The Great Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

DSCN2353It’s the most wonderful time of the year!  That is, if you happen to love autumn, as I do.  The leaves are changing colors, it’s cool enough to wear scarves again, and the time is right to watch repetitively It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown.  Speaking of great pumpkins, have you yet stocked up on all of the cans of pumpkin that you’ll need for the next three months?  If not, I trust that you’re working on it.  While you’re gearing up to make the first of many pumpkin pies, why not really get into the spirit of the season with a little pumpkin pie cocktail?  Yes, please.

This easy-peezy martini has all of the flavor of pumpkin pie and takes a fraction of the time to assemble and serve.  It involves pumpkin, spices, and a milk product, just like the real thing, but with the pleasant additions of Kahlua and butterscotch schnapps.  If you don’t yet have Kahlua and/or butterscotch schnapps on hand, I highly recommend investing in both; they both can be used throughout the holiday season(s) to make any number of festive cocktails.  For now, however, let’s focus on making this liquid pumpkin pie dream a reality.

The Great Pumpkin Pie Cocktail

Makes 1 cocktail


1.25 oz. Kahlua or another coffee liqueur

1.25 oz. butterscotch schnapps

2 oz. cold milk (any kind)

.75 oz pumpkin puree

1/4 tsp. pumpkin pie spice

dollop of whipped cream (optional, for garnish)

To Make the Cocktail:

Halfway fill a cocktail shaker with ice cubes.  Atop the ice, ad the Kahlua, butterscotch schnapps, milk, pumpkin, and pumpkin pie spice.  Gently mix with a spoon to start to incorporate the pumpkin and spices.  Vigorously shake the shaker for 30 seconds.  Pour the contents of the shaker into a martini glass.  If you like, garnish the cocktail with whipped cream.  Enjoy!


Night Out: Saranac Public House

image from Saranac Public House

Have you ever accidentally put a red shirt in a load of white laundry?  Even if you haven’t, you know what happens: the color bleeds off of the red shirt and rubs off on everything else in the load.  A similar phenomenon happens with friends: even if you’re dissimilar in so many ways, after spending time together, she’ll start to rub off on you.  I’ve noticed this happening a bit as of late: one of my good friends, the one with whom I visited the MAC and the Flying Goat earlier this spring, recently graduated from Washington State University’s interior design program.  By virtue of her field, she’s very cognizant of wherever she is, noticing the way a room is constructed, how its contents are arranged, and how lighting completely affects the feel of a space.  In our travels together, she has brought these aspects to my attention, and now, almost automatically, I find my focus shifting to them whenever I go someplace new.  This was the case last week when I made my first visit to Saranac Public House in downtown Spokane.

Saranac Public House resides in the Saranac Building, next door to the Magic Lantern Theatre and across the street from Zola and Boots Bakery.  The Saranac Building itself, recently renovated to become LEED Platinum-certified, played host to the single-room occupancy Saranac Hotel for nearly 100 years.  The exposed brick walls and abundance of natural lighting present in the modern pub are indicative of the building’s long history, though the modern artwork spread throughout the restaurant the the constant rotation of new taps suggest more concurrent affinities.  The vibe is open and relaxed, an ideal setting for a happy hour meeting after a long day or a relaxed lunchtime get-together with friends.  This particular outing was one of the former variety.


Saranac boasts a fine line-up of a dozen taps, most from northwest breweries, including a house beer brewed by Spokane’s own No-Li Brewhouse.  The day seemed like an IPA kind of day to me, so I opted for a pint of Lovely Reida from Seattle’s Georgetown Brewing Company, while my friend went with something a bit fruitier: Superfuzz Blood Orange Pale Ale from another Seattle brewery, Elysian. Other breweries of the day included Mac & Jack’s (whose African Amber is a staple around these parts), Ninkasi, and Lost Coast.  Featured on the pub’s rotating nitro tap was Pyramid Weiss Cream, an offering I found to be an nice alternative to the standard nitro option of a stout.

DSCN2130As we caught up over beers, my friend and I worked up an appetite.  To remedy this, we took to Saranac’s selection of happy hour appetizers, which includes one heck of a pretzel (who doesn’t love a pretzel with her beer?), a hummus plate, and some good ol’ chips and salsa.  We opted for the polenta.  Pan-seared and baked, the polenta was light and fluffy, just enough to curb your appetite before dinner, but not so much as to entirely eliminate your hunger.  Topped with a generous scoop of tomatoes, mushrooms, and caramelized onions, the warm polenta is cooled by a healthy addition of fresh basil.  In addition to being a most savory appetizer, the polenta is also one of Saranac’s many vegan and/or gluten-free offerings.  While I know many vegans and vegetarians will appreciate this, carnivores (myself included) need not worry: the restaurant also offers more traditional pub fare, such as burgers, sausages, and tacos.  See?  Something for everyone!

DSCN2132We were enjoying the polenta so much that we’d nearly forgotten that we ordered dinner, too, and hurriedly shuffled to make room when our meals arrived.  Fixin’ for somethin’ hearty, I had the pork verde stew: seared pork shoulder smothered in spices and seasonings, including tomatillos, cumin, and pasillo, all served over brown rice and season pinto beans.  All of that heat was blessedly countered by a topping of cilantro and sour cream.  Also feeling the need for beans, my friend went with a cup of the vegetarian (or vegan, if you wish) black bean chili, a thick, kickin’ blend of onions, peppers, and jalapenos with locally-grown black beans.  Yep, in addition to being and IPA kind of day, it was a spicy beans kind of day.  By the time I finished off my bowl of stew and sipped the last of my beer, I was full and on my way to being stuffed, though, thankfully, not quite there.  Had I wanted to (which I did, but had the restraint not to act on the impulse), I could have lingered a while to try one of the flatbreads, a small house salad, or a bite of dessert, but I elected to save such an adventure for another day.

As it’s a few blocks away from the hustle and bustle of the center of downtown, Saranac is a place to get away from it all without being too far away.  The space’s century of history is apparent all around, though its presence complements the modern accoutrements of the pub rather than detracting from them.  With the debut of summer upon us, I look forward to a few afternoons at Saranac enjoying the sun, a brew, and good company, be it in the form of a friend or a building with stories to tell.

Night Out: Women in Brewing at The Pike Brewery

Image from Seattle Beer Week

Oh, man, is it Tuesday already?  Back to work and weeknights after two days of fun and frivolity (and Monday)?  Yes, indeed.  I can’t believe that just over one week ago, at this time, I was on the other side of the state and on my way to what would be a fantastic evening celebrating not only terrific Washington beers, but the wonderful women who worked so hard to brew them.

Last Monday, I attended the 2nd Annual Women In Brewing event as part of Seattle Beer Week, an event presented by the Pike Brewing Company and Thirsty Sisters to benefit the Planned Parenthood and the Pink Boots Society, an organization comprised solely of women working in the brewing industry..  The event featured numerous beers brewed by women brewers across the state, as well as a variety of snacks from local vendors.  The venue, the Pike Brewery’s Museum Room located in the aft of the restaurant area, provided an outstanding milieu for the night’s festivities, as well as an ever-present reminder why we were all there: because we loved great beer!

As I entered the event, I was delightedly overwhelmed at just how many people were there: tons of breweries from around the state, a slew of vendors from the area serving everything from cupcakes to oysters to pulled pork sliders, and, of course, a bustling crowd of dedicated beer lovers.  There was so much to see and to try; where was a girl to begin?

DSCN2062Upon entering, one of the first breweries I came across was Island Hoppin’ Brewery based on Orcas Island.  I have visited the San Juan Islands numerous times with my family over the years (Thanksgiving on the islands was a family tradition for years), and the islands’ three resident killer whale pods (J, K, and L pods) are my absolute favorite aspect of the area.  That said, nostalgia got the better of me, and I couldn’t refuse a sample of the brewery’s K-Pod Kolsch.  Light, golden, and slightly sweet, the light ale was an excellent introduction to the evening’s brews.

Making the rounds through the packed Museum Room, I got a peek at some of the vendors offering snacks at the event: Taylor Shellfish had two varieties of oysters available for everyone’s oyster-shooting pleasures, cleverly named d:floured had a couple of gluten-free treats out for sampling, and Seattle’s own Brave Horse Tavern had miniature breakfast sandwiches out for the masses’ enjoyment.  As if beer weren’t enough, there were also liquor samples available for sampling: BroVo Spirits featured a few of their herbally-inclined liqueurs including lavender, Douglas fir, and ginger.  In all, it was a feast for the eyes and the palate.

After a swift tour through the entirety of the event, I got back to beers.  As one would hope, some of Seattle’s more well-known breweries were in attendance.  A city staple, Fremont Brewing Company brought a couple of their own brews, including a bright summer ale with basil and grapefruit.  Keeping with the theme of fruit-accented beers, Naked City Brewery brought two versions of the Belles of St. Clements, actually, three versions, if you count their impeccably dressed representatives manning the taps (see photo at top of post).  The standard St. Clements is a summer saison, easy-drinking and perfect for hot summer days.  The exclusive version featured at this event was brewed with apricots, lending the brew an extra dose of very slightly earthy sweetness that left me looking forward to warmer days.  Not to be left out of the fun, Elysian was there, too, serving up both regular and Randall-ized versions of the newest release in the trip series, its collaboration with New Belgium.  The buckwheat ale alone sounded enticing, but as I’d first been introduced to Randalls earlier that day, I was eager to try the infused version of the beer.  The Randall-ized version of the buckwheat ale featured whole hops and roasted peanuts.  The medium-brown ale gained an addition of unusual roastiness from the peanuts, as well as a bit of extra bite from the hops.  The combination of flavors was deliberately intriguing and left me with inspiration for my next homebrewing endeavor.

What would a “Women in Beer” even party be without a few female brewery owners?  Fortunately, there was no shortage that evening.  Pike Brewery co-owner Rose Ann Finkel made the rounds throughout the evening, chatting with vendors and visitors, while her husband and fellow Pike co-owner, Charlie Finkel, did the same.  Haley Woods, owner of one of Seattle’s newest breweries, Peddler Brewing Company, was on-hand serving up a couple of Peddler’s brews.  Opened only two months ago, Spinnaker Bay Brewing Company, owned by Elissa Pryor and proudly holding the title of Washington’s only woman owned and operated brewery, was also present and serving up their porter.

It was truly inspiring to see so many women not only doing what they loved, but making beers that other people (many of whom were also women) loved.  I think that it is amazing that so many women, not only in Washington, but around the US and abroad, are making such waves in the modern craft brewing industry.  Looking a ways back at history, brewing used to be a task designated to women.  However, with the rise of industrial brewing, women’s roles largely fell by the wayside.  Today, brewing is, once again, becoming an arena in which women are highly active participants and are proving themselves to be undoubtedly every bit as skilled as their male counterparts.  Whether brewed by women or men, I look forward to continuing to enjoy the ever-creative and constantly growing onslaught of great beers from my home state of Washington, as well as everywhere else I may travel or find myself.  Yep, I’ll drink to that.

Additional Women in Beer Links:

3 Female Craft Brewers to Watch

Meg Gill’s Heady Run at Golden Road Brewing– Meg Gill is the owner of Golden Road Brewing Company and the world’s youngest female brewery owner

The Naked Pint and The Naked Brewer by Christina Perozzi and Hallie Beaune

Women of Craft Beer: A Quick List

Pink Boots Society

Spokane Sour


I’ve never been a big fan of casual Fridays.  The idea of taking things down a notch, dress-wise, just never clicked with me.  On the contrary, I enjoy partaking in fancy Fridays.  The end of the work week is cause for celebration!  Dress up for it!


Cocktails of all sorts just scream “fancy”.  I view the creation of cocktails like a magic trick: I’m curious how it happens, but I know that finding out would ruin it for me.  Nonetheless, it’s good to know how to make a few basic cocktails, just in case you find yourself playing mixologist at your own soiree.  The present beverage puts a snazzy twist on the classic whiskey sour, and the red float on top is sure to impress all of your friends.  Despite its complex appearance, it’s very simple to make.  This fact can be our little secret.  Have fun being fancy!

DSCN1854Spokane Sour

Adapted from Bon Appetit

Makes 1 Drink


2 oz bourbon

1 oz lemon juice

3/4 oz orange syrup

1 oz red wine (something bold and oak-y, like a Cabernet Sauvignon blend)


cocktail shaker


rocks glass

To Make the Spokane Sour:

Fill a cocktail shaker halfway full of ice.  Pour the bourbon, lemon juice, and orange syrup over ice.  Cover the shaker, and shake for about 30 seconds.  Strain the liquid our of the shaker, and pour over ice into a rocks glass.  To top off the drink, slowly and gently pour the wine over the back of a spoon so that it floats on the top of the glass.  That’s it!  Enjoy!

Day Out: MAC and Flying Goat

Spontaneous adventures are the best.  That’s not a dig against itineraries or long-awaited, dutifully planned vacations.  I love having something to look forward to.  Still, a spur-of-the-moment adventure can be just what you need to get you out of a routine-induced rut.

On Saturday morning, I was up and about by 7am.  The forecast called for beautiful weather, and I didn’t want to waste a minute of the sunshine by sleeping in.  On the contrary, Beth , my dear friend and an interior design student, is notorious for her sleeping in and afternoon napping habits.  I love her dearly, but I rarely expect to hear before 10am.  That said, I was pleasantly surprised when I received a text message from her around 9am inviting me to tag along with the interior design club for a trip to the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture (MAC) to take in the new Spokane Modern Architecture (SPOMa) exhibit.  In the spirit of spontaneity, I happily accepted the invitation.

Shortly afterward, Beth picked me up and we enjoyed the scenic drive from the Valley to the historic Brown’s Addition in western Spokane.  Pulling up to the museum, we were hit with flashbacks of high school, as we had been part of the team that set up there for the senior prom during our junior year.  Oh, high school.  As fond as the memories were, neither of us lamented no longer being nervous teenagers enduring the rigors of high school.  Moving into the present, we parked in front of the museum and quickly met up with Beth’s interior design classmates.  I was happy to see that I wasn’t the only non-student there: a couple of girls had brought along their boyfriends, who didn’t appear to be entirely certain why they were there, but, nonetheless, they dutifully remained by their ladies’ sides for the duration of the visit.  After exchanging pleasantries, the group of us headed into the museum.

The MAC’s exhibits resided on the lower floors of the building, so down we went.  Peaking at us over the rail of the staircase was a fantastic zebra-print chair, which we would soon discover was only one in a collection of designer chairs produced throughout the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s.  Turning the corner into the entrance of the exhibit, we were greeted by a large periodic table on which the atomic symbols had cleverly been substituted with the initials of the featured designers and architects.  After pausing for a group photograph, we spread out to take in the exhibit.


Disappointingly, no one jumped on my suggestion of recreating the museum scene in “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” by parading through the museum hand-in-hand.

DSCN1744 DSCN1745 DSCN1747 DSCN1748 DSCN1754 DSCN1759

Despite being one of the few non-design student individuals there, I found the exhibit to fascinating and greatly informative.  Besides the magnificent display of modernly designed chairs, there were also a number of features highlighting the design and construction of a number of Spokane’s iconic structures.  I have never utilized the Parkade parking structure in downtown Spokane, so it was enlightening to learn that it was once a centerpiece of the area.  On the flip side, the Spokane International Airport is still a thriving site.  The original terminal, still in use today, opened in mid-1960s, a time, as the photographs proved, when flying was still an affair worth dressing up for.  Beth and I were both enthralled by the stories behind the landmarks we could easily recognize but, as it turns out, didn’t know as well as we thought.

Included with our trip to the MAC was a tour of the historic Campbell House, located adjacent to the museum.  Beth had visited the historic mansion numerous times and was unable to hide her disbelief when I sheepishly admitted that, although I had lived in Spokane all of my life, had still never been.  Constructed in the late nineteenth century, the 13,000 square foot mansion was occupied by the Campbell family for barely three decades before being donated and converted into a museum following Mrs. Campbell’s death in 1924.  As we would learn on our tour, the house was and remains a sign of another era and the way things were.


The Front Entrance to the Campbell House

We began in the Carriage House.  This building is where the Campbell family’s horses were kept, as well as the carriage that they used to travel throughout the city.  In the back of the building, where the horses’ stalls formerly stood, were a variety of artifacts from the era of the house’s prime, including bicycles, horse shoes, and a crank-start engine.  It was above the carriage house where the male servants slept.  The carriage house also houses an electric car, owned by one of the Campbell’s neighbors.  With a maximum speed of about 20 miles per hour and a maximum traveling distance of about 30 miles on a single charge, it wasn’t exactly a high-powered machine.  Nonetheless, its owner drove it until the early 1950s, after which it was donated to the museum.

The Carriage House

The Carriage House

Bicycle and Horseshoes

Bicycle and Horseshoes

Beth tried to crank-start the engine.

Beth tried to crank-start the engine.


The Electric Car


The Campbells’ Carriage

The Family's Side Entrance and the Servants' Entrance

The Family’s Side Entrance and the Servants’ Entrance

Eagerly, we made our way into the house.  I was immediately stunned by the grandeur of the mansion and the extraordinary attention paid to detail.  After its initial donation in the mid-1920s, the house was converted into a museum for art of the day.  During its conversion into a museum, much of the carpet and wallpaper was replaced.  Once restored, close replications of the removed elements were brought in to make the house look as much as possible as it did during its occupation.  Original or not, the interior of the house was astoundingly ornate and incredibly luxurious.

The Dining Room- Each of the tiles around the fireplace at the rear of the room was hand-painted and depicts a different scene.

The Dining Room- Each of the tiles around the fireplace at the rear of the room was hand-painted and depicts a different scene.

The library is where the family spent most of their time.

The library is where the family spent most of their time.

A view of the fireplace in the library

A view of the fireplace in the library

The front parlor is where Mrs. Campbell would greet guests every Thursday.

The front parlor is where Mrs. Campbell would greet guests every Thursday.

The Grand Staircase

The Grand Staircase

A poker table in Mr. Campbell's "man cave."  Mrs. Campbell was a temperance woman, so she did not allow alcohol in the house.  This room was the only one where she allowed her husband, or anyone, to smoke and drink.

A poker table in Mr. Campbell’s oriental-themed “man cave.” Mrs. Campbell was a temperance woman, so she did not allow alcohol in the house. This room was the only one where she allowed her husband, or anyone, to smoke and drink.

After taking in the family’s side of the house, which included the library, front parlor, and Mr. Campbell’s “man cave”, we moved on to the working side of the house.  This was where the servants performed all of the duties that allowed the house to continue to function and impress.  The lower level included the furnace, a cold storage unit, and a laundry room.  Moving back up to the main level, we saw the kitchen.  The oven was impressive, even by today’s standards.  With one side running on gas, it was at the cutting edge of the day’s technology.  Our tour guide informed us that every Christmas season, one of the house’s former servants, now an elderly woman, comes back and partakes in a living history event in which she makes sugar cookies with guests and bakes them in the house’s original oven.  As fascinating as this was, we were told that because the oven lacks a thermometer or any means of controlling the heat, how the cookies turn out is always somewhat unpredictable.  Still, who wouldn’t want to be able to say that she has baked cookies in an antique oven?

A waffle iron, tart dish, and muffin pans sitting on the stove top

A waffle iron, tart dish, and muffin pans sitting on the stove top


Spice Grinder

Kitchen Essentials

Kitchen Essentials


The Monstrous Oven- The left side of the oven and stove top were operated by gas, which was a true luxury at the time.


An Evening’s Dinner Menu

Our tour concluded upstairs with the family’s bedrooms.  The master bedroom included a sleeping porch: the house would (and still does) get extraordinarily warm in the summers, so, to allow for more comfortable slumber, Mrs. Campbell would transplant the bed outside.  The Campbells’ daughter, Helen, also slept upstairs.  The Campbells were constantly hosting guests from out of town, so two guest rooms were also included and frequently occupied.

Mr. Campbell's Study

Mr. Campbell’s Study

An upstairs workroom where the female servants would alter and repair clothing

An upstairs workroom where the female servants would alter and repair clothing

A Guest Bedroom

A Guest Bedroom

Helen Campbell's Bedroom

Helen Campbell’s Bedroom

The Master Bedroom

The Master Bedroom

From the top of the grand staircase, one could see (from left to right) the portraits of Helen Campbell, Mrs. Grace Campbell, and Mr. Amasa Campbell.  The poppy wallpaper was a replication of the original.  The original wallpaper was adorned with specs of mica, giving it a gorgeous gold sparkle.

From the top of the grand staircase, one could see (from left to right) the portraits of Helen Campbell, Mrs. Grace Campbell, and Mr. Amasa Campbell. The poppy wallpaper was a replication of the original. The original wallpaper was adorned with specs of mica, giving it a gorgeous gold sparkle.

Concluding our most engaging history lesson and eye-opening foray into the world of modern architecture, we bid farewell to the interior design club and went on our merry way.  Both Beth and I had a ball taking in all that the MAC had to offer that day, but after touring a museum for two hours, we were famished.  With all due haste, we made our way north to The Flying Goat to indulge in an out-of-this-world pizza.  Well, I knew it would be out-of-this-world.  Beth had never been.  Since she had been kind enough to share a fun and fulfilling experience with me that day, it was only polite that I reciprocate by introducing her to a destination.

Behind the bar resides the glowing visage of the Flying Goat's mascot.  It was really freaking Beth out.

Behind the bar resides the glowing visage of the Flying Goat’s mascot. It was really freaking Beth out.

I love day trips!

I love day trips!

The Flying Goat is famous in Spokane for two things: pizza and beer.  This isn’t your dad’s old pizza parlor.  Nothing that comes out of Flying Goats blazing pizza ovens is typical.  With pizzas like the Fairview (“cream, cheese blend, house smoked back bacon ham, pears, blue cheese crumbles and balsamic reduction”), the D Street (“Yellow Coconut Curry, chicken, potato, jalapeno, carrot, house cheese blend, cilantro, Sriracha, and lime juice”), and the Kiernan (“Italian sausage, arugula, house cheese blend, heavy cream and an over medium egg”), the offerings are anything but boring.  The spectacular tap line-up is nearly as impressive: fourteen taps showcase a vast array of beers from both the Inland Northwest and the West Coast.  On permanent tap is the house beer, Horned Aviator, produced by Spokane’s own No-Li Brewhouse.  On this particular Saturday, the options included beers from the likes of Laughing Dog, Hale’s Ales, Alameda, and 21st Amendment, just to name a few.  Not wanting to miss out on an opportunity to enjoy an outstanding brew from a far-away land, I ordered a pint of The Bruery’s Rugbrod Rye Ale.  Rugbrod turned out to be one of the best rye beers I had ever had, as well as an excellent accompaniment to Beth and my conversation whilst awaiting our pizza.

It had been an adventurous day this far, and we were eager to keep it that way.  The pizza we ordered certainly qualified as adventurous.  After I assured her that the two of us would definitely be able to finish a whole pizza, Beth and I endeavored to try the Courtland, which consisted of “smoked jerk chicken with Jamaican pepper sauce, green onions, mango, cheese blend and spicy Sriracha sauce”.  Tres adventurous, non?

The Courtland

The Courtland

Beth was totally into the Courtland and all of its mango-y charms, and I was right there with her.

Beth was totally into the Courtland.

We took a moment to take in the savory tropical masterpiece before us.  Mangoes?  On a pizza?  We could dig it.  Without hesitating, we dug in.  The first bit unleashed all of the caramelized sweetness that the mango chunks were hiding, while the crisp dough provided a sturdy stage on which the other flavors were about to perform.  Once the sugary introduction subsided a bit, the spices began to make their boastful appearances.  The Jamaican pepper was what hit me first, but it didn’t have much time on center stage before the spices in the Sriracha came stomping on.  It left a lasting impression that nearly had me reaching for my glass of water.  I took a second bite, and this time, I was greeted by the smoky flavor of the chicken.  The combination of smooth smoke from the chicken and immaculate sweetness from the mango left me longing to find myself carefree on a Caribbean beach.  The flavors on this pizza were both relaxing and exhilarating, and I couldn’t get enough of it.

I wasn’t least bit surprised, but actually quite proud, when my prediction that Beth and I could finish this pizza proved correct.  Following hours of history and education, we were in dire need of not only some sustenance, but also something that would bring us back to the here and now.  We both adored our time at the Flying Goat and left feeling refreshed and re-energized, ready to tackle the remainder of our afternoons.  At the conclusion of the weekend, we would both go our separate ways, Beth back to school, and I back to work.  Regardless of what the coming workweek held in store, I was glad that I was able to make the most of the free time that I had during the weekend, and with one of my favorite friends, to boot!  With that in mind, I can only imagine where our next day trip will take us.  Somewhere memorable, I suspect.