Thursday, August 14, 2008

What's The Buzz: August 14-20

Weekly Recommendations: Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets.

Thursday, August 14
I'm a cat person. I'm really not that into dogs at all. I can tolerate certain ones, but I don't have the time or inclination to take care of such a needy beast. Cats just do cat things all day and you don't have to worry about it, save for filling the food bowl now and again. Dogs whine at the door, bark in the wee hours of the morn, sniff each others' dirty bits and shit right in the middle of everything.

If dogs rock your world, tonight is your big night in downtown Coeur d'Alene where the first annual "Dog d'Alene" event will be shaking like a chihuahua with a full bladder. The poochie parade is sponsored by Petco and the Downtown Association along with the Kootenai County Humane Society and will feature booths full of crap for your spoiled rotten little mutt.

Dog d'Alene is part of the "Sherman Alive!" extravaganza gala event that is being held every Thursday this month downtown, where they close the street and become a "pedestrian mall" between 5:30 and 9 p.m. Too bad most downtown businesses are too foolish to take the opportunity to actually stay open late and join in the festivities. C'mon business owners, it wouldn't kill you to stay open a few hours later!

Friday, August 15
I've always generally enjoyed Rob's Seafood, Burgers and Discount Cigs, so I was going to recommend a visit to the old-school Post Falls eatery today, then I stumbled across a new local food blog called Dad's Diner. Dad took the whole family to Rob's lately and was somewhat less-than impressed by the quality of the food. More importantly, he was horrified by the grunge and the unappetizing lack of tact shown by the staff. Hm. after reading this, I think I might stick with Paul Bunyan.
The place smelled like people actually smoked there. The salt & pepper shakers were greasy to the touch and the tables were coated in grime. What looks like "marbling" in the tables paint is simply grime that comes off if you rub your finger across it. Yuck-O!

Buckle up, here comes the worst part of this visit! The customer service & handling of the food. The employees here do not seem to take their job seriously. They go from handling packs & cartons of cigarettes to putting their unwashed hands on the hamburger buns. The oldest lady there (a manager, owner?) was eating pickles or fries (didn't have my glasses on) then picked up two buns & dressed them ( put on condiments) in her hands. The same unwashed hands she just put to her mouth while eating. I obviously have a lot of complaints concerning this place. But employees eating the food they are serving to customers, in view of the customers ranks real high on my pet peeve list!

So, why did the lady at Rob's prepare those burgers in her hands instead of using the prep table. Well, so the big, lazy teenage boy co
uld lye half his body on it and roll his head on it of course! Yes! This really happened. Then when they caught us watching they gave us some uncomplimentary glances.
Read the full review here.

Saturday, August 16
Back in the dark ages of the mid 90's, I lived in Seattle and one of our favorite sleazy haunts was a bar called the Brass Connection. It wasn't exactly the kind of place you'd want to take dear Auntie Mavis for tea and sandwiches, that's for sure. No, this was a throbbing disco of the gay variety. The pitchers of beer were cold and $3 and the people watching was beyond far-out.

One random evening the Brass Connection stage was invaded by at least a dozen sneering drag queens in big red wigs as "A Night of 1000 Wynonna's" unfurled before us. One by one they took to the stage, makeup melting under the spotlight as they lip-synced to hits like "No One Else on Earth"and "Girls With Guitars". I'm not the world's biggest fan of Ms. Judd, and I'm reluctant to agree with those who tag her "the female Elvis", but I kinda like her style, especially when it's parodied and paid tribute to by a set of huge trannys, some nearly as large as Wynonna herself.

Tonight's Cd'A Casino performance by the woman herself probably won't be nearly as fun or memorable as the drag version, but after all this is Idaho so it'll have to do. Poor Wynonna's career has yet to really rebound from the 2003 drinking-and-driving incident tarnished her once-shimmering country-queen crown, leaving her to thanklessly tour the Casino circuit for the rest of eternity. See you at the buffet, Wy-wy.

Videofy yourself, Wynonna style:

Wynonna "I Want to Know What Love Is"

Sunday, August 17
When I was growing up, one of my family's cheapest form of entertainment was to go to Open Houses and Parade of Homes events. It was fun traipsing through gorgeous homes we'd never be able to afford in new neighborhoods that were mere forests six months earlier. We'd settle in for a while, have a snack, maybe watch some TV - we would "try out" the place, fantasizing that we'd just moved in to our beautiful new home, often to the chagrin of the sneering real estate agents who were afraid to say anything rude in case we actually did have the money to buy the house.

Watching HGTV a ton in the last few years has brought a new dimension to visiting open houses as well: being able to critique the presentation and sellability of the home. Would that hyper-critical mean-spirited mother and daughter team on "Secrets That Sell" approve of or blanche at how well the realtor is marketing the place to the public. Note: dress up a little nice so you're at least taken seriously by the snotty real estate folks who hover around. You want to be able to get away with napping on the rent-to-own couch. Sundays are a great day to go Open House hopping, and here's a good place to start today - a couple of neighboring homes in Syringa Heights built by Bill Kohl and inspired by Frank Lloyd Wright with tremendous lake views. Full article & details here.

Monday, August 18
Today's as good a day as any to introduce yourself to the odd brilliance of Coeur d'Alene ventriloquist Hilma Volk and her many witty puppet "friends." A Google search reveals Volk is now a massage therapist and has a cowboy poet past and that, delightfully, her nickname is "Volcano". After discovering her videos, I'm a Hilma-head for sure. I say she's a unique contributor to North Idaho culture. Hilma, where can we catch your act in the flesh? For a full dose of everything Hilma, visit her site

Ladies and gentlemen, for your videotronic pleasure:

Hilma (Volcano) Volk & Friends

Tuesday, August 19
Dig really really deep in the couch cushions and just maybe you'll come up with enough cash to attend the "Winemaker's Dinner" at Coeur d'Alene's chi-chi 315 Martinis & Tapas at the Greenbriar Inn. Actually, $60 a head seems almost semi-reasonable when you consider the over-the-top line-up of courses, as listed below, each served with a different interesting local wine. If you're in, you'll need to RSVP at 667-9660, and fer gosh sake, brush your hair and put on a clean shirt, kiddo, you don't want these people to think you're a poor slouch. Check out this Top Chef-worthy list of culinary creations:

1st Course
2007 L’Artiste Viognier
A light salad of butter lettuce and frisee
served with segments of naval orange and blood orange
dressed with a sweet garlic and cherry pepper vinaigrette

garnished with a chive chevre

2nd Course
2007 Chardonnay
Citrus beurre nante poached shrimp
served with an apple slaw on fresh nectarines
garnished with a roasted pepper jelly and cilantro oil

A crisp sorbet made featuring 2006 No. 6 White
topped with a basil simple syrup
garnished with fresh basil leaves

4th Course
NV Switchback Red
Roasted pork tenderloin
grilled eggplant and charred grape tomatoes
parmesan and onion mashed potatoes

light currant broth

5th Course
2005 Stillwater Creek Syrah
Grilled and roasted rack of lamb
orzo pasta with gruyere cheese and crimini mushrooms
finished with braised pistachios and fresh plum sauce

2005 No. 6 Red
A slice of luscious chocolate decadence
served with fresh berries
topped with a prickly pear and white peach mousse

Wednesday, August 20
It's Wednesday and there ain't nothing going on but the rent so swing by the newly opened Little Caesar's Pizza store in Coeur d'Alene (on Neider Ave. across from Costco) on your way home from work and grab a $5 Large Pepperoni pizza. Local pizza junkies were sick and sad ten or so years ago when the old Little Caesar's location (now home to Little Seattle Coffee Shop) was shuttered for good. It's not really the best pizza in the world, but it's cheap, consistent, fast, and All-American, pretty much the Pizza equivalent of a Big Mac. At Little Caesar's, everything is hot and ready to go, so there's no need to call ahead. Everyone I've run into lately to is abuzz with glee to have this place back on the scene, and I have to say I agree, although I see they no longer seem to carry the classic 2-packs of square pizzas in the paper wrapping that you had to rip open to get to the goods.

Enjoy your pizza over new episodes of Ghost Hunters tonight on the Sci-Fi channel. Nothing goes with hot steaming pepperoni pie like the boys of TAPS. lurking around in dark, haunted spaces with those glowy night vision eyes. Check it out on Time-Warner Channel 36 from 7-10, and prepare to become rapt by EMF readings and distantly heard clanks and clatters. The Top Ten Best Ghost Hunters clips video:

The Top Ten Best Video Clips From Ghost Hunters (TAPS)

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