Thursday, March 2, 2017

Spokane, tell Alton Brown where he should dine during his upcoming visit

Share your recommendations on social media with the tag #ABRoadEatsSpokane

Posted By on Thu, Mar 2, 2017 at 4:50 PM

Brown sampled Indaba Coffee's flat white while here in 2015.
  • Brown sampled Indaba Coffee's flat white while here in 2015.

Too bad he just missed Inlander Restaurant Week.

Still, charismatic food guy Alton Brown is planning to dine his way around the Lilac City when he comes to town later this month for his live stage show, "Eat Your Science." But first, he's looking to all of us for recommendations.

Today on his Facebook page, Brown invited fans to share their top spots they think he should check out while here for the March 29 show at the INB Performing Arts Center. By leaving a comment or using the hashtag #ABRoadEatsSpokane, fans can share their recommendations on social media. Then, be on the lookout for the bespectacled Brown (follow him on Instagram for updates, too) at local restaurants and coffee shops in late March.

When Brown was last in Spokane for his "Edible Inevitable" show in spring of 2015, he later lauded the coffee he tried at both Coeur Coffeehouse and Indaba Coffee, the waffles at The Scoop and tasty sandwiches at Stella's Café. He capped off the day with dinner at the Wandering Table in Kendall Yards.

If Mr. Brown is interested in the local dining spots Inlander staff would suggest he visit, he can refer to the following:

Any of our city's James Beard-nominated chefs' restaurants: The Wandering Table and The Gilded Unicorn (even though he dined at WT last visit, the Gilded Unicorn debuted since), both owned by 2016-nominee Adam Hegsted; 2015 nominee Jeremy Hansen's Santé, Common Crumb Artisan Bakery or his latest two projects, Inland Pacific Kitchen and Hogwash Whiskey Den; as well as this year's nominee, Laurent Zirotti of Fleur de Sel in Post Falls.

If he has a hankering for Chef Tony Brown's food, he'll find the celebrated sandwich line-up of the former Stella's now at Ruins, along with cocktails and a regularly rotating dinner menu.

Finally, if he'd like to try some eateries that have debuted since his 2015 visit, there's lots to choose from, including The Blackbird, 1898 Public House, and Table 13 inside the new Davenport Grand Hotel.

Of course, there are plenty of longtime, tried-and-true places that we all know and love, so make sure to share your top picks!
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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Manito Tap House named the best beer bar in Washington state

Posted By on Tue, Feb 28, 2017 at 3:05 PM

Manito Tap House offers more than a hundred beers on tap and in bottles and cans. - COURTESY MANITO TAP HOUSE
  • Courtesy Manito Tap House
  • Manito Tap House offers more than a hundred beers on tap and in bottles and cans.

Craft beer has been booming in the Inland Northwest for the past five or so years, and this latest accolade proves that our fair Lilac City continues to make its mark on the national movement.

Spokane's own Manito Tap House today was named one of's 2017 Great American Beer Bars, taking the title for Washington state.

Owner Patrick McPherson found out about the honor in late January, and says he was surprised by the news because he and his staff didn't actively encourage locals to nominate the pub for the reader-based award. (They last publicized their role in the competition a few years back, and then the bar made it to a second round of voting, he adds.)

"We're pretty stoked," McPherson says. "It goes to show that Spokane is catching up, and I think it says a lot for the local scene of beer and restaurants."

Opening in 2011, Manito Tap House has since established itself as a destination for local craft beer lovers, offering 50 tap handles and an extensive list of bottles and cans stored in its beer cellar. The Tap House is also known for employing staff who've become certified Cicerones after passing an extensive, four-hour test covering the wide world of beer service and knowledge. And, it's a Four-Star Certified Green Restaurant for its environmentally-conscious practices. is the online publication of the national nonprofit trade group the Brewers Association, and offers a wide range of resources for beer brewers and connoisseurs of all levels.

To choose the 50 best beer bars, one for each state in the U.S., readers are asked each year to nominate locations in their state, filling out a survey that asks about a bar's atmosphere, staff, beer selection and special events. More than 7,000 votes were cast late last year for the site's 2017 awards.

To celebrate the big honor, Manito Tap House is hosting a special Spokane Rocks Party tonight, starting at 6 pm, and for which local breweries are bringing some special new brews. Perry Street Brewing is bringing a firkin of its 2016 Great American Beer Festival-winning India Pale Lager (IPL) infused with kumquats, Iron Goat has a Dry Fly bourbon barrel-aged Cap'n Kidd Scotch Ale, and No-Li pours a special version of its Big Juicy IPA infused with oranges.

Tonight is also the sixth of 10 nights for Inlander Restaurant Week — of which Manito Tap House is a participant — so the gastropub is bound to be quite busy.

"It'll probably be standing room only, but it should be a fun night," McPherson says. "I think it's huge for Spokane any time we win an award, whether it's a restaurant winning a James Beard Award, or the best beer bar."
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Friday, February 24, 2017

Inlander Restaurant Week: Reports from opening night

Posted By on Fri, Feb 24, 2017 at 1:42 PM

Chef Tanya Broesder’s seared tenderloin dish at Masselow’s. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Chef Tanya Broesder’s seared tenderloin dish at Masselow’s.

With the opening night of Inlander Restaurant week just hours away “It’s like Valentine’s Day for 10 days in a row,” says Julie Holland, director of communications for Northern Quest Resort and Casino, where Masselow’s is the signature restaurant. “We know we have to be on our game.”

e checked in with Masselow’s Chef Tanya Broesder to see how the calm before the storm was going. “We’re ready,” she said Thursday afternoon, adding that a lot of the final preparations have to do with prepping the waitstaff for what’s to come.

Servers will meet lots of new people during the run of IRW, and even though it’s sure to be busy, Broesder wants to maintain the quality of service diners expect from Masselow’s. Finishing touches aside, the food’s been in the works since early January.

“I’ve been working with my suppliers for the best beef tenderloin and salmon we can get,” Broesder says. “The salmon was a huge hit last year, so we kept it on the menu for this year, too.”

Night one is now in the books, with a busy weekend of dining out starting up tonight. You can peruse the menus of the 100+ participating restaurants to make your own plan. Here are some of the experiences Inlander team members had out on the town Thursday.

Emily Walden, account executive

Rolling in toward the end of a busy opening night, Emily got a table right away — which is unusual, as Ruins does not take reservations and is busy on weekends year-round. She immediately took advantage of the Drink Local option — the Mr. Wednesday cocktail, featuring Dry Fly gin and fennel liqueur. “Yummy!”

And her group loved the raviolo al uovo: “The broth by itself was wonderful,” says Emily, “but then you break the egg and mix in the creme fraiche and it turned into a whole new thing that was amazing. And the braised beef was to die for.”

Nutella fans, you are on notice: One of Ruins’ dessert choices is Nutella tiramisu.

Continue reading »

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Wednesday, February 15, 2017

Post Falls' Fleur de Sel chef-owner is 2017 James Beard Award semifinalist

Posted By on Wed, Feb 15, 2017 at 1:20 PM

Chef Zirroti opened Fleur de Sel in 2008. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Chef Zirroti opened Fleur de Sel in 2008.

For the third consecutive year, one of the Inland Northwest's finest minds in food has been named a semifinalist for the prestigious James Beard Award.

French-born Chef Laurent Zirotti, who owns the Post Falls destination spot Fleur de Sel, is the only chef from the Inland Northwest to be named in the Best Chef: Northwest award category, joining a list of 19 others mostly from the Portland and Seattle area.

In 2016, local chef and restaurant owner Adam Hegsted was named a semifinalist in the same category, as was Spokane chef-owner Jeremy Hansen in 2015.

The announcement honoring Zirotti, who opened Fleur de Sel in 2008 with his wife Patricia, comes at an ideal time if you've never been — and if you take every chance you get to visit the celebrated restaurant, familiarly known as FDS — as we're only about a week away from the start of 2017 Inlander Restaurant Week (Feb. 23-March 5). Find Fleur de Sel's $29 per person menu at (As a diner who was introduced to the restaurant during last year's IRW, I highly recommend the chicken and truffles.)

The list of 2017 James Beard Award semifinalists will be narrowed down again a month from now, to five nominees in each category, on March 15. Final winners in each of the 21 award categories are then honored during a special event May 1 in Chicago.

The James Beard Awards are organized by its namesake James Beard Foundation, which opens an online call for entries in October. More than 24,000 entries were received for the Foundation's 27th annual honors.
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Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Where to treat yo' self (or your sweetheart) this Valentine's Day

There are options a-plenty at local restaurants, wineries and more

Posted By on Wed, Feb 8, 2017 at 4:28 PM

Whether you could give a hoot about the overly-commercialized holiday of love, or you're the type who goes all out (roses, chocolates, flowers, lingerie, cheesy cards, a romantic dinner), local options to celebrate in the name of St. Valentine abound this weekend and into next week for the holiday's official observance on Tuesday, Feb. 14. Here's a snapshot of what's caught our eye — don't wait to make reservations.

Enjoy Clover's Jasmine Fizz cocktail as part of its Valentine's tasting menu, offered Feb. 10-14.
  • Enjoy Clover's Jasmine Fizz cocktail as part of its Valentine's tasting menu, offered Feb. 10-14.
Clover | 913 E. Sharp
The Logan neighborhood restaurant inside a converted Craftsman home is offering a special five-course tasting menu at $75/person from Feb. 10 to 14. The menu includes a duck confit crepe, winter squash and ginger soup, and dessert with champagne. A Valentine brunch with mimosas and white cherry chocolate scones is also offered on Feb. 11 and 12.

D. Lish's Hamburgers | 1625 N. Division
I don't know about you, but I wouldn't scoff if my date took me here — and he actually did a few years back — because Valentine's Day shouldn't be ranked on how "fancy" or "expensive" your plans are. On Feb. 14, from 5-8 pm, D. Lish's goes formal (while staying fast) with table service for two. For $18.39 you'll get two double cheeseburgers, two orders of fries, two drinks, onion rings and dessert.

Dutch Bros Coffee | All area locations
Your morning coffee comes with an extra dose of warmth on February 14 for "Dutch Luv Day," when local stands of the popular drive-thru chain donate $1 from every drink purchased to benefit Second Harvest.

LeftBank Wine Bar | 108 N. Washington
The single folks aren't being left out, as the downtown wine bar is hosting a festive speed-dating night with wine and food specials on Feb. 14, from 6-8 pm. The bar's Facebook event page says it guarantees to have 10 participants of each gender to keep things balanced, but if you're interested in participating don't wait to sign up.

Nectar Catering & Events | 120 N. Stevens
Keep spreading the love and celebrate V-Day a few days later at the Spokane Humane Society's fifth annual "Puppy Love with Wine" on Thursday, Feb. 16, from 5:30-8 pm. Tickets (only 100 are available for $15/advance; $20/door) include a flight of five Washington wines. There'll be silent auction items, too, and of course proceeds benefit the nonprofit's care of homeless pets. (Nectar is also hosting a separate "Champagne, Cheese and Chocolate Tasting Event" on Feb. 12.)

ValenWine Weekend | Downtown Spokane
The many wineries and tasting rooms that make up downtown Spokane's Cork District once again unite for the weekend-long ValenWine celebration. Bundle up and take a walking tour of more than a dozen participating wineries for samples, specials and more, from noon to 5 pm on Saturday and Sunday; Feb. 11 and 12.

I've really only scratched the surface when it comes to options to take your friends, lovers or family out for a mid-February treat, whether in recognition of Valentine's Day or just 'cause. Other events I came across include a special wine dinner at the Davenport Hotel, a chocolate and wine tasting at Liberty Lake Wine Cellars, a three-course, fixed-price dinner for $30 at Remington's at the Ramada Inn, and the Downtown Coeur d'Alene Association's annual "Chocolate Affair." For those further north or not averse to making a wintery drive, Sandpoint's Western Pleasure Guest Ranch is hosting a Valentine's-themed sleigh ride, dinner and concert on Feb. 14; reservations are required.
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Monday, February 6, 2017

Nodland Cellars now a members-only winery, and you can join for free

Posted By on Mon, Feb 6, 2017 at 4:55 PM


Bigger isn't always better.

That's one of the lessons winemaker Tim Nodland learned as he watched his award-winning Nodland Cellars wines grow from a garage hobby to a commercial entity to a full-blown tasting room in downtown Spokane, complete with food and live tunes.

After a couple years of work to get his tasting room open in February 2016, Nodland poured his last glass at his downtown spot at the end of January after deciding that the production demands of the popular spot were simply too much if he wanted to keep the quality of his wines at the award-winning level.

"Wine was always an art for me," Nodland says, "and it seemed like it was getting too far away from that."

Nodland takes pride in the hand-crafted nature of his wines; he picks the grapes, puts the labels on the bottles, basically does every step of the process himself. The demands of managing a restaurant and booking music for the tasting room — in addition to working his "day job" as an attorney — made him feel like the artistry of winemaking was being lost. If anything, the tasting room proved too popular for him to sustain a wine-production level that he felt comfortable with, and "it's easier to make quality wine in small batches," he says.

Nodland Cellars won't be disappearing, but it is becoming a members-only winery. That means no more tasting room, and no more finding Nodland bottles in area stores. Nodland will focus on making 150-to-200 cases of wine each year, available only to members, and that's it.

You can sign up as a member for free until the spaces fill up, and membership certainly has its privileges. Namely, dibs on getting the first chance to buy some of Nodland's wines as they're released throughout the year.

Nodland is back to making wines in the Spokane Valley space where he first started making larger batches after leaving his garage in 2005, and now he gets to focus on the grapes and the amazing Washington soil and weather that makes what he believes is some of the best wine country on the planet. What he doesn't have to think about is ordering more food supplies or hiring new staff.

"I have the freedom to be more of the artists of the wines," Nodland says of post-tasting room life.

It's all about the wine, as he always wanted it to be.

The Nodland Cellars tasting room downtown poured its last glass at the end of January. Terra Blanca has taken its place in the Chronicle Building.
  • The Nodland Cellars tasting room downtown poured its last glass at the end of January. Terra Blanca has taken its place in the Chronicle Building.

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Tuesday, January 24, 2017

No-Li creating special golden ale in anticipation of Spokane Symphony: Beethoven and Brews

Posted By on Tue, Jan 24, 2017 at 12:45 PM


There shouldn't be any need in 2017 to point out that a delicious beer is just as classy a quaff as champagne, wine or craft cocktails. But if you still question such things, consider the collaboration between the Spokane Symphony and No-Li Brewhouse as proof-positive that beer drinkers and Beethoven lovers do, indeed, mix.

On March 10, the two Spokane institutions are teaming up for Symphony Special: Beethoven and Brews, where the night's concert conducted by Jorge Luis Uzcategui and featuring "greatest hits" by the beer-loving German composer is preceded by a beer garden at the Fox, featuring $3 drafts of No-Li's beer. The concert starts at 7:30 pm, and the beer garden opens at 6 pm. You do the math on how many beers are appropriate before the light-hearted show that also includes some comedy from the folks at Blue Door Theatre. Tickets to the show range from $18 to $43.

To celebrate the collaboration, No-Li is brewing up a special "Beethoven Golden Ale," bottling just 660 total bottles of the 22-ounce beers to help get the word out on the March show. You'll be able to get a bottle of the goods starting Feb. 16 and local Rosauer's, Yoke's, Rocket Market and Total Wine & More outlets. Here's a look at the label to look out for: 

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Thursday, January 5, 2017

Stella's Café to close and merge with nearby sister restaurant Ruins

Posted By on Thu, Jan 5, 2017 at 4:02 PM

Chef Tony Brown gained a notable following with the debut of Stella's back in 2012. He opened the nearby Ruins in 2014, but now plans to combine the two in Ruins' spot. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Chef Tony Brown gained a notable following with the debut of Stella's back in 2012. He opened the nearby Ruins in 2014, but now plans to combine the two in Ruins' spot.

This Thursday afternoon, we learned the owners of a favorite local lunch spot just north of the Spokane River plan to close their doors a final time on January 31.

But fear not, Stella's Cafe fans — owners chef Tony Brown and his parents Steve and Marti Brown plan to reincorporate the cafe's familiar sandwich, soup and pastry options into their nearby sister restaurant, Ruins.

A major factor cited for Stella's closure at 917 W. Broadway, where it's been located for the past five years in a rustic and eclectic space, is the end of the restaurant's five-year lease.

It's not clear yet how Stella's and Ruins will combine as one in the latter's diminutive space on the corner of Monroe and Mallon, just two blocks away, but the Browns plan to soon announce how they'll meld Stella's fresh sandwich menu with Ruins' cocktails and ever-changing, themed, tapas-style menu.

Stay tuned in the coming weeks for an update on Stella's/Ruins new united future in the Inlander's food section, and in our Entrée food newsletter.

And for those who will surely miss making a mid-day pitstop at the original Stella's, mark your calendars — the last chance to visit the space is fast approaching, with a final day of business set for Tuesday, Jan. 31.
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

What We've Been... Drinking

Posted By on Wed, Dec 21, 2016 at 3:06 PM

Welcome back to the Inlander staff's biweekly rundown of cool things we've been watching, reading, listening to, drinking, eating, looking forward to, etc. Before you get any further, we should point out that "drinking," as you'll discover, does not strictly include beverages of the alcoholic nature, despite what stereotypical notions about journalists you may have. Enjoy!

Find past installments of "What We've Been..." here.

In between bites of breakfast (typically a hardboiled egg and a piece of fruit), I guzzle about four cups of coffee, black and piping hot. I don’t function without it, but that’s not interesting or unique, especially in this line of work. Perhaps my newfound fascination with La Croix, the hoity toity, fizzy drink popular with suburban moms and Paleo dieters, is not unusual for journalists, either, but it is what I’m drinking right now. Seriously, like right this very second, I’m sipping from a can of apricot-flavored sparkling water. Why do I like sparkling water? 'Cause I want flavor, but no sugar. And that little bite you get from the carbonation is just enough of a fix for this former two-a-day Coke drinker.

Apparently, I’m not alone. Seltzer water sales, and La Croix specifically, have been on the rise since the early 2000s, according to the International Bottled Water Association. The gallons of domestically produced sparkling water increased by 58 percent between 2010 and 2014. Also, there are even T-shirts for the uber La Croix obsessed. The only downside is that La Croix can be a bit more expensive than other seltzer waters. Around here, Target is the most reasonably priced. Otherwise, Safeway’s Refreshe line does just fine. (MITCH RYALS)

Continue reading »

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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Here's what led up to the closing of Spokane landmark Donut Parade

Posted By on Tue, Dec 6, 2016 at 4:15 PM

Locals are mourning the closure of the donut shop that's been in business since 1968. - DONUT PARADE FACEBOOK
  • Donut Parade Facebook
  • Locals are mourning the closure of the donut shop that's been in business since 1968.

A few months back, we published a feature examining how a few locally owned businesses were rising from the ashes of misfortune. One business featured in the piece had been facing what seemed like a relentless stream of mishaps and misfortunes. Yet after the recent announcement that longtime Spokane business Donut Parade has closed its doors for good, it seems the Reno family has run out of options.

Since posting that decision on the shop's Facebook page this past Sunday, it's been shared more than 800 times. There are more than 650 comments from people expressing their sadness to see Donut Parade go. Others, though, question the financial and management decisions of its owners.

When we talked with co-owner Christian Reno in late August of this year, Donut Parade had been struggling to stay afloat after a car crashed into the shop's front entrance. Because the building's owner hadn't repaired that damage in the months following that incident, Reno told the Inlander that many of customers saw the boarded up doorway and thought the business was permanently closed.

"I know it sounds really stupid to say," Reno said at the time, "But we really don't know what's going on. I don't have the money [to fix the door], and it was slow before that and it's been slow since then."

A few weeks after our interview with Reno, however, and the shop's front door was finally repaired.

Before the car accident damaged the building, she said a power outage on National Donut Day (June 3) — one of the busiest days of the year — forced the shop to close early. The Renos, who bought Donut Parade back in 2008, closed the shop for a week after that to decide if they were going to keep trying to get the business to a financially viable status. Then, just days later, a car plowed into its front door.

Reno also told us in August that not only was the shop falling far behind on its bills, but her family was, too. She expressed gratitude for many of Donut Parade's regular customers who'd been helping buy things like coffee and lemonade mix that she'd trade for donuts.

"We just keep rolling the dice and keeping our fingers crossed that we can stay open," Reno said. "That is 100 percent my plan."

In the days since announcing Donut Parade's permanent closure, a GoFundMe campaign seeking to raise $80,000 was launched in an attempt to reopen the shop. So far, just over $2,200 has been donated, to be used for the following, according to the campaign:

"We here at the Donut Parade have given our all to keep the doors open but as any small local family business owners know, there are many, many, many expenses to keep things afloat. Any amount donated is appreciated and is 100% going back into the business. We are apart [sic] of this community, live in this neighborhood, our children have grown up in this establishment. The Donut Parade is apart [sic] of who we are. With that being said, we are reaching out to our community asking for help so we can continue to serve the great people of Spokane. With our goal being $80,000, this covers our past due expense of power bills, water, supplies, building repairs, loans we've taken to try and stay open, business revenue...and rent."

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