Adventures in Eating

New local events expand beyond the weekend food festival, and are sure to satisfy all appetites

click to enlarge Chef’s Week founder Jeremy Hansen demonstrates how to break down a pig carcass. - YOUNG KWAK
Young Kwak
Chef’s Week founder Jeremy Hansen demonstrates how to break down a pig carcass.

There is no shortage of love for Pig Out In The Park. For 37 years, we've flocked to the park, stuffed ourselves silly and called it a day. But to get all of our food festival consumption done in six measly days seems like the "boa constrictor" approach to eating: consume mass quantities all in one sitting and spend the other 349 days digesting until the next feast. Luckily, our community's culinary wizards realized we could use a snack to tide us over, so they came up with these perfect food festival additions.

Inlander Restaurant Week Just when the end-of-winter blahs are setting in, and the thought of warming up one more can of soup or is too much to handle, along comes Inlander Restaurant Week. Yes, we're a little biased, because it is our gig, but come on, it's pretty darn genius. With more than 100 restaurants participating, and 10 days in which to eat your way through Spokane, Liberty Lake, Post Falls and Coeur d'Alene, you're guaranteed to find a new favorite restaurant. Three courses at each stop and one price — anywhere between $19 and $29 — means your waist might slightly expand and your wallet might slightly shrink, but you'll be feasting on the finest food the area has to offer.

Chef's Week PNW At Chef's Week PNW, 10 talented top chefs gather together to celebrate all things food-related. Normally scattered in different restaurants, tucked into their respective kitchens making the magic happen, it's a rare occurrence for 10 chefs of this caliber (think Tony Brown of Ruins, Top Chef Season 13's Chad White of Zone Blanca, and Adam Hegsted of the Wandering Table, to name just three) to gather to collaborate on five meals and offer demonstrations. Wash that down with interactions with people from the food and wine scene, and the chance to sample food truck offerings during the day, and you've got the makings for a successful food event!

Coeur d'Alene Casino's Farm to Fork Series As you raise your fork to your lips, pause for a moment and consider: Do you know where that delicious meal you're tucking into came from? While people may not be pausing mid-bite to ponder such questions, they're thinking about the source of their food more and more. For foodies eager to to take advantage of local produce, and to shorten the distance from the farm to their fork, the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort has bit into this trend with their Farm to Fork series. An on-site farmer's market at the Coeur d'Alene Casino Resort's Chinook Meadow will have you seeing green (or red, yellow, orange or purple) with the bounty of fresh, colorful area produce. If stocking up on wholesome goodness wasn't enough, the cooking demonstrations that follow will up your ante when it comes to prowess in the kitchen. The 2016 series saw the addition of celebrity chefs Antonia Lofaso, from Cutthroat Kitchen, and Iron Chef's Cat Cora for the demonstrations, which only whets the appetite for next year's event. An end-of-season barbecue rib cook-off seals the deal. Grab your fork and find the tine to attend!

Maytoberfest Let's be honest. Sometimes you want great food, but you just want to stay in your Saturday weekend wear to eat it, and to not have to use your inside voice at a restaurant. And sometimes, you just want your food from a truck. What used to be considered sketchy mobile food huts have now become flat-out chic. Food trucks may have caught on sooner in larger cities (consider the cluster of permanent food trucks in downtown Portland), but better late than never, Spokane has fully jumped on the bandwagon — or chuckwagon — with a growing fleet of food trucks. Tony Epefanio, president of the Greater Spokane Food Truck Association, says that more that 600 people attended this year's Maytoberfest, the second annual festival celebrating Spokane's food trucks. Maytoberfest 2016 saw 17 trucks participating, all offering samples of their fare under the umbrella of one general admission ticket. As with any good food festival, an accompanying beer garden rounds out the festivities.

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