7 Blog

Movies, dining and things to do / Spokane and North Idaho

Sundae Funday

Awareness of gluten-related disorders is much more common these days, so several Pig Out vendors are providing “gluten-free” options. But, unless you have a gluten sensitivity, don’t mistake gluten-free for healthy.

Take, for example, my Thursday afternoon bite at Shiznits. Their $8 entrée options include essentially the same ingredients—shredded beef, pork and/or chicken or a beer brat topped with grilled bell peppers, onions and garlic, cheese and/or honey barbeque sauce and jalapeno bacon—on a sandwich roll or gluten-free mashed potatoes.

Nothing about that could be considered healthy, but I couldn’t wait to try it.

The $3 bite is a mini version of mashed potato sundae; you can also get a mini Berry Smoothie Cake Cup with pound cake, mixed berry compote, raspberry crème and whipped cream, but the regular size is only $2 more.

The novelty of a mashed potato sundae is unique, but the mini cup made it a little difficult to mix up the ingredients. The meat to mashed potato ratio was a little heavy on the meat side when you’re trying to get a forkful that has a little bit of everything.

Mini Mashed Potato Sundae (Theresa Carpine/Spokane7.com)

The “sundae” aspect of this dish probably works better with the larger size, since only ingredient that was layered seemed to be cheese. As you can see in the after photo, I was determined to get as much of that delicious cheese sauce out of the cup.

While a mini was a little too small, the full-size might be a big much for one person (at least, this person). What I really want is a frozen yogurt set up, where you load up the mashed potatoes with whatever mix of toppings you want, and then you pay by weight. A girl can dream, right?

P.S. I did get a Saucer Burger for lunch and discovered that the prices had dropped! Two for $5 is a good deal, and just the right size for a lunch. Some people where buying these burgers by the half-dozen!

Saucer Burger (Theresa Carpine/Spokane7.com)

Learn about orcas at BookPeople tonight

I didn't cry when I saw the 2013 documentary film "Blackfish." But my daughter did. And both of us were all too ready to believe that the sentiment that “captivity has been a catastrophe for most killer whales taken from the wild.”

That quote comes from the nonfiction book "Of Orcas and Men: What Killer Whales Can Teach Us" (Overlook Press, 320 pages, $19.76). The book by Seattle-based writer David Neiwert, who will read from his book at 6:30 tonight at the Moscow, Idaho, bookstore BookPeople, has received a number of good reviews:

From Kirkus: "A wide-ranging, interesting book that should be required reading for school-aged environmentalists."

From the Seattle Times: "In answer to the book’s subtitle — what we might learn from orcas — killer whales model cooperation and working together without hostility and violence. We would also learn again how interconnected are the worlds of humans and animals, and of air, land and water."

From The Stranger: "Neiwert is an unpretentious and well-informed investigative journalist, and it's worth seeing him read in person, if only to see his full-color slides and hear his recordings of southern resident orca calls."

Moscow is a good 90 minutes from Spokane. But the Palouse is beautiful this time of year. And if you're in the mood for a good road trip, Neiwert's reading might be a good reason to head south.

Pig out at Pig Out: You have my sympathy

I was standing in Seattle's Mercer Street Books a couple of months ago, talking to the woman behind the desk, when I happened to mention that I lived in Spokane. She looked at me with an expression that looked an awful lot like sympathy.

I laughed. Here I was, navigating my way through a city that boasts some of the worst traffic in the United States, and I was being offered sympathy for living in a city that's easy to get around in, offers a number of restaurants that would fit right in Seattle's eating scene, an independent bookstore that is one of the state's best and easy access to a number of movie theaters that play the latest releases on screens as good as you'll find pretty much anywhere.

And all of it offered at an affordable price. So, yes, I laughed.

I think I'll continue to laugh this evening as I walk through one of the annual events most closely associated with all things Spokane: Pig Out in the Park. I'll be eating something from one of the 40-odd vendors and listening to The Working Spliffs, who go onstage at 5:30.

And I'll be thinking: I'm so sorry that woman from the Seattle bookstore doesn't have the same easy access to such an annual treat.

Planetary Pies, oh my!

While Pig Out in the Park is one of my favorite local traditions—the people-watching is top-notch—some of the vendors take the “pig out” part of it a little too literally. Even on my hungriest days, I’m not going to be able to finish a pile of ribs or mountain of Chow Mein on my own.

So I was quite excited when the food festival announced $3 bites a few years ago. Unfortunately, these mini-portions are only available during non-peak hours, 3-5 p.m. and 9-10 p.m., but I’m treating myself this week with a mid-afternoon snack at some of this year’s new booths (or at least booths that I do not recognize).

For my Wednesday bite, I went to Saucer Burgers & Planetary Pies. Regular prices are $5 for one, $9 for two, which is a pretty good deal on its own. UPDATE: At 11:30 a.m., Sept. 3, prices are $3 for one, $5 for two. - TC

The Apple Planetary Pie is apple pie filing pressed and toasted between two circular cut slices of Franz Big White Bread, topped with cinnamon and sugar, caramel sauce and whipped cream.

Apple Planetary Pie (Theresa Carpine/Spokane7.com)

I must say, Franz bread makes for a decent pie crust, and the hand-sized pies follow the Goldilocks principle (not too big, not too small…but just right). It was too difficult to eat with a spork, so I’m sure I looked ravenous as I shoveled the pie into my mouth straight from the basket. The sticky toppings made a bit of a mess, but also made the pie much more delicious.

The Apple Planetary Pie piqued my appetite, and interest, just enough that I might have to return to Pig Out at lunchtime to try the Saucer Burger, in addition to my Thursday afternoon bite, which I’ll tease with three words: mashed potato sundae.

What Pig Out bites have you tried this year?

Who wants free tickets to Bartfest 2015?

Enter to win a pair of weekend wristbands to Bartfest 2015!

Bartfest is an annual music festival presented by The Bartlett music venue in Spokane, WA showcasing some of the best up & coming local, regional and national talent. On Oct. 9-10, over sixteen musicians and bands will perform on two stages at The Bartlett (all-ages) and Nyne Bar (age 21 and older after 8 p.m.) with Angel Olsen, Horse Feathers and Deep Sea Diver among this year’s acts.

Festival goers are also invited to attend a Pre-Party/Poster Show at The Bartlett featuring Vacationer and Great Good Fine OK on Thursday, Oct. 8.

We’ll randomly draw and announce three winners on Thursday, Oct. 1. See Contest Rules for eligibility requirements.

The week’s movie openings: Old hikers and daffy women

Another week and another series of big-screen movie offerings. And, hey, just in time to act as a nice break from Pig Out. The week's mainstream movies are as follows:


"A Walk in the Woods": Robert Redford and Nick Nolte star in what looks to be a farcical adaptation of Bill Bryson's best-selling 1998 memoir of his walking the Appalachian Trail. They must be looking for the elder hostels.


"The Transporter Refueled" (IMAX and standard): Ed Skrein steps in for Jason Statham in this continuation of the series about a former British special-operations officer who now freelances as a driver boasting specific talents. Big question: Does he still drive an Audi?

"Mistress America": Writer-director Noah Baumbach casts Greta Gerwig in another role that requires her to play a daffy-yet-lovable "Frances Ha"-type character. Read: typecasting.

"Dope": Geeky Malcolm tries to transform his inner-city L.A. high school experience into something that will earn him admittance to an Ivy League university. Think urban "Risky Business."

And at the Magic Lantern:

"Phoenix": A Jewish woman survived World War II but emerges disfigured. After facial reconstruction, she searches for her former boyfriend who may, or may not, have betrayed her to the Germans. Well, love does mean never having to say you're sorry. Right?

And you know the drill. Go see a movie. Enjoy yourself.

Macklemore, Lewis video goes live

Seattle rapper Macklemore and his producer buddy Ryan Lewis spent a week in Spokane in July filming a video for the first single off their upcoming album. "Downtown" went live on YouTube this morning, and features Macklemore getting funky with collaborators Grandmaster Caz, Kool Moe Dee, Melle Mel, and Foxy Shazam's Eric Nally - and a whole lot of Spokane moped, scooter and motorcycle enthusiasts. The video, co-directed by Macklemore (real name Ben Haggerty), Lewis and Jason Koenig, has some of the same goofy vibe that made "Thrift Shop" such a smash. As Vulture.com noted this morning, "There are cowbells, name-spelling, and references to Blackstreet. Think of it as a sequel to 'Uptown Funk,' in the opposite direction."
And while it's unclear if the video is supposed to be set in Spokane - a reference to Pike Place Market seems to indicate otherwise - "Downtown" doesn't shy from showing the Lilac City's downtown, good and bad. The Fox Theater, the Paulsen Building, the skywalks and the Parkade are among the downtown landmarks getting some time to shine. There also are shots filmed around the decrepit Otis Hotel and parts of East Sprague Avenue, to add a gritty flavor.
This is the second video the duo has released in recent weeks. The first, "Growing Up (Sloane's Song)," dropped on Aug. 5 and centers on Macklemore becoming a new dad. The new album, the follow-up to the record-breaking and Grammy-winning "The Heist," is set to come out later this year.  Reportedly, the guys are scheduled to perform the song at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday.
Check out the video right here:


Celebrate SpokeFest with a Wheel Sport prize giveaway!

Fall is one of the best times of year! Back to school, colorful leaves and the return of SpokeFest!

This year marks the eighth annual celebration of cycling, healthy lifestyles and environmental appreciation in Spokane. Experienced cyclists and newbies are invited to participate in whichever route suits their ability: Great Harvest 1 Mile Loop and Bike Safety Rodeo, Columbia Medical Associations Spokane Falls 9 Mile Loop, REI 21 Mile River Loop and Spokesman OUTDOORS Half Century (50 miles).

To celebrate, Spokesman OUTDOORS and Wheel Sport are giving away the following prizes in a random drawing.

  • KHS Alite 40 Mountain Bike with Helmet Value ($349.99)
  • $200 Gift Card to Wheel Sport
  • $100 Gift Card to Wheel Sport

Enter by visiting the Spokesman OUTDOORS booth at SpokeFest, Sunday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m. - 2 p.m., on the corner of Spokane Falls Boulevard and Post Street, or complete the online form. Booth visitors between 11 a.m.-1 p.m. will be instant winners when they Spin the Prize wheel too!

Friday’s openings: DJs, mountain climbers and adolescent angst

We’re now in that weird in-between period all serial moviegoers dread: Summer tent-pole season has waned, Oscar season is still a month or so away and Hollywood’s output has slowed to a trickle. This week’s new releases include an odd mix of movies, but there are some small, more independent titles worth checking out. Here’s what you have to choose from:


“No Escape” – Owen Wilson stars as the American ambassador to a crooked U.S. company who moves his family to an unnamed Southeast Asian country just as a military coup breaks out.


“The Diary of a Teenage Girl” – Set in San Francisco in the 1970s, this bittersweet coming-of-age story follows a sexually curious 15-year-old named Minnie (relative newcomer Bel Powley) as she documents her ascension to adulthood. Based on the acclaimed novel by Phoebe Gloeckner, the trailer gives me serious “Welcome to the Dollhouse”-meets-“American Splendor” vibes. And I mean that as a compliment.

“We Are Your Friends” – A sort of “Saturday Night Fever” for the Paradiso Festival set, the directorial debut of MTV personality Max Joseph stars Zac Efron as a young dreamer who just wants to be a celebrity DJ with a supermodel girlfriend. Ah, career goals.

“War Room” – The “war” of the title is a domestic one, as a seemingly perfect couple turns to (per the film’s publicity) “an older, wiser woman” about using prayer for transformative purposes. A Christian-themed film from the director of “Fireproof” and “Courageous.”

At the Magic Lantern:

“Meru” – A documentary about the 2008 attempt by three mountain climbers to scale a legendary Himalayan peak known as the Shark’s Fin. Harrowing, to say the least.

Below: The trailer for “The Diary of a Teenage Girl.”

Meet sci-fi author Kevin J. Anderson tonight

Science-fiction fans should be — and many likely are — excited that Worldcon has come to town (the Spokane edition is also named Sasquan). Some of the most famous sci-fi authors in the world are walking our streets. Nathan Weinbender posted a photo on Facebook of him sitting next to, of all people, George R.R. Martin.

But not everybody can afford the Worldcon admission prices. So now we have another reason to love the Spokane County Library District.

Kevin J. Anderson, whose books you can find on the shelves of pretty much any bookstore, will make a free appearance at 7 tonight at the North Spokane Library. Anderson will no doubt talk about his latest book, "The Dark Between the Stars," which has been nominated for a Hugo Award — the winners of which will be announced at Sasquan.

But he may also share stories of his working on the more than 120 books he has published, some 50 of which have made best-seller lists. For more information about the North Spokane Library, call (509) 893-8350.

And remember: Anderson's library appearance is … free.

SPR is offering everyone some ‘Help!’

Anytime you have a hard day's night, what's the thing you most need? Help, of course, which is something The Beatles knew well enough.

And so does Spokane Public Radio. Following last year's sold-out event, "SPR Goes to the Movies: 'A Hard Day's Night,' " the radio station decided to follow up with another Beatles movie extravaganza. This time it involves Richard Lester's 1965 Beatles film "Help!" which had a national U.S. opening on Aug. 25, 1965.

"Help!" will screen at the Bing Crosby Theater at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. Unlike the "Hard Day's Night" screening, this event will not involve a live-taping of the "Movies 101" show. But "Movies 101" co-host Nathan Weinbender, along with longtime SPR personality Leonard Oakland, will be on hand to introduce the film.

Tickets to the screening are $10 (plus Bing operating fees) and are being sold through TickestWest. They also should be available at the Bing's box office (but as I wrote above, the "Hard Day's Night" screening sold out so …)

Anyway, I'd be there but I'm out of town. Poor me.

I can always use some … uh, "Help!"

Legendary rockers roll through town this fall

Although there have been rumblings on the internet in the last couple of days, it’s finally been confirmed: Neil Young is playing the Arena on Oct. 2. This marks the first time the legendary rocker has performed in Spokane since his 2007 show at the INB.

Young’s touring band is the California-based four-piece Promise of the Real, which appeared on his latest album “The Monsanto Years” and is fronted by Lukas Nelson, son of country superstar Willie Nelson. Joining the band on tour is Lukas’ brother, guitarist Micah Nelson. Set lists on the first leg of the tour have spanned Young’s decades-long career, so expect to hear plenty of classics along with newer material.

Tickets go on sale through TicketsWest on Friday at 10 A.M., and prices range from $59.50 to $125.

Also announced this week: Paul Rodgers is scheduled to perform at Northern Quest on Nov. 15. Rodgers is best known as guitarist and vocalist for Bad Company, but he’s also had hits with Free and the Firm and toured in the mid-2000s as the frontman for Queen.

Tickets start at $65 and will be on sale as of Saturday morning. They can be purchased online or through the box office at (509) 481-6700.

Below: Paul Rodgers and Bad Company perform their 1975 single “Shooting Star.”

Take a trip to the ‘Light Side’ tonight

It's August and summer is hanging on, thank you. But going to the lake isn't the only thing you can do in your spare time. I'd go to a movie ("Straight Outta Compton" is worth seeing). Or you could attend a book reading. Like, tonight.

Seattle writer Elizabeth Guizzetti will read from her novel, a science-fiction tale titled "The Light Side of the Moon," at 7 at Auntie's Bookstore. It's the second in what she's calling her "Other Systems Universe" series.

Click here to access her website. And show up for her reading.

The lake will wait. And Auntie's has air conditioning.

Friday’s openings: Infinite choices, limited jests

Summer is starting to wind down, and the movies are following suit. That’s not to say the number of releases is dropping – there are six new titles scheduled to open this Friday – but the season of the blockbuster is more or less over. In fact, this week’s releases cover some pretty dark material – drugs, violence, depression and, uh, kidnapping ghosts. At least there’s a comedy in there to add a little levity. Here are the titles:

At the AMC:

“American Ultra” – Jesse Eisenberg stars as a perpetually stoned loser who discovers he’s a sleeper agent for the government, and the same people that programmed him to be a killing machine want him dead. Think “Pineapple Express” meets “The Bourne Identity.”

“The End of the Tour” – From director James Ponsoldt (“The Spectacular Now”), this film festival favorite documents the five days in 1996 when journalist David Lipsky (Jesse Eisenberg, again) followed late writer David Foster Wallace (Jason Segel) on his “Infinite Jest” book tour. Expect plenty of footnotes.

“Hitman: Agent 47” – A dead-eyed, genetically-engineered assassin must take down a top secret corporation that holds the key to his mysterious origins…or something. “American Ultra,” this ain’t. Based on a video game series, previously adapted into a long-forgotten 2007 feature.

“Sinister 2” – This sequel to the not-that-bad 2012 chiller continues the urban legend of a creepy specter that murders families and swipes the children. Not exactly an ideal bedtime story.

At the Magic Lantern:

“Cartel Land” – Documentarian Matthew Heineman explores the ins and outs of the meth trade, focusing on the cooks, smugglers and peddlers on either side of the U.S.-Mexico border.

“The Stanford Prison Experiment” – A certain-to-be-grim docudrama inspired by the notorious sociological experiment conducted in 1971, in which students were divided into groups of prisoners and guards in a makeshift prison. Things did not go very well.

Below: The trailer for “The Stanford Prison Experiment”:

Dawes performs for an appreciative crowd in Liberty Lake

An audience of all ages took in the Dawes concert Saturday night at Pavillion Park in Liberty Lake. Spokesman-Review photographer and Dawes fan Dan Pelle was there and put together this photographic slideshow:


Here's a taste from the band's latest record, "All Your Favorite Bands," out now. This is called "Things Happen."

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