Spokane Day 3 and 4 – Saturday and Sunday

I am back! Sorry, that is how summer is – busy! And when I am not busy, I am tired! But here is the last installation about my Spokane trip.

Now that we were busier with meetings, we had less free time for cavorting around Spokane.

It has been nice at this meeting that we are staying at the hotel where the meeting is held, and we haven’t had any terribly late nights. I guess there is probably some socializing going on in the lounges that we could join in, but it is also nice to get some rest and come home from one of this trips somewhat rested and not exhausted, and hopefully not get extremely sick. Although I still manage to get plenty tired.

Discovered Saturday that crocheting when tired is almost as dangerous as crocheting when drinking. I did several rows on the baby blanket Friday night and then had to rip one and a half out because of mistakes.

After we checked out the “light breakfast buffet” Friday (after eating at our hotel) and discovered it included an omelet station, S. and I ate there this morning. They had a selection of breakfast breads, juices and coffee, and the omelet station where they would make omelets with ham, cheese, onion, mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, peppers, etc. They also had salsa and sour cream you could add to your omelet. It was a pretty tasty omelet, made a nice breakfast.

Almost everyone in the meeting headed for the Safari Room at the Tower for lunch because of their advertised $5 lunch, so we stayed at the other hotel. I wanted to try the Davenport Signature Salad that S. had the other night, and they also had French Onion soup, and I will ALWAYS eat that if given the option.

S. and my boss both had the tomato bisque and grilled cheese. This was a pretty fancy cheese sandwich – it looked like it wouldn’t be easy to eat.

I liked the salad but not as much as my caprese the other night. It had beets but they didn’t seem very beet-y to me, but I was glad I tried it.

The description of the soup says that the onions are carmelized (not very much) and that they are in a beef broth (hmmm, awfully pale for beef broth, I was assuming it was chicken) – so it was kind of different but it was good and the green onions on top were a nice touch.

More meetings in the afternoon, I did manage to fit in a nap at one point (back at my room, not IN the meeting). We haven’t been staying out at night or anything but travel is still tiring. I was trying to stay in touch with Ken at home to see if it was going to rain and how much. Kind of sad to be away from home and miss the rain and cool weather.

We had a group banquet for dinner Saturday – so no pictures. Really nice meal – salad, with their delicious house poppyseed dressing, and a baked potato with all of the toppings available on the table, a slice of salmon, asparagus, and a beef filet. This was one of the best filets I have ever had, let alone at a mass meal. Usually beef at a group meal is overdone, this was on the rare side of medium rare, so I felt bad for the people who only like their beef more well done, but I sure enjoyed mine. Dessert was a chocolate sponge cake, two small circles with a chocolate mousse with raspberries in between them, topped by a chocolate ganache, and a raspberry on top.

Breakfast again Sunday at the meeting, and lunch at the Safari Room at the Tower, because I wanted to try the Hot Brown sandwich, which was pretty good but quite rich. The soup of the day was beef teriyaki soup, which sounded so weird that I had to try it. The waitress said it was a little salty and she was correct.

S. had the Thai Chicken flatbread and a house salad – she expected the flatbread to be spicier than it was, but still thought it was fine.

The rest of the day: more meetings, eat at the airport, fly home….can you tell I have run out of steam on this trip? Well, the most exciting parts happened toward the beginning anyway.

Spokane Day Two

S. and I decided we needed protein for breakfast, and we weren’t sure what we would get at the “light breakfast buffet” that was part of the meeting, so we ate breakfast at the Safari Room in the Tower of the Davenport Hotel. I wanted to try corned beef hash. I believe this was a mistake. I think you are probably meant to eat corned beef hash at a Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives kind of place. It was fine, but it wasn’t very crispy, which is what I was hoping for. S. had the crab omelet, and she said the crab was excellent.

The hash also had a horseradish cream sauce – maybe a little heavy on the sauce.

This hotel apparently doesn’t believe in coffee makers in the rooms – which did not make S. very happy. She is an early-morning coffee person. Apparently they want to drum up business for the Starbucks in the lobby. I am a Diet Coke in the morning person myself, and I was able to obtain some at breakfast.

We stopped in at a few of the meetings in the a.m, but we were not assigned to sit on any of those committees, so we decided to head down to the park again and look around. The original flour mill   that was located on the river is still there and has been turned into shops and offices. There weren’t a great many shops there, but we had fun in the Chocolate Apothecary, where I enjoyed an ice tea and a sea salt caramel. S. bought a box of Lemon Breeze by Jo’s Candies, a huckleberry truffle (again with the huckleberries) and another lemon treat that I can’t remember. She is into lemon and chocolate. I scarfed down my caramel before I got a picture.

We spent the most time in “Kitchen Engine” http://www.thekitchenengine.com/joom/ which was quite a nice kitchen store – we enjoyed looking at the gadgets, La Crueset cookware, fancy coffee machines, and tea selection. They had some hard red winter wheat in bags for sale that you could grind yourself. They also had dough conditioner, which you can add to your doughs, etc., to make them softer, and I have never seen that in a store, just online, so I bought it, I have enough room in my suitcase to take it home. S. bought a drink muddler, which she said she is not putting in her carry-on in case they think it is a weapon.

The muddler and its instructions caused some inappropriate giggling.

We walked back over the river on a different bridge. There are several different bridges, I think we have hit them all except one, so far.

By this time it was about time to eat, and Travis from Paradise Fibers had recommended Sushi Maru as a good place to eat. It is a conveyer-belt sushi place, so various rolls and pieces of sushi come by on a conveyer belt and you pick off plates you would like. The bill is based on the number of plates and the color of the plate rims, as some items are higher in cost and some are lower. You can also order some items from the kitchen if you don’t see them on the conveyer belt. We had several different kinds of rolls, they come 4 pieces to a plate, so if you are sharing, that way you get a taste of everything but don’t get tired of it. I also had a bowl of miso soup to wash it all down. The waitstaff are very helpful and knowledgeable about the ingredients (S. is allergic to tree nuts and sesame seeds, which can be challenging at Asian restaurants.)

We headed back to the hotel for meetings, and had good, productive committee meetings.

C. arrived from Colorado for the meetings and we toured him down to the park as we had some spare time. Well, first we went across the street to a Bruttles candy store, because this candy store was claiming to be the “original” soft peanut brittle (the hotel provides soft peanut brittle in the rooms and it is available for sale in their shop.) So we wanted to know what the story was on the peanut brittle.Apparently they were the originators of the soft peanut brittle, and provided it for the hotel, but then the hotel decided to start making their own recipe of soft peanut brittle for themselves. I gave a slight advantage to the taste of the Bruttles. C. went back later and bought 3 pounds, which he could easily eat before he gets home, he has a bit of a sweet tooth.

Then we walked down to the park, this time we did partake of the mini-donuts, sorry, no picture, as my phone was deceased. We walked down a kind of scary gravel trail (scary because it was steep) to the walkways/stairs along the lower falls, near the original power plant.

Again, my phone was dead, so these are some pics from C’s and S’s phones.

The organization held a reception that night with heavy hors d’eovres, so we debated whether we needed dinner or not. The reception theme was Hawaiian, and we had really good fruit, veggies with dip, Asian-style pork with hot mustard, large cold prawns with cocktail sauce, cheese tray, veggie egg rolls, sliders, chicken on skewers, beef on skewers, coconut shrimp and truffles and chocolate dipped strawberries. The best things were the pork, the fruit, the cheese, and the egg rolls, I thought.

C., who had flown in from Colorado that afternoon on a delayed flight and hadn’t had lunch, wanted to eat dinner so we did go to the Safari Room at the Tower again and had a light dinner – that is, S. and I had soup and C. had the three course for $15 special. I had the curried lentil stew, S. had the clam chowder, and C. had the Cesar salad, short ribs, and peanut butter pie dessert. And I forgot to take pictures!

We were all tired again, and headed for our rooms. I took a shower and spent some time crocheting, since I made such a big stink about getting a crochet hook, and got a few rows done. Usually my business travel treat is watching TV in bed, but for the last few nights, the selection has been remarkably bad.

Spokane Day 1 – Continued – Shaved Ice and the Riverfront Skyway

After the great yarn adventure, Travis from Paradise Fibers dropped us off at the Riverfront Park and we went immediately to the shaved ice booth and had shaved ice. I had half strawberry and half huckleberry and it was excellent. Next time I will have all huckleberry.  Huckleberries are a big thing in Washington and Montana, there are many huckleberry products available. The shave ice came in a large plastic flower-shaped protector, so you wouldn’t get it all over yourself, of course I saved both of ours to put in the “Costume Trunk.” Someone will think of some way to make them into a hat or something.

There was also a mini-donut booth in the park but it was closed at that time.

They have a Skyride gondola that takes you out over the Spokane River Falls, and we decided to enjoy that attraction. Fun to travel with a board member who wants to go out and visit the local sights. And is willing to walk miles to a yarn store. There is also a train ride around the park where there is narration about the area’s history. The World Fair was held here in 1974. It is a beautiful park in the midst of the city, lots of trees, very cool. AND mini-donuts and shave ice. They also have an antique carousel and an open fountain where kids (and adults) can get wetter than a trout (or a salmon, more correct for the area) but we did not partake of those attractions. Also: a giant red wagon with a slide for kids, and a garbage eating-goat sculpture (must find that sculpture in the next few days, as my friend Cathy mentioned it in here Spokane memories.)

One view of the lower falls from the Tram ride. It was late in the afternoon so we had some shade from the art deco Monroe Street bridge. This is a very cool bridge, which includes cow skulls (or buffalo?) as part of the decoration. Not real ones. Cement ones.

This is that bridge, you can kind of see the cow skull at the top of the tallest part.

This was the location of the original power plant that provided electricity for the street cars in the early 1900s, and there is a modern hydro power plant there today.

After the tram ride, we walked back to the hotel to meet up with my boss for dinner. We are staying in the Davenport hotel, which has two buildings – an historic building, and a more modern “Tower” across the street. We are staying in the Tower. Beautiful, large rooms.  It has kind of a jungle theme, hence the leopard-skin chaise lounge. The historic building has been restored extensively and maintains all of its beautiful frescoes and interior details. The rooms are large and comfortable and very nice.

Rather than a bathtub, there is a large walk-in shower.

They also give you a small sample of two kinds of “Soft Peanut Brittle” which is apparently a Spokane thing – one with chocolate and one without. And they give you fresh ones each morning. Mmmmmmmmm.

The bed has a mirror on the wall behind it, which does make the room look larger and is pretty but can be startling when you sleep on your stomach, and wake up in the morning and wonder who is looking back at you.

We decided to eat at the Palm Court in the main building of the Davenport. We got to sit at one of the tables in the sky-lighted lobby and admire the surroundings.

I had perhaps the best caprese salad I have ever had, local heirloom red and yellow tomatoes, mmmmmm.

S. had the Davenport salad, crisp romaine topped with hard boiled eggs, tomatoes, bacon bits, fresh roasted beets and Parmesan cheese dressed with creamy garlic vinaigrette.

I had the coconut prawns as my entrée and she had the salmon.

(My boss had the house salad and the prime rib, but I didn’t take pictures of his.) I think both S. and I thought our entrees were Ok but the salads were the best part of the meal. I had the Huckleberry Riesling, by Latah Creek, which was lovely.

By the time we finished dinner, it was after eight, which was after nine Colorado time, and we were tired out for the day, so headed back to the rooms to sleep.

Spokane Day 1 – A Crochet Emergency

As I  started writing this, I was flying along merrily in the airplane, with no crocheting to do. Hoping against hope there would be a knitting store near the hotel where I could obtain a size H crochet hook. Apparently I was not meant to get anything done on this trip after all. Except write up some advance blog entries, so I guess that is OK.

I left the house in plenty of time to go to one of my favorite greasy spoons and have breakfast. At breakfast I realized I didn’t pack any knitting or crocheting for the plane, and I really needed to work on my Camp Loopy crochet baby blanket, so I went home and got it. And I am sure I got the hook, but somewhere along the line, it slipped out one of the holes at the top of the bag. I was sure there was still a possibility it was in my carry-on somewhere, I tore it apart to the best of my ability but a thorough search is not as possible in an airplane seat. So I was writing instead. If I just read my books, I would be done with both of them before we landed in Spokane and then I would have to buy a new one for the trip home.

I arrived at the hotel, tore my carry-on apart, and no crochet hook. So I got on Google and found a really nice yarn store not too far away (1.6 miles according to mapquest) and asked my friend and board member S. if she wanted to take a walk. I did warn her how far it was. It was relatively cool here in Spokane compared to how hot it has been in Colorado, so off we went. Well, we had to divert a little because one of the bridges Mapquest had us crossing was cars only, but it wasn’t too bad. It seemed a lot longer than 1.6 miles however. Eventually, though, we arrived at Paradise Fibers. I had called them to make sure they were open. They had apparently had a run on size H crochet hooks, however, and we kind of had to scour the store – all of the typical ones were depleted. They were very helpful in the search. Finally, we found one that was usually used for Tunisian crochet, but I thought it looked a little big, so I also picked up a size G. Right before I was ready to check out, though, S. found a “Reflections Crochet Gift Set” which contained a H hook, so I decided to get that. As well as a lovely lavender Lantern Moon project bag, and a nice skein of red violet and green Frolicking Feet by Done Roving Yarns “Berry Bush” which I will use to make the Wingspan Shawl as soon as I have a few other projects done. So I guess I have my Spokane souvenirs.

This store is staffed almost entirely by young, good-looking men. Kind of encourages you to come in and visit rather than shop on the internet.

So this is where it gets really crazy. We asked one of the guys how we should get back to the falls on the river – he said he would get us a map, and then he came back and said, “You know what, it is a long way, why don’t I just give you a ride?” First he took us upstairs to the break room and let us have a glass of water, which was welcomed, and then he drove us to the riverside park. What kind of amazing customer service is that? His name was Travis and he is one of the owners of the store. I will be a loyal customer from now on, I can tell you that.

Now if my nieces are reading this: NEVER ACCEPT RIDES FROM STRANGERS. But if you are my age, accepting a ride from a yarn store owner is probably pretty safe.

More next time about our adventures at the park (shaved ice! Tram!) and our dinner that night.