I’m an eternal optimist despite being a lifelong journalist, and I am in a hopeful mood with the positive news that has recently seasoned Spokane’s culinary scene. It’s a baby step, but I am relieved that restaurants have been allowed to reopen at 25% capacity again.
Driving around town over the weekend, restaurant parking lots were busy, and it was a very welcome sight. Let’s hope we can continue to move forward as we continue to wear masks, use hand sanitizer and socially distance as restaurants are thankfully cleaner than they’ve probably ever been.
D’Bali Asian Bistro
The Spokane Hospitality Coalition’s first culinary collaboration – between chef Jeannie Choi’s D’Bali Asian Bistro and chef Chad White – was a smashing success on two fronts last Thursday: All 80 to-go meals were sold out, and the five-dish dinner was absolutely fabulous. It was my first time at D’Bali, and I can’t return fast enough.
The outstanding to-go dinner: Mama Jeannie’s crispy chicken and chive yaki-mandu dumplings with green papaya salad, Mama Jeannie’s hawker-style Singapore smoked pork ribs with egg noodles, Mama Jeannie’s homemade bao buns with White’s beef brisket, White’s sambal udang-style steamed shrimp cake in banana leaf and Mama Jeannie’s rainbow agar jelly and coconut Cookie. It was a culinary match made in heaven.
Speaking of White, the Season 13 “Top Chef” contestant and James Beard Award nominee proposed to his girlfriend, Alexi Sage, over the weekend, and she said yes. Also recently engaged: Aaron Fish of Eat Good Group to Mandy Brunner. Fish told me Saturday morning that they plan on getting married on Aug. 1 at the Jacklin Arts & Cultural Center in Post Falls. Congratulations to the happy couples!
And speaking of sold out, I learned that Outlaw BBQ & Catering Market sold out all 200 of its desserts for Valentine’s Day, and Bowl of Soul, Cochinito Taqueria’s fundraiser for Second Harvest, far exceeded its goal of 100 sales. Spokane’s support for its restaurants warms my heart during the cold and windy winter days and nights.
Before the 25% capacity took effect, I recently returned to Prohibition Gastropub for Sunday brunch to check out the remodeled outdoor patio to see how it would fair in the, well, outdoors. I was warned to bring a blanket. It wasn’t necessary, and my nephew Shawn, 9, continues to rave that the biscuits and gravy there are the best anywhere in the world. He now adds Prohibition’s hot chocolate to that global best list.
National Drink Wine Day was last Thursday, although isn’t it really every day? I love Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, Barrister Winery and Maryhill Winery, and I stopped by the latter recently to check out its outdoor covered seating. However, it was so bitterly cold that patrons were seated socially distant inside.
For one of the best deals around, how can you not purchase a $30 bottle of wine when the $20 tasting fee for a flight of seven is subtracted from the bill – yes, do the math, and I am terrible at math – and a little charcuterie and bread never hurt nobody. It is fantastic at Maryhill – I really like that Maryhill has expanded its option of light bites.
Borracho Tacos & Tequileria
In last Wednesday’s Food, Kris Kilduff wrote about downtown places offering Birria, a traditional Mexican stew, and I was at Borracho Tacos & Tequileria that very evening to sample the Birria tacos and Mangonada, along with an appetizer platter that included chicharrones and quesadillas – and maybe a tequila shot. One word: yummy. Now to make my way to the other five places offering Birria on their menus.
As you’ll read from Kilduff in the main Food story today, Adam Hegsted opened his Mediterranean restaurant, Baba, on Tuesday in the former space of Wandering Table in Kendall Yards. I was invited to a sneak preview brunch on Saturday, and I was really impressed and will definitely return. Hegsted told me he was excited to share dishes that he often prepares and eats at home.
The flavorful, fresh and delicious Mediterranean brunch: deviled eggs, fresh yogurt donuts, braised lamb sandwich, kofta meatballs in a pita, Dungeness crab potato latkes, smashed potatoes, hummus with tahini and pomegranate sorbetto with a Baba-Hattan, Za’atar Old Fashioned and Tamarind Sour.
Restaurants have reopened, love is in the air, and the culinary scene in Spokane continues to expand and evolve. Cheers, salud and cin-cin!
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