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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Childhood memories of Deer Lake, Dick's Hamburgers, and cherry chip cupcakes

Last year, just for laughs, I took my parents to the lake they took me to when I was a little kid. It was just for one night. Can you see how much fun they were having in the picture of all of us below? They could hardly contain themselves. LOL

Spokane, Washington is located in eastern Washington not far (15 miles) from the Idaho border. And because news anchors never pronounce it correctly it's Spoh-kan like a soda can, not Spoh-cane like a walking stick.

We arrived at the lake on a partly cloudy summer day. I couldn't remember the name of the place we stayed at decades earlier so I booked a cabin at the Deer Lake Resort.

We were assigned to the Buttercup Prairie Cabin. It had a double bunk bed, kitchenette, and 3/4 bathroom with shower. At first my dad called the top bunk but then he decided he and my mom would sleep on the lower one. LOL.

The funny thing was that it didn't dawn on me there wouldn't be sheets, pillows, blankets, or towels. We brought everything but pillows because my mom suspected it would be that way so I made them each pillows out of folded clothes tucked into jackets and sweatshirts. We were really roughing it.

Some of you may recall my mom hates having her picture taken so she always covers her face with her hand. My dad is much more agreeable and will pose for pictures if you ask him to. There were a few more pictures I wanted to post of her but she hadn't covered her face so I had to do it for her with Photoshop. You'll see what I mean. . .

The pictures of my mom are slightly edited to meet her approval. LOL

There were several activities we could have done while we were there including dock fishing, boating, and paddle boating. They wanted none of it. Instead my mom was on her iPhone and iPad the entire time pinning stuff on Pinterest. And my dad was picking weeds along the shore.

That night my mom and I picked up dinner to-go from Luke's BBQ and took it back to the cabin. To pass the time after dinner we went through a huge box of old photos we'd drug along. Some were of her and my dad from before I was born. It was really fun and something I'd like to do again.

The next morning I headed out to the water because I'd noticed some birds on the lake when I peeked out the window of our cabin.

They were Red Necked Grebes.

 They were very pretty floating and diving around the docks.

I threatened my folks if they didn't start having fun I'd bring them back and instead of renting a cabin I'd rent a covered wagon. It doesn't even have electricity or beds inside, just space to roll out a sleeping bag. LOL

On our way out we stopped at a nearby resort which turned out to be the one I'd stayed at as a child. Those were the days. I can remember feeling so carefree when I'd last been there around four decades ago. I was really glad we had the opportunity to visit the lake and hope we will again in the future.

Before hitting the highway home we stopped at Luke's BBQ for breakfast. Mom was on top of her game with her classic hand-over-the-face-block move so I didn't have to add her hand in. Ha ha ha :D

When we got back to town we made a day of it and visited several more places that made me reminiscent of my childhood. The first was the White Elephant toy and sporting goods store located on the North Hill. When I was a kid I loved visiting the White Elephant because they had the largest selection in town of Breyer model horses. My herd was my pride and joy. When we got back to their house I dug them out of the basement and photographed them. I already blogged about our visit to the White Elephant in this post.

We also stopped by the Japanese Tea Garden on the South Hill just in time to see several large koi goldfish being released into the pond by members of the Koi Society. Several years ago the park lost all 50 of their koi, some had been there for 34 years, due to someone releasing sick pet fish they no longer wanted into the pond. The thing is, fish sick with the Koi Herpees Virus can look healthy but be carriers of the disease so please never release pet fish into city ponds. The consequences can be devastating.

On a happier note we stopped by downtown to visit Riverfront Park so I could photograph my favorite, lucky horse on the Looff Carousel. I already blogged about the night I caught the "gold ring" three times! I can still recall what it felt like to see the people on the horses ahead of me miss the rings over and over and how I planted my right foot in the stir up and leaned waaaaaaaaay out. Each time my finger slid into and hooked the gold ring it was so exciting.

And a trip home wouldn't be the same without visiting some of my local favorite food stops.

Dicks Hamburgers is, imo, the most nostalgic place in town. When I was a kid my dad called it Panda's because of the sign. We didn't go often because my mom usually made home cooked, wholesome dinners. So Dick's was a real treat when we got to have it.

It's a classic drive-in. You park, walk up to the counter, and place your order. The amazing thing is the order takers never write your order down. They would all, always memorize and call the order back to the cooks. And they almost never made mistakes.

There were benches at all four corners of the building but we'd usually sit and eat in the car or get food to go.

My favorite thing at Dicks was their Fishwich sandwiches, an order of fresh cut fries, and lots of their tarter sauce.

One of the best parts of the trip was I got to meet up with my friend Kira, who no longer lives in Spokane but happened to be passing through town. What a great coincidence! We met for breakfast to catch up. We chatted about old times and what we'd been up to lately.

Speaking of old times, we used to go to Dick's together back in college. As I recall we always ordered Whammy hamburgers. Back in those days everyone ordered the Whammy.

Another restaurant I've missed since moving to the Bay Area is Taco Time. It's not authentic Mexican food, it's Mexican fast food and I love it. There are none in the Bay Area. I keep hoping and hoping someone will open one someday. I did look online and discovered there are many along I-80 so I can have plenty of Taco Time when I drive to Michigan to pick up my trailer :D

They are one of the few restaurants with tater tots on the menu. They call them Mexi-fries and they have a yummy seasoning on them. My other favorite was their Crisp Meat Burrito. Now, I order the Crisp Bean Burrito when I'm in town.

When I first moved to California I couldn't find a crisp burrito to save my life. It took about 15 years to discover that Andale Taqueria in Los Gatos offers Flautas. They are similar to the crisp burritos from my childhood, but they aren't the same. And Armadillo Willy's BBQ now has tater tots on their menu as a French fry alternative. So that's as close as I can get here in CA.

And then my  mom took me to Sweet Frostings, a new bakery that had recently opened.

When I was a kid I got to pick the flavor of my Birthday cake each year. I'd be willing to guess nine times out of ten I chose Cherry Chip. It was a boxed flavor made by Duncan Hines and I LOVED it.

So mom had to take me because Sweet Frostings sells Cherry Chip Cupcakes with a Maraschino Cream Cheese Frosting. OMC (Oh My Cupcake)! They were divine!

Even before I tasted it I was head-over-heals in love with the shop. It was just too cute! One bite and I was hooked. I can't wait to go back. Next time I think I need to go to Sweet Frostings each day for a Cherry Chip cupcake fix. It wasn't just like the ones from my childhood, it was even better!

And with that I think this is the perfect place for a sweet ending to this post. To visit the businesses mentioned here's how you can find them:

Deer Lake Resort - website
3906 W. Canyon Springs Way
Deer Lake, WA 99148
(509) 233-2081

Sweet Frostings - on Facebook
15 South Washington
Spokane, WA 99201
(509) 242-3845

Dick's Hamburgers - website
10 East 3rd Avenue
Spokane, WA 99202
(509) 747-2481

Taco Time
Locations in: Washington State
Locations in: The rest of the U.S. and Canada

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