PUB Neighborhood Charm & r & & r & Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name -- or at least the owner does -- and WADDELL'S fits the bill.
Michael Noble, Josh Unser and Jim Sells have poured their hearts into this new neighborhood pub with an Irish/Scottish theme and a name from the annals of baseball lore, tucked just off Regal near Twigs on the South Hill. The three owners met while working at the venerable Longhorn Barbecue and decided to make a run at building their own institution two years ago.
"I drove by this place last January and just fell in love with this location," Noble says. The small shopping area is backed by a large patio and pond, perfect for warm-weather dining, he notes.
Open since Jan. 21, Waddell's has already begun attracting regular repeat customers to its warmly painted walls and large windows. That's by design, Noble says.
"That's what we've been hearing since we've been open. 'Welcome to the neighborhood, we've been waiting for this,'" he says. "We built something that makes people feel like they're at home away from home."
As for the pub's namesake -- an alligator-wrestling, bartending American League pitcher named "Rube" Waddell, who was a distant cousin to Unser -- his historical presence provides some humor. Born on Friday the 13th, Waddell was known for coming to games late and changing on-field without underwear until the day he died -- April Fools Day, 1914.
Waddell's specializes in pub fare, including a Guinness stew made with lamb for $14 (perfect for a cold snowy night) and the Rube Waddell Burger ($9), with toppings from the Reuben sandwich, that has proven popular.
For all its populist charm, the pub has its gourmet touches. Noble -- who is culinary school-trained -- raves about the pub's sweet-potato fries and the fresh, certified Angus beef burger meat that is hand-formed for patties. The fish and chips ($12) features a hand-dipped batter, and the salmon fillet ($16) is served with huckleberry sauce.
Waddell's keeps 20 beers on tap, three with nitrogen for a smoother pour and richer head, and more than 70 different beers are available in bottles. Growlers, large refillable bottles about the size of a pitcher, are also available for customers to take home.
--STEVEN R. NEUMAN
Waddell's Neighborhood Pub and Grill, 4318 S. Regal St., is open daily from 11 am-close (about 10 pm on weekdays). Visit waddellspub.com or call 443-6500.
EVENT Roast Beast
What started as a unique North Idaho way to raise scholarship money has grown to become a much-anticipated event for North Idaho College supporters and area foodies alike. Now in its ninth year, NIC's annual WILD GAME FEAST will once again introduce diners to such eclectic offerings as Tibetan yak meatballs simmered in juniper and cream.
For $75 a ticket ($70 for Alumni Association members), attendees enjoy a four-course meal beginning with Asian-inspired alligator wontons in a spicy plum dipping sauce (krikey!). Other appetizers include the aforementioned yak (try saying that word without grinning), and wapiti (a kind of deer) quesadillas in a smoked onion sauce. Spinach salad topped with boar bacon and hard-boiled quail eggs is accompanied by a Creole turtle soup. The entr & eacute;e ought to put a bounce to your step: Kangaroo medallions with caramelized shallot-cabernet reduction, gorgonzola polenta and a balsamic ratatouille. And even non-meat eaters will appreciate the dessert, which is a huckleberry bread pudding topped with warm Wild Turkey hard sauce (gobble-gobble).
While NIC alumnus Mike Volk provides soothing background music, diners can peruse the silent auction items or the ever-popular pelt presentations by Idaho Fish and Game, whose taxidermy displays remind one of the county fair (and no, you're not supposed to pet the critters). There is also a no-host bar and wine selection to complement the esoteric menu offerings of NIC food services supervisor Steve Taylor.
This year the event has returned to the college's Student Union Building after more than five years at the Coeur d'Alene Inn. (They served alcohol.) Although ticket prices have nearly tripled, NIC has scaled back ticket availability, which provides for a more homey environment. It's all white linen and tip-top service at large tables that -- unless you're attending with half a dozen of your chums -- will give you an opportunity to make new friends. And although it's a pricey way to spend the evening, this unique fundraiser has raised (to date) more than $30,000 to provide 48 scholarships to deserving students.
-- CARRIE SCOZZARO
NIC's Wild Game Feast is Saturday, Feb. 2, social hour at 6 pm, dinner served at 6:45 pm, at Edminster Student Union Building, North Idaho College, Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. Tickets are $75 per person ($70, Alumni Association members), advance purchase recommended. Visit www.nic.edu or call (208) 769-5978.