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When in domes: Davenport Grand debuted igloo dining last year; Luna, Coeur d’Alene Resort recently joined the club

UPDATED: Sun., Nov. 22, 2020

Editor’s note: The print version of this feature incorrectly says that Luna’s new Snow Globes are all ages; they are for ages 21 and older.

My heart is breaking for the culinary industry after Gov. Jay Inslee’s second shutdown of indoor dining in restaurants was issued on Nov. 15 and continues through at least Dec. 14.

Chef and restaurateur Adam Hegsted echoed the same sentiment when I dined Tuesday night at Coeur d’Alene Casino’s Chinook in Worley, where Hegsted and his Eat Good Group team have returned to revamp the steak and seafood menu.

“It’s especially tough to lay off employees right before the holidays,” said Hegsted, who also noted he is thankful he can still operate his restaurants in Idaho, if not Washington.

“We’ve been lucky to be busy in Idaho,” he said.

If there is a silver lining to this second shutdown, it is that restaurants went through it in March, so takeout menus will be ramped up again (or, for some, used for the first time), and outdoor and patio dining will continue through the autumn and winter.

We will have a rundown of other outdoor and patio dining in Food in the coming weeks as restaurants announce and finalize their plans. For now, let us turn our attention to the Davenport Grand, Luna and Coeur d’Alene Resort for their igloo, globe and dome outdoor dining.

Davenport Grand igloos

333 W. Spokane Falls Blvd.; (509) 458-3330 and davenporthotelcollection.com

The all-ages terrace igloos at the downtown Davenport Grand, the only family-friendly one of the three detailed in this story, have returned for a second year after a successful first season, and they will be offered every day through the end of March, excluding a few holidays, said Evan Tewel, manager of the Davenport Grand Restaurants.

As with any new program, much was learned the first time out.

“We’ve taken the knowledge of what works, what’s efficient and what our guests enjoy and condensed the offering to provide the best quality and most-asked-for items while operating with a limited crew,” Tewel said.

“We’ve also learned that the igloos are a special treat for each group that joins us, and everyone is looking for something a little bit different out of the experience. This means we are working double time to try to be flexible and take care of each family as if they are part of our own.”

In response to COVID-19, the staff is taking more time between each party to clean and sanitize the igloos, and the hotel has been working to purchase, launder and store enough furs, fleeces, pillows and throws to make certain to set a fresh igloo for each family, Tewel said.

“Our guests are enjoying the igloos even more this season than they did last season. We learned a lot last winter, and we’re excited to get to bring the new wisdom into this unique experience for Spokane,” Tewel said. “We love that this opportunity is still available in a safe way to our guests, even as most of our industry is having to pivot to a new way of doing business.

“We’ve seen more demand than we have igloo space for, and we’re working to outfit and staff to accommodate as many guests as we can. Don’t be surprised to see expanded hours soon.”

The igloos, with their wonderful cocktails, charcuterie and other light bites, were one of my favorite experiences in Spokane in 2019 – and now especially offer a much-needed and -appreciated respite during the pandemic.

Luna Snow Globes

5620 S. Perry St.; (509) 448-2383 and lunaspokane.com

There are a number of fabulous restaurants in Spokane, and Luna is one of my favorites dating back to my days as a student at Gonzaga. So, I was delighted to learn of the South Hill staple’s new winter dining concept, the 21-and-older Snow Globes that launched Nov. 5.

“Now, more than ever, we believe the people of Spokane need a safe, intimate and exciting place to enjoy the holiday season with their friends and loved ones,” Spokane native and owner Aaron DeLis said in a news release. “Our team at Luna couldn’t be happier to introduce the Snow Globes to our new and valued longtime guests.”

Abiding by pandemic guidelines, I dined in Luna’s Snow Globe on Nov. 15 in a party of six – two family members and three close friends. The design of the two globes on the patio, installed in collaboration with Erin Haskell of Design for the PPL, is beautiful, elegant and romantic – worthy of a special occasion or a nice dinner out.

The exemplary four-hour meal, as dinner service is only once per evening in each globe, was a feast for the senses from chef Joe Morris’ menu: an artisan cheese board, bread board, ahi tuna tartare, roasted butternut squash bisque with Dungeness crab and crab cakes.

Also, the fried chicken Sunday supper, scallops, coconut prawns, crab pasta, chicken breast sandwich, Taylor Siok’s desserts including house-made cinnamon gelato, apple pie bar and cookie sundae, champagne and lead bartender Cody Winfrey’s cocktails, including the Foxtrot and Louder Than Bombs, which are poured tableside, and Fallen Legend and Peach Fuzz.

Decadence! And absolutely worth it with family and dear friends. Morris unexpectedly told our group that his new fried chicken Sunday supper – with fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy, broccolini and scoop bread, a lighter and delicious iteration of corn bread – was inspired by my fried chicken story in The Spokesman-Review on Sept. 23.

“I was scrolling through my phone and saw your fried chicken story and thought to myself, ‘There isn’t a lot of good fried chicken in Spokane.’ So, I dug out my family’s recipe, and it is now on our Luna menu,” Morris said. “You inspired that addition to the menu.”

And Morris and Luna now offer fantastic, not-to-be-missed fried chicken. As of Sunday, reservations for the globes, made for 5-6:30 p.m. and with an end time of 9 p.m., were booked through early January.

Coeur d’Alene Resort Igloos on the Lake

115 S. Second St., Coeur d’Alene; (208) 765-2300 and cdaresort.com

The final stop on this – wait for it – globetrotting dining tour was at the Coeur d’Alene Resort’s new Igloos on the Lake on Wednesday, and it is a standout. Located outdoors as part of Whispers Lounge, you cannot beat the beautiful frosty views of Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The seating inside the igloos includes heaters – I took off my jacket and scarf – so you will not be shivering. And like Luna, Coeur d’Alene’s igloos are for only ages 21 and older since it is part of Whispers Lounge.

(Sorry, kiddos, although Coeur d’Alene Cruises annual “Journey to the North Pole” jaunts a hop, skip, jump away are a fun alternative for the entire family, and they can be heard while in the igloos.)

From 10 a.m.-3 p.m., the igloos are open seating, or first-come, first-serve, and reservations are required from 4-10 p.m., with a maximum of six guests.

These three igloo experiences have a food-and-beverage minimum for a reservation, and the resort’s reservation for the igloos includes a bottle of champagne.

The igloo menu includes prime rib sliders, calamari, clam chowder, roasted garlic shrimp, seared ahi, salmon cakes and warm huckleberry cobbler, and the cocktails include the Apple Old Fashioned, Huck Hot Chocolate, Pumpkin Martini and Pumpkin Russian. The Apple Old Fashioned and Huck Hot Chocolate were perfect for the weather and season.

Big bonus: The Coeur d’Alene Resort is decorated beautifully, festively and extensively throughout – from the entrance and lobby to Beverly’s and Whispers Lounge – for Christmas, and it cannot help but put you in the holiday spirit despite the pandemic. Add an Apple Old Fashioned to the mix, and you are well on your way to a holly, jolly evening.

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