Coffee CommuniTea: Rocket Bakery On First, Spokane, WA

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Rocket Bakery On First

Rocket Bakery On First. Photo by Nathan on Urban Spoon

Perks (what I really like!)
• Great open-air space
• Free Wi-Fi
• Located in a charming old brick building in downtown Spokane, within walking distance of Riverfront Park (site of 1974 World’s Fair)

Share a cuppa (the stories)
• Locally owned bakery and coffeehouse with nine neighborhood locations in the Spokane area, since 1992.

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)
• All baked goods made by scratch with only wholesome ingredients
• Wide selection of delicious food choices
• Good tea selection and specialty drinks

The Grind (what I would change)
• More accessible Wi-Fi (I couldn’t get on during my second visit, perhaps because of a an over-protective firewall?)

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)
• Lots of activity from loyal, local patrons.

The Grounds (location)
1325 W. 1st Ave.
Spokane, WA
509-747-1834

Tea Times (hours)
Open daily 6 a.m.-6 p.m.

Yelp rating:
4 stars

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I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Dare! Find a small-town main street offering more than Coeur d’Alene’s.

While my family visited Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, we spent quite a it of time in Downtown Coeur d’Alene, the lively little town which sets the scene for more than half of my Rhythms & Muse novel.

In addition to its most beautiful City Beach at the west end of downtown, Cd’A’s seven-block main street, aka Sherman Ave., offers a plethora of great experiences:

  • Hudson’s Hamburgers, with it’s 100-year legacy, is a destination for the most delicious, juicy burgers worldwide!
    (I very much regret I couldn’t find a good way to include Hudson’s iin Rhythms & Muse. Those burgers are one of my favorite reasons for visiting Cd’A. A point of interest: the Hudson family, including current proprietors Steve and Todd, lived next to my family in Fairway Hills the entire time I lived up there.)
  • Calypsos Coffee & Creamery, a great coffee venue right off Sherman on Lakeside Ave., where I held my book signing.
  • A number of charming retail shops, including:

    Looking west down Sherman Ave. from 5th St.(?) ©2011 ANVidean

    • Gallery Northwest, filled with lovely unique artwork crafted by local artists
    • Summers Glass gorgeous dichroic glass jewelry and art, beads, and more
    • Possibilities wine and gift-basket shop
    • Coeur d’Alene Chocolates, a family-owned shop with the most beautifully delicious treats I’ve ever seen.

      The sandy City Beach at the west end of Sherman Ave. offers a pristine view of the towering Coeur d’Alene Resort, and Tubbs Hill. ©2011 ANVidean

  • The Coeur d’Alene Resort, a lovely destination towering over the north end of Lake Cd’A right at the foot of downtown, with a  marina and one of the largest boardwalks in the world. It’s connected via skywalk to an indoor shopping mall featuring mid-to-high-end restaurants and shops.

I’ll be doing future posts to provide additional details on some of these distinctive hot spots, so watch the blog.

Do you have a Cd’A story or photo to share? Comment below, or send your .jpg image to me at avidean@videanunlimited.com and I’ll post it in the future.

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Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

One of America’s most beautiful downtown beaches

My family just returned from a too-short visit to the beautiful northwest. We hung out in Spokane, WA, and Coeur d’Alene, ID, for a week… seeing friends, tracking down old haunts, and visiting places and activities mentioned in my Rhythms & Muse novel.

Lake Coeur d’Alene    ©2011 ANVidean

One lazy afternoon, we strolled the Centennial Trail through the City Park, soaking in sights like this one. But what’s so uber cool about this…? Downtown Coeur d’Alene is just about two blocks to the east of this scene.

Can you see why lovely Lake Cd’A certainly served as high inspiration for a major portion of my novel? Who wouldn’t want to spend time near this blue water?

Do you have a Cd’A story or photo to share? Comment below, or send your .jpg image to me at avidean@videanunlimited.com and I’ll post it in a future blog.

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Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

Spokane Trivia from Rhythms & Muse

The Spokane River ©2007 ANVidean

I held a Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD signing at Calypsos Coffee & Roastery, 116 E. Lakeside Ave. in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, from 4–7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011.

Beforehand, I visited the coffee house, checking the place out, drinking a delicious tropical green iced tea, and posting this trivia blog about Spokane, Wash.

A number of events in my novel take place in 1970s Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash. If you know the area, or just want to learn some interesting facts about it, check out these questions and see how many answers you can guess?

Spokane Trivia Questions

22. What’s the name of the river on which the Cedar’s Restaurant floats?

23. The novel characters have dinner to escape the pressures of early fame at an oddly named restaurant specializing in Olde English fare and overlooking the Spokane River Falls. What is it called?

24. The former name of today’s INB Performing Arts Center where heroine Alexandra Lauren and her musical peers perform a benefit show for children’s music programs?

25. The name of the central city park, now the legacy of the 1974 World’s Fair in Spokane, Wash.

26. The bridge the main characters stand on, almost directly over the Spokane River Falls, connects to what island? For bonus points, what was the island named before the World’s Fair?

27. What three major landmarks in Riverfront Park can be viewed by the characters Alex and Matt while discussing their future together on the bridge?

28. What type of fish migration created one of the Spokane River’s true natural glories before Washington Water Power moved in to harness the river’s power?

Answers in comments below.

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You can find these, plus more Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash., references in my Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

Coeur d’Alene Trivia from Rhythms & Muse, part 3

We’re nearing the date of my Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD signing at Calypsos Coffee & Creamery, 116 E. Lakeside Ave. in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. (4–7 p.m., Tuesday, Aug. 2, 2011). Excited! I’m so looking forward to seeing plenty of my friends there…including you?

Just for fun, these trivia questions are based on places and activities in Cd’A, and Spokane, Wash., especially during the 1970s. All the items are mentioned in the book. Do you know the area? How many answers can you get correct?

Cd’A Trivia Questions, part 3

15. What’s the name of the marina surrounded by one of the world’s longest floating boardwalks and with easy access from The Coeur d’Alene Resort?

16. How wide and long is the Coeur d’Alene Boardwalk?

17. When did the Cd’A Resort open?

18. Although the Lake City is now northern Idaho’s center for healthcare, educational, media, manufacturing, retail and recreation, the three main industries in the mid-1900s were…

19. Are there really cougars near Cd’A Lake?

20. Fireworks are set off over Cd’A Lake from a barge. Is the rumor that the barge catches on fire every year actually true?

21. What 23-mile-long improved path stretches in either direction from the City Park?

Answers in comments below.

See Spokane Trivia.

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You can find these and more Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash., references in my Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

Coeur d’Alene Trivia from Rhythms & Muse, part 2

The back cover of Rhythms & Muse features a Lake Cd’A photo taken by the author. ©2005 ANVidean

A significant portion of my Rhythms & Muse women’s fiction novel takes place in 1970s Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane Wash., so it seemed natural to create a trivia blog entry or two about some of the places and activities mentioned in the book. Do you know the area? How many answers can you get correct?

Cd’A Trivia Questions, part 2

8. THE 1970s local hangout after ball games and music concerts was a wooden structure with tall slanted windows, just around the corner from downtown Coeur d’Alene. Do you recall its name?

9. The sledding scene in the novel was inspired by a favorite hill just up from where the author used to live off the Cd’A public golf course. What’s the name of this neighborhood?

10. Student musicians would travel to this city, home of the University of Idaho, to compete in “State” where judges rated their talent/skills.

11. You’ll probably need to have been friends with the author to know this one, but what color and make was the family car Ann drove during high school?

12. What is the name of the 17-acre public park named located just west of downtown Cd’A?

13. You can go for a 2.2 mile hike right from downtown Coeur d’Alene in a 164-acre urban wilderness area. Named for a German immigrant who was Coeur d’Alene’s first Justice of the Peace, this area is called…?

14. Hundreds of bird species are found in Northern Idaho, including majestic bald eagles. What other bird-of-prey, known for building nests on top of lake pilings, is prevalent in Cd’A?

Answers in comments below.

More Cd’A trivia (part 3).

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You can find these and more Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash., references in my Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

Coeur d’Alene Trivia from Rhythms & Muse, part 1

The back cover of Rhythms & Muse features a Lake Cd’A photo. Click on image to enlarge. ©2005 ANVidean

A significant portion of my Rhythms & Muse women’s fiction novel takes place in 1970s Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane Wash., so it seemed natural to create a trivia blog entry or two about some of the places and activities mentioned in the book. Do you know the area? How many answers can you get correct?

Cd’A Trivia Questions, part 1

1. The stately old junior high building, demolished after 65 years of service in 1975 and alluded to in the Rhythms & Muse storyline, stood at what Coeur d’Alene cross streets?

2. Coeur d’Alene High School, at least in the 1970s, had a small group of singers selected from among the Concert Choir members who performed pop, jazz, and other popular songs. What was this small group’s name?

3. In the novel, the heroine Alexandra Lauren’s locker number is #77. Why is that number significant to the author?

4. The novel’s hero, Matt Roberts, lives in one of the large historic homes across from a beach, the public/private rights for which have just recently been resolved. What’s the name of that beach?

5. Is there really a “secret” meadow above the shoreline of Casco Bay as detailed in the novel – a verdant green grassy patch formed from spring run-off and surrounded by pines?

6. Inspiration for Matt’s lake cabin and his children’s music camp in the novel came from cabins owned in the 1970s by two of the author’s neighbors in Fairway Hills. What were the last names of those two families? (Hint: The cabins sat next to one another on Casco Bay directly in view of downtown Cd’A.)

7. The characters in the novel record a hit single at a famous crooner’s home on Hayden Lake. Although that blue-eyed singer did actually own a home on the lake, did it really have a built-in recording studio?

More Cd’A trivia (part 2).

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Answers in comments below.

You can find these and more Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, and Spokane, Wash., references in my Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD:

Coffee CommuniTea: Enchanted Grounds, Highlands Ranch, CO

Today’s Cup o’ Tea
Enchanted Grounds Coffeehouse and Gameporium

Ah, the treasures we found inside... ©2011 ANVidean

Perks (what I really like!)
While in Colorado recently, I visited Enchanted Grounds with my brother Paul and his son Blake. I’d describe this charming spot as the ultimate in nerdy coolness. I mean really, a coffee shop and a gaming store all rolled into one? And I thought Souvia was heaven.

Perhaps it appealed to me so much because I’m a closet gamer. I love board games and cards, video games and, especially, role-playing games like Dungeons & Dragons. My family played D&D every week for years, starting with a group at Borders Books, and then moving to our living room. Our fabulous friend and Game Master Joanne kept the play creative, and rewarded smart and nonviolent decisions. It taught my kids a lot of great lessons about preparation, teamwork, strategic thinking and problem solving. Ah, but I digress…

Blake loves Batman, and I'm partial to Superman (mostly because of Smallville). ©2011 Paul Narcisian

We’d dropped into Enchanted Grounds for a short afternoon of quiet gaming and something refreshing to sip. When we first walked up to the counter, Paul says Dan to the barista, “Hey, great shirt!” He points out that Dan’s T-shirt image sported Blake’s favorite superhero, Batman.

Blake's scrumptious Batman shake. ©2011 ANVidean

We didn’t think much of it as we found a table and laid out our Harry Potter Lego game. But, when I went to pick up my delicious peppermint tea, I discovered a Batman symbol outlined in chocolate syrup on top of the boys’ chocolate milkshake. Blake loved the sweet surprise! (Not to mention sucking the creamy treat down to half full in about 15 seconds flat, at which point his Dad snagged the other half.)

My nephew Blake and brother Paul set up our game while waiting for tea and a milkshake. ©2011 ANVidean

I thoroughly enjoyed our time at Enchanted Grounds. The atmosphere feels energized, but calm. The food and drinks taste delicious. A well-stocked and roomy game-display area allowed for easy browsing. I can easily imagine playing D&D there, as the gaming tables are spacious and pretty comfortable. I especially like the broad variety of people the place attracted: not only gamer types rolling d20s (20-sided die) and pondering miniatures on maps, but families holding quiet conversations, and professionals working away on laptops.

All I want to know is why can’t Enchanted Ground be in my neighborhood? (I guess it’s so I have another great excuse to visit my lucky brother now… Yeah, that’s it.)

Barista Dan and owner Jeff Kokx. ©2011 ANVidean

Share a cuppa (the stories)
Owner: Jeff Kokx
Do you just love how that last name is spelled?

What’s Brewing (coffee, tea, food)

  • Specialty coffee and gourmet espresso
  • A good selection of teas
  • Fruit smoothies, and ice cream shakes (best in town!)
  • Sandwiches and burritos
  • Pastries and desserts
  • Even drink catering (an entire coffee and espresso bar set-up for your private party or office function)

The Grind (what I would change)
It’s Enchanted Grounds. What more is there to say?

Percolation Factor (the activity/environment/energy/service)

  • Online community:
    Podcasts

    Blog posts
  • Games, toys, puzzles and collectible card games (CCGs)
  • Plenty of seating inside and out
  • Game, club, and/or other events almost every day
  • Free WiFi and lots of power outlets
  • Beautiful decor and friendly staff (Dan was thoughtful, helpful…a real charmer!)

The Grounds (location)
8800 S. Colorado Blvd., Unit A
Highlands Ranch, CO 80126
303.470.1010

Tea Times (hours)
Open:
M–Th 6 a.m.–10 p.m.
F 6 a.m.–12 a.m.
Sa 7 a.m.–12 a.m.
Su 7 a.m.–8 p.m.

Yelp rating:  4 Stars

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I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!

Coeur d’Alene: Rhythms & Muse’s hometown in pictures

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

The following photos, taken by author/singer/songwriter Ann Narcisian Videan, helped inspire her Rhythms & Muse novel and music CD. The flashbacks sections of her story take place in 1970s Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where Ann spent her junior high and high school years.

[The book is available at CreateSpace novel eStore (best value to author), and Amazon.com (convenient). Music CD and MP3 files are available via CreateSpace CD eStore and on Amazon.com, which also provides audio samples of each track.]

Coffee CommuniTea: Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, Chandler, AZ

[This is a post I sent via my LINC e-newsletter back in August 2009. Thought I’d move it over here, so you could also benefit!]

I have to admit I have a vice. Tea. Especially the tea lattes at my favorite  haunt — the Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf. CBTL, Chandler, AZMay I interest you in a Japanese cherry green tea with chocolate sugar- free powder? Iced in the summer, of course. Ahhhh!

I especially like supporting the CBTL, because they purchase their tea directly from small, independent fields in tea-producing countries. They’ve also improved the living conditions in small towns by building schools, and donating toys and books. (Find out more about CBTL in this article in the Santa Barbara Independent.)

It’s always a great experience to go into a CBTL, too. I find the baristas very helpful, interesting and loads of fun to chat up. Like Jimmy and CCBTL baristas Jimmy & Chistenehristene here from the Chandler, AZ location.

CBTL is a place I talk about to almost everyone. It’s a great place to meet for a vibrant conversation over a delicious cup of tea. I recommend it highly! (Oh, and they do serve coffee, too! :oD )

Why not share your own favorite tea drink. Or, maybe you’d like to ask a question or make another comment? I value your feedback.

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I love connecting people and ideas, so I’ve been creating small villages my entire life. Really, what better places can writers and musicians find to create “village” than independent coffee/tea shops? I wrote most of my Rhythms & Muse novel in coffee/tea venues, so it seemed natural to create this blog. Whether you came here to find a new favorite hangout, or suggest a spot not yet not posted, may you find Coffee CommuniTea exactly to your taste!