Well, everyone, I’m sorry to say this is the final Food Blotter post I’ll be writing. And I was going to let it fade out quietly, but there’s just too much happening. So here’s a special Tuesday edition with lots that we’ve fallen behind on — and even more to look forward to.
Cork House, a new upscale eclectic restaurant, is now open at the former Barlows location in Liberty Lake. (Barlows moved to a new building in January.) The executive chef is Brian Hutchins, formerly of Clover. Read more about it in last week’s Entree newsletter — and seriously, if you like this kind of food news, it’s a really good idea to just subscribe to the newsletter.
A new bar and music venue in Coeur d’Alene, the Rocker Room, opened in mid-June just in time for the beginning of Coeur d’Alene’s event-filled summer.
Agave Latin Bistro has permanently closed at its downtown location at Sprague and Lincoln, and in its place is coming Burger Lab. It’s owned by an all-star designer-builder-restauranteur team and, like Nudo and Fire Artisan Pizza farther down the block, will be a project of design firm HDG. The former Wojo Works space on that same block is also likely to become a cafe or eatery of some sort.
Love @ First Bite had its final day at the old bakery last Thursday, and will be reopening in a new space farther down Sprague.
Veraci Pizza, the last restaurant of the Kendall Yards restaurants under construction this year, now has its sign up and getting very close to opening.
Tinbender Craft Distillery, located in the back of the former Spokane Public Market building, is getting closer to opening after a big repaving project.
Soulful Soups and Spirits, the downtown soup-by-day, bar-by-night spot, has reopened after a week of renovations.
As we’ve mentioned, Java on Sherman in Coeur d’Alene moved to a new location farther down Sherman earlier this year. Starting in August, look for a quick turnaround on a big renovation at the old space, which will be reopening as a coffee shop of a different style.
Others getting closer to opening are Ruins, the new dinner restaurant from the Stella’s team; Station House Pizza in Hillyard; Black Label Brewing Company and the other businesses at Saranac Commons; Tamarack Public House downtown on Sprague; and 24 Taps, a reincarnation of the Heroes and Legends sports bar in the downtown space that was most recently Sergio’s.
One Tree Hard Cider is now distributing around town — locations where you might find it on tap so far include Jones Radiator, Manito Tap House, Waddell’s and Press.
Big Barn Brewing Company, based at the Bodacious Berries, Fruits and Brews farm on Green Bluff, is also distributing around town now.
No-Li is releasing a new brew in four-packs later this month: Rise & Grind, a dark ale roasted with Gemelli coffee.
A few anniversaries… This Saturday, July 12, Selkirk Abbey is celebrating its second anniversary with music and special beers. Madeleine’s, which is moving to a new home a few blocks east later this year, celebrated seven years at the end of June. And Nu Home Brew celebrated one year on July 1, with an anniversary party in the works for early August.
We recently featured the list of new sidewalk cafes approved this year. In other outdoor drinking news, city leaders in Spokane and Seattle are asking the state Liquor Control to let cities have more control over rules for patio drinking. The specific issue? State law requires a 42-inch fence or barrier enclosing all outdoor drinking spaces, which isn’t possible for some businesses. And Spokane officials are feeling friendlier toward letting people drink in the streets — they’re doing a pilot program allowing beer gardens for some special events and festivals held on city roadways.
FiveThirtyEight, an otherwise respectable and statistically sound news source, is devoting a strange amount of resources to a national burrito bracket. But they put Joel’s Mexican Restaurant in Sandpoint in the running, so that’s exciting.
If you haven’t seen the potato salad Kickstarter campaign that’s making national news, here it is.
This week’s Outdoors Issue inspired our latest entirely unscientific food preference poll: What’s your s’more style — marshmallow carefully toasted or intentionally engulfed in flame?
A reminder, first of all, that if you have intentions to go make s’mores around a rustic campfire somewhere in the Inland Northwest this summer, check for burn bans and fire rules first.
Now, the results: Maybe it’s impatience or maybe we just enjoy setting things on fire, but the majority of comments were in favor of marshmallows purposely set ablaze.
A number of commenters volunteered a preference for the other ingredients, too, with suggestions of Oreos instead of graham crackers and the addition of Nutella. Mr. Goodbar was suggested as a chocolate of choice, but the most frequent recommendation was to use a Reese’s peanut butter cup as the chocolate layer.
On the spectrum of toastiness, some say they go for flames more than once on a single marshmallow. The most specific and intriguing response in the “Both/Depends” category came from Vintage Hill:
Depends on the wine you are having. A nice late harvest Semillon made dry likes the golden brown version with a milk chocolate bar. Same with a Cab. Sauv. but change the chocolate to a darker bar, even for some very tannic CS’s bittersweet is the call. Burn it and you are in Cab Franc country all the way.
Way back in January when it was too cold to care much, we wrote about how letting businesses spill into the sidewalk with sandwich boards, music and patios can make cities more pedestrian-friendly and lively. (And that means safer, too.)
In Spokane, businesses that want to build a café area on the actual sidewalk — as opposed to private property that happens to be outside — must apply for a permit from the city. Among the requirements: The patio must leave at least 6 feet of unobstructed sidewalk, must not block deliveries for adjacent businesses and must be at least four feet from any street trees.
And the city has quite a few new ones this year. Now that we’ve got some summery weather, here’s the list from the city of all businesses newly permitted this year for their inaugural sidewalk café summer:
River Park Square
808 W. Main Ave.
A seating area outside the front entrance of the mall is bordered by new flower planters, and a popular place to pause with an iced coffee.
228 W. Sprague Ave.
The wood-fenced patio was just constructed in the past week, and nearly doubles the seating capacity of the music venue’s café area.
The Blind Buck
204 N. Division St.
Partially covered by the bar’s awning, the little patio out front on Division is bordered by a tiny ledge just wide enough for your cold drink.
102 N. Howard St.
The patio outside Wild Dawgs, in the shadow of the Parkade, has full-size tables and feels urban without too much traffic.
River City Brewing
121 S. Cedar St.
On the west end of downtown just up the block from Rocket Bakery’s big outdoor seating area, River City’s patio is a good spot for watching the sun set as trains go by.
916 S. Hatch St.
Located in a residential part of the Perry District — the only one on this list outside the downtown core — Wisconsinburger built a wood deck across the full front of the restaurant.
UPDATE: The council voted unanimously Monday to approve the new rules. The full ordinance is below.
After a year of open houses and workshops and an anti-climactic meeting last month, the Spokane City Council looks set to finally vote on new food truck rules tonight.
The city's planning department has led the charge to hash out new rules to replace the current outdated and vague regulations — one example: mobile food vendors are technically required to move every 10 minutes. We wrote about the plan last summer and again when the council was set to vote on new rules in May. But, even though city staff said they worked with food truck owners on a new set of rules, when the time came for the city council to vote, the food truck owners who showed up were not pleased. Among other things, they criticized new fees and the city's proposed requirement for food trucks to get permission from nearby property owners in order to park in front of downtown buildings. So, the council delayed their vote. Now, after more meetings, the latest version of the rules is a compromise.
"There were things [city leaders] weren’t willing to compromise on and there were things they were. It was really nice that they were open," says Joile Forral, who owns the food truck Couple of Chefs and is president of the Greater Spokane Food Truck Association. "We do support the new changes."
The previous rules required a fee for each place where trucks planned to park; now, they'll be charged a flat yearly fee. On the larger, messier question of how much say brick and mortar businesses should have over food truck locations, the city will now work with food truck owners to identify downtown building owners who are "food-truck friendly" so food trucks now where they're welcome, Forral says. Outside of downtown, businesses can complain if they don't want a food truck near their building. In those cases, the trucks must stay 50 feet from the entrance.
Forral says she's heard from property owners who didn't want her truck nearby and was happy to move on.
"We don’t want to vend from where we’re not wanted," she says. "We just want to serve good food and be where people want us to be."
If passed by the council and signed by the mayor, the new rules will take effect in about a month.
Here's the full ordinance outlining the new rules (another ordinance on the agenda deals with which city zones will allow food trucks). The latest changes are in red.
After taking over the space previously occupied by Pend D’Oreille Winery and doing some renovations, MickDuff’s is opening its new tap room in downtown Sandpoint tomorrow. Unlike the original pub — which is still open like always — MickDuff’s Beer Hall doesn’t have a kitchen and will keep the focus on the beer.
Pend D’Oreille Winery, meanwhile, moved nearby to 301 Cedar St., and is celebrating both the reopening and its 19th anniversary this weekend with live music and discounts.
Back here in Spokane, Fusion Flours — the gluten-free bakeshop — is back open at a new location: 130 N. Stone, which was previously the site of Michlitch’s gluten-free baking operations.
This week's Entree newsletter has details about Young Buck Brewing and the new incubator brewery getting up and running near the former Spokane Public Market.
With the rapidly growing number of craft breweries in Washington state, it’s becoming more and more difficult to be the best in the state. But a handful of local breweries managed to do it at last weekend’s Washington Beer Awards: River City Brewing took home gold for its River City Red (American Ambers), Iron Goat Brewing took home gold for its Gin Barrel-Aged Head Butt IPA (Wood and Barrel Aged Beers) and silver for its Barrel-Aged Goatnik Russian Imperial Stout (Wood and Barrel Aged Strong Beers); Hopped Up Brewing earned silver for its Lemon Quality Cream Ale (Fruit Beers); Paradise Creek earned silver for its Scottish Stovepipe (Scottish Ales) and bronze for Huckleberry Pucker (Sours); and Republic Brewing Co. took home silver for its Falligan’s Irish red (Irish Red Ales) and bronze for Big Mischief Porter (Robust Porters).
A whole slate of new Washington state laws went into effect last Thursday, 90 days after the legislative session ends. Among them are a few laws that affect the way Washingtonians can get their drink on. Here are the changes:
Places licensed to sell beer growlers can now also sell cider growlers.
Craft cider is booming in Washington state, but the law hasn’t been exactly clear on how to deal with it. Is it more like wine? More like beer? Well, the passage of SB 6442 means that cider can be sold in growlers — the reusable, typically glass jugs — the same way beer on tap has been sold for years from local bottleshops and bars. The Northwest Cider Association expects this to be a huge boon for cideries trying to get a spot on local tap lists. The bill passed on March 19, and went into effect June 12.
Places licensed to distribute wine can sell wine growlers.
specialty shops and other distributors can now sell wine in refillable growlers, too, thanks to SHB 1742. Advocates emphasized that it makes wine a lot more sustainable, since wine enthusiasts can reuse a growler rather than throwing away bottles. This bill passed on March 17, and went into effect June 12. A clarification thanks to the Liquor Control Board: Wine growlers can only be sold by the wineries that produce the wine, at their own additional locations separate from any production or manufacturing sites. So, a tasting room in downtown Spokane owned by a winery in Walla Walla can sell growlers, but independent shops and tasting rooms that offer several wineries' products cannot.
Craft distilleries can sell you more alcohol.
Under previous law, craft distilleries could only sell a person three liters of spirits on a single day. That shouldn’t be a problem for personal consumption, but what if you’re picking up supplies for a big party or shopping for last-minute holiday gifts? Now, thanks to SSB 6226, that limit is gone. (It was just upped from two to three liters last year.) Additionally, craft distilleries could provide free half-ounce samples on the premises — now they can also charge for those samples if they want. Also important: It revises the definition of a “craft” distillery from one producing 60,000 gallons a year or less up to 150,000 gallons — so distilleries can make more without losing their “craft” status. This bill was passed on March 27, and went into effect June 12.
Farmers markets can offer more beer and wine samplings.
Last year, a new law started allowing beer and wine sampling at farmers markets around Washington state, with supporters saying it was a good way for local breweries and wineries to reach people who care about buying from local producers. In doing so, it also tweaked the definition of a “qualifying farmers market” so that more markets would be eligible. But since the definition wasn’t changed for selling beer and wine, some markets were eligible for sampling but not for selling. This year’s law, SB 6514, reconciles the definition so that all markets that qualify can do both. This bill was passed on March 27, and went into effect June 12.
Caterers can now apply for liquor licenses.
Many restaurants have liquor licenses, as do bars and event venues. But until now, independent catering companies without a storefront could not apply for a liquor license. Thanks to ESHB 2680, caterers can now apply for a liquor license from the state Liquor Control Board that allows them to serve alcohol at any place owned or leased by either the catering company or the organization that hired them. A couple of the stipulations: Caterers must provide some type of food at every event (at least snack food), and must send a schedule of liquor-catered events to the regional liquor board office every month. This bill was passed on March 17, and went into effect June 12.
Day spas can offer a complimentary glass of wine or beer.
Art galleries can offer visitors a complimentary glass of wine or beer to sip while they peruse the art, and wedding boutiques can do the same. So if you can have a drink with your art and your bridal gown shopping, why not your pedicure? With the passage of ESSB 5045, day spas can similarly get a permit to offer beer or wine to their guests over 21. The bill was passed April 2 and went into effect June 12.
Law enforcement can get involved if places that sell liquor have too much theft.
Part of the reason Washington did away with state-run liquor stores was the convenience of getting to pick up a bottle of vodka at the grocery store. But it’s also made theft more convenient at places that don’t keep their supply carefully guarded, and sometimes those thieves are minors. Now, with ESHB 2155, there’s a process for law enforcement and the Liquor Control Board to intervene when stores have an unusually high theft rate — defined as two or more thefts in a six-month period that involve minors getting access to liquor. This bill was passed on March 27, and went into effect June 12.
Ephata Cafe, located at 1908 W. Northwest Blvd, is now open and serving up a variety of juices, smoothies, sandwiches and other snacks. Opening Week specials continue through Saturday, when there’s a cake and ice cream celebration at 3 pm.
Crafted Tap House + Kitchen in Coeur d’Alene is opening this Sunday.
Also in Coeur d’Alene, a new taproom is opening soon — but for kombucha, not beer. Read more about Bare Culture Kombucha in this week’s Entree newsletter.
This weekend — Father’s Day, hint hint — is Swirl Washington, a new evening wine event at the Davenport with winemakers and chefs from around the region. It’s meant to be similar to Taste Washington Spokane, an annual event that ended in 2010.
The Fainting Goat, a wine bar and restaurant in Wallace, is celebrating one year today with champagne and cake.
Hopped Up Brewing is celebrating its first anniversary on Saturday with live music and beer floats.
The Washington Brewers Festival is this weekend, but unfortunately held on the other side of the state. But a few of Washington beer guru Kendall Jones’ festival picks are available in our area: Iron Goat’s Dry Fly barrel-aged creations, Orlison’s IPL and Rye IPL, Ramblin Road’s Belgian-style beers, and Twelve String’s tequila barrel-aged beers — “Who ages beer in tequila barrels? Gotta try it.”
A handful of local breweries took home honors from last weekend’s Mountain Brewers Beer Fest: Laughing Dog got gold for its Anubis Imperial Coffee Porter and bronze for its De Aschste Hond (a wild ale in the fruit category); Paradise Creek Brewery took home gold for its Hoe’s Daddy Dunkelweizen; and Selkirk Abbey earned gold for its Saint Joseph. See the full results here.
This week’s Inlander is the biggest of the year, primarily because of the 84 pages of Summer Guide. We did Summer Guide categories for both food and drinks this year. We mentioned cold brew in the food section — Roast House is offering free classes on how to do it properly.
Remi Olsen is moving away from Spokane, the Spokesman reports, bringing an end of sorts to the reviews and updates of SpoCOOL. The site lives on in a new form, and the blog portion is still available here.)
Ha Ha’s Teriyaki Grill was hit with some vandalism and racist graffiti.
If you’ve never been to the Saturday farmers market in Moscow, it’s serious business. Vendor spots are juried and coveted, and the city is hosting tryouts for new food and craft vendors next Friday. Applications are here.
A little advance notice — next week’s Thursday Market on Perry also includes a food truck rally.
This has been around a while but I'd missed it until now, so maybe you did, too: A guy in Brooklyn sends grilled cheese sandwiches with little parachutes down to people on the sidewalk from his upper-story window. Here, described as only TV news can describe it.
Read previous food news here.
This week’s update is heavy on the drinking. Pace yourself as needed.
There are just over two weeks left to go in Spiceologist’s latest Kickstarter campaign, this one funding an expansion to launch their line of spice rubs nationwide. Check out the project here, and look in next week’s Summer Guide issue for ideas and tips on how to use the rubs in creative ways this summer.
In other yogurt news, Chobani is laying people off from its Idaho plant.
Thrillist put together a list of Washington’s 10 best restaurants outside Seattle and included Casper Fry and the Black Cypress in Pullman. (Aside from one in Walla Walla, the rest are all still on the west side.)
In his column this week, Luke Baumgarten quietly dropped the exciting news that the folks behind Nudo are planning to open a burger joint on the same block.
This week's Entree newsletter introduces a new local tequila company, Nightshade Experience. Read more here.
Latah Creek Winery cleaned up at the Seattle Wine Awards, with each of eight wines entered coming home with an award, and other local wineries had a good showing as well.
Last week we mentioned the upcoming Washington Brewers Festival in the Seattle area; also coming up this weekend is the 20th Annual Mountain Brewers Beer Fest in Idaho Falls, with a fair amount of location representation among the participating breweries.
Dry Fly vodka and whiskey got mentioned prominently in a Father’s Day gift guide. (Conveniently, there is a 25 percent off Father’s Day coupon from Dry Fly on page 27 of this week’s print issue.)
This Pearl vodka mixology contest is labeled Seattle, but you’ll find a few local names to vote for if you’re so inclined.
First Friday is coming around again tomorrow, and along with the art we’ve got a couple of beverage releases. Liberty Ciderworks is hinting at a limited-release Dry Fly barrel-aged cider, and River City is releasing their Riverkeeper IPA at the downtown Numerica location. Like last year’s Riverkeeper Red, it benefits Spokane Riverkeeper. But it’s an entirely new beer — a true Northwest IPA made with local hops, grains and, of course, local water.
This weekend is also Elkfest, and this year there’s the option to bring two cans of food for 2nd Harvest food bank instead of paying the $2 cover charge for the beer gardens.
More upcoming drinking: Spokane Preservation Advocates is hosting a Pints for Preservation pub crawl on June 14 to learn about historic architecture in Spokane and, well, drink.
Swirl Washington is also coming up on Father's Day.
Recreational marijuana is getting into the food industry — check out yesterday’s Weed Wednesday post for a Seattle company making cannabis-infused coffee beverages and problems with edibles.
Candied bacon cannoli, deep-fried olives on a stick, “Comet Corn” — the Minnesota State Fair, where I once worked, revealed this year’s absurd list of new foods. It makes Pig Out look like a salad bar.
Read previous food news and musings here.
To complete the Inland Northwest Ale Trail, participants must visit 10 of the participating breweries and have a drink at each one. In May, a group of bicyclists attempted to complete the trail in just one day. After a few pints and a wrong turn, they were feeling good but not sure if they’d finish in time.
Follow their journey in this video and find out more about the Inland Northwest Ale Trail here.
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