My Own Private Portland

“Hmmm.  What a lovely room of death,” I thought upon walking into a most unusual store stocked with all manner of taxidermied, mummified, and otherwise deceased creatures.  I would be exaggerating if I said that that the variety of unusual articles offered by the shop was downright terrifying, but the vibe erred well onto the side of spooky.  Despite my misgivings about the overwhelming presence of dead animals, the store’s singularity and the pleasant nonchalance of its staff made my visit memorable, to say the least.  Where does one find such a store?  Why, in Portland, Oregon, of course.

A mere 6 hour drive southwest of Spokane lies fabled Portland, a Mecca for beer lovers and connoisseurs of the charmingly peculiar.  Prior to my most recent trip, I hadn’t visited the Beaver State for several years, nor had I made brewery-hopping an objective of my visit.  A number of sources informed me that there was far more to Portland than the obvious draws, like Powell’s City of Books, Hopworks Urban Brewery, and Voodoo Doughnuts, though, heaven knows, I couldn’t help but check them out (again), anyway.  This trip, I resolved to jump off of my previously beaten path so that the question wouldn’t be what was I going to do, but what wasn’t I going to do?

I ate tofu at a small neighborhood restaurants I’d never heard of with signature cocktails served in (what else?) wide-mouthed Mason jars.  I satiated a spontaneous fit of curiosity by popping into a comic book store that just happened to catch my eye.  I was utterly enamored by the outrageous combination of pear-blue cheese and IPA-upside down cake ice creams served up in a homemade waffle cone (totally worth the twenty minute wait).  I proved to my cousin that perfect strangers regularly walk up to me and ask me questions about the store/brewery/park we’re in for reasons largely unbeknownst to me.  I watched the most magnificent group of nerds reenact a classic Star Trek episode (“The Trouble with Tribbles”) at a packed outdoor amphitheater.  I drank a beautiful golden British ale whose flavor elicited a delightful slew of childhood memories.  I bought more books than I honestly need or have the time to read, and I escaped from a doughnut shop without being accosted by maple-bacon-loving passersby.  I had a packed, exhausting, and completely fantastic weekend in P-town.

The quarter-day drive home allowed me to plenty of time to reflect on the weekend that was, and I realized that the unfamiliar wasn’t quite as foreign as I’d feared it may have been.  I already knew full-well that Mason jars make for excellent glasses and that it’s never a bad idea to drop into a new bookstore.  I knew that a fresh beer in the sun with a good friend is one of life’s simplest and greatest pleasures and that seemingly bizarre flavor combinations will often surprise you in a very good way.  Truthfully, though some of the content differed, the feel and presentation of the places I visited in Portland were not too unlike those found in my own hometown of Spokane.

Spokane has its own local book haven (Auntie’s), an eccentric doughnut shop that sells its goods in eye-catching pink boxes (Dawn of the Donut), and a slew of top-notch breweries (No-Li, Iron Goat, 12 String, etc.).  Brain Freeze Creamery has been known to produce a few off-centered flavors (cinnamon ice cream with lentils, anyone?), and Manito Park frequently plays host to outdoor concerts throughout the warmer months.  The idyllic South Perry neighborhood, even without a shop full of dead animals, could fit right in to the quietly lively retail strips that dot the ‘burbs of PDX.

I love to excurse out of town whenever I can; there are far too many places to visit and experiences to try to be content sitting at home every weekend.  Nevertheless, most of my weekends are, indeed, spent in here, in my hometown.  I absolutely adored Portland, and I’d jump at an opportunity to spend more time there.  However, since that is not the case at present, I’m glad that I’ve taken the time to ponder what it was I really enjoyed the most about the City of Roses, for that reflection has allowed me to see a little bit of it in the Lilac City.  I don’t need to travel across the state and over a river to recreate some of the best parts of such a unique city.  My own little slice of Portland has been hiding here, in plain sight, all along.

Night Out: Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company

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Have you ever walked into a room and thought to yourself, “This seems strangely familiar”?  You find yourself hit with an unexpected sense of deja vu that really gets you wondering why the scene seems so recognizable.  This is precisely what I thought to myself upon entering the tasting room at Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company in Post Falls, Idaho.  Featuring low, warm lighting; an inviting fireplace; a big, comfy couch; and walls adorned with wooden shelves, antique books, and photographs of far-off monastaries, one can’t help sinking in to the simultaneously relaxing and captivating surroundings.  After thinking on it for a moment, I realized why I felt as though I’d been there before: the room was strikingly similar to what I’ve imagined my home’s future library to look like, but with the fantastic addition of a dozen beer taps.  With this visual in mind, my maiden trip to the Abbey was off to a positively dreamy start.

My friend, Amy, and I arrived at the brewery around six o’clock last Friday, and we quickly discovered that we were far from being the only people with designs toward enjoying a celebratory end-of-the-workweek beer.  We walked in to the tasting room to find that it was already packed with the brewery’s fans and loyal patrons.  Both of us had been looking forward to visiting Selkirk Abbey for some time, so, while waiting to order, we took the opportunity to take in the atmosphere.  Realizing that more and more people were headed toward the tasting room, we quickly snagged the first open table we saw and prepared ourselves for the evening’s endeavor: to sample all of the beers that Selkirk Abbey had to offer.

Established in 2011, Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company places its focus on Belgian-style beers.  In addition to keeping six of their own beers on tap, including a seasonal or two, Selkirk Abbey also hosts five rotating guest taps (all of which are Belgian styles) and keeps the popular Duchesse De Bourgogne on permanent tap.  From saisons to dubbels to quads and beyond, this North Idaho brewery produces a formidable myriad of styles that serves to satisfy even the most persnickety beer fan.  As their slogan states, “It’s not for the masses.  It’s for you.”

Moments after we took our seats, our selection of six petite beer arrived.  Upon our samples’ arrival, Amy and I listened attentively as we were regaled with synopses of each of the beers and their identifying characteristics.  The descriptions left us intrigued and zealous about tasting each option.  Lining them up from by color, we commenced with the evening’s tasting.

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We began with the lightest of the bunch, in terms of both color and ABV.  First up was the aptly named White, an American wheat ale.  Garnished with an orange slice and pale as can be, this crisp, summery ale left us pining for warmer days.  The wholesome wheat flavor was satisfying to the palate, and the additions of orange peel and coriander to the brew gave it just enough spice to leave one pleasantly intrigued.  Next, Deacon showed itself to be everything that we had hoped a Belgian pale ale would be: bursting with the tell-tale aromas of sweet fruit and politely biting spice, this beer had a feel of European delicacy that complemented its vivid and rejuvenating vibe.  Deacon was succeeded by another Belgian staple: a classic saison by the name of St. Stephen.  Befitting the warmer months to come, St. Stephen initially seemed a bit subdued, but it soon showed its true character, letting loose carefree notes of fruit and a subtle aroma of hay, an olfactory homage to its farmland roots.  Not to be upstaged, St. Stephen’s cousin, St. Augustine, soon followed, eager to show us its stuff.  A rye saison, St. Augustine shared several of the style-indicative features of its predecessor, namely, profound fruit and spice influences from the vibrant Belgian yeast, along with a classic “barnyard” quality that really makes saisons stand out.  With the addition of rye, this beer gained another level of depth not present in the beer we had just tried.  Most notably, the spice notes in St. Augustine were perceived as slightly amplified in comparison to St. Stephen, and its finish came off as slightly sour, a feature I found to be an enjoyable and fascinating touch.  Relishing our first four samples, we were already impressed with Selkirk Abbey’s performance and exuberant about sampling our remaining two beers.  It was at this point that our time at the brewery took a terrific and unexpected turn.

It was at this point that Selkirk Abbey’s owner and president, Jeff Whitman, approached us to ask how things were going.  Anticipating that I would want to write about my visit to the brewery, I’d brought my notebook with me to dictate my experience.  Noticing my feverish scribbling, Jeff asked whether I was reviewing their beers.  I laughingly replied that I was not, though Amy did mention my intentions to write about our time that evening.  After inquiring how we had been enjoying his company’s beers thus far, Jeff asked whether we wanted to try something special that wasn’t yet on tap and wouldn’t be for some time.  Gleefully surprised, we replied in the affirmative.

Jeff disappeared into the back, only to return moments later with gold-rimmed goblets filled with ethereal deep amber elixirs.  Setting down the glasses, he proudly introduced us to what is to be Selkirk Abbey’s anniversary ale, an imperial saison named St. Joseph.  I know what you’re thinking: an imperial saison?  Isn’t that a contradiction of terms?  This was my thought, too, and I’m certain that my befuddlement was clearly written across my face.  Prepared to counter my confusion, Jeff proceeded to tell us St. Joseph’s story: brewed this January for the brewery’s anniversary this coming June, St. Joseph weighs in around an astounding 9% ABV.  Yes, 9% ABV.  For a saison.  An imperial saison, mind you.  This gorgeous caramel-tinted amber ale is brewed with Pilsner and dark Munich malts and utilized a unique French saison yeast strain which imparted soft fruit notes that were velvety smooth.  After Jeff’s glowing introduction, I was more than a little curious to try this most pecuiar brew.  I took a hard look at the contents of the goblet, then leaned in to take a whiff.  Reviewing my notes for this beer, I realized that I dropped the vernacular ball when describing it: my first note on it is an expletive expressing my flabbergasted delight.  I was smitten.  It smelled amazing.  The prologue bestowed on St. Joseph resulted in high expectations for it, and in smelling, let alone trying, the beer itself, my expectations were wholly exceeded.  The aroma was nectarous and silky, with an intoxicating sweetness that neither Amy nor I were able to put our fingers on.  Plum?  Caramel?  Apricot?  After considerable consideration, I decided that I was reminded of the soft sweetness of a marshmallow.  Saisons’ usual barnyard aroma was not as pronounced in this iteration of the style as in the others we had already tried, and the addition of dark Munich malt imparted not only a glorious reddish hue to the beer, but also a mysterious sweetness that was pleasing to the palate and entertaining to the senses.  We sipped away on our goblets of St. Joseph, cherishing every bit of the precious ale.  Amy was kind enough to save a bit of her’s to share with her husband.  I was not so generous.  I guarded that goblet like it was the Holy Grail, committed to selfishly savoring every drop.  St. Joseph was absolutely worth it.

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After the thrill of sampling St. Joseph, we wondered, how could our night get any more exciting?  By sampling two more of Selkirk Abbey’s beers, that’s how.  Returning from our delectable departure, we revisited our original line-up of the brewery’s current offerings.  Breaking our pattern of drinking the beers in order of descending color, we next tried St. Thomas, a black saison.  It would have been all too easy for one to visually mistake St. Thomas for a stout, but upon tasting it, the distinction became apparent.  Tingling with the roasted bitterness of coffee flavors, this dark seasonal was surprisingly light and crisp.  It lacked the thick heaviness that can occasionally make some stouts less than ideally drinkable, and its flavor was full and satiating.  Being an avid fan of North Coast’s Old Rasputin, I found St. Thomas to be an exhilaratingly fresh take on the realm of dark beers.

Amy and I are both die-hard hopheads, so the choice to save the hoppiest of the group for last was more personal than stylistic.  Our final beer of the evening was Infidel, Selkirk Abbey’s Belgian IPA.  I quickly found myself reliving the olfactory euphoria that I had experienced with St. Joe, though this time, I was captivated by the citrusy aroma the emanated from the glass.  Finished with crowd-pleasing Cascade hops and dry-hopped with high-alpha Citra® hops, Infidel was everything we hoped that it would be: it was floral, with accents of grapefruit, and brimmed with sharp hop bitterness.  Unlike the other beers that we had sampled that night, the aroma of hops far outweighed the aromas produced by the Belgian yeast in the beer.  Another factor that set Infidel apart from its beer brethren was its color: brilliant, glowing gold, this beer was quite hazy in comparison to the others in the line-up.  Jeff enlightened us as to why this was: as a result of rough filtering, Infidel comes out looking cloudier than the other beers, which are filtered using other means.  Perhaps what truly set Infidel apart from Selkirk Abbey’s other beers was its origin: Infidel is the brewery’s only beer not to be an original creations.  The beer’s first incarnation was conceived by Steve Milnes at Sandpoint’s Laughing Dog Brewing Company where it went by the (somewhat long-winded) name “St. Benny’s Hoppy Monk.”  It was brewed as Laughing Dog’s Pro-Am entry at the 2011 Great American Beer Fest and was served at Laughing Dog’s 7th anniversary party in August 2011.  The recipe has since been lovingly adopted by Selkirk Abbey and has become one of its most popular products, providing the area’s hopheads with the high doses of bitterness they crave alongside the iconic spicy fruitiness brought about by Belgian yeast.  Having gained some supplementary insight into the brewery’s processes and back story, we continued our discussion of the beers and our then-present delectation of them.

By this point, our outing had already been an remarkable evening of sampling beers at one of the area’s premiere breweries.  Little did we suspect, it was about to become even more exceptional.  As we paid our tabs and prepared to depart, Jeff approached us with a terrific invitation: would we like to check out the brewhouse itself and see where they make the beer?  Of course, we would love to!  Exchanging looks of wide-eyed shock, we hurriedly followed Jeff behind the tasting room.  Three more friends had joined Amy and I over the course of the evening, and our group of five must have looked like ducks in a row walking after Jeff .  We were very excited.

Exiting the tasting room and entering the brewhouse, my friends and I gazed at the scene.  Filled with great steel tanks and a variety of brewing machinery, the brewhouse was an impressive sight.  Jeff proceeded to tell us a bit about their operation and its background: Selkirk Abbey houses a seven-barrel brewing system which produces about ninety barrels each month.  In total, the brewery is currently capable of producing about 2,700 barrels each year.  Selkirk Abbey’s beers can currently be found on tap throughout central and eastern Washington and northern Idaho, and they also distribute to Virgina and Delaware.  As we moved through the brewhouse, Jeff showed us a spacious refrigerator full of kegs waiting to be shipped east.  The brewery isn’t expanding its horizons through distribution alone: in the coming months, Selkirk Abbey is set to start releasing its brews in 22 oz. bottles.  Initial offerings will include three of its saisons, Saints Stephen, Thomas, and Augustine, as well as Infidel, Deacon, a quad, and Octavian, a special release imperial dark ale.  Besides releasing their beers in bottles, Selkirk Abbey also has aspirations of beginning a sour beer program.  As I have encountered numerous barrel-aged beers from local breweries as of late, I couldn’t help but ask about Jeff’s thoughts regarding the barrel-aging trend.  He replied that they would like to try barrel-aging their White in whiskey barrels from Spokane’s Dry Fly Distillery and have been eying aging some of their other brews in used Chardonnay wine barrels.  Intriguing, no?  If their present success is any indicator, their fans are sure to love and embrace any and all new offerings, sour or otherwise, that the brewery may produce.

Like Spokane’s breweries, Selkirk Abbey, located several miles away and just over the Washington-Idaho state line, has access to the Spokane Aquifer.  Other than having to treat the water to counter annual chlorine additions, Selkirk Abbey does not treat the water it uses in its beers.  Along with its water, the brewery locally sources as many of its ingredients as it can.  As evidenced by the stacks of sacks filling the shelves of the brewhouse, much of the malt used by the brewery originates in Vancouver, WA and the surrounding areas.  With few exceptions, the hops featured in Selkirk Abbey’s beers are grown Washington’s Yakima Valley and near Bonners Ferry, Idaho.

As we slowly made our way out of the brewhouse, we were delighted that Jeff took the time to entertain a few of our questions about both his brewery and the brewing industry at large.  Regarding Jeff’s own background, he worked for Avista Utilities for over a decade and homebrewed for seven years before founding his brewery.  He now works full-time at his brewery, and he and his wife can frequently be found manning the brewery’s tasting room.  Even if he were to win the lottery, Jeff says, he wouldn’t dare leave his brewery.  If anything, he said, he’d use his hypothetical winnings to expand his company. Speaking of growth, Selkirk Abbey has already begun its foray into the national competitive brewing scene: its brews competed at last year’s the Great American Beer Festival and North American Brewers Association competition, and Jeff has every intention of competing again this year.

My final inquiry regarded barley wines.  With the exception of the presently unavailable Octavian, the brewery didn’t appear to have any on-tap offerings resembling strong ales.  When Jeff asked whether I was a barley wine fan, one of my friends took the liberty of answering for me, declaring, “Yes, she loves barley wines.”  With that, Jeff vanished for a moment into yet another exceptionally spacious refrigerator.  Upon his reemergence, he graciously offered me his last remaining bottle of vintage 2012 Terra Incognita, a barley wine brewed as a winter seasonal by Matt Ganz at Salmon River Brewing Company in McCall, Idaho.  Gratefully, I accepted the generous gift and promised to enjoy it as soon as possible.  That said, I drank it the next day.  It was fantastic.  It reminded me of Selkirk Abbey’s own St. Joe in that it had a difficult-to-identify sweetness which I found irresistible.  The off-white head emitted notes of citrus and notions of caramel, and the deep amber liquid revealed a sweetness that alluded toward dried dates and warming spices.  Terra Incognita was more bitter than I expected, though I appreciated it all the more for it.  A beautiful beer that brought forth memories of blazing fires on frigid winter days, I was and am greatly appreciative to Jeff for offering to share this beer with me.

After shaking hands with Jeff and thanking him for allowing us to tour his brewery and sample an exclusive and outstanding brew, we migrated back into the tasting room to regroup before going our separate ways.  My friends and I had a wonderful time trying each of Selkirk Abbey’s selections and were so grateful for the opportunity to get a closer look at the brewery.  Given the outstanding quality of its brews and its fans’ fervent support, I believe that this standout brewery has nowhere to go but up.  Whether visiting for the premiere of a new brew or to simply enjoy a soothing pint after a wearying workweek, I can’t wait to return to the Abbey to worship the Northwest beer powers that be.

Special thanks to Jeff and Dana at Selkirk Abbey Brewing Company for their generosity, graciousness, and hospitality.  It was an absolute pleasure meeting both of them, and I had a fantastic time sampling their beers and visiting their brewery.  Also, thank you to Amy for helping me with the photography for this post and for being game to go on yet another brew-venture.

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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The Electric Car

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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

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Spice Grinder

Kitchen Essentials

Kitchen Essentials

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

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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.

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