The number of North Idaho places selling gelato tripled recently, thanks to an unlikely source in Spirit Lake, a rustic town of around 2,000 people along the northwestern rim of Kootenai County. That’s where Randi and Jeff Malloy have operated Fourth and Main Pizza since 2003, making most everything from scratch: pizza dough, sauce, sausage, even the bread for their sandwiches.
“Better quality and better taste,” says Randi, who handles pizza and sandwiches, assisted by her father, Bob Billings, during lunch. And now Jeff devotes mornings and late nights — when he’s not working with his brother in their computer business — to making gelato.
Food and family are important to the Malloys, whose five children have worked in the restaurant. Their youngest son, Adam, took credit for encouraging dad to make unusual flavors like smoked bacon. But it was their daughter, Nicole, who indirectly introduced the Malloys to gelato. While traveling Europe with Nicole (a budding pastry chef), Randi and Jeff visited Rome’s Gelateria del Teatro, a highly regarded artisan gelateria. They were hooked.
Countless hours spent training and experimenting have yielded around 75 gelato flavors and 20 sorbets, all made from scratch with their own caramels, roasted nuts, fruit purees and flavorings. You won’t find any powderbased gelato here. A case of egg yolks every other week equals 30 batches of gelato — six quarts per batch. Try chocolatey tartufo, coconut or espresso, or opt for the light pineapple sorbet ($2.50- $3.50).
You can also find the Malloys’ gelato at Rathdrum’s San Francisco Sourdough Eatery and Coeur d’Alene’s Frosted Cupcakes. Jeff currently has his hands full preparing gelato for Coeur d’Alene’s Art on the Green (Aug. 5-7) and the Spirit Lake Red Wine and Bluz Fest (Aug. 19-20).
Winter might bring some relief for the Malloys, adds Randi. But that’s when they’re going to start making their own pasta. Just another reason to take a little drive out to Spirit Lake. (Carrie Scozzaro)
Take and Bake
If you don’t live on the north side, here’s a reason to brave the construction on North Division to get there: drive-thru lasagna. At Lasagna's-On-Ya, you can pick up a wholesome, scratch-made meal for just a little more than the cost of those “other” drive-thrus. Of course, you can always walk inside and pick up your order, but that’s not nearly as much fun.
“I have six daughters and we were always thinking of different lasagna ideas,” says Jennifer Shorts, who opened the business with her husband, Dan, last October. “It’s just what we do.”
Today, the Shorts family is serving up five different kinds of lasagna — recipes they’ve perfected over years of feeding hungry teenagers.
The classic meat lasagna is the most popular. A close second is the Tuscan chicken, a creamy, cheesy concoction with bacon, chicken, artichoke hearts and pesto. I tried not to think of the calorie content — it was definitely rich. The smallest size is meant to serve one to two ($12) but would easily satisfy three medium appetites, with a large salad and bread.
Vegetarian, mushroom and meat, and chicken Alfredo lasagnas are also available. Any of the lasagnas can be made gluten-free and can be ordered with salad and rustic baguettes to make a complete meal. Lean lasagna is available by special order, made with chicken, fresh vegetables and a hearty red sauce. Maybe next time I’ll order that one, so I can save room for some locally made cheesecake with huckleberry sauce or a slice of tiramisu.
Just pop the lasagna in the oven and dinner’s ready in 15 to 30 minutes, depending on the size. Lasagna’s-On-Ya offers four sizes, from single-serve to a “grande” lasagna that serves up to 12. Prices range from $10 to $49.
If you’re still not willing to brave the construction, the lasagnas are also available at the South Perry Farmers Market on Thursdays and the Liberty Lake Farmers Market on Saturdays. (Kirsten Harrington)
Lasagna’s-On-Ya • 521 E. Holland Ave. • Open Mon-Sat 11 am-8 pm, Sun noon-5 pm • 467-9100