Traveling in Spokane: Day 2
Our second day traveling in Spokane involved a TON of walking. But first we required breakfast for our bellies before our big day of exploring Downtown Spokane. Just a warning to you – this is a long post!
For breakfast I chose a place called Frank’s Diner. Frank’s Diner is an old train car (a real one!) that was transported to Spokane and converted into a diner. Frank’s is the only restaurant we had to wait for a table during our entire trip (woohoo).
You can see the train wheels are still attached to the bottom of the diner.
Here’s a view from inside Frank’s Diner. The front of the diner is where the kitchen/stool seating area is and the back has these cozy little booths.
There are some hearty breakfast options on Frank’s menu.
And lots of lunch and dinner options.
A little history about the dining car if you’re interested! The car started out as a private car for the President of the railroad back in 1906. This train car has been around for quite awhile.
[biscuits and gravy / $6.25 with a side of hash browns for $3.25]
Biscuits and Gravy is one of the dishes that I just love ordering and the biscuits and gravy at Frank’s Diner did not disappoint! This is an order of 2 biscuits. The biscuits are split in half and grilled and then stopped with lusciously creamy gravy.
With one of the meals we got an extra side of biscuits so you can see how the biscuits look underneath all that gravy. They slice the biscuits in half and then place them on the griddle to get all warmed up and extra buttery. The griddle treatment gave the biscuit extra crunch and texture that I loved – especially with the gravy piled on top!
[german sausage with eggs and hash browns / $11.75]
You could get either German Sausage or Polish Sausage with this breakfast combo and we opted for the German sausage. It looks kind of blackened in this photo but I think that’s just the poor lighting of the photo. The sausage was delicious – especially with our other breakfast goodies.
[pit ham steak – side order – $4.25]
I knew that A looooooves ham (as well as her dad and brother) and figured this would be a good addition to our breakfast. Jake had already cut it into pieces for all of us to share, in case you’re wondering why it’s all cut up like that. I’ve always wary of ham because I’ve had a lot of salty ham in my lifetime but this pit ham steak was seasoned and flavored just right.
[blueberry muffin french toast / $9.25]
I mostly prefer to get savory items for breakfast with one little sweet thing to satisfy my sweet tooth. At Frank’s Diner my sweet tooth was satisfied by this order of Blueberry Muffin French Toast that we split between the four of us. Just one triangle was the perfect amount for me! It says on the menu they bake this first and then griddle it up.
This thing was chock full of blueberries! It had a nice light consistency to it as well and wasn’t too sweet (unless you covered it completely in maple syrup, of course).
With full bellies from a generous and delicious breakfast, we drove back to our hotel. Our hotel was within walking distance of Downtown Spokane and so we walked along the riverside towards the city.
1516 W 2nd Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201
Walk Through Riverfront Park in Spokane, WA
This is a view of the river next to our hotel.
There was a path that went under the bridge and along the river. I spied this under one of the bridges we went under. A sad tale about a girl and a “knight”. The darker pink letters “and she found a new prince” struck me as a somewhat poetic alternative ending to the story.
There were several bridges we could cross to get us over to Riverfront Park. Riverfront Park was created for the Expo ’74 for the World’s Fair.
This is the Pavilion, which was also originally a part of the Expo ’74:
“The largest structure of the fair was the USA Pavilion. Its motto was “Man and Nature: One and Indivisible.” In keeping with the environmental theme of the show (Expo ’74 was the first environmentally themed world’s fair), the structure was built to resemble a giant tent, with grass and trees on the inside. Totem poles were displayed as a symbol of the continent’s past, and visitors were shown displays about the environmental concerns of the day. Visitors were also treated to the world’s first IMAX movie, “Man belongs to the Earth.” The title of which was taken from a quote mistakenly attributed to Chief Seattle. Visitors were delighted and terrified by a whirlwind tour over the grand canyon. Bags were handed out for the many guests who suffered from “airsickness.”
The cloth cover, which was never meant to last, was removed. Due to the actions of Spokane citizen groups, the skeleton of the USA Pavilion still stands today amid Riverfront Park. It contains a winter skating arena and still houses an IMAX screen.”
Source: Spokane Historical
Today there are kiddie rides under the Pavilion. We wandered further into around the park and started to see these Sno Cone structures throughout the park:
TropicalSno offers Hawaiian Shaved Ice in a few different sno cone shaped huts. We couldn’t resist stopping to get one.
It was a bit on the warm side that day so our sno cone treats were a nice welcome break during our walk.
Another attraction I wanted to check out was the World’s Largest Radio Flyer! No joke – this is a GIANT Radio Flyer! The “handle” of the wagon serves as a slide in this little playground.
This giant radio flyer is 12 feet tall and wide and 27 feet long. The big, red wagon is officially named “The Childhood Express” and was built in 1990 by artist Ken Spiering. The Junior League of Spokane had put out a notice calling for a project that paid tribute to childhood. Spiering had tried to think up something good and then quit because he didn’t have any good ideas. And then he saw his son playing with a radio flyer wagon and that’s when the idea hit him to recreate a bigger version of the radio flyer. Check out this article about the artist if you’re interested to read more about the wagon.
Another cool bit in the park is the “Garbage Goat” which was also built for the Expo ’74. If you press that green button, the goat has a suction that turns on and will “eat” your paper trash. I got a real kick out of this, let me tell you!
The Looff Carrousel is another cool attraction in the park.
I think we might have had a little more fun than the kids did.
The Spokane Falls Skyride is probably one of the best ways to check out the waterfall on the river.
The skyride stops for awhile to let people on and off at the end. You get suspended up in the air for a bit but luckily the whole thing is enclosed with slots for fresh air.
You’re treated to this spectacular view when you reach the middle.
We also saw this fun water fountain in the middle of the park. Several kids were running around and enjoying the sprays of water.
We ventured into Downtown Spokane at this point.
Bruttles Candy Shop
Bruttles Candy Shoppe was one stop that was on my list to try their famous “soft” peanut brittle.
They had samples of their “bruttles” which is different from the brittle. “Bruttles” don’t have whole peanuts in it while the brittle does. Both have a softer texture and consistency that the normal crunchy peanut brittle. It’s kind of like the center of a Butterfinger candy bar but much, much better!
I wish I had bought more of the bruttles when I was there! At least I know I can order more from the Bruttles website!
Walking a few more blocks around Downtown made us hungry campers and we set out for lunch at Domini’s Sandwiches.
At Domini’s Sandwiches you get a free bowl of popcorn with your sandwich order. Huzzah!
They’ve got a really simple menu here at Domini’s. You pick the size of the sandwich, your meats and your cheeses. They have four kinds of bread to choose from and you can also get mustard on the side. And that’s all. They don’t offer veggies or anything else and the sandwiches are served cold. When you order a sandwich, the meats (which are made in house) and cheeses are sliced fresh on the spot.
[roast beef and pastrami with cheddar / $9.95 + $1 for roast beef +$1 for a second meat]
Jake and I shared a small pastrami and roast beef sandwich on French bread with cheddar. This is my half of a SMALL sandwich!
There was so much meat on this sandwich! I could hardly believe this was half of a small! I can’t imagine what a “whole” sandwich would look like. Ha! The kids shared a sandwich of their own as well and we all really enjoyed the sandwiches.
What we really noted about the sandwiches was how fresh tasting the meat was. The pastrami was my favorite of the two meats we had – but the roast beef was also excellent. The meat was tender, well seasoned, and tasted like pure meaty goodness. I ended up having to take a few slices off just so I could properly eat the gigantic sandwich but it was well worth it.
703 W Sprague Ave.
Spokane, WA 99201
After lunch, we wandered around Downtown some more, hitting up a local bookstore called Auntie’s, a local coffee shop called Atticus and finally this toy-book-gift shop called Boo Radley’s. I found it fitting that the Atticus coffee shop was only two doors away from Boo Radley’s. If you’re familiar with Archie McPhee, this should give you an idea of what kinds of knick knacks they had at Boo Radley’s.
We walked along the river back to our hotel for a much needed nap after our long day of exploring Spokane. Eventually we got up and out the door for dinner. I wanted to try Ezell’s Famous Chicken but I misread the hours and we got there after they closed. My backup plan was enacted and instead we headed to a place called The Onion.
The Onion Area 51 Taphouse Grill
[benny boy’s bacon stuffed tots / $10]
These are maybe the largest tater tots I’ve ever seen! This are hand made tater tots with smoked bacon inside and served with a “cougar gold and shallot” cheese sauce. The outside of the tots were crispy while the inside was almost like creamy mashed potatoes. The cheese sauce was a great pairing with the tots. It wasn’t too strong or overpowering and complimented that tots nicely.
[bacon wrapped onion rings / $7]
And because we’re nuts we also got an order of 2 bacon wrapped onion rings. I’m glad we got the smaller portion because this was definitely crazy rich!
In addition to the generous bacon wrapped around the onion rings, they were also STUFFED with mozzarella cheese. Oh goodness. *fans self* These were served with a nice BBQ sauce that cut the richness of the bacon a bit. Very delicious but also meant for sharing!
[naples marguerite pizza / $11]
The kids decided to share a pizza for the dinner and they picked out the Naples Marguerite Pizza which came with mozzarella, sun-dried rosemary tomato, fresh basil, garlic and aged balsamic reduction drizzled over the top. Jake and the kids loved this one but it wasn’t crispy enough for my meager tastebuds.
[1/2 lb. grilled onion burger with cheese + applewood smoked bacon / $15.50]
An onion burger seemed like a wise choice to get from a placed called “The Onion”. They have 1/4 and 1/2 lb options but we went for the 1/2 lb so we could get the meat medium rare.
In case you don’t think this is really an onion burger, I took the lid off to showcase the glory of the grilled onion.
And when we sliced it in half – pure grilled onion goodness on top of a perfectly medium rare burger. This was a hefty burger and again – so glad I was sharing this with Jake since I would have never finished this sucker on my own. The meat was seasoned perfectly and I loved how melted the cheese was since it created this luscious, gooey mess of a burger. The bacon was perfectly crisp and added a nice texture and flavor to the burger. I threw all of those pickles at Jake, of course, but otherwise this was an awesome burger.
We sat at this cool booth with a motorcycle above our heads, too. After dinner we happily went back to the hotel to rest for the night. The next day we would be on our way to Idaho!
The Onion Area 51 Taphouse & Grill
302 West Riverside
Spokane, WA 99201