Food

Friday, April 27, 2018

Let's make some pretty spicy salsa with these rare manzano peppers from De Leon Foods

Posted By on Fri, Apr 27, 2018 at 3:36 PM

The Manzano pepper - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • The Manzano pepper

This week, our cover package focuses on all the international markets across the Spokane area, where you can pick up all sorts of cool, rare items.

After the cover was photographed, our art director let me have a few of these unusual looking yellow peppers from De Leon Foods in Spokane. Later, I sliced them open, thinking it may have been just, say, a tiny bell pepper. It wasn't.

Instead of tiny white seeds, this pepper has larger, black round seeds. It's smaller, maybe the size of a lime. And it's pretty darn spicy.

It was a manzano pepper. It's a South American pepper that's common in Mexico but rare in the United States. Think of the manzano as a hybrid between a bell pepper and a habanero. Sweet, fruity, with thicker walls like a bell pepper. Hot as hell. Almost as spicy as a habanero.

In other words: perfect for a spicy spring salsa. Here's what I made the other day. I based it largely on this recipe, from menuofmusings.com, but kicked up the spice level even higher and mixed in some chopped peppers at the end to give it a pleasing texture and an interesting color.

The best part of this salsa is that, while it's very hot (about four out of five stars on the universal Linnie's Thai Cuisine scale of hotness) it doesn't sucker-punch you in the face right out of the gate with its hotness.

Instead, it eases you into the heat. It lets you taste how all the flavors play together, with a bit of sweetness, before building to a spicy crescendo. Perfect for chip dipping, and not too shabby for tacos either. It tastes even better the next day.

PRETTY DARN SPICY MANZANO PEPPER SALSA

INGREDIENTS:

4 Roma tomatoes

• 4 and a half manzano peppers (3 and a half if you're a cowardly child too afraid the heat of a real salsa)

• 5 large garlic cloves (you can use more if you desire — no recipe in history has ever had too much garlic.)

• 1/3 cup water

• 1 tablespoon olive oil, plus a splash more for later

• 1 tablespoon salt

• 1 fresh jalapeño, diced

• 1 cup of chopped onion

• 1 fresh red bell pepper, diced.

• Oregano, at your whim

• Fresh cilantro (or parsley if for some reason you don't like the mouthwatering taste of soap.)

1. Heat up a grill pan or skillet on medium-high and start cooking the whole Roma tomatoes. Using a pair of tongs turn them around until each side gets a nice browned/blackened finish. Plop them in the blender for storage until you're ready to blend.

2. Cut the manzano peppers in half, removing the ribs, seeds and stem. You're working with some very spicy peppers, so keep that in mind.

3. Place four out of the peppers on the grill pan or skillet. Do the same thing you did with the Roma tomatoes, turning with the tongs until both sides seem decently blistered.

4. Now you're gonna add the garlic cloves, the diced onion, and the water to the Roma tomatoes in the blender. If you can fit them, add the grilled manzano peppers too. But because my blender was a bit small, I blended everything else together first, resulting in a puce-shaded slurry. Then I added the peppers and blended those too.

5. Heat up your tablespoon of olive oil in a saucepan, then dump your sauce out into the saucepan. Add your tablespoon of salt, bring it to a boil and then downshift the heat to allow the dish to simmer. You'll want to simmer for a bit — this salsa can be a bit runny.

6. While your sauce is simmering, you're going to start working on making the dish a little more interesting. Seed and dice the remaining half of the manzano pepper.

7. Heat up a smallish skillet with a splash of olive oil and then dump the diced manzano pepper, the diced jalapeño and the bell pepper in the skillet. Sauté until you're like, ooh, that looks good.

8. Add the jalapeño mixture in the skillet. Stir.

9. Remove from the heat. Let cool. Add a bit of cilantro or parsley if you're into that. (No biggie if you're not.)

And you're done! You're ready to let your friends and coworkers sample the salsa and tell you, "The flavors are great, but it's a little too spicy for me."

Wimps, all of them.

Your salsa should look like this at the end, provided you have the exact same bowl I do. - DANIEL WALTERS PHOTO
  • Daniel Walters photo
  • Your salsa should look like this at the end, provided you have the exact same bowl I do.


UPDATE: I put 'em on Huevos Rancheros and they were fantastic.

huevos_rancheros_1.jpg
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Thursday, April 26, 2018

ENTRÉE: Sweet Peaks Ice Cream opens soon; plus, the Blackbird’s barbecue is a win

Posted By and on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 at 4:36 PM


The Montana company's Spokane store is opening next door to Durkin's Liquor Bar. - SWEET PEAKS ICE CREAM
  • Sweet Peaks Ice Cream
  • The Montana company's Spokane store is opening next door to Durkin's Liquor Bar.
SWEET PEAKS ICE CREAM OPENING SOON

Marissa Keenan, owner of Montana-based Sweet Peaks Ice Cream, can’t decide which ice cream flavor of the many they offer is her favorite, so she lists two: the “Mountain Mint,” comprised of natural mint extract from mint farms Keenan grew up near in Montana, and the “Salty Caramel,” a classic.

Keenan is now bringing both flavors and others to Spokane when a new Sweet Peaks location opens downtown this May on West Main, near Durkin’s Liquor Bar. Nine ice cream flavors — the same that are served at Sweet Peaks’ seven other shops — will be available, ranging from cupcake to huckleberry, and including seasonal flavors. Those with lactose intolerance won’t be left behind, as there’ll be dairy-free sorbet or nut milk-based options on the menu.

The decision to open in downtown Spokane was a simple one: Keenan and her family have always been fond of the area and frequent downtown whenever they’re in town.

“We feel that the downtown area is a great place for handcrafted ice cream. The downtown is vibrant and the center of so much action,” says Keenan.

She hopes to work with local businesses in the area to collaborate on flavors and events.

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Friday, April 13, 2018

ENTRÉE: Tacos for Logan; plus, notable burger news in Spokane and Coeur d’Alene

Posted By on Fri, Apr 13, 2018 at 2:04 PM


De Leon's Taco & Bar is moving into the Logan Neighborhood. - STUART DANFORD
  • Stuart Danford
  • De Leon's Taco & Bar is moving into the Logan Neighborhood.
DE LEON'S TACO BAR NO. 2 ON THE WAY

Favorite local Mexican food purveyor De Leon Foods announced this week that it’s expanding to Spokane’s Logan Neighborhood with the second location for De Leon’s Taco & Bar. To be located at 1801 N. Hamilton, in a building previously occupied by Chapala Mexican Restaurant, the taco bar is slated for a late summer or early fall opening.

The first location for De Leon’s Taco & Bar in North Spokane, near Whitworth University’s campus at 10208 N. Division, opened in mid-2017.

The forthcoming restaurant is owned by Sergio De Leon and family, who also operate both Spokane-area locations of De Leon Foods Mexican deli and grocery, which annually lands in the top three for the Inlander’s Best Of readers poll for “Best Mexican Food” and “Best Tacos.”

BURGERS FOR DAYS

You can still drool over our Burger Issue online!
  • You can still drool over our Burger Issue online!
In January, we presented readers with our first ever Burger Issue, which included roundups of the region’s best “bargain” burger nights, our staff’s favorite burgers, noteworthy vegetarian and vegan burgers, a guide to the many styles of fries and much more.

In the time since, a few notable updates to the Inland Northwest “burger scene” have come up, which are definitely worth sharing.

First up, the local fast-casual burger joint from chef Adam Hegsted, IncrediBurger & Eggs, is already set to expand into North Idaho. Word is out that the second location is planned for a newly constructed strip mall in the Ramsey Crossing development of Coeur d’Alene. No word on when, but if we had to guess it’ll likely debut sometime this summer.

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Spokane gets a visit from the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck next week

Posted By on Thu, Apr 12, 2018 at 2:18 PM

HELLO KITTY CAFE TRUCK
  • Hello Kitty Cafe Truck

Calling all fans of the pink-bowed cartoon character known as Hello Kitty! The international feline is making a stop — sort of — in Spokane next weekend, on Saturday, April 21.

Sanrio's Hello Kitty Cafe Truck is setting up shop outside River Park Square from 10 am-8 pm (outside Williams-Sonoma on Main) to serve up giant cookies, pocket pies ($10), three-piece boxed cookie sets ($12), keychains ($6.50), stainless steel thermal bottles ($29-$36) and bow-shaped water bottles ($3), according to organizers.

There will also be Hello Kitty Cafe-branded T-shirts ($27), bow headbands ($30), boxed petit fours ($14) and boxed macarons ($15) for sale. While supplies last, customers can get a free mini-tote bag when they make a $25 food purchase.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2018

Bitchin' Bites on a Budget: Easy five-ingredient gooey apple cake

Posted By on Tue, Apr 10, 2018 at 2:32 PM

SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL PHOTO
  • Samantha Wohlfeil photo
Ever get a hankering for something sweet, but not too sweet, except you don't really want to put in the time to make something?

That's where this recipe for apple sharlotka comes in. Adapted from Smitten Kitchen's recipe for the Russian apple treat, it only has a handful of ingredients, and while it does involve some baking, it's super easy to make.

Other than peeling and cutting up the apples, the recipe only takes a few minutes to throw together, and with only five ingredients (OK, six if you count the optional powdered sugar for decoration) it's also something you can probably make with stuff you already have at home.

EASY APPLE CAKE

6 large apples
6 large eggs
2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
powdered sugar (optional)


For this recipe, I used four GIGANTIC Honeycrisp and one normal apple. Start by preheating your oven to 350 degrees.

SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL PHOTO
  • Samantha Wohlfeil photo

Peel the apples, then cut them into chunks and put them in a greased 9 or 10-inch springform pan (depending on how many apples you use and what size they are). It should be filled to the top.

SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL PHOTO
  • Samantha Wohlfeil photo

SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL PHOTO
  • Samantha Wohlfeil photo
In a large glass bowl, whisk together the eggs and sugar until well combined then add the vanilla.

Stir in the flour with a spoon until just mixed and then pour the thick batter over the apples to cover them.

SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL PHOTO
  • Samantha Wohlfeil photo

Bake for an hour, and then check every 5-10 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

The cake forms a nice crust on top, but the center may take a while longer to cook. Depending on your oven, this could take another half an hour or more to fully cook the cake so be patient.

Let it cool in the pan, then remove the springform and dust with powdered sugar.

Boom, you have a super simple cake you can enjoy hot or cold!

SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL PHOTO
  • Samantha Wohlfeil photo

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

The Blackbird is changing its focus to Southern-style barbecue

Posted By on Wed, Apr 4, 2018 at 12:18 PM


Southern barbecue is the Blackbird's new focus as of mid-April 2018.
  • Southern barbecue is the Blackbird's new focus as of mid-April 2018.

If you show up at Spokane restaurant the Blackbird Tavern + Kitchen in the next week or so, you’ll find the doors locked, and no service.

Fear not, though, fellow foodies: The downtown restaurant just north of the Spokane River is definitely not going anywhere. After a projected reopening on Monday, April 16, however, the service format and style of the restaurant’s menu will have a completely new theme: Southern barbecue. Some changes to the interior, and a new order-up-front service system, are also part of the shift.

Owner Patrick McPherson (who also owns Manito Tap House on the South Hill) tells the Inlander that this change of concept was part of the plan all along when he opened the restaurant back in 2015.

“Before the Blackbird, we talked about changing the concept every few years instead of building another restaurant,” he says.

The restaurant’s name won’t change, but the new menu debuting with its reopening centers around a hearty selection of Texas-style smokehouse proteins: brisket, pulled pork, ribs, hot links, chicken and, for the vegetarians and vegans, pulled, smoked jackfruit.

These base proteins can be ordered one of four ways: as a plate with two sides, bread and pickles ($14-$24); sandwiches with one side ($12.50-$15); tacos with smoked sour cream and pickled red onions ($2.50-$3 each), or “just the meat,” priced by the pound ($13.50-$24).

Chef Molly Patrick has also created a complementing assortment of appetizers, a new kids’ menu and ala carte sides. There are also three salads, including two previously served at the restaurant; the tomato garden and smoked salmon.

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Friday, March 30, 2018

ENTRÉE: Where to bring the family for Easter brunch this year

Posted By on Fri, Mar 30, 2018 at 5:20 PM


Make Easter brunch reservations soon so you and your family don’t miss the chance to dine together for the holiday this weekend, on Sunday, April 1. Here are a few local restaurants’ special menus that have caught our eye so far:

COEUR D'ALENE RESORT
  • Coeur d'Alene Resort
IN COEUR D'ALENE:

315 Martinis & Tapas
Served from 9:30 am-1:30 pm; $25.75/person
The buffet-style menu includes Florentine benedicts, omelets, creme brulee French toast, spring salad, honey and butter-baked ham, fresh-baked pastries and more.
Reservations: 208-667-9660 ext. 1

The Coeur d’Alene Resort
Served from 8 am-4 pm (Dockside) and 9 am-3 pm (Beverly’s); $60/$47 adults, $31/$24 ages 5-12
In addition to two brunch buffets, the resort is also offering an Easter Sunday lake cruise with a full brunch buffet. Departures are at 11:30 am and noon and prepaid reservations are required. Cruise tickets are $51 for adults, $47 for seniors (55+) and $31 for ages 6-12.
Reservations: 208-765-4000 or cdaresort.com

Bistro on Spruce
Served from 9 am-2 pm; $27/adults, $15/ages 6-12
The buffet menu includes roasted wild salmon, honey ham and Mediterranean lamb, as well as meat and veggie stratas, warm fruit cobbler, eggs benedict and more.
Reservations: 208-664-1774

IN SPOKANE & SPOKANE VALLEY


The Barrel Steak & Seafood House
Served from 9 am-3 pm; menu items priced individually
The North Spokane restaurant’s a la carte menu includes crabs benedict, a southwest burrito, scramble, chicken-fried steak, French toast and more.
Reservations: 467-5490

Twigs Bistro & Martini Bar
Served from 9 am-2 pm; $29/adults ($36 with champagne), $14/ages 6-12
All four Spokane-area Twigs locations (South Hill, Spokane Valley, Wandermere, downtown) will serve an all-you-can-eat brunch with all the brunch standards, from omelets to benedicts and a carving station with prime rib, wild Alaskan salmon and smoked ham.
Reservations: twigsbistro.com/easter-brunch

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Thursday, March 15, 2018

ENTRÉE: Previewing some new restaurants + bars coming to Spokane in 2018

Posted By on Thu, Mar 15, 2018 at 5:28 PM


Just when you thought there couldn’t possibly be another new bar or restaurant (kidding, we’re all excited to be aboard the local food and dining hype train!) in the Spokane area to check out, here’s a list of some forthcoming food and drink projects set to debut later this year, some sooner than later.

RIDPATH BRASSERIE AND GIN BAR

The new restaurant and bar inside the historic, former Ridpath Hotel from Spokane restaurateurs Jeremy and Kate Hansen is coming along, but is more likely to open in June or even later due to construction and other delays. Ridpath Brasserie will serve a French-inspired menu and its entire menu, including breakfast, lunch and dinner, is set to be available to order from anytime during its planned 20-hour operating schedule, from 7 am to 3 am.

In the meantime, chef Jeremy Hansen has also shifted focus to revamp the menu at his flagship downtown restaurant, Santé Restaurant & Charcuterie and the Butcher Bar located inside the restaurant.

Here’s a few other projects coming up that we’re working on learning more about:

Elliotts is a new restaurant moving into a space along the North Monroe corridor.
  • Elliotts is a new restaurant moving into a space along the North Monroe corridor.
ELLIOTTS, AN URBAN KITCHEN
Construction at a space along the North Monroe corridor, at 2209 N. Monroe (the former home of the vintage and antique store 1889 Salvage Co.), has been underway for several weeks now. Elliotts, an urban kitchen, is slated to open sometime later this spring, and hopefully won’t be too affected by the upcoming road construction project on Monroe starting in April. According to a recent thread on the restaurant’s Facebook page, Elliotts will serve contemporary American cuisine made from local, fresh and seasonal ingredients.

HERITAGE BAR & KITCHEN
We know a little so far about this project in a multitenant downtown building at 122 S. Monroe. Owned by two locals, Gabe Wood and Alex King, with 20 years of combined restaurant industry experience, Heritage will pay homage to local places and flavors on its menu and in its decor. The restaurant will serve “pub food done right” and is taking over a space formerly occupied by Texas True Barbecue, which is next door to Whistle Punk Brewing. Stay updated on Heritage’s progress toward opening on Facebook. Owners say the restaurant is currently slated for a May debut.

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Thursday, March 8, 2018

54,300+ meals donated to Second Harvest from Inlander Restaurant Week

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 4:06 PM


Inlander Restaurant Week has partnered to support Second Harvest since 2015. - YOUNG KWAK
  • Young Kwak
  • Inlander Restaurant Week has partnered to support Second Harvest since 2015.
Good job, diners! You all helped generate more than 54,300 meal donations to Second Harvest food bank thanks to participation in Inlander Restaurant Week's sixth annual, 10-day culinary celebration, which ended this past weekend on March 3.

That number breaks all previous records and is thanks to donations from participating restaurants, diners and event sponsors Sysco and Dairy Farmers of Washington. This Thursday, more than 17,000 of those meals were distributed by Sysco to Second Harvest.

While Inlander Restaurant Week encourages the community to support local restaurants across the region with a visit during this typically slower time of the year, it's also a time to consider the many members of our community who can't afford to dine out during IRW, or even to put enough food on the table for themselves and their family — one in eight people in our region don't know where their next meal is coming from.

Here's how the donations generated by this year's event break down:

• The #IRWRaveReviews hashtag on social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) generated more than 5,400 meals. Each time diners shared a post using that tag, Sysco donated five meals to Second Harvest.

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ENTRÉE: An honor for My Fresh Basket; plus Coeur d’Alene’s new food + wine fest

Posted By on Thu, Mar 8, 2018 at 1:43 PM


MY FRESH BASKET WINS NOTABLE AWARD

My Fresh Basket wins the grocery industry's "Oscars equivalent." - STUART DANFORD
  • Stuart Danford
  • My Fresh Basket wins the grocery industry's "Oscars equivalent."
Considered by some to be the grocery industry’s Oscars equivalent, the Progressive Grocer’s Most Outstanding New Concept Store for 2017-18 was recently awarded to Spokane’s My Fresh Basket.

Opening last summer, My Fresh Basket in Kendall Yards, at the corner of Monroe Street and Summit Parkway, was designed to cater to consumers’ preferences for buying local and organic products, among other trends. The store is also half the size of most other grocers and uses a perimeter layout to station its main departments, including the deli, produce stands and bakery.

“In an industry where stores constantly seek to differentiate themselves from competitors, we believe My Fresh Basket is the model for today’s shopper,” says store director Matt Grittner.

In conjunction with the honor, My Fresh Basket is featured on the cover of Progressive Grocer’s February magazine.

NEW FOOD AND WINE FESTIVAL COMING TO COEUR D’ALENE

A new regional culinary celebration is coming to the Coeur d’Alene Resort on the first weekend of April. The two-day Coeur d’Alene Food & Wine Festival on April 6 and 7 is set to include several hands-on cooking demonstrations and wine tasting seminars, along with luncheons and two multi-course dinners with featured wine pairings.

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