Archive for July, 2012

Here is a tip that is right on the Money: get your tickets to paradise, very quickly because they won’t be available long. Eddie Money, who has a ton of hits and plays casinos, festivals and fairs all over the country, is going to do a small venue show here in the Valley on August 9th. I’ve been watching things pretty close for the last ten years around here, and I feel very comfortable saying that Cheap Shots on Trent is going to have the best and funnest night that any Valley bar has had for a very long time. Eddie Money is not a small venue guy but he is doing the Valley a big favor because we have connections.
How did we get so lucky? The nearest that I can tell (and I’m pretty near to the situation), is that there are two principal reasons. One of the reasons I have known for years and the other I have never met even though we have dozens of mutual friends.
I met the main reason several years ago when we were running the Rock Inn. Back then Joey Shalloe was probably the number one sound guy in Spokane. He had a steady gig at The Goodtymes niteclub running their sound on weekends. When touring events like a Broadway play at the Opera House or performer at the fair needed help with their sound, they called Joey. He also flew around the country and the world doing sound for Paul Rodgers, the lead singer for Bad Company.
But being a sound guy in Spokane, no matter how good you are, is not always steady money. He worked at the Rock Inn very part-time as my sound advisor and briefly as a karaoke host. After the Rock Inn he worked with me occasionally as a carpenter during the week while flying to places like Japan to do Paul’s sound over the weekend. Talk about a good story to the Monday morning question “So how did your weekend go?”
It has been four or five years since Joey has needed to find side work with the likes of me because he hit a steady money gig with Eddie Money who first hired him to run his sound and then the whole show, doubling as sound technician and road manager. It is a big job because Eddie Money likes to work, and he works from corner to corner of the country and everywhere in between. Though he lives in the Valley, Joey commutes thousands of miles a year, flying out of the old GEG and hopping on the tour bus to run the show for Eddie at something like 115 shows a year. None of the shows are for small crowds, unless maybe private parties where big money is involved.
Sandwiched between shows in Montana and Oregon, Joey is doing us a favor promoting the show only because Eddie is doing him a favor. It is a little job benefit for Joey that is going to benefit a lot of people. Eddie is actually killing two birds with one stone because he is also giving his drummer, Glenn Symmonds, a bonus. Glenn graduated from West Valley in 1970 and so he will be performing with and in front of a lot of friends that night.
That he will be performing with a group of very old friends for about 15 or 20 minutes before the show is something that is easily worth the price of admission. Some of those old friends are my old friends though I never knew them like Glen knew them. As a kid he was a drummer in the awesome drumline of the Percussion Naut Patriots, a drum and bugle corps led by Howie Robbins. Howie, an extrordinary drummer, touched and influenced hundreds of kids lives but most of all his drummers, many of whom he gave private lessons.
Though Glenn was already long gone when I joined the drum corps’ brass line in 1972, most of the drummers he played with and will reunite with August 9th were still playing on Howie’s drumline when I first met them. The snare line was the heart of the show and I loved them. They were beyond good, they were phenomenal. The amazing thing is that many of them remained in Spokane, stayed in touch and recently a few of them started playing together and performing as Robbins Rebels. One of them, Jerry Brown, designs all my trusses for me at Valley Bestway. He and a handful of originals from the 1960’s will be performing with their old friend Glenn Symmonds. It is going to be a very entertaining and nostalgic short performance for a lot of people.
Eddie Money, on top of doing Joey and Glenn a favor, is doing a big favor for the people who will be lucky enough to be in the audience that night. Take a little advice, don’t be late showing up or buying your tickets. (As predicted, the concert sold out well in advance. Don’t say we didn’t try to give everyone a heads up.)

Cheap Shots is located at 6419 East Trent. Their number is 535-9309
Glenn Symmonds is a great Valley-boy-does-good story. I found this bio googling him on the net.
Here is a feature story I did on Joey a few years ago.
Here is a story I did on Howie Robbins a few months before he passed away.

Cuisine-ly speaking, you can travel around the globe in less than one mile along Sprague. At the eastern end of this short trip is O’Dohtery’s where a clock on the wall counts down the seconds to the next St. Patty’s Day and on the far end of this worldly mile heading into the sunset is The Three Sisters Vietnamese and Chinese Cuisine that gets the very high Urbanspoon rating of 90 percent ladling out a Pho they say is unfogetable.

In between Ireland and Vietnam lie a handful of eateries representing countries near and far. The majority of the owners were born in these foreign lands far beyond the Spokane Valley city limits. I am not sure what it means but I think it might say that people, including restaurateurs find our little neck of the planet to be a nice place to set up camp.

Though it seems unlikely, maybe it just means that these folks think we have a wide range of taste here. At any rate we certainly have a wide range of selection in that short but global mile. You can dine in the Orient at the HuHut Mongolian Grill or at the Sushi Saki just across the street.

Abelardo’s next door puts you back in our hemisphere south of the border. The cooks may not know English real well but they know how to serve fluent Mexican. Trust this gringo when I tell you that the American dollar goes a long way at this place. If you have a belly that can bury one of their burritos then you got yourself a belly to be proud of.

Down the avenue just a skip and a jump to the west you  wind up back in the busiest part of the planet at A Taste of India and its neighbor The Peking Palace which is by now one of the oldest eateries in the Valley considering I remember eating there as a kid and that wasn’t yesterday.

If you did not want to travel that far, you could back up two buildings and land in Italy at Ferraro’s where the owner Pat Ferraro still speaks in a heavy accent 50 years after moving to Spokane from Italy at the age of twelve. Across the street, Monica Sanders who owns the cupcake shop, Love at First Bite, speaks with an equally charming accent that she has retained from her motherland of Columbia.

The new kid on the block is Two Columns Greek and Italian restaurant located at the recently old T Pranos, formerly known as Pinocchio’s and originally known as Wendy’s. Owner Masada Areano, who immigrated to America after picking up a doctorate in business at Cambridge 30 years ago, certainly fits into this varied Valley neighborhood.

Two Columns may be the only place in town serving homemade gyros which makes those of us living close to the Valley’s International Mile quite fortunate. Additionally, the Mediterranean menu is emphasizing gluten-free and vegetarian dishes that have become sought after amongst the dining crowd.

This is a small enterprise where the owner is cooking and serving the recipes he brought with him from the region of his ancestors. There is something very genuine and old world about that and I hope the Valley embraces his efforts. We should because we are, after all, a culturally diverse and sophisticated little city, cuisine-ly speaking.

This Gyro was absolutely as good as I’ve eaten.Though admittedly not that experienced, I have had a few of these ethnic eats. It and the rest of the homemade menu are a welcome addition to our little strip that rivals a worlds fair for cuisine diversity. The price at only $7.50 makes it food fare fit for even our tightly-mitted, fair little village.

Two Columns on Urbanspoon