Friday, May 15, 2015

Orlison Brewing Co. to open downtown Spokane taproom

Posted By on Fri, May 15, 2015 at 12:42 PM


Orlison Brewing Co. has made serious strides in the two years since they rebranded from Golden Hills Brewing. They've put their canned lagers in just about every grocery store in the Inland Northwest and made significant inroads in other Northwest markets, growing steadily along the way out of their Airway Heights warehouse location.

But now, Orlison is making another step forward in opening their own taproom in downtown Spokane. Previously, you could taste or buy a keg from the Airway Heights spot, but it was far from the beaten path and also a busy production facility. In the coming months, though, you can settle in at Orlison's taproom, which is set to take over the space at 1017 W. First Avenue (between Madison and Monroe streets) previously occupied by Luxe Coffee House, according to Orlison's Operations and Logistics Manager Kristen Silver.

Longtime Spokanites will know this spot as the Oddfellow's Building which also features a sizable ballroom. Orlison is working on having some access to that space, too, Silver says.

You can expect to find 16 beers on tap at the new space, including guest taps and experimental Orlison brews that you won't find elsewhere. The tap room will also sell cans and do growler fills. All brewing operations will continue out of the Airway Heights spot, Silver says, where you can still buy kegs.
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Thursday, April 23, 2015

Powdered alcohol probably not coming to a store near you any time soon

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 3:55 PM

Ever wished you could carry powdered alcohol in your purse for impromptu shindigs? Just think of the possibilities. The product— Palcohol— exists, on the planet now and in stores some places this summer. But it probably won’t exist in stores in Washington. Ever.

Earlier in the current legislative session, the Senate had gotten the ball rolling with an effort to regulate the powder in ways similar to liquid alcohol. The House of Representatives did them one better on April 13, voting 91-6 to ban powdered alcohol for everyone but researchers.

Rep. Jeff Holy from Cheney worried that people would sneak Palcohol into places where alcohol has no place, like church, maybe, or the library. Schools. Anywhere, really. It would just be too tempting. Alcohol needs to be kept big and bulky and in need of a vessel to be safe in Washington. Senate Bill 5292 got kicked back to the Senate for approval on the changes.

Mark Phillips created Palcohol because he loves to hike and drink and he wanted to combine those hobbies without limiting his outings to hikes that could be completed comfortably while carrying beer and wine and whatever else he wanted to drink that day. He started trying to find powdered alcohol and it didn’t exist. He was, like, "Huh? How can this not even exist?"

From there things snowballed. He found scientists around the globe. They appreciated his vision and worked together to create Palcohol. Triumphant, he returned to the United States to share the good news: Portable alcohol for hiking and climbing and cycling. Plus, there are apparently science and military applications. Palcohol, yay!

Then Phillips' bubble burst a bit when several states started railing against his product. Alaska, Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina and Vermont have already banned the stuff, according to the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence. But, more importantly for people in Spokane, what’s Idaho thinking?

Director of the Idaho Lottery & Idaho State Liquor Division Jeff Anderson says that though their state hasn’t outlawed powdered alcohol, he doesn’t envision it will ever be sold there.

“In the beverage alcohol business there is labeling on packaging that informs consumers about alcohol content, whether it be a 3.2 beer, a 13.5 wine or a 40 proof spirit,” says Anderson. “With powdered alcohol, consumers mix it and people could mix it improperly and end up with a beverage that is 170 proof instead of 80 proof.”

The Idaho State Liquor Division has the authority to regulate Palcohol and Anderson intends to use that power to keep the product out of the state.

“I presume if that were challenged the Idaho Legislature would step in and do the same thing they’ve done in Washington,” says Anderson.
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Liberty Ciderworks nabs top award at world's largest cider competition

Posted By on Thu, Apr 23, 2015 at 3:07 PM


The cider revolution has hit the Inland Northwest in full force, and Spokane's Liberty Ciderworks is undoubtedly leading the charge.

Nearly a full year after the two-man cidery opened its downtown tasting room, owners Rick Hastings and Austin Dickey have taken home their biggest accolade to date: Best in Class honors for Liberty's Stonewall cider at the 10th annual Great Lakes International Cider and Perry Competition (GLINTCAP). Held earlier this month, April 10-12, the international competition received 480 entries of cider and perry (pear cider) from around the world. Liberty's Stonewall, aged in the whiskey barrels of another Northwest booze purveyor, Dry Fly Distilling, was one of just three ciders to earn the Best in Class distinction at the event, as well as a gold medal in a category with nearly 200 other entries.

"We were floored when we saw the results for Stonewall," says Hastings, Liberty's head cidermaker. "We've had great feedback from customers and our peers, but this is about as big an honor as anyone gets in the cider business. It's a big-league win for us."

This isn't Liberty's first time at GLINTCAP, as the cidery has taken home multiple awards in recent years for several of its other cider varieties. In 2013, the New World cider took home a silver medal. Last year, its English Style cider nabbed a gold medal while the limited-release Jonathan single-varietal (SV) and New World both took home bronze awards.

Aside from Stonewall's big win this year, four other varieties of Liberty's cider won silver medals: the Kingston Black SV, Macintosh SV, the dry-hopped Turncoat and the port-style Manchurian Crabapple cider.  

It's also worth mentioning here that Inlander readers already know Liberty's ciders are tops, voting the cider maker as producing the best local cider in the region for this year's Best Of readers poll. 

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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Are you an Inland Northwest foodie? Prove it with this quiz!

Posted By on Tue, Mar 31, 2015 at 10:45 AM

We all know that Spokane's food scene has amazing things happening. How well do you know the history?

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Wall Street Journal highlights some of Spokane's finest cuisine

Posted By on Fri, Mar 13, 2015 at 3:44 PM

Spokane knows food.

From farm-to-table fresh menus like Mizuna to Casper Fry's southern flavor with a modern twist, Spokanites are spoiled with a smorgasbord of dining options. These venues along with many others have earned Spokane food-lovers' fame. In recent week's we've seen Santé's Jeremy Hansen nominated for a James Beard award and go cook at the prestigious New York spot, and had professional foodie Alton Brown make the rounds through Spokane's dining scene before his show at the INB Performing Arts Center. And, of course, Inlander Restaurant Week at the end of February took locals all over the region for amazing food. 

Now the Wall Street Journal is on board, recognizing Spokane as one of "six small towns for food lovers" in an article today that offers some love to Durkin's Liquor Bar (the "over-the-top meat menu ... sets this place apart") and Italia Trattoria ("Spokanites love the changing menu of house-made pastas"), among other spots. For some reason, the Journal thinks Casper Fry is in Sacramento, but we'll cut them a little slack. 

Check out the full article here
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Monday, March 2, 2015

Alton Brown ate his way around Spokane this weekend

Posted By on Mon, Mar 2, 2015 at 3:55 PM


Social media was abuzz yesterday with the hashtag #ABRoadEatsSpokane as chef and Food Network personality Alton Brown made his way around Spokane, sampling local offerings from coffee to waffles and banh mi sandwiches.

Brown tweeted, Facebook-ed and Instagram-ed his Spokane eating experiences, stopping at Coeur Coffeehouse, The Scoop, Indaba Coffee and Stella's Cafe before heading to the INB Performing Arts Center for his Alton Brown Live! show that evening.

Indaba manager Evan Lovell wasn't working yesterday morning, but his coworkers tell him Brown ordered a traditional flat white around 10 am.

"He was glad it was a real flat white," Lovell says, adding that some coffee connoisseurs — Brown posts online often about his love of coffee — disagree on the true characteristics of the drink, made from espresso and steamed milk.

After his coffee stop, Brown headed up to The Scoop on the South Hill for breakfast. Scoop owner Jennifer Davis — a huge fan of Brown's work — was doubtful he'd make it to her ice creamery and cafe, but says she planned to be there all day just in case.

"I was just like, you know, this is kind of the place [he'd like]; we have different food, we're off the beaten path and so he could probably check us out."

Shortly after learning of Brown's stop at Indaba, Davis says a woman stopped in to ask if they served breakfast, to which Davis replied that the Scoop is locally known for its liege waffles. She adds, "then I looked out the window and there he was!"

Brown signed Kyle Bowlby's (his nickname is "Chef Freak") cutting board and spoon since the Wandering Table sous chef couldn't attend the show last night.
  • Brown signed Kyle Bowlby's (his nickname is "Chef Freak") cutting board and spoon since the Wandering Table sous chef couldn't attend the show last night.

Lucky for Brown and his crew of two, Davis says foot traffic at the cafe was unusually slow that morning, and as such they were able to enjoy the Scoop's bacon nut, breakfast and minimalist waffles in relative peace.
"He took a super awesome Instagram picture and was able to take pictures of everything for Facebook and was asking about the neighborhood," Davis says.

Later that day, Brown showed off two mouthwatering sandwiches from Stella's Cafe — a classic banh mi and roast beef with provolone, kale and hot peppers.

At some point earlier, Brown also hit up Coeur Coffee just north of the Monroe Street Bridge for an Americano.

To end the day's eating, Brown ordered a long list of items from the Wandering Table in Kendall Yards, and had the food delivered because after his show ended around 9 pm, the restaurant was getting ready to close. Sous Chef Kyle Bowlby says a courier picked up an order of the restaurant's roasted brussels sprouts, crispy cauliflower, spaghetti stuffed meatballs, gnocchi gratin, bacon-wrapped bacon sliders, roast chicken wings, umami burgers and pepper spiced chips.

Since Bowlby had to work the evening shift and thus missed Brown's show, he asked if the celebrity chef would sign an epicurean cutting board and spoon, which the courier delivered back to the restaurant.  




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Friday, February 27, 2015

Out for Inlander Restaurant Week: Satay with Sandi Bloem

Posted By on Fri, Feb 27, 2015 at 11:03 AM

Former Coeur d'Alene mayor Sandi Bloem is a lifelong resident of North Idaho, and says she's enjoyed all kinds of food for as long as she can remember. She dined at Coeur d'Alene's Satay for Inlander Restaurant Week, and shared her thoughts on the experience with us.
Bloem writes: 
I grew up loving everything they put in front of me. There’s not a lot that I don’t like. I like good ethnic food. I like comfort food, too. It’s a big variety.

I took three people with me [to Satay Bistro] and we tried several things. I had the chicken dish. And the filet mignon is well known at that restaurant, so we had that, too. And my daughter had the sea bass. So we had a great variety.

We all had a chance to taste each dish, and all three were fabulous. There’s a sauce they’re making [a smoked tomato vinaigrette], it was on the chicken dish and on the sea bass dish. The flavor was spectacular. It was THE best chicken dish I’ve ever had. It was tremendous. I liked it because it was very unusual in flavor. It really was spectacular.

The ambience in Satay is very pleasant. The way it’s put together, it’s a very special place. Our service was top-notch, and it has been when I’ve been there before. They have a really nice wine list, and their own wine cellar. They do some things that just add a lot of flavor to the experience. They serve a small loaf of bread fresh out of the oven, warm, with butter and fresh dill all over it. That can be a meal in itself. It’s a very special place to go.

I think this opportunity offered during these couple of weeks gets people excited, gets people out to these restaurants to see different places. I talked to a friend of mine, and they’d already been out four times and were going for a fifth time this Saturday. Satay was full the night we were there. It brings the Coeur d’Alene, Liberty Lake and Spokane communities together, and that’s not always easy to do. This shows you can be very successful doing that. 
[Editor's note: Bloem's comments compiled from an interview transcription, and lightly edited for length]

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Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Out for Inlander Restaurant Week 2015: Wild Sage with Frank Straub

Posted By on Wed, Feb 25, 2015 at 2:11 PM


Frank Straub is the chief of the Spokane Police Department. A native New Yorker, and a bit of a foodie, he’s been making the restaurant rounds in Spokane since he arrived in 2012. He dined at Wild Sage during Inlander Restaurant Week and shared his thoughts. 

Straub writes: 

This past Saturday, my wife Amber and I went to Wild Sage for dinner with our friends as part of Inlander Restaurant Week. It was, to say the least, an outstanding dining experience.

We each chose from the prix fixe menu and began with a flight of red wine. Among the four of us, one chose the steelhead and clam chowder, one the wild sage salad, and two of us selected the crisp bacon and blue salad. We were all very happy with our selections. They were very well presented, sized appropriately and delicious.

For the main course, two of us selected the steelhead; the other two chose the Korean-style pork shank. I am particularly fond of pork shank and found Wild Sage’s to be exceptional. The steelhead was also well prepared and served on the plank it was cooked on. The waiter, who was excellent, made a point, in a humorous way, of telling us the plank, although it looked inviting, probably would not taste very good. We sampled all three of the desserts — coconut cream cake, vanilla crème brulee and chocolate pot de crème. The coconut cream cake with its lillikoi (Hawaiian passion fruit) sauce was incredible.

I’ve had the opportunity since I was young to experience a wide variety of foods at home and in restaurants in New York and other large cities. As an adult, I have had the good fortune to travel throughout the world, particularly during my time with the U.S. State Department. Despite having a one-year-old, Amber and I have had the opportunity to eat at many of Spokane’s restaurants; we thoroughly enjoyed Wild Sage and would put it at the top end of the list.

Restaurant Week is a great idea. It’s an opportunity to show off our great and growing selection of restaurants, as well as to encourage folks to enjoy good company and outstanding meals. Wild Sage will be just one of the restaurants Amber, Ava and I visit this week.

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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

More fave photos from readers and eaters enjoying #INRestWeek 2015

Posted By on Tue, Feb 24, 2015 at 2:00 PM

Inlander Restaurant Week is at the halfway point today, and you still have five days to get to one of the 97 area restaurants involved in 2015.

If you need some information on Inlander Restaurant Week, hit our complete guide online, our coverage in the new issue of the Inlander, and our handy how-to for first-timers. And be sure to help your fellow diners out by letting us know what you think of what you're eating. Hashtag your posts #INRestWeek on Twitter and Instagram, or shoot us some photos directly @TheInlander and @InlanderRW.

Here are some photos and Tweets from happy eaters from last night and the weekend. Stay tuned for more shots through the week: 







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Monday, February 23, 2015

Out for Inlander Restaurant Week 2015: Central Food with Sharma Shields

Posted By on Mon, Feb 23, 2015 at 3:28 PM

Sharma Shields is the author of The Sasquatch Hunter’s Almanac, and the subject of the Inlander cover story of Jan. 22, “Monsters and Demons.” She dined at Central Food on the opening night of Inlander Restaurant Week, Friday, Feb. 20, and shared her impressions with us.

Shields writes: 
As a kid, ribs were my favorite food. No kidding. I loved them all: beef ribs, pork ribs, but most of all, lamb ribs. My parents raised sheep, and the lamb we ate was our own. Today, I’m extremely health conscious. I try to eat nine cups of vegetables or fruits per day, so I drink a lot of smoothies and eat a lot of salads. I have multiple sclerosis and am controlling it not only with medication, but with diet and exercise. I’ve lost a lot of weight and feel more fit than I have in years.

I went to dinner at Central Food with my husband, the handsome, brilliant hunk, Simeon (Sam) Mills. I stuck to the vegetarian menu, while Sam eyeballed all things meat-and-potatoes. I was glad for this, because then I could sneak bites of his meal, too.

I was delighted to find that most of the items on the vegetarian menu were vegan. Right on! Usually I have to tweak an order to render it dairy-free, but I didn’t have to do that in the slightest here. I almost felt like the meal was designed for me personally.

Sam and I have been blown away by Central Food for a couple of years now — the Kendall Yards location can’t be beat. We were given a table alongside the row of windows facing south, and despite the inky, cloudy night, the view was as tantalizing as ever. My eyes kept returning to the river, where it lay twitching and curling and slithering darkly westward, a muscular, glittering serpent. There is a lot of power in that river, and it’s a feast of its own to witness.

I ordered the Sriracha baked cauliflower, the broccoli spinach bowl and the rhubarb sorbet. The first two choices were easy: I salivate over anything drenched in Sriracha, and the spinach bowl promised fresh carrots, beets and sunflower seeds in a gingery sauce. Say the word “ginger,” and I’m there.

Sam ordered the mushroom mousse terrine, the Woods Ranch beef cheek Bourguignon and the pineapple upside-down cake. Sam loves mushrooms and eggs, and while he wasn’t sure what Bourguignon was, I promised him the meat would be tender beyond belief. That was enough. He also ordered a Jam Session IPA, from local brewery 12 String.

My Sriracha-baked cauliflower was the star of my evening, with a depth of flavor that kept expanding in my mouth long after I had swallowed. Sam’s appetizer, the terrine, was equally delicious, a heavenly texture of poached egg and mushroom mousse that Sam said he wanted to eat for breakfast every day of his life.

My second course was as fresh and colorful as I’d hoped, with the beets and carrots carved into whimsical, graceful curlicues in my bowl. Sam and I both loved his second course: The beef cheeks sent us back to childhood, where he recalled a similar dish from his mom (an excellent cook, herself), and I was reminded of my Grandma Kay’s melt-in-your-mouth roasts, meat so succulent and tender that the knife becomes completely superfluous. This, to me, is such a beautiful aspect of food — the nostalgia it can introduce, the long-dormant memories it can rouse and refresh. It not only sparks memories but also conversation, inviting intimacy and affection. The ability to bring people together through taste alone is a sign of a great chef — and a great restaurant. Chef David Blaine and Central Food do this for us over and over again.

I loved the unexpected freshness and sweetness of the rhubarb sorbet; I also broke my no-dairy rule to enjoy some of Sam’s pineapple-tinged ice cream, which was so delicious that I laughed out loud. I hadn’t had ice cream in a long time, and I’d forgotten how frickin’ good it could taste.

As we finished our meal, Sam and I spoke of how happy we are to live in Spokane. Out in the dark night, the cathedral towers of Our Lady of Lourdes shone with a light that reminded me of the lit-up architecture in Europe. We might as well have been sitting on the banks of the Guadalquivir in Spain. Spokane has become its own lovely city of light, and Central Food is one of its gems. 

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