48 hours in Spokane: The Best Cuts
Prelude: This post literally took 1.5 frustrating months to put together and I have no idea why it was so hard to get right. I had to rewrite it 3 times and it started with a list of 15 places. For those of you that had to listen to me rant during dinners, over drinks or via text or drunken phone call at 1am, I appreciate it and I owe you a Sazerac. Spokane your food scene drives me crazy. Sometimes I love it, sometimes I hate it. Sometimes it makes me feel like Britney Spears 1997, other times like Britney Spears 2007. I know I can kind of be a hard ass, but I do it because deep down I love you, and there really isn't any sort of accountability out there for restaurants in the city. Can someone issue an Amber Alert for the city’s restaurant critics (There aren’t any! hahaha), because right now it’s like Thunderdome out there. Let me be your Tiger Parent, Spokane. Help me...help you. Help me, Help you.
Now, the following isn’t meant to be a definitive list of the best places to eat at in Spokane, or maybe it is but these are the places I usually go to or recommend to friends when they’re visiting. Now, you may be saying to yourself “Hey! I saw some of these places on that Zagat list that came out!” - Well, I mean, who else do you think they enlisted to help them with that list? *wink*
For Wine & Beer…
Nectar Wine & Beer - I LOVE NECTAR.It has the best beer & wine selection in the city. The location in Kendall Yards gives me a great selection of beer on tap (and bottles!) because Beer Geek Ben Simons rotates the selection more than Taylor Swift rotates boyfriends, AND YOU CAN GET A PIZZA FROM NEXT DOOR AND BRING IT IN. Seriously. They also have beer candied bacon and a huge selection ofwine,andduring the summer months the view from the patio kills all other views.
Indaba Coffee - The best cappuccino in town. The downtown location is reminiscent of a Public Domain or Stumptown (for all you PDXers), and the West Central location is more Central Perk (for all you Friends lovers). Every Friday they have a coffee and doughnut combo for $3.
Coeur Coffee - The best latte in town. I come here in search for latte perfection & always find it along with some awesome pastries...
For Brunch, Lunch, Dinner, Drinks, & Everything in between…
RUINS - RUINS has the best drinks in the city, because it's the best bar in Spokane. The drinks here are literally to die for. It's Spokane's own version of Pepe Le Moko. It's a great place to go to have brunch, dinner, or a late night snack because they're open until midnight. Chef Tony Brown is a good man, and every time I come here it feels like I’m eating a damn great home cooked meal. If you come here for brunch, get the KIM CHI BURGER. It’s beyond amazing. They should serve burgers for dinner too. They'd kill. Here, look at it and some other food porn from RUINS and get hunger pains.
Clover - The new menu is great. When you come here, try the charred octopus or the cassoulet. Note to Clover: Make a chef’s tasting menu, & let’s see Chef Travis go all out with his creativity. Clover is a little on the outskirts of the city, but the atmosphere, service, and food make it worth a short trip.
Santé - Santé is the best restaurant in Spokane. There's pretty much nothing more you can say about it that hasn’t been said already. Now, some people may disagree and think that the Steamplant is the best or maybe you're a purist and think the Zips on Lincoln is the best. If you feel that way: Stop reading, & take a deep breath. Now re-read the sentence in bold at the beginning of this paragraph.
Mizuna - Not only does this place pump out some great meat dishes, but it also throws down some great vegetarian dishes. THEY HAVE TWO MENUS: A regular one for when you crave meat, and a vegetarian one, for those times when you want to pull your “Ummm, I’m a gluten free vegetarian hipster” card. Go for the steamed clams with pork belly and have some Apple Lemonade while you're at it too...
So that's it, the 7 places in Spokane that are just awesome right now. Five things were analyzed and taken into consideration:
Consistency - Sometimes you'll get something that's great Tuesday but not Wednesday. When you have a great restaurant, it shouldn't matter who's cooking, because you shouldn't be able to notice the difference...
Taste & Creativity - Does it look and taste good?
Execution of Menu - How well does the dish on paper compare to the dish you get? (If I order a risotto or cassoulet and it comes to my table in 5 minutes, will it suck? Yes, yes it will.)
Usage of Trends - Is the menu outdated? If they're a gastropub, are they promoting something (looking at you duck fat) that was hip a few years ago, but not so much now? How often do the beer taps rotate?
Atmosphere - Does the atmosphere project the type of food experience you expect to have? (When I walk into Table 13 & I'm greeted by this upscale atmosphere, am I offended by the LED candle you have on my table? Yes, yes I am.)