Last summer, rumors swirled about an unusual new Sandpoint food truck — actually a converted school bus that owners Jessica Vouk and Jeremy Holzapfel named "Charlotte" — serving global street food like Vietnamese banh mi sandwiches and Indian samosa burgers. But food trucks don't always last the winter in Sandpoint, so when Beet and Basil transitioned from a mobile to a permanent eatery inside the 110-year-old former Inn at Sand Creek building, it was time to check it out.
The menu is indeed global: Moroccan roasted root salad ($12), Japanese togarashi-spiced salmon ($20), Mexican masa cakes with vegan poblano crema ($9), and North African shakshuka ($11), which consists of baked eggs nestled in a spicy mixture of thick tomato and other vegetables.
"Jessica finds inspiration in the discovery of new spices and learning about different dishes with different ethnic origins," says Holzapfel, Vouk's husband and Beet and Basil general manager.
Chef Vouk serves her shakshuka with harissa, (chili pepper paste), local goat cheese and crusty bread, yet she didn't travel around the world for inspiration — she brought it with her from Seattle, where she spent nearly two decades cooking.
Jessica's recipes are not necessarily authentic, but rather her spin on global cuisine, adds Holzapfel, whose own background includes 14 years at Starbucks and a side business in graphic design.
The ground meat in Vouk's South American empanadas ($9), for example, is lamb, not beef, and currants replace traditional raisins. She pairs Indian tandoori-oven fired naan bread ($11) with a turmeric hummus — puréed chickpeas commonly served with Middle Eastern meals — and a garlic scape pesto.
Attention to detail goes beyond the food menu with Beet and Basil's service and ambiance. While the menu features local and organic offerings wherever possible, and numerous gluten-free and vegan options, the drink menu is similarly thoughtful.
Try the refreshing beet-infused or vanilla rosemary lemonade ($4), or choose from more than two dozen wines, beers and ciders. Dine on the spacious patio overlooking the water, tucked into the secluded outdoor arbor, or inside at the bar or main dining room. Beet and Basil's owners also recently renovated a larger dining space, perfect for parties with you and all your worldly friends. ♦
Beet and Basil • 105 S. First Ave., Sandpoint • Open Tue-Thu, 11 am-3 pm and 5-9 pm; Fri-Sat, 11 am-3 pm and 5-10 pm • beetandbasil.net • 208-920-6144