Red Monkey expands menu

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The Red Monkey Downtown Lounge is building up its menu.

The Alder Street lounge opened its doors last October with a menu owner Juston Watson describes as "basic comfort food with flair."

Now that the dust has settled, Watson said, the staff has expanded the menu of build-your-own-burgers, paninis, salads and appetizers.

New lunch items include rice bowls, wraps and another 12 burgers and paninis. Steak, pasta and seafood have been added to the dinner menu with a staff favorite of margarita chicken fettuccine with garlic bread. Additional appetizers are baked cheese, chicken satay and shrimp-shrimp.

The Red Monkey's lounge hours are 11 a.m.-2 a.m. daily. The kitchen's open 11 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 11 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.

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The SeedHouse Saloon is offering a sweethearts dinner Friday.

As part of a valentines festivity, the Touchet eatery owned by Nicki Blanchard will offer a pork loin with gravy dinner. Sweet treats are also expected during the event at 24 Touchet Gardena Road. The dinner service begins at 6 p.m.

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Visitors to Washington state spent about $14.2 billion in 2009, according to preliminary findings in the 2009 Travel Impacts Report released this week by the Department of Commerce and Washington State Tourism.

Though down slightly from the peak spending of 2008, last year's numbers demonstrate that travel and tourism play an increasingly important role in the financial health of the state, said Marsha Massey, executive director of Washington State Tourism. "Once again we see that tourism has tremendous potential to help Washington mitigate the current economic challenges, bring in new revenues and create jobs statewide," Massey said in a prepared statement.

The report showed that travel spending contributed to 147,600 -- or 3.8 percent -- of all jobs in Washington in 2009. It also directly generated $4.2 billion in payroll.

Other tidbits: An estimated 5.6 million domestic air passengers arrived in Washington; international visitors accounted for $1.3 billion in visitor spending; residents from other states accounted for $6.4 billion in visitor spending; and visitors who stayed overnight in commercial lodging (hotels, motels, resorts, and bed and breakfasts spent $6 million in Washington in 2009.

The annual report, prepared for the Department of Commerce by Dean Runyan Associates, is available on Washington State Tourism's industry Web site, www.experiencewa.com/Industry.

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Peter J. Allen, vice president and trust officer at Baker Boyer Bank, completed the Cannon Trust School with the Honor Graduate designation.

Allen was among several professionals who attended the three-year school offered by Cannon Financial Institute. The program consists of 38 hours of classroom instruction each year.

Allen completed with Cannon's highest academic distinction. The Honor Graduate designation is given to students who complete each level of the course with a 90 or above on each of the comprehensive exams given at the end of each class.

According to an announcement on the accomplishment, Cannon schools are regarded as a "gold standard" in providing knowledge and skills in more than 40 subject area, including industry designations and continuing education for several certification programs. More than 3,400 students attended the sessions offered at five locations across the country.

Strictly Business is a local business column. Vicki Hillhouse can be reached at vickihillhouse@wwub.com or 526-8321.

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