Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Three Beautiful Things 03/03/20: Moving the Bar, Organizing the Kitchen, Remembering the Top Notch Cafe

1. I buckled down and gave the kitchen a more thorough cleaning today. I decided I wasn't happy with keeping my liquor bottles on the counter by the stove, so, to give myself more counter space in the kitchen, I moved the "bar" to a table by the back door, close to the dining table, and I can use the table as my drink mixing station.

2. I ordered a variety of things I wanted for the kitchen and "bar" and they arrived today. I now have an airtight cannister (again) to store ground coffee in; a new set of seven magnetic clips; a new pack of labels for containers of stock and other things I store; a new batch of quart-sized deli containers for storage; I now have seven new squeeze bottles now containing olive oil, soy sauce, fish sauce, rice vinegar, red wine vinegar, vegetable oil, and Bragg Liquid Amino; my liquor bottles now all have pour spouts; and, I now own The Complete Mediterranean Cookbook from America's Test Kitchen. The accessories that arrived today helped me further organize the kitchen and the cookbook will help expand what I fix to eat.

3. I had fun this evening poking around the World Wide Web and reading up on places to dine in Spokane. The other night at trivia, Joan, Chris, Mary, Kathy, and I were reminiscing about places to eat in Spokane that are gone now. We were missing them: Mr. Steak, Sea Galley, Strobels, Chapter 11, Milford's, Le Croissant, and others. Since moving back to the Inland Northwest, I've been reacquainting myself with Spokane, bringing myself up to date, learning about places to eat and places that brew beer. I haven't been to many, but I keep educating myself.

I discovered a lot of places this evening, thanks largely to Chandler. She runs a website called Spokane Eats ( I clicked on the Best Food in Spokane tab and read about all kinds of places I didn't know about.

The first one I'll go to will be on Wednesday (03/03) before I go to the Cream Tribute band concert at the Bing. It is in a little building at 825 N Monroe -- yes, that's right, the site of the former Top Notch Cafe where once, long ago, Christy and I took Mom and Dad for breakfast (was it just the four of us?

I'd eaten there a few times when I lived in Spokane (1982-84) and, to be honest, I hadn't really quite caught up to the fact that just because I enjoyed a hole in the wall place, Dad would enjoy it, too. Mom was probably indifferent to the Top Notch, but Dad was grumpy about it and later Christy and I (and Carol? Help!) laughed and laughed about Dad's grumpiness, adding it to what, back then, was a growing list of places we were excited about eating at that Dad just didn't like (Moby Dick's, Frontier Pies, Mo's, etc.). Looking back, I now know that Dad was much more comfortable eating at franchise places, not holes in the wall, and I suppose if I had it to do over again, I would have given in to that.

But, I was young.

Now that little spot on North Monroe is occupied by Ruins, specializing in craft cocktails and a rotating menu of eclectic dishes, leaning more toward small plates than full entrees. I'm looking forward to trying it out for my pre-concert meal.

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