One of the region's biggest and most immersive food festivals is back for its third year. Crave! food and drink celebration, founded by James Beard Award semifinalist chef and restaurateur Adam Hegsted, runs July 11-13 at Spokane Valley's CenterPlace Event Center. The third iteration of Crave! offers many of the same event formats as last year: grand tastings, chef demos, local product samples galore and daily entertainment.
Returning highlights include Saturday's Grand Tasting ($35-$110), the Seafood Bash ($75-$170), Fire & Smoke barbecue showcase ($65-$160), and Foods from Around the World ($75-$165). Besides unlimited samplings during each of the aforementioned tasting extravaganzas, guests enjoy inclusive craft beer, wine and spirits.
Local chefs planning to share their delectable creations with attendees this year include Tony Brown (Ruins), Travis Tveit (Iron Goat Brewing), Chad White (Zona Blanca), Travis Dickinson (Cochinito Taqueria), Josh Lorenzen (Rüt), Molly Patrick (Current Kitchen), Nikiforos Pitsilionis (Black Cypress) and many other familiar names and faces.
Crave! also highlights the many artisan food producers of the region, from beer, cider, spirits and wine to cheese, bread and much more. A complete list of the participant lineup, along with a range of ticketing options, can be found at cravenw.com. Speaking from experience, if you choose to go to just one food event all summer, keep Crave! at the top of your list.
FIRE & SMOKE
Pro pitmasters from the Northwest and across the U.S. converge at the second annual From the Ashes: An American Smoked and Fired Foods Adventure, returning to Settlers Creek in Coeur d'Alene on June 21-22. Friday evening's Light the Fires Dinner (5-9 pm; $15-$75) features three North Idaho pitmasters — from Hiro's BBQ, Bohica Smoke and Cosmic Cowboy Grill — teaming up to prepare a traditional low-country boil-style dinner of shrimp, sausage, corn and potatoes. On Saturday (11 am-4 pm; $15-$97), the Smoked and Fired Foods Showcase hosts barbecue experts from the four corners of the U.S. to prepare all manner of proteins — brisket, whole hog, salmon, turkey, pastrami — on Settlers Creek's custom-built, wood-fired barbecue stations. In addition to all that meat, local chefs and producers are offering samples of various barbecued ingredients at "Application Stations." Get tickets and see the details at fromtheashesidaho.com.
CAN DO IT
Learn how to preserve the fruits — or veggies — of your summer gardening labor at one of the many public classes hosted this summer by food preservation and safety experts at Washington State University's Spokane County Extension, located near the fairgrounds. Class topics covered include pressure canning basics, preserving fruit, pickles and relishes, dehydrating fruits and veggies, tomatoes and salsas, canning soups and making bone broths. See the complete schedule and register ($20-$30) at extension.wsu.edu/spokane/food-and-nutrition/food-preservation.
Eat the movies, in a sense, at a special fundraiser dinner hosted by Moscow's historic Kenworthy Performing Arts Center on Thursday, June 27, at 6 pm. The Frame to Table dinner features a menu inspired by cinema, including ratatouille (Ratatouille), pasta aglio e olio (Chef), cannoli (The Godfather) and boeuf bourguigon (Julie & Julia). Tickets to the dinner are $60 each; a table for eight is $400. The evening's program also includes a silent auction and no-host bar. Details at kenworthy.org.
As the vegan, vegetarian and flexitarian movements continue to gain a wider foothold, Spokane's annual celebration of plant-based living is also expanding. This year's VegFest, a healthy living expo and music festival organized by the Inland Northwest Vegans, celebrates its sixth year, offering cooking demos, food samples, chef talks, a plant-based market, vendor fair, live music and more. VegFest is again hosted at Spokane Community College, on Saturday, July 27, from 10 am-6 pm. Admission is free. While VegFest is both hosted by and features vegan-practicing groups and businesses, anyone is encouraged to attend (including meat eaters) to learn why plant-based living is better for the planet and all its inhabitants
THE PIG TURNS 40
One of the Inland Northwest's most time-honored summer send-offs is celebrating a big milestone this year. Pig Out in the Park, held over Labor Day weekend in Riverfront Park, this year Aug. 28 through Sept. 2, is turning 40. For those counting, that means the concessions-food bonanza started all the way back in 1979, just a handful of years after Expo '74, which the park was famously built for. Pig Out's big anniversary comes with some equally big newness at Riverfront Park, which continues to roll out improvements that are showcased front and center to event attendees, including the already completed Orange Bridge, Looff Carrousel building, Numerica Skate Ribbon and north promenade.
The free food fest again boasts a bevy of vendors both local and from afar; more than 50 in total are offering 225 menu items collectively, from chocolate-dipped fruit to barbecue and much more. Three beer gardens and three stages hosting live music across its six days make Pig Out a complete festival experience. Sample something new each day, and if you can't pick, take advantage of the $4 bites promo running 3-5 pm and 9-10 pm each day. Find all the details at spokanepigout.com.
Dine off the menu and have everyone around you wondering if you're a VIP by attending one of Secret Burger's "secret" events this summer. The new-in-2019 series lets local foodies preorder exclusive items not on the regular menu, available in limited quantities and only to ticket holders during designated times at local restaurants. Not all Secret Burger items are burgers, however, and past promotions have included dishes like handmade noodles, lasagna, gourmet peanut butter and jelly and more. Most Secret Burger specials average $20 per person, based on the ingredients featured.
"What we're trying to do is create the exclusivity of beer and tequila dinners with these unique items, because not everyone has $80 for a night of dinner," explains Secret Burger co-owner Kris Kilduff.
On the calendar so far this summer is a soft-shell crab sandwich ($22) at esteemed fine dining restaurant Park Lodge, sweetbread "Twinkies" ($20) at Clover, and an all-vegan baked sweet-and-savory tofu sandwich ($18) at the newly opened Glorious Artisan Bakery in downtown Spokane. Check back at secretburger.com often because new promos are added frequently, and many events sell out fast.
SHOP THE MARKETS
Each day of the week, residents across the Inland Northwest can find a farmers market that fits their schedule — weekends, mornings or evenings. The following list rounds up all of the region's farmers markets happening this summer, from Sandpoint to Moscow and Coeur d'Alene to Spokane. New this year is the Spokane Valley Farmers Market, and the midsummer street festival and market at Northern Quest Resort & Casino, which includes food vendors and much more.
Chewelah Farmers Market Fridays from 11 am-3:30 pm through Oct. 11. At Chewelah City Park. chewelahfarmersmarket.org
Clayton Farmers Market Sundays from 12-4 pm through Oct. 27. At the Clayton Fairgrounds, 4616 Wallbridge Rd. Facebook: Clayton Farmers Market & Small Farm Animals
Emerson-Garfield Farmers Market Fridays from 3-7 pm through Sept. 27. At the IEL Adult Education Center, 2310 N. Monroe St., Spokane. market.emersongarfield.org
Fairwood Farmers Market Tuesdays from 3-7 pm through Oct. 22. At the Fairwood Shopping Center, 319 W. Hastings Rd., Spokane. fairwoodfarmersmarket.org
Hillyard Farmers Market Mondays from 3-7 pm through Sept. 23. At Market Street and Queen Avenue, Spokane. facebook.com/hillyardfarmersmarket
Kendall Yards Night Market Wednesdays from 5-9 pm through Sept. 25. On West Summit Parkway between Cedar Street and Adams Alley, downtown Spokane. kendallnightmarket.org
Kootenai Farmers Market Saturdays from 9 am-1:30 pm through Oct. 19 (Highway 95 and Prairie, Hayden) and Wednesdays from 4-6:30 pm through Sept. 25 (Fifth and Sherman, downtown Coeur d'Alene). kootenaifarmersmarket.org
Liberty Lake Farmers Market Saturdays from 9 am-1 pm through Oct. 12. At Town Square Park, 1421 N. Meadowwood Ln. libertylakefarmersmarket.com
The Market at 291 Select Saturdays from 3-7 pm, June 15 through Sept. 7. At 291 Brewhouse, 5987 Hwy. 291, Nine Mile Falls. facebook.com/291brewhouse
Millwood Farmers Market Wednesdays from 3-7 pm through Oct. 9. At Millwood Presbyterian Church, 3223 N. Marguerite Rd. facebook.com/millwoodfarmersmarket
Moscow Farmers Market Saturdays from 8 am-1 pm through Oct. 26. At Friendship Square, Fourth Avenue and Main Street. ci.moscow.id.us/197/Farmers-Market
N.E.W. Farmers Market Saturdays and Wednesdays from 9 am-1 pm through Oct. 30. In downtown Colville, Washington. newfarmersmarket.org
Newport Farmers Market Saturdays from 9 am-1 pm through Oct. 19. On Union Avenue, near the Pend Oreille Playhouse. newportareachamber.com
Pullman Farmers Market Wednesdays from 3:30-6:30 pm through Oct. 16. At the Brelsford WSU Visitor Center, 150 E. Spring St. firstname.lastname@example.org
Quest Sunday Fest Sundays from 11 am-5 pm, July 14 through Aug. 11. At Northern Quest Resort & Casino, 100 N. Hayford Rd., Airway Heights. northernquest.com/quest-sunday-fest
Sandpoint Farmers Market Saturdays from 9 am-1 pm and Wednesdays from 3-5:30 pm through Oct. 12. In Farmin Park, Third Avenue and Main Street. sandpointfarmersmarket.com
Silver Valley Community Market Thursdays from 5-8 pm, June 13 through Sept. 12. In downtown Kellogg, Idaho. silvervalleychamber.com/community-market
South Perry Thursday Market Thursdays from 3-7 pm through Oct. 31. At the Shop, 924 S. Perry, Spokane. thursdaymarket.org
Spokane Farmers Market Saturdays from 8 am-1 pm through Oct. 26; Wednesdays from 8 am-1 pm starting June 12. At 20 W. Fifth Ave. spokanefarmersmarket.com
Spokane Valley Farmers Market Fridays from 5-8 pm through Sept. 13. At CenterPlace Regional Event Center, 2426 N. Discovery Place. spokanevalleyfarmersmarket.org
Tuesday Community Market Tuesdays from 4-7 pm through Oct. 29. At the Latah County Fairgrounds, 1021 Harold St., Moscow. uidaho.edu/extension/county/latah/horticulture
The West Central Market Tuesdays from 4-7 pm through Sept. 3. At the West Central Episcopal Mission, 1832 W. Dean Ave., Spokane. youthops.org ♦