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An Encyclopedia of Local Dining, Pt. I 

Your culinary reference guide, from Asian to Japanese.

click to enlarge Ethiopian coffee at Queen of Sheba
  • Ethiopian coffee at Queen of Sheba

Asian

not a cuisine

1. Archaic — A broad category used until very recently by citizens of the Inland Northwest as a catch-all to describe any cuisine originating east of the Hindu Kush and south of modern-day Russia. This included everything from the earthy curries of the Punjab to the spicy, aromatic barbecue of Korea.

2. Akin to grouping the Shock, the Indians and the Chiefs together as “sports teams.” Strictly true, but not very helpful.

3. A select number of local restaurants — like Avocado Buffet (328 N. Sullivan Rd., Spokane Valley), Asian Restaurant (5306 W. Sunset Hwy.), and Asia Restaurant (2910 E. 57th Ave.) — that actually do multiple regional Asian cuisines.

Synonym: Oriental Food (mildly offensive).

Disambiguation: See entries for: Chinese, Indian, Japanese, Korean, Thai, Vietnamese.

— LUKE BAUMGARTEN

Banh Mi

sandwich

(bahn me)

1. A Vietnamese baguette. One of the few non-destructive cultural offspring of the French colonial period (the other being that wicked plantation scene in Apocalypse Now Redux).

2. More commonly: a hoagie-style sandwich made with said bread and consisting, generally, of a meat (barbecue pork, shredded pork, pate, head cheese) or tofu, pickled carrots and daikon radish. Generally very inexpensive ($2.75-$3 locally). While banh mi are insanely popular in most large cities, they are only carried by a few restaurants locally.

Also known as: Pork rolls (Australia), Vietnamese Po’ Boy (New Orleans), the $5-Foot-Long Killer (Luke Baumgarten).

The Complete (We Think) Local Banh Mi Guide: Vien Dong Far East (1730 E. Sprague Ave.) has seven varieties, including two pork options, chicken, tofu (special order) and — our personal favorite — a bad-ass little deluxe sandwich that has all of the traditional salad elements, along with mayo, pate and head cheese. Head cheese isn’t for everyone, but if you’re adventurous, that’s our pick. And Pho 999 (2904 E. Sprague Ave.) has the simple, traditional pork banh mi. You can also get a pre-wrapped version at the Rocket Bakery (157 S. Howard St.) in the Holley Mason Building.

— LUKE BAUMGARTEN

click to enlarge DO_IpanemaMeat1.jpg
Brazilian

adjective / hairstyle

1. A style of grilling meat designed to arouse the senses, encouraging diners to say “Yes!” to churrascaria de rodizio. The only place to enjoy this style of dining in the Inland Northwest is at Coeur d’Alene’s Grille from Ipanema, where everything is grilled and brought to your table on long skewers. Servers then hack chunks of savory steaks, sausages, pork, chicken — even grilled vegetables and pineapple — directly onto your plate. Set aside several hours for this feast, which includes a buffet of Portuguese and European side dishes.

Eat at: Grille from Ipanema (601 Front Ave., Coeur d’Alene).

— CARRIE SCOZZARO

Cheese, homemade

artisan

1. “Well, we just had 20 acres that we had to do something with,” Lorie Arnold chuckles. Though humble she may be, Arnold’s Heron Pond Farms goat cheese speaks for itself. Featured on the menus of several prominent local restaurants, as well as occupying a permanent spot on the artisan cheese shelves of both Rocket and Main Markets, her fresh and aged cheeses have gained a reputation for being damn good. After years of hard labor and countless hours of experimentation in the kitchen, she kindly (not to mention patiently) summarized the steps she perfected to transform tepid goat lactations into the various delectable varieties of Heron Pond goat cheese that are appearing on local plates.

Happy goats: “Everything affects the quality and flavor of the milk,” Arnold says. Her property also features partitioned-off grazing areas to allow field rotation, which wreaks less havoc on the soil and allows goats to get a healthy dose of greens. Cuddling and smooches are optional, but encouraged.

Her goats are milked twice a day by hand. (Word to the wise: Milk taken from a goat fresh back from the breeders will taste, well, muskier.) The addition of cultures and coagulants is what transforms the goat’s milk into cheese. A soft cheese such as chevre is simply finished off by letting it sit in cheesecloth for a day, to strain off excess liquid. Harder cheeses, such as their wine-soaked gruyere, are aged 60 days in a dark cooler.

Eat at: Sante (404 W. Main Ave.), Rocket Market (726 E. 43rd Ave.), Main Market Co-op (44 W. Main Ave.).

— ALICIA PURVIS-LARIVIERE

Chinese

cuisine

1. The food of China — a ridiculously large place, with incredibly varied food.

2. American Chinese food, the kind most prevalent locally, tends to ignore regionalism, focuses on meats rather than greens — and greens native to the Americas (broccoli, for example) rather than greens native to China (gai lan).

Eat at: Those places embracing regionalism are few, but include Gordy’s Sichuan Café (501 E. 30th Ave.) and Hong Kong Express (2435 N. Division St.), which offers dim sum and other Cantonese dishes.

— LUKE BAUMGARTEN

Confit

noun

(cone-fee)

1. Traditional: a diabolically ironic process of food preservation, whereby the meat of an animal (duck and goose are common) is cooked and then preserved in its own fat.

2. Modern: the process of preserving any food in any liquid. Duck is still most common locally, but many chefs have taken to cooking and preserving vegetables this way. Takes some of the fun out but makes for a nicely seasoned mushroom.

Eat at: As it is an innovation of Gascony, you’ll find confit at any self-respecting French restaurant (see p. 7). Additionally, at Mizuna (214 N. Howard St.), Latah Bistro (4241 S. Cheney-Spokane Rd.), Twigs (four locations), and the Garnet Café (315 E. Walnut Ave., CdA). Oddly, even more restaurants offer it on their catering menu, but that’s outside the scope of this encyclopedia.

— LUKE BAUMGARTEN

Connor, Charlie
Cuviello, Peter

chefs

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1. This summer, we asked a group of local chefs — those with tons of name recognition and innumerable media credits — which local chefs deserved to be better-known, and better-covered by the media.

Their responses didn’t overlap, with two exceptions: Charlie Connor and Peter Cuviello appeared on almost everyone’s list.

The interesting thing about that is that the two men work at the same place: Wild Sage, that island of creative dining on West Second in Spokane.

Connor, 31, has been the executive chef there for about a year and a half, taking over from Alexa Wilson, whom he had worked under for two years. Cuviello, 35, has been Connor’s sous chef for a little over a year.

Their stories are very different — but the moment when cooking became a passion is pretty similar for both of them.

“It clicked when I was going to school and working at the [Coeur d’Alene] Resort — where their budget is ridiculous, and they always bring in high-end food,” Connor says. “I was just working my tail off and still doing 30 or 40 hours in school,” but he wasn’t exhausted by it. It was an environment that rewarded experimentation.

Cuviello did a full culinary track in school but was working as a pastry chef at Portland’s iconic Heathman Hotel Restaurant (now home to the Beard Award-winning Philippe Boulot). One day, a line cook didn’t show up.

“They said, ‘You went to culinary school, right? You know how to cook? Get up on the line,’” he recalls. “I was hooked after that.”

Both men say it’s about the speed and the precision that is required, as well as the way your mind stays active, assessing the plates in front of you, while thinking 10 steps down the line.

“You get your adrenaline going,” Cuviello says. “And then, some nights, you don’t get your adrenaline going. You get that zen calm where there are 10 million things happening, but you feel like you can see everything.”

They’re back in Spokane for similar reasons, too — Connor for “the bounty of the place” and Cuviello for family. The latter met his wife on his first trip through Spokane 12 years ago and returned because of the people here and the sense of promise.

“I love Portland,” Cuviello says. “I love Portland food, but it’s big, and a lot of it’s already done. Here, there’s this whole feeling of people staying, people wanting food, and people wanting something that’s Spokane, and it’s just starting.”

As for what “something that’s Spokane” might be, Connor looks to fast food. “It would be nice if someone created a concept locally to compete with the McDonald’s of the area — a locally infused fast-food concept,” he says. “But don’t call it ‘fast food,’ call it slow food or something.”

Sitting at a table, the restaurant empty, orders coming in the back, Cuviello leans in and says, “Wouldn’t it be awesome to go somewhere and get a rice bowl with local grains — and local everything — get it quick, get it healthy?”

“The South Hill would eat that up,” Connor says.

Cuviello leans back, “I might be working with this guy for a while.”

Eat at: Wild Sage (916 W. Second Ave.).

— LUKE BAUMGARTEN

Deli sandwich

compound noun

1. One of the greatest culinary masterpieces, when done correctly — a perfect synergy of meat, vegetables, bread and condiments; can achieve perfect balance in taste, proportion and texture.

Eat at: Locally, we’re blessed, despite being roughly 1,786 miles away from Chicago, a deli sandwich haven. Not surprisingly, Sonnenberg’s Market (1528 E. Sprague Ave.), the “oldest meat market in town,” is a choice spot for deli sandwich goodness. For under $4, you can score a large sandwich, plus a side. Meats and cheeses are all sliced to order. These are sandwiches the way they should be. Kowalski’s Deli (4407 N. Division St.), although their sandwiches are a little more pricey, also makes them roughly the size of God. This place is a deli sandwich wonderland.

— TIFFANY HARMS

Diner

noun

1. September has been a cruel month for Spokane diners and classic American cuisine. Cyrus O’Leary’s closed its doors, the Milk Bottle and Ferguson’s are charred and gutted. So where can you go when you crave an authentic dinner of yore, the kind of meatloaf-with-canned-string-bean-sides-dishes that Alice used to whip up for the Bradys? Or a menu that contains mashed potatoes, turkey soup and strawberry rhubarb pie?

Eat at: Cold War-era comfort food cravers can seek solace in places like Molly’s (224 S. Lincoln), Knight’s Diner (2909 N. Market), Willow Springs (809 First St., Cheney) and the Satellite Diner (425 W. Sprague).

— ANNEMARIE C. FROHNHOEFER

Elk

noun

1. Community in northeast Spokane County, home to a VFW and a crick with some crawdads.

2. A versatile red meat that lends itself to grilling, touted for being low-fat. Plus, it’s just primal to eat something you could — if you really wanted to and had a lot of time and energy — go out and hunt yourself.

Eat at: G.W. Hunter’s (615 N. Spokane St., Post Falls), which tops its flat-iron elk steak with a brandy peppercorn sauce. For something decidedly less sit-down, Cabela’s (101 N. Cabela Way, Post Falls) — yes, the sports store — serves elk on deli sandwiches.

— CARRIE SCOZZARO

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Ethiopian Coffee

tradition

1. Dressed in a white gauzy gown with ornate beading sewed along the neckline, Almaz Ainuu bends down to light the incense that signals the start of the Ethiopian coffee ceremony.

The scent of frankincense fills the small space in the back of her Spokane restaurant, Queen of Sheba. “Some people think incense is used because it’s spiritual. I think it’s for the aroma.”

The methodical process of washing the coffee beans, roasting them with spices, grinding them and brewing the coffee takes about 40 minutes. “It’s a way for people to talk about politics, about their faith. That’s why it takes time — to allow people to visit,” she explains.

“This is like our bread, it’s like our food,” she says, pointing to the coffee beans roasting in the pan. The beans turn from green to caramel to dark chocolate brown with a light sheen. Ainuu tosses in handful of spices from a nearby cup — she won’t tell us what kind — and shakes the pan a moment longer. The exotic, heady fragrance of coffee, spice and incense mingles in the air as the beans crackle in the pan.

After the beans have cooled, Ainuu grinds them by hand with a mortar and pestle. The long-necked clay coffee pot, called a jebena, sits on a burner nearby, ready for the freshly ground coffee that Ainuu adds.

Now the room smells heavenly.

Ainuu passes around popcorn as the coffee brews and explains that the coffee ceremony can take one or two hours for people to enjoy fully. “People are visiting and talking, you’re roasting the beans. You’re being entertained,” she says.

When the coffee is finally ready, Ainuu spoons sugar into each small porcelain cup. In southern Ethiopia, clarified butter and salt is added instead. She raises the jebena high in the air, filling all of the cups on the low tray in a single swooping motion. She passes around the first of many cups, explaining that the third cup of coffee is believed to bestow a blessing. The spicy, earthy, sweet elixir is unlike any cup of coffee we’ve had before.

Contrary to its drive-through-coffee counterpart, traditionally prepared Ethiopian coffee isn’t a quaff-and-run proposition. It’s the ultimate sign of hospitality. Grab a half-dozen friends and head to Queen of Sheba to experience a cup of coffee the way it was meant to be enjoyed.

Get caffeinated at: Queen of Sheba (inside the Flour Mill, 621 W. Mallon Ave.).

— KIRSTEN HARRINGTON

Fired Pizza

preference

1. For pizza-snobs, there’s fired pizza … and then there’s everything else. Unlike conventional cooking, open-flame cooking — fueled through coal or, better yet, seasoned hardwood — imparts an unmistakable flavor not unlike what grilling does for meat or even vegetables. Of course, the crust has to be thin (sorry, Chicago fans) and toppings minimal.

Eat at: Sandpoint’s Loading Dock (202 N. First St., Sandpoint, Idaho; now open year-round) and CdA newcomer Fire (517 Sherman Ave.), whose artisanal selections include the Billy, with goat cheese and arugula. In Spokane, your fired pizza options are multiple. South Perry Pizza does a lighter crust — almost a flatbread — with unusual toppings, like pea pesto. On the north side, at the Flying Goat, you’ll find crunchy thin-crust creations like the Lacrosse, a pizza topped with Yukon gold potatoes, cheese, herbs and pancetta. And, since most Americans’ concept of pizza is actually Neapolitan-style, go to the source at Villagio (2013 E. 29th Ave.). The sights, the smells … a little bit of old Italy right there on your plate.

— CARRIE SCOZZARO

French

verb / adjective

1. To kiss passionately.

2. Pertaining to France, a European country to which we’re gastronomically grateful for cooking that emphasizes seasonal ingredients and artfully prepared dishes. It’s a love affair with baking, especially pastries and bread.

Eat at: Madeleine’s Café & Patisserie (707 W. Main), which makes everything from scratch. Or visit one of the area’s numerous French-trained chefs, like Sante’s Jeremy Hansen (404 W. Main) and Coeur d’Alene Casino’s Adam Hegsted (37914 South Nukwalqw Road, Worley). Although kissing on the cheek is optional, the Mediterranean meat pie, Chilean crab with potato beignets and escargot at Fleur de Sel (4365 E. Inverness Dr, Post Falls) will make you go oh-la-la.

— CARRIE SCOZZARO

Frybread

noun

1. Fried bread (duh), produced by many cultures but most commonly regarded as a Native American dish.

Eat at: Possibly one of the more brilliant uses of frybread is the Indian Taco — pretty much like a regular taco, only made with this flat, almost pita-like bread. There’s an elusive Indian taco truck around town that’s been sighted on Sprague and at local fairs. You can also score some pre-feast mini-frybreads in a tiny canoe at Masselow’s (Northern Quest Casino, 100 N. Hayford Rd., Airway Heights).

— TIFFANY HARMS

Fusion

noun

1. The process by which two or more atomic nuclei join together to form a single heavier nucleus.

2. A catch-all way of categorizing the uncategorizable restaurant, which is designed to appeal to our wide-reaching palates. Immix in Cheney (122 College Ave.), for example, serves Japanese Wagyu beef, Caribbean chicken, Greek salad, and classic American deli Reuben sandwiches. Moxie (816 W. Sprague Ave.) does Hawaiian poke, Thai steak salad, and French salad Nicoise. North Idaho’s Dover Bay Café (651 Lakeshore Ave., Dover, Idaho) does Hawaiian huli chicken, Japanese tempura ahi, Indian satays, and Midwestern-style pork ribs.

While many fusion-type restaurants cover a wide geographical range, others hone in on a region, such as the White House Grill (712 N. Spokane St., Post Falls), which does Mediterranean, Greek, and Turkish, and Bonsai Bistro (101 E. Sherman Ave., CdA), which does all manner of “Asian.” (See “Asian.”)
Another approach to fusion is bridging seemingly opposite cooking styles or flavors, such as Lemongrass (309 E. Lakeside Ave., CdA), which pairs Vietnamese and French — so, spring rolls but also pommes de crevettes — potato-wrapped prawns on jasmine rice.

Eat at: See above.

— CARRIE SCOZZARO

click to enlarge DO.garcia.jpg
Garcia, Gina

chef

1. At Chaps, a rugged-style restaurant owned by Montana native Celeste Shaw, water is served in a mason jar. And so are peach pies.

The jar pies are the brainchild of pastry chef Gina Garcia, who owns and operates Cake, the bakery connected to Chaps. After closing the doors of her former business, Bittersweet Bakery and Bistro, Garcia’s good friend, Shaw, brought up the possibility of joining forces and setting up shop at her restaurant. But Garcia was burned out. She needed some prodding.

“‘You can’t quit baking. Too many people love what you do,’” Garcia remembers Shaw saying. “‘You should keep doing what you’re doing.’”

Eventually, Garcia came around to the idea, and the remodel of Chaps began, which meant they “blew the entire north side of the building off” to accommodate the new bakery space. The result is a 3,000-square-foot bakery that allows Garcia to churn out the cakes, pies and tarts she had been known for.

Garcia never intended to be a baker. She originally received a degree in fine arts, and she didn’t go back to school for cooking until she was in her 30s, when she set out to be a sauté chef.

“[But] I just fell in love with [pastry]. I liked it so much better than sauté,” she says. “It was really therapeutic for me. I didn’t feel the pressure that I did being a sauté chef.”

And it played off her artistic background — she says she loves the creativity involved. That plays out in her creations, like the mason-jar peach pies inspired by her friend.

Garcia’s process is refined. For the peach pies, she drives north to Green Bluff. She slices her newly bought peaches, macerates them, and drains the juices. Then she sautés the slices until they caramelize. And then they’re ready to become pie filling.

Her recipes play on a philosophy that favors flavor over sweetness — just because they’re pastries doesn’t mean that they have to be covered in sugar.

Although Garcia says she sells some of her items at local places like Atticus and Huckleberry’s, the setup she and Shaw have is just right for both of them.

“We just really have so much going on here,” says Garcia. “Chaps and Cake work in tandem so well. … It is a nice marriage of the two places.”

Try a peach pie at: Cake • 4237 S. Cheney-Spokane Rd.

— TIFFANY HARMS

Gastropub

noun

1. A public house of or relating to the stomach.

2. A local establishment, described by Manito Tap House owner Patrick McPherson as a place with a love for beer, a casual atmosphere and high quality food: You can wear Crocs and your floppy gardening hat to the gastropub, but please don’t ask if they have wine coolers.

Synonyms: Saranac Public House (21 W. Main Ave.), Manito Tap House (3011 S. Grand Blvd.), Elk Public House (1931 W. Pacific Ave.).

Antonyms: Bar and grill, Players and Spectators, Peacock Room.

— ANNEMARIE C. FROHNHOEFER

German

adjective

1. Cuisine from Deutschland, known for comfort. Potatoes. Cheese. Sausage. Bread. And then there’s beer. It’s amazing they ever get anything done, the way they eat, because all those foods — especially when consumed simultaneously — equal food-coma naptime.

2. Chocolates, often with booze inside. Way to go, Germany!
Eat at: Alpine Delicatessen (417 E. Third Ave.) is a great stop for cozy German cuisine, as they have a small market with imported German products, in addition to their restaurant/deli arrangement. And for a hefty plate of schnitzel and spaetzle, hit Das Stein Haus (1812 W. Francis Ave.), formerly known as Chic-a-Ria.

— TIFFANY HARMS

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Hand Food

convenience

1. Any sort of food meant to be eaten without aid of dining utensils.

2. A term given in contemporary contexts by chefs and other professionals to describe meals that are designed to be fast and eaten on the go. It is used as a less culturally fraught alternative to “fast food.” No one wants their chicken turkey basil dog with chimichurri sauce being compared to a Big Mac.

3. An increasingly popular form of calorie intake, as people become more mindful of the food they eat, while still remaining too busy to actually sit down and have a meal the way your mother always tells you to.

Synonym: Street Food.

Caveat: What can be eaten in the hand is a highly subjective matter, determined by things like how comfortable you are walking down the street with the electric-red oil from a chorizo burrito dripping down your arm.

Eat at: What follows in an inexhaustive, but thoughtful, selection of local hand food, on a messiness scale we are making up as we go.

ONE NAPKIN: Veraci Pizza (various locations, veracipizza.com/spokane), Cheddar Chad’s Hot Dog Stand (Howard Street and Main Avenue), Joel’s (229 Church St., Sandpoint).

TWO NAPKINS: Mommy G’s Gourmet Grilled Cheese (Sprague Avenue and Washington Street), Tacos Tumbras (1325 W. Second Ave, 9420 E. Sprague Ave., and Freya Street at Olive); Tacos El Sol (401 W. Sprague Ave.), Loco Dogz (313 First St., Cheney).

BRING WET NAPS: Big Red’s (Sunset Boulevard & Government Way), Fletcher’s Barbecue (Freya Street at Olive) and the aforementioned Wild Dawgs (102 N. Howard St.).

— LUKE BAUMGARTEN

Huckleberries

noun

1. These little bluish-purple gems are one of our region’s culinary claims to fame. Feted with numerous festivals and gracing souvenir stands everywhere, huckleberries lend their sweet-tart flavor to everything from chocolate to vinegar. With attempts at commercial cultivation producing limited success, wild huckleberries command $40-$50 a gallon. The hefty price tag doesn’t discourage local restaurants, and these beautiful berries are muddled into Huckleberry Mojitos at Coeur d’Alene’s Bardenay restaurant and baked into huckleberry croissants at Madeleine’s Café.

Kris McIlvenna, chef/owner of Green Briar Inn and Catering in Coeur d’Alene, compares huckleberries to grapes. “The flavor depends on the altitude and the soil,” she says. McIlvenna’s restaurant, 315 Martinis and Tapas, showcases the berries’ brilliant flavor in meatballs, baked brie with huckleberry honey, and, of course, cheesecake. McIlvenna’s wholesale business, Wildbeary Huckleberry, sells drink mixes, dried berries, popcorn and a dozen other huckleberry-flavored products.

Eat at: Bardenay (1710 W. Riverstone Dr., Coeur d’Alene), 315 Martinis and Tapas (315 Wallace Ave., Coeur d’Alene).

— KIRSTEN HARRINGTON

Indian

cuisine

1. India is the second-most-populated country in the world, and yet Spokane only has three — one, two, three — Indian restaurants. Odd, especially when you consider the fact that India’s nearby neighbor, China, is the most populous country in the world. Spokane has at least 60 Chinese restaurants in its midst. What gives?

Regardless, the Indian food we do have — spread from the north side to downtown to Spokane Valley in a spicy, tangy triangle — is holding on strong.

Most local Indian food is reflective of what you’ll find through a lot of America — mostly northern and southern Indian cuisine. But, from the rich gravy of the Kofta Kashmiri at Top of India to the buttery Saag Paneer at Taaj, it’s all still nothing like American cuisine.

Downtown Spokane’s Taaj, the newest purveyor of local Indian, recently changed ownership. New owners Ramandeep Singh and Gurinder Purewal have run six Indian restaurants since the mid-’90s, spanning from Folsom, Calif., to Ashland, Ore. And though the menu items are still the same at Taaj, Singh says that he wanted to make the food there even fresher than it was before.

“The chicken, we just put it in when the customer came in today,” he says. “We are not going to use the oven anymore. We will just use the clay oven.”

Singh says the reason his restaurants have always had success is because he explains Indian cuisine to his customers. And he scrutinizes every detail of how it is prepared. This food is his passion, he says. “You cannot know this food by recipe.”

“My mom used to tell me, your tongue is gonna take you far,” he says. “It’s true. I was in India then, and I’m here now.”

Eat at: Taaj (128 W. Third Ave.), Taste of India (3110 N. Division St.), Top of India (11114 E. Sprague Ave., Spokane Valley)

— LEAH SOTTILE

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Jackson, Dan

farmer

1. In 1999, Dan Jackson started growing peppers and tomatoes for his wedding. He didn’t know anything about gardening except for what he had read online. Today he reads reports from Florida State University about baby squash. And in his spare time (by day, he’s a television news photographer with KREM), he grows hundreds of pounds of food — and that’s only counting tomatoes — that he sells to 10 local restaurants and the Main Market.

“I have this incredible desire to grow vegetables, so I follow it,” Jackson says.

In 2000, he bought an L-shaped property with two acres in Spokane Valley. Not five minutes away from the heart of suburbia, Jackson and his wife get up at dawn and pick vegetables alongside boisterous roosters and baby pheasants.

On those two acres, he grows Japanese eggplant, watermelon, cinnamon basil, chocolate bell peppers, English cucumbers, squash and just about everything else imaginable for places like the Coeur d’Alene Resort, Masselow’s, Mizuna and the Davenport.

Jackson spent his first year growing vegetables for the Spokane farmers market until he answered a newspaper ad from Luna, asking for local produce. Today, 95 percent of what he grows has been explicitly requested by restaurants.

“Dan provides really high-quality produce, and it’s nice to have a familiar face bringing in your food,” says Krista Kautzmann, owner of South Perry Pizza. “I’ve seen exactly where his tomatoes are grown, and I love the idea of an urban farm that places importance on local food.”

Deserae Cohrs from Maple Street Bistro agrees. “Buying locally from Dan just seems like the right thing to do,” she says. “It supports the community. Plus, it gives me a product that I can depend on and be happy with.”

Jackson says the restaurants that he grows for prove that the local food movement isn’t just a national trend — it’s happening in Spokane. “Not everyone is going to jump on the bandwagon,” he says. “But it’s just a matter of convincing people that it’s possible to buy local food, to seek out local growers, and to get a high-quality affordable product.”

Jackson says the demand for local growers is there. He speaks of the millions of dollars spent on food each year in Spokane and points to restaurants, schools, nursing homes, hospitals and grocery stores as new potential markets in the local-food movement.

“I don’t know what the answers are or what it’s going to take to get more peopled interested,” he says, “but I know someone has to get in there and starting trying it, to start pushing things, and to start growing.”

Try Jackson’s produce at: Coeur d’Alene Resort (115 S. Second St, Coeur d’Alene), Mizuna (214 S. Howard St.), Masselow’s (Northern Quest Casino, 100 N. Hayford Rd., Airway Heights), Davenport Hotel (10 S. Post St), South Perry Pizza (1011 S. Perry St.), Maple Street Bistro (5520 N. Maple St.).

— JORDY BYRD

Japanese

adjective

1. Cuisine of Japan. As an island nation, it relies heavily on the sea. Meat-eating was rare until modern times, but the cuisine could not be called strictly vegetarian, because of the use of fish products in seasonings and stocks. Japanese restaurants in America tend to feature some chicken.

2. Local restaurants rarely advertise “Japanese” food. Look for the code words “sushi” and “teriyaki,” and you’re in on the secret!

Eat at: Sushi Yama (13032 W. 14th Ave., Airway Heights), Kay’s Teriyaki Plus (601 E. Francis Ave.), Wasabi (10208 N. Division St.), Takara (309 E. Lakeside Ave., CdA), The Red Bento (215 W. Third St., Moscow)

— LUKE BAUMGARTEN
Read K-Z

A Note from the Editor

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There are few things more important — in the long run — than how we eat. And over the last few years, how we eat has begun to shift. People are demanding that our food — from school cafeteria to gourmet restaurant — be fresh, humanely treated and locally grown. Cutting corners, culinarily speaking, isn’t cutting it anymore.

The shift away from Big Macs and Big Gulps has become more apparent in the Inland Northwest dining scene recently. We’re seeing ethnic cuisines emerge — Indian, Korean, more pho than one could possibly need. We’re seeing chefs take risks and go rogue, opting for pop-up restaurants and food carts instead of traditional kitchens. Hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches are coming back. We have foie gras on our plates. We’re giving tofu a try.

But all this change and creativity can be confusing: What the hell is confit? Do I really want to try lengua? Or bibimbap?

Because we had no idea what makes pork belly so special, or what the difference was between a gastro-pub and a regular pub, we decided to make this year’s Dining Out issue more like an encyclopedia for our local dining scene.

And when you see all the culinary options laid out on paper like this, we hope you’ll be as excited as we are about how our little corner of the universe is eating.

— LEAH SOTTILE, Dining Out Editor

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