Christmas has arrived early in Spokane, as there are myriad reasons to be thankful in the local culinary world, from the return of igloo and snow globe dining and the new Mexican restaurant Mole in Kendall Yards to collaborative and interactive dining events and activities the entire family can enjoy.
Igloo and snow globe dining
One silver lining of the pandemic is the creativity and adaptability of restaurants in establishing outdoor igloo and snow globe dining, and one restaurant at the top is Luna on the South Hill. Luna debuted an exclusive snow globe menu in November, and it is exquisite.
The elevated experience includes the cocktails Smoked Foxtrot and Golden Ticket as well as culinary offerings shrimp and grits, beef carpaccio, spiced carrots, salmon fettuccine and braised oxtail. The snow globe and menu are truly a festive and memorable holiday season experience in town.
Other standout igloo and snow globe dining experiences include Bark, a Rescue Pub; Coeur d’Alene Resorts (you really can’t beat the views of Lake Coeur d’Alene); the Davenport Grand; and Osprey Restaurant & Bar at the Ruby River Hotel. Call ahead for information, including hours of service, restrictions and COVID-19 guidelines.
Mole Mexican in Kendall Yards
From the company whose umbrella includes Park Lodge and Umi Kitchen and Sushi Bar, Mole Mexican opened this month in the former space of Central Food in Kendall Yards, and I popped into the restaurant Wednesday night with three friends. The space is fairly the same, but the menu is vastly different.
The purposely large dinner, to try a little bit of everything, included abundant chips and salsa, ceviche mixto, chicken (red) mole tamales, chile relleno, (dark) mole ribs, barbacoa tacos, fish tacos, flan and margaritas, including the mango habanero and grilled pineapple concoctions. The mixto, tamales and chile relleno were the evening’s standouts. Welcome to the neighborhood: Olé, Mole!
Winter Wonderland Market
Winter Wonderland Market, a holiday season iteration of Wonder Saturday Market, at the Wonder Building launched Nov. 18 and wraps up this Saturday. The indoor market benefits Wishing Star Foundation and includes local artisans, live music, arts and crafts, food and beverages, baked goods and free cocoa for kids.
I attended the launch and am elated to report that many of the vendors, regulars of Wonder Saturday Market, reported high, and even record, sales for the four hours, among them Ethan Heffernan, 14, and his mother, Leslie Heffernan, of NorthSide Candle Co. I previously featured the teenager’s business and wish him, and all the vendors, continued success.
Alongside High Tide Lobster Bar and Evans Brothers Coffee, the third anchor tenant in the Wonder Building is Ethan Stowell’s Bosco. His first new location in Spokane – Tavolata, downtown in the former longtime space of the Olive Garden – is hosting three events starting Sunday. First up is cookie decorating that includes the cookie materials, a beverage for Mom and Dad and a gift for the little one to take home alongside the cookies.
Tuesday evening is a beer dinner with YaYa Brewing. Local beers from Jason and Chris Gass’s brewery will be detailed and served by Jason Gass in conjunction with a multicourse feast prepared by Tavolata’s culinary team. And last but not least is a cocktail class Thursday with Ethan Stowell Restaurants’ Erik Carlson. Three festive cocktails will be featured alongside Tavolata appetizers.
Family events, community collaborations and cocktail classes. Does it get any better?
Vieux Carre’s Michter’s Whiskey dinner
Speaking of collaborations, Sunday was the Michter’s Whiskey Dinner at Korri McElfresh’s Vieux Carre NOLA Kitchen. It was one of the messiest dinners I’ve ever attended, and I loved every minute of it (thank you, Loverboy)!
The menu: Carolina Gold elote pig’s head cheese and chicharron with a Michter’s Old Fashioned, Nashville Hot pickled chicken wings with a Michter’s American Sour, Alabama White snow crab and injected egg with a Michter’s Boulevardier, Kansas City BBQ braised beef rib and fire crackers (deep-fried Saltines!) with Michter’s Cinnamon Fizz and sweet potato beignets with cranberry gastrique.
Kudos to McElfresh, chefs Jeana Pecha and Andrew Blakely (the new executive chef) and Michter’s Raven Fuller for their evening of flavor, spice and everything nice. Pecha is set to move to Sacramento in January to open her own restaurant.
No-Li’s 25 Days of Christmas
The annual 25 Days of Christmas is at the halfway point at No-Li Brewhouse, where the purchase of No-Li craft beverages supports 25 nonprofits in need across Washington and Idaho. No-Li is donating $1,000 per day to 25 organizations for a total of $25,000.
“We are honored to be paying it forward and to support local charities and organizations. A strong community takes the commitment of each of us to give more than we take,” owner Cindy Bryant said in a news release. “These 25 community organizations exemplify this idea, reaching into our local neighborhoods to uplift our fellow citizens with respect, dignity and caring.”
The 25 organizations include Odyssey Youth Movement, Crosswalk, Women Helping Women, Casa Partners, Second Harvest, Terrain, Vanessa Behan, Spokane Pride, End the Violence, Spokane Angels and Spokane Quaranteam. For more information and to donate, visit nolibrewhouse.com/25days.
Park Lodge reimagined
And announced this past week via their social media: Park Lodge and its chef and owner Philip Stanton are overhauling the menu in the new year to pivot amid the challenges of the pandemic, including the increasing costs of food.
Who knows what changes are in store, but you have until at least the end of the month for a final order of menu standouts, including the French onion soup, steak frites, wild mushroom tagliatelle, roast half chicken with wild mushrooms and caramel pot de crème, one of my all-time favorite desserts. Happy Holidays, and salud!
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