The Inlander asked a handful of local public figures to tell us about their Spokane Restaurant Week experience, and what they look for in local dining. Read more responses and previous coverage here.
On Saturday, KREM 2 News anchor Jane McCarthy dined out with her husband at Italia Trattoria in Browne’s Addition. She chose the chickpea fries with sundried pepper/olive relish and arugula pesto for her first course and the pan-seared golden trout for the entreé, while her husband chose the crispy fried anchovies followed by the pork chop. For dessert, they shared the Italia tiramisu and grilled cornmeal cake — a less typical dessert that turned out to be an excellent choice.
McCarthy shared photos from her meal and answered additional questions from The Inlander.
What kinds of food did you love as a kid?
When I was a kid I loved Cheez-Its and smoked salmon. Not together, although I probably would have liked it if I’d thought of it back then. I didn't eat out a lot as a kid. I was the youngest of five children and my parents had a hard time keeping my four older brothers in line. I think the thought of trying to keep all of us corralled at a restaurant was pretty daunting. We did hit the Old Spaghetti Factory from time to time. I'd always promise to give one of my brothers my spumoni ice cream if he'd give me his salad with thousand island dressing.
What kinds of restaurants and cuisines do you prefer today?
Today I like to explore all kinds of restaurants and cuisines. If I had to pick a number one, it’d probably be Northwest cuisine. After all, we're lucky to have some of the best ingredients, farmers and ranchers right in our own backyard!
How was your experience at Italia Trattoria?
We thought everything was terrific. The food had great depth of flavor and the presentation was beautiful. My trout was seared perfectly and the smoky potato ragu made me wonder how on earth I might copy it at home. I'm not sure I'm capable, but I'd like to try.
The pork chop was grilled to perfection, which can be difficult to achieve. A pork chop can often teeter on the edge of dry, but the chef at Italia Trattoria seemed to have that special combination of training, talent and intuition. It had those beautiful, perfectly spaced grill marks as well, which is always impressive.
Even though we were stuffed after the first two courses, we cleared our plates of both desserts. The tiramisu was a perfect sweet, but not-too-sweet, ending. We almost went for the chocolate almond cake for our second dessert, but instead opted for the grilled cornmeal cake with lemon mascarpone mousse and huckleberry compote, particularly because it sounded a little unusual. Oh my! I made it my mission not to leave a crumb on the plate.
What do you think of Spokane Restaurant Week?
I was happy to hear about Spokane Restaurant Week because this city has so many tremendous restaurants that should be celebrated and supported. We're lucky to have so many highly acclaimed, creative chefs choosing to make Spokane home. (Even our Seattle friends are turning their heads — and appetites — this direction.) There is just one problem with Spokane Restaurant week; there are so many great restaurants we need an extra week — or more!