Spokane and Paprika

This is a story about Paprika in Spokane, Washington but of course it all begins with GOLF.

If you have lived for any length of time in Alberta you must have heard about the affordable golf in Spokane. Spokane is not that far from Calgary, about 690 kms, and an easy drive. In the fall of 1998 a friend of mine suggested we take a golfing trip and we planned to leave October 18. I know I didn’t make the bookings online for the hotel accommodations and the golf tee times, I believe we had seen promotions of golfing in Spokane in golf magazines. For sure we were both familiar with the course Indian Canyon and I made phone calls to book the courses we wanted to play.

We arrived in Spokane in time for dinner and checked into our hotel. It was late by this time and right away I asked to be moved as we weren’t happy with the beds. Although they couldn’t accommodate a move that night they assured us we would be moved into a brand new room for tomorrow night. (Remodeling was taking place in the whole hotel!). They kept their word.

Our first 18 holes of golf were at the Creek at Qualchan. What a treat we were in for: a beautiful course, well maintained, smooth greens and away from the bustle of the city.

The Creek at Qualchan Golf Course

Day two took us to the Indian Canyon Golf Course. We were so excited to play this highly rated course. Well it was spectacular but very hilly. We had a hard time with the dog-legged holes to the left as both of us were most often hitting balls to the right. Uphill, sidehill and downhill lies made for pretty high scores for both if us!

The Indian Canyon Golf Course

Day three featured Hangman Valley Golf Course. This course featured well bunkered greens and Latch Creek which comes into play on seven holes. With wide fairways, you can launch your tee shots which makes the course fun to play. A well-marked course, mostly what you see is what you’ll get for your golf shots. We really enjoyed the open space of this course and scored much better here.

Hangman Valley Golf Course

Day four took us back to the Creek at Qualchan. We had booked just three rounds of golf to be able to pick one we like the best for our fourth game. We loved it at “the Creek” and we were not disappointed in our choice. We were paired with two young doctors, Ron and Bob, and we had such a good time. They were both really great golfers. Lucky for us they hit it long and straight down the fairways. This gave them lots of time to look for the errant shots we had into the trees. They were happy to be out golfing and so were we and it was so much fun.

Ron asked us if we had made plans for dinner that evening which we had not. He suggested we try this unique, small, restaurant called Paprika. He gave us directions to the restaurant as it was close to the hospital where they worked. I can’t remember exactly what it was that he told us to tell Larry, the manager of the restaurant. It was something that Larry would know came from Ron and he would treat us royally.

Paprika at its finest

We were excited to go for dinner. Paprika was a small place, maybe 600 square feet. There was wine and beer but no mixed drinks as Larry and his wife Karla (the chef) were the only staff. What a fantastic place, small tables and cozy. I had Lamb chops and my friend had Pot roast.

This was the first time I had seen on a menu mashed potatoes with several added choices:

  • Onions: green onions, shallots, garlic
  • Chives.
  • Thyme, parsley or rosemary.
  • Cream cheese.

There was an article in The New Yorker in October 1998 that had an article about mashed potatoes. A restaurant in Chicago, the Mashed Potato Club, offers more than 100 possible toppings for mashed potatoes, including anchovies, pickled beets, jalapenos, granola and peanut butter.

My dinner plate was awesome. The mashed potatoes were underneath the asparagus and to top it all was the lamb chops in a tee-pee formation. I believe dessert was sticky date pudding for two.

At the table next to us were two young women. I couldn’t help but notice they were trying all the appetizers, then portions of all the entrees. Curious as I am I asked them if they were reporters for some newspaper. They said yes they were sampling the items on the menu for the New York Times, Food Section. How cool a job was that?

When I searched the Paprika restaurant a few years ago I found although it had closed in 2006 there were these remarks I want to share with you. We were not the only ones who really appreciated the “Paprika”.

Paprika 1228 Grand Blvd., Spokane Washington

OK so I know Paprika restaurant closed in December 2009 (sob, sob,sigh).

This review is only historical in nature because this was THE best restaurant in all of Spokane and easily rivaled many top restaurants in the US. My wife and I, have enjoyed many fine meals and of course the scrumptious deserts at Paprika’s. 

They have been missed sorely, and in some ways I wish I would have taken Larry’s and Karla’s offer up to buy the place, but to follow in their footsteps would have been some pressure that I did not want, since I am enjoying my early retirement.

For everybody who ate a Paprika’s I am sure that you sorely miss them as much as I do and for those of you who missed out that is a shame. Spokane had for over 10 years one truly great restaurant.

Farewell Paprika’s and thanks for the memories

There was no name for the above but I’m sure many people could have written those kind remarks.

Thanks Spokane for a wonderful golf vacation.

4 Comments, RSS

  1. Colleen O'Shea

    Great story, mom. So nice how you have been able to find fast friends on the golf course, time and time again — leading you to treasures like this. Who would have thought that a round of golf would end at one of the best restaurants? That’s super cool.

    Thanks for the story.

    • Thanks Colleen. I started at 9:00 a.m. today looking for any pictures from that trip to no avail. By 11:00 a.m. I was writing all I could remember. I couldn’t recall where we stayed or where we ate (except Paprikas). I found the dates in my Christmas letter 1998. By 3:00 p.m. I had written 1,010 words. I’m happy you liked the story. I love the pictures.

  2. Stan

    Certainly a very pleasant person to talk to over the phone as a customer service agent! Great writing skills and nice greenery on pictures that (almost) make me want to start golf ! It indeed triggered my appetite for mashed potatoes… I know what’s for dinner tonight !

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