Saturday, March 31, 2007

Breakfast at the Old European

The menus at the Old European used to be much longer, with lengthy explanations of just how "European" everything on the menu was. Pancakes? European. Fried Egg Sandwich? European. Coffee? European. Punchline of a moderately filthy joke I used to tell in grade school? European.

The new menus are now succinct and to the point, without the long apocryphal origin stories. The giant mounds of food remain the same, however: witness the "Goulash." 4 eggs, potatoes, sausage, bacon, ham, peppers, cheese, and tomatoes in a glorious mound of hangover-curing, weekend-starting, greasy goodness - just the thing to get Matt fueled up for a fun day of basement renovations.

Honestly, though, the real reason to go to Old European is for the aebelskivers. A cross between a pancake and a doughnut, these little balls of doughy goodness are possibly the most genuinely European dish on the menu.

The service at the Old European is usually scattered and a little surly. But in the current age of "Hi! My name's Chad and I'm going to sit in your lap and tell you about the specials and put my hand on your shoulder and forge a special, special friendship with you today!" I honestly don't mind a little snarl with my coffee, as long as the coffee keeps coming.

Friday, March 30, 2007

If they could only combine the vibrating chair and the hot tub...

The downtown Home and Garden show usually serves as our official spring wakeup call. Walk around and kick the tires on some shrubs, chat with tree service people, discover a new toy, sit on a lawn tractor or two, and suddenly we're ready to start playing outside again. Or at least ready to spread mulch and manure.

Unfortunately, the home show this year was short on inspiration and long on hot tubs. Which, hey, who doesn't love a hot tub or ten, but in our teensy back yard, we'd have to stand in the hot tub in order to barbecue or prune the lilac. So no hot tub.

This year's show also offered a large number of vibrating things. These booths were by far the most popular. People crowded around to be next in line for hot vibrating action. People who visit this blog after googling "hot vibrating action" are going to be sadly disappointed.

Maybe we should have given in to the siren call of the vibrating chairs. The people in them certainly looked content. Or maybe we should invent a vibrating hot tub chair and have next year's most popular booth. It would certainly beat spreading manure.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Walking to Work

I work 1.2 miles from my home, a fact I know only from the Gmap Pedometer. If it weren't for that, I'd simply work 15 minutes away on foot, a rough fact learned by walking the route somewhat regularly.

I live 1.2 miles from my office. Same fact, different direction. Following the same route, my home is a 20-25 minute walk from work, again learned by walking the route. The time difference isn't from my energy level early in the morning and late in the day (my job is not very strenuous). The difference is the hill. Walking down vs. walking up.

Walking down is a joy. Spokane's south hill rises steeply between 7th and what would be 10th Avenue. But 10th is known as Cliff Avenue for good reason. At the crest of this short, steep hill, you can see the whole of downtown from above. The new Convention Center and the Performing Arts Center. The Paulson Building. The Davenport Hotel and the new Davenport Tower. The other tall buildings, most named after banks. Riverfront Park and the Pavilion. The river. And beyond the river to the Courthouse and the north side. On a clear day, you can see Mount Spokane. Heck, Mount Spokane is so close, you can often see it on a hazy day as well.

And just a few minutes later, you're in the middle of it.

As you can probably guess, I have made the walk down the hill more often than the walk up. Coming home, I almost always take the bus. The ride takes 3-4 minutes and drops me off right across the street from my house. It would take me longer to drive myself and find parking.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that my maximum, worst-case-scenario, total daily commute is never more than 40 minutes. And that is one of the many reasons why I love living in Spokane.