharon Davidson and giant art photography by Dean Davis adorn the walls and you’ll see one of the Custom Metal Art lighting pieces on display. They feature wines by EMVY and Bridgepress (produced at Mountain Dome at Green Bluff) and live music Friday nights. They’re currently in the running for a KREM “Best of” competition in case you want to cast a vote.

This one building provided plenty of things to look at, taste, and buy—and we were just getting started. Watch for more on SoDo in Part II, coming up.

*A linguistic footnote: One of my friends on Facebook borrowed the “bikespedition” term to talk about going on a bike ride with his son. A spread in its usage would be an awesome continuation of the line, since it has its roots in the leafspeditions and bugspeditions I used to take with my daughters when they were little and still easily fascinated by outings that didn’t involve the expenditure of hard-earned cash.

A large metal sculpture by Lyn's Metal Arts adorns the entrance to Market Place Wine Bar, Spokane, WA.

A large metal sculpture by Lyn's Metal Arts (available at Spokane Public Market) adorns the entrance to Market Place Wine Bar.

When to Go

  • Spokane Public Market: Thursday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
  • Sun People Dry Goods: Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m.
  • Market Place Wine Bar: Thursday noon- p.m., Friday-Saturday, noon-9 p.m.; opening Wednesday nights starting this fall.

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July 22, 2011

Bike-Friendly Restaurants

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend in downtown Spokane. When she asked where we should go for lunch, I suggested two places–both specifically because they have a bike rack in front or within the same block.

Now, I have various coping mechanisms when I go to a business that doesn’t offer a bike rack. But when I have the choice to support a business with my dollars I’ll support one that recognizes a bike rack is a real drawing card for customers, whether they installed it themselves or were just smart enough to pick a good location or ask the building owner to put one in.

Bike racks at the Elk Restaurant, Browne's Addition, Spokane, WA

How many cars could you park in this spot? One. How many customers would you want if you owned that restaurant?

It’s a cost-effective drawing card, too. Did you know you can park anywhere from 8-16 bikes in the space of one car? If you owned a store or restaurant how many customers would you rather have–16 or one? That’s why the Elk in Browne’s Addition asked the city to remove a parking spot and install racks, then threw a big party to celebrate. As I pointed out in the post on Bikespedition #1 to Carnegie Square, biking customers can be our own mini-stimulus for the local economy–so easy to stop and shop lots of places!

Now don’t get me wrong. I do actually drive places! And I’m always happy to find a parking spot when I do. But if 8-16 of you happened to ride your bikes on the one day that I drive, think how much easier it is for me to score that spot. And if I’m one of the 8-16 biking and you’re the driver, you’re welcome. We’re all in it together, after all.

Since a spot for treats is an essential part of any good Bikespedition, I’d love to get your recommendations for restaurants, coffee shops, and delis that have a bike rack, whether they’re in Spokane or somewhere in the area that could make a nice destination for a ride. If you’re the restaurant owner feel free to tell us why you’re bike-friendly.

Your Turn

What are some of your favorite places to eat that have a bike rack available?

July 12, 2011

Bikespedition #1: Carnegie Square

“Did you bike here? Do you want to bring your bikes inside?” Now that’s something you don’t hear every day from a shop owner!

What an auspicious start to Saturday’s Bikespedition to Carnegie Square: the collection of distinctive local shops clustered around the corner of First and Cedar on the west end of downtown Spokane. Fans of historic architecture get some visual treats at this corner too.

We made an outstanding choice for our first outing in both date and destination. The weather Saturday dawned bright and beautiful. Belles and Baskets founder Betsy Lawrence and I set forth to explore several shops and check out the treats and bike parking.

Our first stop would have been French Quarter Gourmet Shoppe, but despite the hours posted on the door they weren’t open. Call ahead to make sure they’re open if you want some of the handmade chocolates, wine selection, unusual soda flavors (cucumber, anyone?), greeting cards (some shaped like shoes!), and gourmet snacks visible through the window.

Bike sculpture at the corner of First and Cedar on the west end of downtown Spokane

If you're standing here, you'll find bike racks both left and right along Cedar and on First.

A large bike rack awaited us on Cedar between Andy’s and Carousel Vintage and another invites you to stop in at Two Wheel Transit; just look for the bike sculpture on the southwest corner of First and Cedar and you’ll find racks nearby.

Irimi Art, Antiques & Fiber co-owner Dale Forbes gave us that bike-friendly greeting. Her partner Rick Graff builds bike projects in the basement so they’re hip to the biking public.

Their shop offers a fascinating and eclectic mix of handmade arts—from yarn fibers and beautiful clothing to fine paintings, pottery, rugs, lamps, and furniture—coupled with antiques. Dale taught us a bit about the various fibers and treatments, and we ran our hands through the silky-soft hair from the pygora goats they raise.

Barb Chamberlain trying on a handmade sweater at Irinia Art, Antiques and Fiber, Carnegie Square, Spokane

I resisted the urge to buy this handmade sweater at Irimi. It may still be waiting for you, but if not you'll find other wonderful things!

My finds here: After resisting (just barely) a beautiful sweater coat, I picked up a special gift for a friend’s baby shower that I can’t describe in detail for obvious reasons. I also found reusable produce bags; I’ve been on the lookout for those for a while to cut down on the plastic so that was a happy discovery.

Carousel Vintage Clothing right next door is already a favorite. Every single time I wear a particular vintage dress I got there I get compliments; we found a prom dress here for daughter Laura; and on this day I found a princess-pink sundress dress I had to get for her. (Total Great Mom points when I brought that home.)

Owner Jenny Stabile has a great selection of vintage and repurposed vintage, and lots of the dresses are short and/or flippy enough to bike in. (A too-straight skirt makes the leg-over maneuver a challenge.) Be sure to come in for vintage clothes, shoes, handbags, jewelry, and formals, with men’s clothes as well as women’s.

You’ll find more vintage and consignment clothing of any age at Fringe & Fray just across Cedar. We spotted a maroon paisley skort—shades of the 1980s, perhaps?—on the rack. They offer shoes, jewelry, bags, and scarves too.

Carousel Vintage Clothing: Cute vintage dress you could wear to ride a bike and look pretty too.

At Carousel Vintage Clothing, a cute vintage dress you could totally wear biking.

By now it was treat time, so Rocket Bakery it was. The deli case offers a nice assortment of fresh salads; they have the made-from-scratch scones, bagels, quiche, and giant cookies you’ll find at all their locations; and at the back you can pick up a bottle of wine from a selection that covers the wall. The Rocket is Spokane’s local coffee chain, established in 1992. Wi-fi available and plenty of bike parking if you shackle to the fence around the outdoor seating, or do what we did and leave your bikes in the rack by Carousel while you wander around.

Right next door there’s more wine available at Whitestone Winery, one of Spokane’s many great local wineries and tasting rooms. Time your visit for Thursday through Saturday noon-6pm and First Fridays to get a taste or a bottle.

We had to stop in at Two Wheel Transit, of course, to say hi and pick up a copy of Bicycling Times magazine. Owners Geoff Forshag and Bruce Abbott offer bike fitting and a line-up of bikes from Trek and Fisher; Betsy loves the Trek FX she outfitted with fenders, rack, and lights to serve as her commuter.

Belles and Baskets founder Betsy Lawrence, left, and Barb Chamberlain pick up a copy of Bicycling Times at Two Wheel Transit.

Getting our bike on at Two Wheel Transit in our Nuu-Muus and Ruu-Muus!

Two more shops that fit into the home décor category round out the possibilities: Spokane Tile and Design (I redid my bathroom in my mind in about 60 seconds of peeking through the window) and Lee Custom Frame Shop and Gallery, featuring the art of Carl Funseth and Renee Rigsby.

If you head out later in the afternoon you’ll run up against closing time at some of the shops but you can grab a stool at the cool stainless steel counter of neighborhood hangout Andy’s bar, open 4pm-2am.

From First and Cedar it’s but a short jaunt a couple of blocks east on First to Tangerine Boutique (“the ultimate closet,” and yes it is), where we succumbed to the sales rack and the beautiful jewelry. Look for clothing, jewelry, handbags, consignment clothes, and a few greeting cards (if you love the snarky housewife works of Anne Taintor, look for her cards here). Many of the styles they offer would work great for bike riding.

If you didn’t get a bite to eat at Rocket Bakery, next door to Tangerine you can get some incredibly awesome vegan tomato soup and other yummies at Scratch (yes, their food is made from scratch) or an adult beverage at their sister establishment Rain

Tangerine Boutique sign on West First marks the spot for "the ultimate closet," while The Sweetie waits patiently with my Donkey Boxx and Po Campo Logan Tote ready to haul home the finds from Bikespedition #1.

Tangerine Boutique sign on West First marks the spot for "the ultimate closet," while The Sweetie waits patiently with my Donkey Boxx and Po Campo Logan Tote ready to haul home the finds from Bikespedition #1.

The only downer in the Tangerine/Scratch/Rain block is the lack of bike parking. We hitched to parking meters, which don’t offer real protection since someone tall could lift bike, lock, and all right off the top, and kept an eye on the bikes.

From here you can easily head on into the Sodo (South of Downtown) area on Second Ave. (under construction right now, but persist, walk your bike through the worst of it, and take them your business!), the downtown core, or West Main. All future destinations for a Bikespedition! (vote on the poll)

All in all, a wonderful day. And it was a good thing I had my Donkey Boxx and Po Campo Logan Tote with me to haul home the beautiful and useful things I found along the way. Notice how ‘spedition and “spending” both involve the letters -spe? This blog post is officially my most expensive to date–and worth every penny.

Spread the Word. This Was Fun!

More on Bikespeditions

Getting There: Some Basic Route Advice

This is by no means a comprehensive bike route map, just a few suggested streets. Carnegie Square is easy to find.

From the South Hill (west end): North down High Drive/Cedar (bike lane). Where the arterial curves left stay on Cedar; it’s a quieter street and the cross streets have to stop.

At 5th the street curves right/east and drops down to merge with 4th. Watch for traffic that has recently left the freeway and is heading to downtown, but on this particular Saturday there wasn’t a car in sight midday. Move quickly to the left lane; you’re turning in half a block.

Turn left/north on Jefferson (new bike lanes). Pass through stop lights at 3rd, 2nd, and 1st. Turn left/west on Sprague to Cedar.

South Hill (east end): Come north down Southeast Blvd (bike lane) to 2nd. It has a beautiful new surface thanks to a 2010-2011 street bond project. (Your alternative westbound is Sprague, which does not have a beautiful new surface. Wear your Pedal Panties if you choose this route; you’ll want the extra shock absorption.)

You’ll pass through a couple of busy intersections; the drivers have 4 lanes and should have no problem moving around you if need be.

If you’re comfortable staying on 2nd to Cedar, just do that. Otherwise you can turn right/north at Division or at Howard (bike lane there) to Riverside, then left/west on Riverside.

From downtown: Riverside has two lanes each direction, making it easy for a driver to move around you if need be, and west of Lincoln has a bike lane for a bit through a pretty stretch with a central median and street trees. When it curves around to a stop sign, that’s Cedar; turn left, go one block south, and you’re there. Your return could be along West First or back down to Riverside.

From the north: I recommend Wall, Post, and Howard (that one doesn’t go through all the way north, however)–all decent streets for bike access. (Maple Street is downright hostile. Monroe works fine if you’re comfortable in traffic; drivers have two lanes and can move around you.)  Northsiders, add additional route suggestions in comments.

Come through Riverfront Park, if you like, and turn right/west on Spokane Falls Boulevard. It curves westward and through a funky intersection at Monroe; bear right and you’re now on Riverside. See above.

June 4, 2011

Time to Embark! Whither Bikespedition #1?

Seldom do I need much excuse to ride my bike. Or to get something yummy to eat. Or to shop. (Should I ever have any hesitation about the latter, there’s always my dear friend Betsy the Enabler: “How about a quick run to Froyo and Nordie’s? Atticus and Auntie’s?”)

But how perfect is it to put it all together! Hence Bikespeditions: jaunts to selected destinations in and around Spokane (and elsewhere if I travel with my bike) in search of the perfect combination:

  • Interesting shops, preferably one-of-a-kind local finds, and other destinations worth hanging out at (galleries, museums, libraries, people-watching)
  • Tasty treats, again preferably not a chain but with the occasional exception
  • Bike parking that feels reasonably secure
  • A pleasant bike ride to and from the destination, which will always be dictated in part by your starting point but you know right now that nothing on North Division (where bikes are actually banned from the street) is going to fit this criterion
  • Bonus points and a triple back flip with a half twist if any of the merchants give a discount to bike-riding customers (if you know a business that deserves a shout-out for rewarding biking, name-drop in the comments!)

Your Turn

I have several candidates in mind for the first outing. Where should we start? The poll below is multiple choice and lets you add your own destination ideas (remember the combo: biking + food + things to do/look at/admire/want/buy).

This is a Spokane-centric list for now, which I’d love to expand. Hello, Spokane Valley? Liberty Lake? Cheney? Coeur d’Alene? Post Falls?

Want to ride with me some sunny Saturday coming up soon? If you do, sign up to receive the blog feeds by email via the link in the right-hand column; I’ll do a quick post to set up the ride details.

Each Bikespedition will get a write-up here that covers the criteria. And who knows? Maybe there’s a “Best Bikespedition Reader/Rider Poll” come fall if enough of you come along.

Bikespeditions Explained

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