Argue all you want about whether or not it’s blasphemous to put fruit on pizza. Then try Roots Wood Fire (1500 Northwest Blvd., Coeur d'Alene), where the addition of a few pomegranates on a pizza ($13-$22) with butternut squash, roasted red peppers, mozzarella, pickled onion and chimichurri was just the right amount of crunchy sweetness. Blueberries and goat cheese? Yes, as well as honey and sumac, a citrusy red spice typically found in Middle Eastern cooking, on another wood-fired pie at Roots, which opened in October. Look for eight artfully crafted pizzas, an assortment of salads and rotating soup specials at this promising new lunch-and-dinner joint in Coeur d’Alene. (CARRIE SCOZZARO)
To be honest, I ordered the “Goodfella” pizza from Market Street Pizza (2721 N. Market St., Spokane) because I recently watched Goodfellas. But man, was I glad I did. It has meatballs, olive oil, sweet hot peppers, ricotta, garlic, parsley and cheese. And the crust? It was chewy, crunchy in the right spots, full of flavor and generally perfect. Spokane’s pizza game keeps getting better, but this pizza right here has to be up there with the best. (WILSON CRISCIONE)
Ramen’s having a moment in the Northwest, with its range of rich, hearty soups perfectly timed for cold, wet weather. The secret to ramen is in the broth, which can be vegetable or meat-based (pork, chicken, beef), mildly sweet to savory, and infused with strong flavors such as garlic or miso.
The tonkotsu ramen ($13) at new Coeur d'Alene ramen spot Hokkaido (2824 N. Ramsey Rd.), for example, has a dark, rich pork broth atop which are piled grilled pork, bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, green onion and marinated egg. Hokkaido offers 11 standard ramen bowls ($10-$14), plus four gluten-free versions and add-ons, so you can customize your slurp-worthy experience. A few rice dishes, assorted fried appetizers like tempura shrimp ($8), and other shareables you’d find at a Japanese restaurant round out the menu. Hokkaido Coeur d’Alene is the ninth in a chain of restaurants whose flagship location opened three years ago in Helena, Montana. Find out more at hokkaidoramen.life/coeurdalene. (CARRIE SCOZZARO)
Spirit Lake is home to many things: a lake with a sad legend about two lovers from different tribes; the legacy of town founder Frederick Albert Blackwell, the region’s first timber baron; and the 113-year-old White Horse Saloon (6248 W. Maine St.). The saloon, which co-hosted an excellent blues festival up until around 2012, is also part of this very small town’s National Register of Historic Places historic district. The nearly two-block area includes much of Maine Street, which is the de facto hub of Spirit Lake and where many new dining options have sprung up recently.
Brats & Brews (6259 W. Maine St.) does double duty as a retail store for Fresh Air E-Bikes. Look for local and regional beer, with tap takeovers announced on Facebook, hearty bratwurst sandwiches, and occasional live music.
Across the street, newcomer Nancy Larson has opened Salt and Pepper Restaurant (6242 W. Maine St.), inspired by her mother’s collection of 5,000 salt-and-pepper shakers and a pandemic pivot to leave her sales job.
“I’m all in,” says Larson, who’s working on adding dinner to her current breakfast and lunch menu, where chicken and waffles and pork carnitas tacos top the pop chart. Find this new Spirit Lake bistro at saltpepper-spiritlake.com or on Facebook.
Also on Maine Street, Messy’s Burgers & Grill (6246 W. Maine St.) wowed diners at its original location, where it opened back in 2017. Messy’s new home offers expanded capabilities, including indoor dining and upgraded patio space. Look for more than just burgers at this down-home restaurant, including football season and daily specials announced via its Facebook page.
And, returning to the theme of Spirit Lake history, Sedlmayer’s Resort and Restaurant (7712 W. Spirit Lake Rd.) is back again. Dating to the 1940s, Sedlmayer’s had been the lakeside go-to for dinner and dancing, as well as camping, but had stood empty for years until new owners came in, resurrecting the restaurant as the Boar’s Nest. The Sedlmayer name returned in 2020 when new owners Colin and Mandy Conway purchased the place with some help from unnamed friends. The revamped restaurant is dinner-only with entrees like ribeye and chicken cordon bleu, shareables like Louisiana crab cakes and plenty of sandwiches. Find them at sedlymayersresort.com and on Facebook. (CARRIE SCOZZARO)