FIRE MEETS MEAT
Sean Smith may be the envy of anyone who’s ever thought about chucking their career and starting a food business. Better yet, a food business involving barbecue. In 2020, Smith quit a job in human resources and embarked on a new journey with wife Katie to create Smokesmith Bar-B-Que (smokesmithidaho.com), after years of home-based cooking and teaching himself about Texas style ’cue.
Sandpoint-based Smokesmith is one of two local pitmasters at this year’s From the Ashes event, happening Friday, June 17 and Saturday, June 18, which also features Coeur d’Alene’s Brad Peugh of Bohica Smoke (facebook.com/bohica.smoke). From the Ashes also showcases three national experts: Anthony DiBernardo of Swig & Swine BBQ in Charleston, South Carolina, Ronnie Evans and Philip Mosely of Blue Oak BBQ in New Orleans, and Arnis Robbins of Evie Mae’s Pit Barbecue in Wolfforth, Texas.
Although Friday’s event is already sold out, tickets remain for Saturday, which runs from 11 am to 4 pm, and during which guests may try everything the five pitmasters have to offer, plus food prepared by even more local chefs: Sysco’s Christian Kearns; Justin O’Neill of BooKoo Chef and Spiceology; Tony Reed, also of Spiceology; and Jordan Obermeyer of Emrys Fermentation. Tickets are $75; learn more at fromtheashesidaho.com. (CARRIE SCOZZARO)
Fire & Ice Patio Lounge recently opened on the South Hill in what used to be the Palouse Bar and Grill space, at 2912 E. Palouse Hwy. The new pub-esque lounge provides a cozy atmosphere and a vast patio space that includes a tabletop fire pit. With a full bar, and a modest beer and wine list, Fire & Ice has potential for parties, get-togethers and family dinners on the patio.
From the same owners who brought us China Dragon (27 E. Queen Ave.) and Wave Island Sports Grill and Sushi Bar (525 W. First Ave.), the new eatery’s menu is rife with traditional American offerings. Meals like chicken wings ($15) tossed in your choice of sauce, mac and cheese ($18), and the tasty chicken sandwich ($19) loaded with minced jalapeños, guacamole and fry sauce are comfortable and familiar.
Though the restaurant features common pub fare, you can find delightful gems that take a more elevated approach to favorites hidden within the menu. The blackberry barbecue pizza ($17) and the Brussels sprouts ($14) both feature crispy Kansas City-style bacon. The menu also features a selection of vegetarian and gluten-free options that don’t skimp on flavor. Indulge in the fettuccini Alfredo ($22) loaded with Parmesan cheese, the Pacific Northwest salad featuring fresh berries and grilled apple, or four other salads on the menu.
If you’ve saved room for dessert, try one of Fire & Ice’s sweet treats that cater to an array of palates. For chocolate lovers, the Butterfinger brownie ($8) is the way to go. If you’re into the dramatics of a meal, the South Hill “scoop” ($9) gives customers three options: the Cheesecake Delight sundae, featuring vanilla ice cream and cheesecake chunks, the Chocolate Overload sundae with brownie chunks and chocolate sauce, or the Breakfast for Dessert, which features a warm Belgian waffle, vanilla ice cream and bourbon maple sauce. Learn more at fireandicespokane.com. (MADISON PEARSON)
THE FOXHOLE BAR & GRILL (114 E. Lake St., Medical Lake) has opened in the former Fischin’ Hole Saloon location, significantly increasing the number of eateries in this diminutive Eastern Washington town. Look for a full bar and a lively atmosphere any night of the week, from trivia on Tuesdays to live music on the weekends. The menu is two pages of all-American eats, like the patty melt ($13), BLT ($10) and mini corn dogs ($7). Visit facebook.com/thefoxholemedicallake.
Jameson and Aimee Angle recently opened a local franchise of CAPRIOTTI’S SANDWICH SHOP (305 W. Appleway, Coeur d’Alene) in a former Chipotle Mexican Grill location. Capriotti’s features a range of bread-and-meat-based meals, including both chicken and beef cheesesteaks, sandwiches featuring Wagyu beef, subs made with slow-roasted turkey, and classic sub combinations like salami, prosciutto and provolone. The Coeur d’Alene location is the second in Idaho for Capriotti’s, which was founded in 1976 by Wilmington, Delaware, sister and brother Lois and Alan Margolet. Visit Facebook: Capriottis-Sandwich-Shop.
The former owners of Post Falls-based Downdraft Brewing, which closed in 2018, are back in business. In late 2021, Ginger and Josh Cantamessa opened BLACK LODGE BREWING (206 N. Third St., Coeur d’Alene) in a historic building memorable for its stark black exterior wall (from when the business was home to Thrux Lawrence). The new owners kept the black wall, and incorporated black and brass accents into a redesigned interior. Ginger is the head brewer of the one-barrel brewery, the first endeavors of which are a Kölsch and a New England-style IPA. Look for Thursday night trivia and live music on Friday. Visit blacklodgebrewingco.com. (CARRIE SCOZZARO)
To-Go Box is the Inlander’s regular dining news column, offering tasty tidbits and updates on the region’s food and drink scene. Send tips and updates to firstname.lastname@example.org.