The Pacific Northwest Inlander, Wine and Dime:
Tight times call for frugal drinking. But abstain entirely? Let’s not get crazy. Switch to Franzia? Carlo Rossi? Yellow Tail? Sure, if you’re a resilient 21-year-old who can handle hangovers from boxed wines. Or don’t mind drinking merlot out of a jug. Or are the parents of the bride and need to sate 300 guests without breaking the bank. For the rest of us? We want wine. We want it for 10 bucks. And we want it to be delicious. Luckily, local purveyors oblige. Click here to read more.
Pulling up to Baby Bar on my bike at 7 am on a Wednesday morning felt more like a walk of shame than a breakfast run. I’m not used to getting espresso and pastries from a place I’ve stumbled away from the night before. Mika Maloney, sole baker and barista for Neato Burrito/Baby Bar’s newest extension — the Morning After Bakery — says being there at sunrise trips her out, too. “Sometimes I get here and it’s four in the morning, and they’re still cleaning up in the bar,” she laughs, carefully extracting mini-muffins from a pan. With early gray light filtering in the windows and Gillian Welch crooning softly from the speakers, the usually buzzing burrito joint and micro-bar has a rarely seen docility. Click here to read more.
You wouldn’t expect to see authentic Venezuelan dishes emerging from a place so pedestrian as the Quality Inn. The dining space there is dollar store-humble and has “spaghetti and grilled cheese sandwiches” written all over it. But then, the Israelites didn’t anticipate showers of fluffy bread discs to rain from the heavens in the middle of the desert, either. (See the Bible, Exodus 16:31.) Read more.
When Vagelie Karatzas was 19, the Spokesman-Review included him in a story about up-and-coming chefs of the Inland Northwest. Then he chose computers for a career path. Score one for Spokane — Karatzas got that out his system. Read more.
The Gilroy Dispatch, Pasta on the menu, tequila on the wall:
Flipping through a tasting book that profiles nearly 1,000 varieties of tequila, restaurateur Renato Cusimano said the stuff has loftier purposes than being imbibed in mass quantity by college students, or having its flavor masked by triple sec. “Tequilas are like fine sipping cognacs,” he said, mimicking the motion of swirling a snifter glass in his hand. “We need to introduce that to people in Gilroy. And Salinas. And Watsonville. And Tres Pinos.” Read more.
In 1979, a vagabond named Daniel Leen wrote and self-published a book called The Freighthopper’s Manual for North America, in which he describes the Hillyard trainyards as having “the feel of warmed-over death.” Leen’s is a gritty (and dated) picture of the rough times weathered by Spokane’s railroad district, which — thanks to recent construction facelifts, community investment and eclectic entrepreneurship — is seeing a revival of its small-town USA glow. Read more.
Gilroy Dispatch: Great Garlic Cook-Off 2012: The Year of Comfort Food
Following five previous attempts to land inside the Cook-off’s coveted top eight slots, the first-time finalist and winner of a $1,000 cash prize is savoring the payoff that comes with persistence: Her Crispy Pork Belly with Caramelized Onion, Fig Agrodolce and Creamy Polenta proved to be a plate of porcine nirvana that lived up to the hype. With its syrupy fig reduction and fluffy polenta so soft it makes you want to stick your hands in it, judge Majid Bahriny showered praises on the “very balanced dish that looks simple, but is very difficult to get together in a short amount of time.”
In the hubbub of the aftermath, New York’s Minzer who is a personal chef to the stars, said Pittman “really deserved to win. She nailed it.”
“Her name’s not Laureen anymore,” Minzer told the audience. “It’s ‘pork belly girl’ now. (Pittman) did a great job.”
Minzer described the No. 1 dish as a “fresh, pork roast version of pulled pork with crispy skin.”
Drool over that.
Americans – whatever our other prejudices – don’t discriminate against opportunities to imbibe in merry company, be it steins of Hefeweizen on Oktoberfest, ice-cold bottles of Corona during Cinco de Mayo or foamy pints of Guinness on St. Patrick’s Day. The original 1810 Oktoberfest was held in Munich, Germany, to commemorate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese, and has only been canceled for pesky things like cholera, Napoleon’s attempt at world domination and the world wars. Read more.
One could argue that breakfast joints are the meat-and-potatoes of a city’s culinary profile. Local greasy spoons are where we fuel up in the morning, reunite with old friends or pacify that nagging hangover with heaven-sent hash browns and a plate of everything smothered in gravy. The Dispatch visited a trio of South County canteens specializing in “the most important meal of the day.” We ordered. We ate. We conquered – then took catnaps before attempting to chronicle the experience. In the words of John Gunther, 20th century American journalist and author, “all happiness depends on a leisurely breakfast.” We’ll drink to that. Coffee and orange juice, that is.