The Culture of Bread

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***Our first ever post written by a guest writer!!!*** We are very excited to be publishing this article that our friend Nate Ghering collaborated with us on (more on Nate at the very end, be sure to check that out). I loved visiting Culture Breads last week and was blown away not only by their food but also by the incredible intricate practices that they employ. Nate did a fantastic job capturing all of this in his article, so without further ado we present to you "Cultured Breads", enjoy.

Eat good bread.

Real bread.

Cultured bread.

That is the essence of what Shaun Thompson Duffy wants to communicate to the Spokane community through his newly relocated and expanded business, Culture Breads (housed inside The Grain Shed). Bread (good bread) has, for millennia, been the cornerstone of a society’s diet. That bread is nutritious, filling, and energizing. So many of the most important things that we say we need in a balanced diet are found in it – protein, fiber, carbohydrate, and fat. But in the same way that wood moved away from being our primary source of heat and our own legs being our primary source of transportation, bread has been swept into this increasing trend - it's inconvenient, time intensive, and unpredictable, and the United States of 2018 certainly doesn’t have time for it either.

Unless your name is Shaun Thompson Duffy.

In which case using active dry yeast, flour purchased from a distributor, or a commercial oven just doesn't align with Shaun's passion and conviction. Instead, you leaven every single baked good with the same sourdough starter, you stone-mill grains that were grown within 100 miles of Spokane by your business partners, and you bake everything – every single thing that is cooked (whether a loaf of 100% rye bread, a barley brownie, or a chocolate chip cookie) in a giant, custom-built, wood-fired oven.

This ethic of doing things the old way, the hard way, the inefficient-yet-beautiful-and-fascinating way, is the only way of doing things at Culture Breads. They are housed in a renovated corner store on Newark, just around the bend from the ever popular Perry Street district along with the in-house nano-brewery that brews it’s beers by using the same grains Shaun is using in his bread.

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The Grain Shed is the name you’ll see on the outside of the building. Upon stepping inside you'll see the massive wood-fired oven. You’ll order some cold brew coffee from DOMA Coffee Roasters and get one of their sandwiches, like the one I had when I came in to talk with Shaun or maybe you’ll get a flaky chocolate croissant or a slice of toast, thickly spread with homemade butter and jam. Speaking of that sandwich I had...it was their special that day and my goodness. Smashed sunchokes, wood fired carrots, garlicky onions, mozzarella, tomato schug (think tomato-ey pesto...yum!) and crème fraiche on oat ciabatta. I never would has guessed I’d like the wood fired carrots as much as I did (they deliberately leave some of the tops on and even they were delicious). I’d never even eaten a sunchoke before. This sandwich was stacked impossibly high and it was impossibly good. Sarah and I agreed it was one of the finer sandwiches we’ve ever eaten and, delightfully, it also managed to have that good-for-you-and-still-amazing and “oh wait, I don’t feel like crap!” affect on us, that’s a lot to say for a sandwich. But it’s worth saying. After all, the creator behind it is not one to take his food lightly

Shaun attended culinary school and cooked in Texas before cooking in New York, Las Vegas, and Portland. Along the way, he realized that, though so many of the restaurants he worked in were beginning to produce more and more in-house (think of the in-house charcuterie movement), there was very little attention being paid to bread, at least not in the same way. Bread, to Shaun’s mind, was not to be reduced to enriched white flour, active dry yeast, water and salt. To begin with, the quality of the flour mattered tremendously. What grain did it begin as? One of the wheats we inherited from the 50s that valued the carbohydrate heavy endosperm and abandoned the bran and germ? or an ancient grain, high in fat, protein and fiber? When was it milled and on what apparatus? And please...please don’t even think about commercial yeast. Only the wild yeast captured years ago in Shaun’s sourdough starter that is the root of everything he bakes would do. When he moved to Spokane, Shaun realized his passion for bread making had taken on a life of its own. After baking at Luna for a time, he had a wood fired oven built in his back yard, started a bread subscription service, and as a stay at home dad (at the time), he had his hands full. Culture Breads was born. That passion for baking real, good-for-your-gut kinds of bread was well enough received that, together with 3 other people who each bring a unique aspect to the business, they decided to launch The Grain Shed. Each business partner represents a key component of what they’re producing – the grains, malts, produce and beer are all sourced or produced by the guys behind The Grain Shed, which has the affect of making everything hyper-local, fresh, and unique.

This is the approach to food that so many of us long for but don’t take the time to learn or pursue. In a land of fast and easy, it’s daunting to even consider something as nuanced as what they’re doing here. Yet there’s something that feels right about it. There’s something about fire and fermented whole grains that intuits “This is right. This is what your body wants and needs.” And that’s exactly what Shaun (and his business partners) hope you’ll take away. They want to feed you and quench your thirst in a way that is satisfying and delicious, but is also connected to the world around us and to the way our bodies work best. I listen to food podcasts. Rejoice or eye-roll as needed. Recently, listening to one, I was struck by what a guest of the show, a doctor, was sharing about nutrition. He was speaking to the never ending fad diets and fix-all solutions that are marketed year after year. In essence, what is both easiest and hardest about food – that if we are to have the best relationship with food, and to be the healthiest we can be, we ought to eat the widest variety of the wholest foods we have at our disposal. That, instead of obsessing over the balance of carbohydrate and protein, of high fat and low fat, of grain free or grain heavy, we ought to find lots of different kinds of foods in their original form, eat them til we’re full, and then repeat next time we’re hungry again. That’s what Shaun, and the rest of the guys at The Grain Shed, are offering to us – simple, nutrient rich, carefully crafted food and drink that will nourish the body and soul. I think I can get behind that. Or in front of it. Or wherever I need to be, just so long as I can get some more of it.

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Things to check out now:
• Monday pizza nights. 5pm until they sell out.
• The new Baronesse Pilsner (at a surprising 6.0% ABV) made with Baronesse Barley. So much
more flavorful than you hope for from a Pils.
• Ever changing sandwich offerings.
• Barley brownies (yummmm)

Things to look out for in coming months:
• Pretzels: think classic German malty goodness.
• Pie! Shaun plans to have pie available soon so you can enjoy some DOMA and a slice.
• Breakfast. They’re hoping to offer some breakfast options like shareable sized shakshuka.

Here's a little bit about about our friend and guest blogger:

"Hi, I’m Nate!
I’m a dad of two two year olds and married to a rockstar doula named Claire. I grew up north of Spokane, WA in a little town named Deer Park. Though I HATED most foods as a kid (all cheese, all seafood, most veggies), I did learn to cook at an early age and eventually decided I needed to grow up and like food! I haven’t turned back since! What I love most is the connecting that happens around food. I love helping people experience something special - the joy that I see in their eyes, the neurons that fire as a new food is tried for the first time. Food is a universal language and joy and I feel uniquely privileged when I get to help others find real joy in it."

CRAVE Northwest

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Summer has officially begun and we are now just days away from the second Annual Crave Northwest event. Crave is a food and drink celebration held in the Spokane Valley at Centerplace Regional Event Center. This year it will be taking place from the evening of Thursday, July 12th through the afternoon of Sunday, July 15th. Crave is the the region’s premier culinary event and one you won't want to miss. Whether you are a culinary aficionado, a dedicated foodie or are just looking for something fun and memorable to do this summer, Crave offers enjoyment for all.

While attending Crave, you will enjoy and experience food from many of your favorite local chefs. Crave also has the honor of having chefs from all around the US participate, there will be over 40 chefs making and presenting incredible food this year, that's a tremendous amount of culinary talent and passion in one location!! Below is a small example of the kinds of mouth-watering foods Crave attendees can expect to eat during the various events: Shrimp and spiced cabbage gyoza with soy-ginger dipping sauce, braised lamb with dill yogurt couscous on microgreens, Summer chicken with lemon harissa and a cucumber, fennel salad and rice pilaf, octopus ceviche, beef tartare and Gai satay. Are you feeling hungry yet?

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This year's festivities will kick off with a Seafood bash on Thursday night. This event was a huge hit last year and is sure to be even bigger and better this year, it will be a "luxurious celebration of fresh fish, shellfish and all things seafood."  Friday evening attendees will enjoy "global flavors with a vibrant theme" during the Foods from around the World event. The food and drink celebrating will continue into the weekend with a Grand tasting event on Saturday afternoon. Attendees are invited to wander around at their leisure and sample from dozens of food purveyors, wineries, breweries, distilleries and participate in watching 45 minute on stage demos with various chefs. These chef demos are interactive, educational and delicious. Once the demo has concluded you get to sample the food the chef just made. This was definitely one of my favorites aspects of Crave last year!

Saturday's Grand tasting will be followed by the Fire and Smoke event in the evening which will be a" BBQ extravaganza with live cultural entertainment by the Coeur d'Alene tribe". The Crave After Party on Saturday night will conclude the evening and is sure to be one of the hottest parties of the summer. It will feature DJ Unifest with a great dance mix and a fun photo booth to get pictures with all of your friends and favorite chefs. Craft cocktail drinks and small bites will be provided by Le Catering and served throughout the night. This is a 21+ event. The final day of Crave will begin with a Sunday brunch which will feature "family friendly originals and comfortable classics". The grand finale of this fabulous 4 day food and drink event will be another Grand tasting on Sunday afternoon.

One of the additions to Crave this year that I am just thrilled about is the Grand bar which will be featured during the Grand tasting events on both Saturday and Sunday. Renee Cebula will be the "Spirits manager" of Crave. She is a born and raised Spokane local and is owner of Raising the Bar. Renee is a cocktail historian, she tells the stories of America's drinking past and the origins of our drinks. Attendees are invited to hang out at the Grand bar where every 45 minutes a specialty cocktail will be made in order to spotlight the amazing spirits made in the Northwest. Samples of these cocktails will also be passed out to attendees. Additionally, 2 "Crave cocktails" will be paired with each main event during the 4 day celebration.

Tickets for Crave range in price from $5 to $85 with options to bundle also available. Some of the packages include: All events package, Weekend package and Grand tasting package.

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Overview of the main events during Crave::

Thursday, July 12th 6-9pm - Seafood Bash

Friday, July 13th 6-9pm Foods from around the World

Saturday, July 14th 1-4pm Grand tasting

Saturday, July 14th 6-9pm Fire & Smoke

Saturday, July 14th 9-11:30pm Crave After party with DJ Unifest

Sunday, July 15th 9am-Noon  Brunch

Sunday, July 15th 1-4pm Grand tasting

"CRAVE Northwest benefits Second Harvest Inland Northwest and Spokane Valley Partners.  Fighting hunger, feeding hope: Second Harvest brings community resources together to feed people in need through empowerment, education and partnerships. Spokane Valley Partners provides food, clothing and other basic needs to low-income families and offers a helping hand to those making every effort to carve a stronger path to a brighter tomorrow by empowering them to achieve and sustain self-sufficiency."

Well there you have it, I know you are hungry by now and really wanting to attend this memorable food and drink celebration and support some wonderful local organizations. So get your appetite ready, purchase your tickets here and we'll see you next week at Crave!!

All images used courtesy of Crave Northwest

Brunching with the Brunchkin

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Brunch.

One beautiful, little word that can hold such opportunity for memories and endless amounts of our favorite kinds of food. 

I've been counting down the days to the end of April for some time now. The reason being, there is a wonderful new brunch menu coming to town brought to us by the Brunckin and it's right around the corner. On Sunday, April 29th the Brunchkin will begin their pop up Sunday brunch series at Batch Bakeshop.

I originally met Jordan and Charlotte, owners of the Brunchkin, last Fall when I tracked them down after coming across them on Instagram.  I wanted to try their abelskivers and hear their story, I did and I loved both! If you'd like to read more of their story you can click here. It's been special to see the journey that their growing little business has been on since last Fall and now the exciting next step it's taking. I was thrilled when they invited me to enjoy a preview of their brunch menu during a Yelp event put on by Josi Hughes (Yelp ambassador here in Spokane) this past Sunday. It was a glorious sunny Spring morning to be out on the patio and we enjoyed every minute of our relaxed time together and every bite of the delicious food they provided us.

Jordan and Charlotte are feeling "excited and so happy" to see this dream of theirs "come to life in this small but satisfying way." They admit they are "definitely a little nervous" too. Although they have a big batch of recipes that they eventually want to get on the menu they decided to start with a handful of their favorites. They said they "hope to make sure there is something for everyone. Our Golden Granola Bowl and Forbidden Rice Bowl are both easily made vegan without sacrificing being creamy and satisfying."

Here is what you can expect. Starting this coming Sunday the 29th and going through October, every Sunday from 9am-2pm the Brunchkin will be serving Brunch at Batch bakeshop. Menus will be available at the counter where Jordan will be taking orders and giving out number cards. Charlotte says, "food will be brought to tables as quickly as our tiny kitchen can turn it out! There is no table service at the moment." Everything they serve is gluten free and they make everything they can from scratch. They will also be offering French press coffee and several tasty drinks including a spicy fresh juice and a blended matcha latte with homemade nut milk.

                                                         BRUNCHKIN MENU

Forbidden Rice Bowl - Black Rice // Cashew Horseradish Cheese // Lemon // Smoked Salmon // Avocado // Pickled Carrot

Forbidden Rice Bowl - Black Rice // Cashew Horseradish Cheese // Lemon // Smoked Salmon // Avocado // Pickled Carrot

Potato Rosti - Crispy Ghee Cooked Rosti // Feta Cream // Onion Jam // Over Easy Egg // Fresh Greens // Bacon

Æbleskiver - Pancake Balls // Raspberry Cardamom Jam // Espresso Whipped Cream

Golden Granola Bowl - Turmeric Spiced Granola // Strawberry Rhubarb Cardamom Maple Yogurt // Berries

Jordan and Charlotte would like everyone to know that they are expecting the opening day to be very busy with a wait time for tables so you may be better off coming for brunch in May. They said,  "please come and meet us!"

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Batch Bakeshop is located at 2023 W. Dean Ave. Spokane, WA 99201

"Get to know your Chefs" featuring Chef Tony Brown

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One of the questions that foodies in our city often ask each other is, "Have you eaten at Ruins?" If the answer is "no" there are almost always two responses. The first is no words, only a gasp followed quickly by a resounding " You have to go!!" Chef Tony Brown is both owner and executive chef of Ruins.

I originally connected with Chef Tony on Instagram last summer and after several attempts throughout the following months to get together we officially got to meet in person at Ruins a couple months back. We sat in a booth and enjoyed a casual conversation about his life and culinary journey to date and what his future plans are on the Spokane food scene. He shared stories of his time as a chef in Chicago, Portland and Seattle. How he also has a passion for painting, drawing, photography, architecture and playing the guitar. Tony Brown is a chef, yes, but he is also most definitely an artist and a creative. The more we talked the more I could tell he has a great appreciation for art whatever form that may come in.

My first experience with any of Chef Tony's work i.e. his food was when I visited Stella's. A friend of mine told me I needed to get their Banh Mi sandwich, so I did and it was love at first bite. Literally. To this day it's still my favorite sandwich in Spokane. Trust me when I say you really DO need it in your life. Back in October I attended a dinner put on by my dear friend Angela of Come.eat.with.me and one of the dishes we had was fried chicken.  Simple fried chicken, that was the best I had EVER had. I mentioned to Chef Tony that I didn't know what he did to that chicken and that he must have some kind of magic dust to which he responded with a smile, "I have tricks." He does have tricks, whether it be in the sandwiches they serve for lunch at Ruins, the fried chicken that we enjoyed that night or the special dinner menu he creates and serves for a limited time. Chef Tony opened his first place, Stella's (named after his daughter) in 2012 and then Ruins in 2014 and is now slated to open his third restaurant, Eyvind, this year. One of Chef Tony's life philosophies is "dedicate yourself to a craft, put your head down and do your thing." It's very apparent that he indeed lives by this philosophy and it has sure done well for him. The fact is, Chef Tony is one fascinating person and we're very fortunate to have him as a talented chef in our city but also a member of our local community.

So without further ado....

Meet Chef Tony Brown

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:What do you love about Spokane?::

"I love that you can use it as a home base and still have money to travel. Whereas Chicago or New York or LA, you'll pay twice the amount of rent and living expenses, you don't have any money to do anything else. Spokane is an easy city to live in, it's laid back and relaxed."

:: How do you feel about the food scene in Spokane?::

"I always say it's pioneer country here, you can do whatever you want. " I think we're all friends for the most part. I get along with all the chefs in this city, which I think is a little bit rare because of that competitiveness" that can exist.

::Tell us a bit about Stella's and Ruins::

"Stella’s opened in February of 2012. We were in the Broadway spot for 5 years before consolidating. I opened it with my parents while still working at Mizuna. It was supposed to be a little side gig doing prep and menu development, then working at Mizuna at night. It took about 3 months before there was a line out the door and I decided to go “out to pasture” and make sandwiches full time. Ruins will celebrate it's 4 year birthday this coming July. When I found the place it was in "Ruins", that's where the name came from. We once changed our menu and did a different type of Cuisine each week for a year. 52 weeks of a different menu. It was something that wasn't being done so I decided to do it." Ruins just recently wrapped up their Southern menu and rolled out an Italian menu.

::Are there plans for Stella's to be its own space again or will it stay at Ruins?::

"We are keeping our eyes peeled for a new spot for Stella’s. We miss the old format of ordering at the counter and it just doesn't seem to work at the Ruins spot. No leads just yet, but meanwhile, Stella’s sandwiches ARE available at Ruins, same recipes, same sandwiches as before. If a new Stella’s does open it will be much smaller."

::Tell us about the new restaurant, Eyvind, that you'll be opening this year::

"It will be the best versions of food that I know how to make. No theme, it won't be Southern or a Speak easy. Just food. It's going to be a more polished and classic restaurant style than Ruins. It will still be affordable though, I am a proponent of affordable food. Currently there is no opening date, but I’m shooting for this summer. After piecing together a floor plan for the restaurant we uncovered a 1650 sq. ft. usable space in the basement that we are going to open as a bar. So 1800 sq. ft. upstairs for a restaurant/amaro and vermouth bar and the downstairs for a more traditional cocktail/beer/wine bar. The kitchen upstairs will be supplying food for the basement space as well." The name for the new restaurant came to Tony during a visit to an Art exhibit while in LA. It was the name of an artist who was an animator for Disney back in the 50's.

::What is a fun or random fact about you?::

"I contemplated for a very brief moment of going to school to become a mime. I love mimes. I love the art form, silent movement telling a story."

::If you could go anywhere in the world all expenses paid for a month where would you go and why?::

"I'm trying to think of some place that's completely secluded" to which I asked, "oh, you want your own island?" "Yes my own island. I almost never get to just sit and hear lots of stuff. Just sit on a beach and not see anyone." Chef Tony agreed that's he's an introvert so the way he refuels is through time spent alone.

So Chef Tony's creative plans continue march forward and he seems very comfortable in the journey he's on and takes the twists and turns in stride. He had the vision and imagination to make Ruins what it is today, Spokane's iconic little blue restaurant on Monroe St. that is well loved and supported by locals and out of towners alike. We wish him and his team all the best and look forward watching their journey continue to unfold.

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RESTAURANT WEEK 2018

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Restaurant Week 2018, it all begins in just ONE WEEK from today! This annual event is something that my husband and I look forward and countdown to all year long. We often joke that the timing of restaurant week is perfect to celebrate our anniversary which is at the end of February and often laugh saying that it must have been planned in our honor. Once the new year hits the official countdown begins in our minds. We start to feel like we are prepping for a college exam but in the VERY best way possible. We wait with great anticipation for the restaurants to release their menus and then we study them, we research and then we study some more and we compare menus. We map it out, we add it up, we look at our budget and all the while we're getting hungry, very very hungry. Word to the wise don't look through the guide on an empty stomach, you'll regret it, trust me. This really is a fantastic way to get out and support the local food scene and invest in our local economy while enjoying some delicious food and making special memories.

Inlander Restaurant Week which is presented by Numerica Credit Union will run from Thursday, February 22nd to Saturday, March 3rd. There will be over 100 restaurants from the Spokane/C'da region participating this year. Each of the participating restaurants will offer a 3 course meal (a starter, entree and dessert) with a fixed price of either $21 or $31, this price will vary from restaurant to restaurant. There are 3 choices per category so you are able to customize your 3 course meal. When you visit the Restaurant Week website or use the hard copy guide you will see that you can browse and find all the participating restaurants by neighborhood, cuisine or price point. One of the aspects of Inlander Restaurant Week that provides a positive impact in our local communities is its support of Second Harvest. Every time a photo is shared and the hashtag #IRWRaveReviews is used  during restaurant week on public accounts of Instagram, Twitter and Facebook Sysco will make a donation to Second Harvest. There is even something new and exciting this year as well, some of the participating restaurants will have a "donation" line on the dining bill. If patrons would like to donate a specific amount they may do so. For every $1 donated Second Harvest will feed 5 people.

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When I started to think about writing about Restaurant Week this year and how exactly I wanted to share about my love for this local, annual event I had a fun idea pop into my head. What if I made it a community blog post in the sense that I reached out to other locals who had dined out and participated in restaurant week in the past and asked to share their common love for this event. So that's exactly what I did and I received an overwhelming yes response from those I reached out to which just to. It really is a highly anticipated community event and I am so thrilled to share some of the personal experiences and excitement from locals with all of you. I know these testimonials will leave you feeling excited, hungry and ready to make you reservations for restaurant week.

Ashley of @umamidiaries

"I had heard of all the “big cities” having a restaurant week and my foodie heart was always so jealous. So when Spokane finally joined them in 2013, I was ecstatic! I have participated every year since. I love getting a chance to not only explore the variety of restaurants that our city has to offer, but also to be able to try multiple items for such a reasonable price! I encourage everyone to participate. Not only because of the amazing food (that’s a no brainer), but also to come together as a community to support the growing food scene. Our local chefs have worked so hard to bring good eats to Spokane and restaurant week is the perfect time to give them some much deserved recognition."

Bree of @imamaa

"Restaurant Week is my favorite week every year. I love discovering new restaurants and falling in love again with favorite establishments. I think Restaurant Week is an brilliant way to shine a spotlight on our local chefs and their talents and a way for the people of the Northwest to try and experience new and wonderful dishes and restaurants that they might not normally think to try.  It is an experience you won't want to miss."

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My very own hubby, Ryan

"Restaurant week is one of the most unique and anticipated times of our year. I wish it wasn't only a week as there are so many venues that I would love to take in! I joke with Sarah that I'm gaining weight just looking at the menus! I think it's fantastic to see all the creativity and so many restaurants bringing their best game for this week. When making my decisions, I look for the menus that stretch my current experience and push the flavor envelope. This week has always given us some of our best food and family memories."

Erin of @platelynw and @spokaneculinaryartsguild

"I look forward to Inlander Restaurant Week every year like a little kid looks forward to Christmas! The best part of the event is getting that fresh, new Inlander with all of the participating restaurants and their menus. It's like reading a food love letter. My husband and I pick our favorites, and then cross-reference to see where our picks match up, and then we plan our date nights based on each location. We get to try lots of wonderful local establishments and find new favorites - getting to mix and match our selections with the unique menus they offer makes it an exciting dining experience! The price point makes it accessible for anyone to try the best restaurants in town. We especially love that it benefits 2nd Harvest, which is a fantastic organization whose work I see with my own eyes every day in my classroom at Trent Elementary. Our sweet students depend on their Bites To Go for the weekend, and it warms my heart to see those needs met."

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Emma of @emmaflhair

"It’s a fun date week we get to spend supporting our favorite restaurants and trying out one or two that are new to us. I always feel that we get to try something unique, something trendy and a dining experience that feels it is created just for us at an amazing price point. So instead of heating up leftovers, the usual mundane dinner, take a few minutes and plan out a new (or favorite) place to visit during Restaurant Week. We know you’ll be looking forward to it just like we do each year!"

Connor of @Foodable_spokane

"Restaurant Week is a beautiful excuse to try new places, get away from your normal restaurants for a few days, or just get out with a loved one on a special date. I absolutely love taking part as much as possible, planning out the days, and hitting as many participating restaurants as I can. The menus are always awesome, and you can’t beat a multi-course meal for $21 or $31. Having those fixed prices is one of the cooler things about it, allowing us to hit some of the nicest restaurants in the area without emptying our wallets. Restaurant week was something I had never experienced a town do until I moved to Spokane, and it’s one more reason to love our beautiful little city."

Ari of @amenphotographer

"Restaurant Week is probably my husband's and my most anticipated event in Spokane every year.  We have four kids and have very busy schedules, so date nights are hard to come by, and since we're both die-hard foodies, exploring the vast variety of restaurant choices in the inland Northwest can get expensive really quickly. We love that most of the highest-rated restaurants in the Inland Northwest participate in this event, and offer some of the best things on their regular menu as part of the three-course prix-fixe dinners.  As soon as the list comes out each year, we take to planners and rank our top five to ten. Then we schedule time (and budget) to go to each of the ones on our list.  I take pics of all my food (of course), and my husband takes notes of what he loves of the menus we end up trying.  It's such a fun time for us to exercise our foodie-nerdness and a chance to get some alone time together as a couple. Fave Restaurant Week spots:  Wild Sage has always been our top pick.  They have the best creme brûlée in town!  Casper Fry has some top-notch entrees like catfish stew and pork belly, and Fleur de Sel makes amazing French cuisine more affordable during restaurant week!"

ALL images used with permission and are courtesy of the Inlander and Young Kwak

A HUGE thank you to all those who contributed to this blog post. I am so blessed and thankful to live in an area where there are are so many wonderful locals who get out and support these wonderful local restaurants and culinary teams. We love our Spokane food scene!!

For additional info. visit the Restaurant Week website Inlander Restaurant Week

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The Brunchkin - "Breakfast, Lunch & Mischief"

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Brunchkin, it's just the cutest little word, don't you think? When I came across posts by the Brunchkin as I scrolled through my Instagram feed last summer my interest was first peaked by this adorable little word and then by the fact that someone was selling abelskivers, skivers as we call them and I knew that I needed to track them down, meet the owners and try their Danish pancakes. We ended up meeting Jordan and Charlotte, the founders and owners of the Brunchkin, during a family trip to Greenbluff last Fall. I saw that they were going to be at Hierophant meadery so we made sure it was one of our stops for the day and I'm sure glad we did. Jordan and Charlotte are warm, welcoming and witty and have positively delicious abelskivers and baked goods to offer. We visited a bit and instantly hit it off. We learned that they had just moved from Austin, TX a few months prior (summer of 2017) and along with their cat Jep (they joke that he is their dish washer so he always has very clean paws), anticipation to pursue a dream in their and Jordan's great grandmothers Abelskiver recipe had relocated here to Spokane. "Jordan's great grandmother brought her family recipe for Æbleskiver pancakes to this country from Denmark, and they've been a favorite celebratory breakfast for the following generations." Jordan and Charlotte (a gluten-free pastry chef), "want to bring this perfect anytime food to the people of Spokane." They describe their abelskivers as"just sweet enough to satisfy and lightly spiced. The Æbleskivers are topped with freshly made whipped cream and our whimsically flavored homemade jams."

We saw Jordan and Charlotte again during Chocolate decadence where they had a booth and we visited some more. At this point I knew that I wanted to hear more of their story and be able to share that story with all of you. They graciously invited me to come over for an afternoon brunch at their lovely home in the Perry District and I accepted their invitation. I invited my dear friend and fellow foodie Angela (@come.eat.with.me on Instagram) to join me and the 4 of us enjoyed a leisurely Thursday afternoon of watching Charlotte transform batter into piping hot abelskivers, conversing about our food and life journeys and of course eating all the goodies that Charlotte is a magician at making. It was such a sweet and memorable afternoon we even listened to some smooth jazz on their record player as we were winding down our time together. It was how I would imagine Jordan's great grandmother would host family and friends when she invited them over for her delicious abelskivers.

We wondered how the Brunchkin came to be and Jordan shared,"It had been a pipe dream I had had for a long time since it's family recipe but it never came that close to being a reality until after Charlotte managed a bakery in Austin where she got to do pretty much whatever she wanted." Charlotte added, "Oh yeah, it was awesome, I was basically handed a bakery by the last girl who ran it. It was in a Thai restaurant and Thai grocery store, so my bakery was also a vegan ice cream shop, so we had every option available to us." After Charlotte managed the bakery for 2 years, "all the pieces for starting the Brunchkin started to come together, starting a new business here in Spokane has less risk and the community seemed supportive of it." They also added, "getting any sort of notice in Austin is really hard because so many people are established there, being able to come in and be somewhat of a pioneer in Spokane was a huge appeal for us along with all of the other quality of life things."

While their delicious abelskivers are the unofficial star of the show for the Brunchkin there are many more baked goods and sweet goodies they offer. Don't even get me started on their Salted caramel and lavender brownies. You guys I literally have NO self control with those brownies.

Jordan and Charlotte are excited for the opportunities that the future holds and are so glad that their paths have brought them here to Spokane and I am telling you, Spokane is lucky to have them.

So without further ado...

Meet Jordan and Charlotte, founders and owners of the Brunchkin.

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::You'll be having a weekly pop up at Batch bakeshop in the Spring, what more can you tell us about that?::

"Mika at Batch Bakeshop invited us to rent her awesome space to expand our menu and offer the full brunch experience we had in mind when starting Brunchkin! We want to serve what we love to eat - full flavored, decadent but healthful Scandinavian inspired dishes and drinks. Expect beautiful grain bowls, coffee and tea drinks with our house-made nut milks, smoked salmon creamy sandwiches, and, of course, our aebleskiver pancakes. As always, we will have a completely gluten-free menu. We will be open every Sunday starting at the end of April!"

::ALL of your products are gluten-free correct? Did you choose to go that route because of your own dietary needs?::

"I (Charlotte) was diagnosed with Celiacs as a kid so I grew up on gluten-free foods. I know why they get a bad rep - so many baked goods used to be starchy and dry or a crumbly mess. We love to make gluten-free food that is “so good you wouldn’t know it doesn’t have gluten”. We even make some decadent breads for everyone to enjoy."

::What are the delicious desserts are you offering as special orders for Valentines Day?::

Flourless lemon cake ~ A bright single-layer cake with whole lemons pureed and baked into the flourless batter. This moist cake is rinsed with St Germain and topped with a delicate elderflower glaze. 9" cake decorated with rose petals and candied lemons. Gluten Free and Dairy Free. $38

Cherry-chai chocolate pie ~ An oatmeal cookie crust, spiced cherry compote with chocolate silk filling and a hint of espresso. This is "a decadent and curious tart - crunchy, salty oatmeal cookie base under a chai spiced dark cherry compote. Finished with a ganache of the darkest chocolate silk with a hint of espresso and topped with a touch of sea salt." Gluten-Free. $35

::What are your hopes and dreams for the Brunchkin?::

"We are hoping to expand into a full-time cafe and looking for the right partnerships and space this year to make that dream a reality."

::Where can people expect to find you guys in the year ahead and is there anything else you'd like people to know about you?::

"We are hoping to be at the Kendall Yards, Perry and Fairwood Markets and every Sunday from the end of April come find us at Batch Bakeshop for a decadent, homestyle brunch!" Charlotte is available for private cooking work as a personal chef. She has a health coaching certificate and can and will cater to a family's dietary needs. She can even provide you with a meal plan based on the dietary needs.

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::What do you love about Spokane?::

"We are still in shock at how nice everyone is. Like, even getting a new drivers license is a positive experience here. We still don’t understand what makes this such a kind, supportive place, but we are loving it. And one of the biggest reasons we moved here, to get closer to all the beautiful nature opportunities, has not disappointed."

::When were you and Jordan married? I know you are still semi-newlyweds.::

"We wed on a gorgeous, rainy day in October of 2016. It was on my (Charlotte’s) family property and was just the best day ever. So much of our wedding was handmade, from the hand dyed napkins (everything in our kitchen was blue after) to the ice cream sandwiches, and felt like us, and honestly ended up being an inspiration to make Brunchkin happen."

::Do you have an embarrassing or fun fact that you'd like to share?::

"Well, Jordan's weird fact is that he’s only chewed gum twice. He swore it off after the first time, and then Charlotte’s big brother managed to peer pressure him into his second piece. He maybe hates it more than ever now. A weird thing about me (Charlotte) is that I have a super nose. It’s a blessing and a curse. There are a lot of bad smells in the world, but it helps in the kitchen!"

::Tell us more about your kitty, you've joked that he's your dishwasher?::

"Jep is our four year old tuxedo cat. He got his name from a character in our favorite movie, "The Great Beauty". It’s short for Giuseppe. He looks fancy but he so, so isn’t. He’s a gross boy. His favorite things in life are his nightly jerky treat (which Jordan hides in a different location for him to find every night) and playing about 10 minutes a day of fetch with these little wool balls. Oh, and somehow taking up half of the bed at night so we have to sleep at weird angles."

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You can find the Brunchkin on Facebook and Instagram and place orders on their website Brunchkin

One Year Anniversary for Verge Coffee Co.

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Verge Coffee Co. located in North Spokane is celebrating their one year anniversary and they want all of the Spokane region friends to celebrate with them. On Thursday, February 1st as a way to thank you all for an AMAZING first year they are offering 30% off ALL drinks, ALL day. They will also be having LIVE music from 4-6pm. They would love for you all to join them.  I recently visited with Krysta (she and her husband Michael own Verge) to chat about the how they started Verge and what the journey of their first year has held for them. I connected with Michael and Krysta around this time last year and visited Verge for the first time during its first week of being open. I so vividly remember how welcoming they were when I walked in and how I felt a sense of community right away. I am sure that is one of the reasons why people love Verge so much. Without further ado please enjoy getting a glimpse into Verge's journey to date.

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::Tell me about the process of starting Verge, what was that journey?::

"It was definitely an interesting process. Mike had worked at the Service Station prior to Genesis Church taking ownership of the building in August of 2015. When the church took over, they were running the cafe as part of their daily operations. Mike had mentioned to them a few times that if they ever wanted to sell the cafe, that we would buy it from him. With his degree in Culinary Arts, he had been wanting to own a business in this industry and thought that a cafe would be the perfect start. In January of 2017 the church came to us and said they were shutting down the cafe or we could take ownership if we wanted it. We had to be up and running and ready to go for February as the new owners. It was a quick turnaround and a lot for me to process at 6 months pregnant! We took about 24 hours and talked to a few business owners and chatted a lot and even prayed a bit. It was a huge undertaking, but we knew we could do it. We agreed and soon after the process begun. When it came to deciding what type of coffee we would serve, the very first place that popped up in my head was Indaba. I had been there a few times before and it was my favorite place in Spokane to get coffee. I had worked in a cafe in San Diego years before and theirs was the only other place that I experienced truly great coffee. I told Mike we had to go there first. We ended up down at Indaba’s Broadway location about a week later sitting and having coffee and conversation with Bobby. The moment he started talking we could instantly feel the passion exuding from him with every word. He talked about his coffee and all of its elements in a way we had never heard before. He moved into their mission and why they do what they do and 3 hours later, we were absolutely on board. We didn’t meet with anyone else, we knew we had to do business with Indaba. Everything after that was kind of a whirlwind. Licenses were applied for and purchased, Bobby went back and forth helping us procure the right equipment to effectively make delicious coffee, and we took it a day at a time. I had been there a few times before and it was my favorite place in Spokane to get coffee. I had worked in a cafe in San Diego years before and theirs was the only other place that I experienced truly great coffee. I told Mike we had to go there first. We ended up down at Indaba’s Broadway location about a week later sitting and having coffee and conversation with Bobby. The moment he started talking we could instantly feel the passion exuding from him with every word. He talked about his coffee and all of its elements in a way we had never heard before. He moved into their mission and why they do what they do and 3 hours later, we were absolutely on board. We didn’t meet with anyone else, we knew we had to do business with Indaba. Everything after that was kind of a whirlwind. Licenses were applied for and purchased, Bobby went back and forth helping us procure the right equipment to effectively make delicious coffee, and we took it a day at a time. There were a lot of stressful moments between thoughts of, “can we afford this?” and “taxes are insane! Can we actually do this without never doing it before?” and many other things. Yet Michael and I are both the type of people to jump right in once we both agree on something. So we did. And here we are. It’s almost February 1st 2018, our one-year-anniversary. I’m still in awe. It’s been such an incredible year and we are so excited to see what 2018 has in store for us and our Mom & Pop shop. We love our community and our customers and hope to continue to bring them amazing service and coffee. We want to know each story of every guest and be a part of their lives."

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::What is your favorite drink on the menu and Michael's also?:

"My favorite drink at the moment is our Lemon Lavender Latte with Coconut Milk. It tastes like a piece of lemon loaf and I can’t get enough! Michael’s favorite is the Morning Sunrise. It’s orange juice in a glass covered with two shots of espresso. It’s pretty delicious!"


::What do you love about Spokane?::

"I love that it’s big enough to feel like a large city, but also small enough to get that small-town feel. I (Krysta) am a born-and-raised Spokanite and so my love for Spokane definitely runs deep. And with all the new developments each year, my love for it is constantly growing!"

::Were there any funny or embarrassing stories that took place in your first year?::

"Gosh that’s tough! Nothing in particular stands out, but I’m sure that doesn’t mean something didn’t happen. We basically stumbled through our first year trying to figure things out so there has to be something. Haha"

::Has there been anything surprising or unexpected?::

"I think the thing that has been most surprising (in a good way) for me is the camaraderie between the cafes in Spokane. I had always thought that once you were in business, it’s survival of the fittest. But there is so much love here and it’s been so wonderful to be welcomed into the community. I never anticipated we’d get as much support as we have and it’s been awesome."

 

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Verge Coffee Co. is located at 9315 N Neveda St. Spokane, WA 99218

OPEN Monday-Saturday 7am-7pm & Sunday 8am-1pm

"Get to know your Chefs" featuring Chef Travis Dickinson

 Image courtesy of Cochinito

Image courtesy of Cochinito

I am so VERY EXCITED to finally be kicking off the "Get to know your Chefs" series. It is something that I have wanted to do ever since launching the Gather and Savor website last year, so getting to publish this first post makes my heart so elated. For myself, when I know something more about the Chef who is creating and making the food that I am enjoying I feel that it enhances my dining experience. I assume that I am not the only one that feels this way. So in the months ahead I will be sitting down and visiting with different local chefs around our region and then sharing those conversations with you. I hope you are excited as I am!!

I was thrilled when Travis Dickinson agreed to be the first Chef to be featured for this series. Chef Travis was one of the very first chefs that I connected with when I started Gather and Savor. Our paths continue to cross, the first time being when my husband and I semi-photobombed a picture of he and his culinary team from Clover after they won the first Restaurant Wars in September of 2016. Then we got to visit and hang out during Crave, the food and wine celebration, that took place last June. We then worked together on a Foodie Insta-meet that was hosted by Gather and Savor and held at Clover last July. If you haven't met him, Chef Travis is one of the nicest, most down to earth and humble guys you'll ever meet. Don't let this kindness fool you though, when it comes to his culinary prowess, his passion for it is highly apparent and he SLAYS it in the kitchen. I am excited to share the conversation we had with all of you so you can know a bit more about him and his story and how lucky we are to have him in our city.

So without further ado...

Meet Chef Travis Dickinson

:: How did you get started in the culinary world?

"I needed a job when I turned 15 years old.  I was skateboarding and breaking boards, wearing shoes out, all those things. My parents were getting tired of paying for it so I applied for a job at McDonald's and I applied at the Coeur d'Alene resort. I would have been a cashier at McDonald's but they wouldn't hire me because I was too young but the resort hired me on as a dishwasher. I grew into it and loved the pace of it. It was a fun little subculture. I found myself working with people from totally different age groups, cultural backgrounds, religious beliefs, it was a very mixed demographic. I stayed on washing dishes for a couple years, worked my way up. There was a slow steady evolution of people not showing up or quitting and I would step up. I was there at the resort for 2.5/3 years as I worked my way up from the dishwasher to salad prep, prep cook and then running the employee line, cooking for everyone who worked there and then leading brunch which was cool because I was 16 at the time. Once I am doing something I want to be good at it, I want to push to the next level. It was never my ambition to stick with it, I was getting closer to the end of high school. I was leaning toward physical therapy as a career choice but I was really liking what I was doing and decided to check out the culinary school in Portland."

 Image courtesy of Cochinito

Image courtesy of Cochinito

:: You have some very exciting new things on the horizon, tell us about your new restaurant.

"Cochinito taqueria will be a fast-casual, chef-driven taco shop. In Spanish, Cochinito means "little piggy" which is a good fit because I've always been a bit pork focused anyways plus it's a nickname that my wife uses for me. It's a way to take the things I love, the same sourcing, the same techniques and attention to detail but doing it in a way that's a little more accessible than fine dining. People will be able to afford to come and bring their families. I'm excited to do something totally different. For most of my career I've done the sit down, expensive, special occasion, fine dining type restaurants and that's great, I have loved every minute of it but I think it's time to do something a little fresh, a little exciting, a little more low key and accessible. Something that makes sense for everybody. We will be sourcing locally whenever we can and sourcing responsibly. We will be using the techniques of fine dining but folding them into Mexican cuisine. Some of the fancier tricks with cooking styles, some of the braises, some of the molecular gastronomy touches but in a way that still makes sense with what we're doing. At its heart it will be rustic, regional Mexican food but there's a way to take some of those things and put a fun twist on them and make it pretty interesting. Show people things that make sense but totally different then they've seen before." Chef Travis looks forward to getting to interact with his patrons which I think is fantastic! "I love relating with people", he said, "but it's hard sometimes being tucked in the back, I really want it (Cochinito) to be an all hands on deck approach."

 Images courtesy of Cochinito

Images courtesy of Cochinito

::What is your perspective on the Spokane food Scene?::

"I think it's such an exciting time for the Spokane food scene! That's part of what drew me back from Portland (apart from the personal end of being near friends and family again especially as we start a young family of our own) 5-6 years ago I'd see 3 or 4 really good restaurants, there were a couple people doing it right and were really passionate. There was room for growth in Spokane, you come from a city like Portland where every block gets kind of gentrified into this cool zone and every year 5 new restaurants start but then in a year they are closed. It's like this revolving door of really good food. I've always said Portland is that best place to be a diner and the worst place to be a chef or restaurant owner. The competition is just super fierce and that's good thing, that lends to a really cool scene but its really hard to get in and make a name for yourself, put your stamp on something. I always looked at Spokane and thought, 'man you could really start something cool here.' There are so many niche things that haven't been done yet. It seems like everyone for the most part has this mentality and are all about fostering the scene and making it grow cohesively. It's not cutthroat like I have honestly seen in other cities. Here, everyone is supportive, calling one another up and asking 'hey where do I get this ingredient? Can you lend a hand at this event?' It builds a culture rather than a competition."

 Image courtesy of Cochinito

Image courtesy of Cochinito

::If you could go anywhere in the world with all expenses paid where would it be and why?::

"I really want to go to Greece and Turkey. For the food, the culture, the beach and the sunshine. I have also always wanted to go to Vietnam, my father is a Vietnam vet and we've always talked how it would be cool to do a trip where we go back and kind of revisit a little bit. I have heard it's one of the best food trips you can take. To see a totally different part of the world and completely get out of your element."

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I was able to stop by and see the space and the work that is in process at Cochinito. I loved hearing so many of the fun details of the plans and let me tell you guys, it's going to be AWESOME!!!  Chef Travis has been the executive Chef at Clover for 3 years which he says he has "loved and it was amazing, they treated me super well" and now he's pursuing this dream of owning his own restaurant and it's so fantastic to see that becoming a reality right here in Spokane. Cochinito will occupy a space of 2,500 square feet downtown on the corner of Post St. and Riverside Ave and right next to the bar, Volstead Act. Chef Travis and his team are working tirelessly on getting all the details just so and Cochinito is slated to open very soon. Chef Travis and his wife are expecting their first child, a baby girl, in a couple months so he joked "we are trying not to open the restaurant and have the kid in the same week."

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To get you excited and your tastebuds primed here is a little sneak peak of the menu. Prepare yourself, it's going to make you VERY hungry.

Ceviche del atun (seasonal rotation) marinated ahi tuna, tostada, cucumber, onion, citrus, finger lime mango chile gel

Sopes - thick fried corn cakes, duck confit, mole poblano, candied pepita, cotija, avocado.

Elote - grilled corn, cumin and smoked paprika crema, scallion, jalapeno and crispy pickled onion.

Their tacos will be served on fresh, made daily corn tortillas.

20 hour Carne asada - Sous vide tri-tip, chili rubbed and slow braised to Med rare, grilled corn, onions and peppers, chile-garlic oil, asadero cheese.

Fried maiitake mushrooms - marinated in chili garlic oil, manchengo, pepitas, romaine, radish, salsa de arbol , truffle. 

Al Pastor- pineapple marinated adobe Snake River Farms pork tenderloin, smoked pineapple and jicama salsa, thyme oil, peanut, white chocolate

Watermelon man - tequila, lime, cider vinegar, watermelon, mint, tajin.

Cucumber and jalapeño margarita - cilantro, basil, lime, pineapple.

 Image courtesy of Cochinito

Image courtesy of Cochinito

SHOP LOCAL Holiday Gift-Giving Guide

Image courtesy of Batch Bake Shop

December has officially arrived. Soon the landscape will be a Winter wonderland, the staying in and being cozy will begin, we will prepare to celebrate the reason for the season, we'll start making our traditional family recipes and trying out new ones, all the wonders of the season will come to life and of course we'll begin to go on the hunt for that perfect gift for each person on our gifting list.

I thought I would put together a "SHOP LOCAL holiday gift-giving guide" for the food and drink loving person in your life.  Maybe you know without a shadow of a doubt that you have a foodie on your Christmas list or maybe you just aren't quite sure. Well you're in luck because I have come up with a few questions to ask yourself so you can be absolutely certain.

Here they are: Do they take pictures of their food EVERYTIME you dine out? Are they always telling you about the most A-mazing dish that they had at *fill in the blank* restaurant? Are the majority of their Pinterest boards for recipes? Do they plan their travel destinations around where the places are for good food? Do they talk about food, while eating food while planning where they want to go eat food next?

If you answered an enthusiastic YES to most or all of these questions then you've come to the right place and the the list below will serve as a great guide to find that perfect "foodie gift" all while shopping and supporting local. I call that a WIN-WIN. You've likely heard the adage that "the way to a man's heart is through his stomach", well the same can be said about the foodies in your life.

Whether you want to pop by any of the listed places in person or visit their websites I am certain you will find something just right for your food loving friend or family member. I have included a direct link to the website of each of the 25 mentioned businesses.

Image courtesy of Mandala Chai Company

Mandala Chai Company makes hand-crafted, artisan chai with only organic, local and fair trade ingredients. Mandala Chai is always consciously crafted in small batches and made with love. Available in Original Chai or Spicy Chai. This drink is chai perfection enjoyed hot or cold and the chai concentrate makes a lovely addition to a variety of recipes.  Mandala Chai Company logo T-shirts, mugs, and canvas totes are also available on the website.

Image courtesy of Indaba Coffee

Indaba Coffee Roasters is a family run business that "believes radical hospitality can change the world". With 2 locations in Spokane, Indaba can be found downtown Spokane on Howard Street and in the West Central neighborhood on Broadway Avenue. They are passionate about loving people through serving them finely crafted coffee. Visit either location for Indaba merchandise and coffee products and tools. Gift cards also available.

Image courtesy of Winterwoods Tea Company

Winterwoods Tea Company offers organic loose leaf tea blends that are "inspired by community and nature's bounty". With 20 different blends to choose from you are sure to find the tea that best suits any personal tea preference. You will find additional gifts for the tea loving person in your life including the perfect tea measuring spoon, tea infusers, tea samplers, and mugs.

 Image courtesy of Ladder Coffee and Toast

Image courtesy of Ladder Coffee and Toast

Ladder Coffee and Toast is new to the Spokane coffee scene and already making waves. They have a heart to love and support people no matter their background. Gift cards of $20 or more are available. To complement your coffee they also serve three kinds of toasts:
1. Yogurt & Honey
2. Nutella & Banana
3. Avocado Toast

Image courtesy of Vessel Coffee Roasters

Vessel Coffee Roasters has a modern, hip vibe and is quite Instagram picture worthy. Even though this coffee shop is known for is photogenic aesthetic, they are first known for their amazing coffee that includes epic latte art. Gift cards and Vessel Coffee merchandise available. Be sure to give yourself a little extra time when you pop by to buy something for your coffee loving friend because you're going to want to hang out awhile.

Image courtesy of Townshend

Townshend Cellar is a family owned and operated Washington winery located on Greenbluff. Their wine "combines the notably expressive qualities of Washington State grapes with the depth and elegance of wines made in the Old World style." Be sure to check out their website for tasting room and wine club information.

Image courtsey of Dry Fly Distilling

Dry Fly Distilling For the spirits connoisseur Dry Fly Distilling has a wide variety of vodka, gin, and whiskies, all made here in the inland Northwest from local ingredients sourced from 100+ year old farms. Cocktail classes available, check website for details and prices. Dry Fly is also open to hosting private classes for groups.

 Image courtesy of Barrister Winery

Image courtesy of Barrister Winery

Barrister Winery was started in 2002 by 2 attorneys and has become one of Washington's finest wineries. Known mainly for their full bodied reds, their 2 most well known wines are their Cabernet Franc and their Rough Justice both winners of multiple awards throughout the years. The winery is open from noon to 5 for tastings daily. Check website for downtown location hours. Gift certificates are available at both locations.

 Image courtesy of Damnbucha

Image courtesy of Damnbucha

 Damnbucha is a kombucha brewery right here in Spokane! You can find their kombucha at the following Spokane locations. Growler Guys on the South hill (flavors: spiced pear and blueberry mint), The Blackbird (Flavors: Cranberry blood orange) Iron Goat (Flavors: Blueberry mint blast and Cranberry blood orange) and Black label brewing (Flavors: hibiscus orange). Growlers are available at all locations listed above.

Image courtesy of Chocolate Apothecary and Coffee

Chocolate Apothecary is located in the Flour Mill. Chocolate Apothecary offers delicious and decadent hand-crafted chocolates and a wide variety of unique and tasty sweets which are one of the oldest traditional gifts given around the world and are sure to be very well received. One of their top selling products is their gelato truffles. Yes you heard that right gelato truffles and while you're there don't forget to check out their world famous drinking chocolate.

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Batch Bake Shop is a tiny bakery with a huge heart that will help in making all your savory, sweet or flaky baked-goods dreams come true. With everything from hand-crafted pies and rustic galettes to cakes and pastries, there's something for everyone.  Batch also offers small group classes and workshops. Batch will be open on Fridays throughout December from Noon-5:30pm with pies, cake and holiday goodies available. For custom orders check out their website.

 Image courtesy of The Scoop

Image courtesy of The Scoop

The Scoop is a family owned cream shop that is nestled in an adorable neighborhood on the South hill. They serve amazing made ice cream that is created in store using fresh ingredients and liquid nitrogen. Even though the Scoop is best known for their ice cream they also have liege waffles, savory sandwiches and an espresso bar that serves Roast House coffee. The Scoop is a wonderful community gathering place no matter the time of year. Because any day is a good day for ice cream, right?

Bean and Pie is located in Post Falls. They are passionate about using quality ingredients such as organic butter, flour, fruit and sugar. Sourcing their ingredients locally is a focal point of their mission. Who doesn't love pie?!? "All I'm saying is you rarely see a person crying and eating pie at the same time." Bean and Pie will be announcing their Christmas flavors pie selection very soon so be sure to stay tuned on their website. My personal favorite pie is their Chai apple pie!

Image courtesy of Kitchen Engine

Kitchen Engine is a specialty kitchen store located in the Flour Mill in downtown Spokane that recently celebrated 11 years in business. They continually strive for excellence in customer service and they carry a wide variety of merchandise from gourmet cookware to locally roasted coffee. They are Spokane's only Bosch small appliance dealer. Additionally they have a monthly schedule of cooking classes available to the public, for cooking class schedule and prices see their website. Kitchen Engine "invites you to come in, have a cup of coffee or tea on them and discover your inner chef. "

 Image courtesy of Sweet Annie's

Image courtesy of Sweet Annie's

Sweet Annie's artisan ice cream is described as "life affirming and crazy delicious" and I would have to agree 110%!  It is also locally sourced and made in small batches. Just listen to these flavors: Spiked egg nog, Sweet cream, Dark chocolate peppermint, Salted almond toffee, Sweetie potato pie and more. Now that your mouth is watering I think you'll really want to check out their "flights of fancy" while you're buying a gift card for the foodie in your life I think you'll want to buy one for yourself as well.

 Image courtesy of Simplholistic

Image courtesy of Simplholistic

Simplholistic is offering a fantastic deal on their "Ultimate Health Bundle" This bundle will provide you with a 1 week meal plan that includes recipes, a grocery store guide as well as the Simplholistic favorites and and supplement discounts. Additionally you will also receive nutrition consultation from Ashlee, founder and owner of Simplholistic, and it's budget friendly coming in under $20 at $18 which is what I call a steal of a deal.

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The Culinary Stone has a passion for living and eating well. "Gourmet living meets everyday prices." is part of their mission. The Culinary Stone is the perfect place to visit and discover specialty foods from all around the world as well as our local region. Whether you're looking for kitchen tools and gadgets, cooking classes to expand your skills in the kitchen or specialty foods I can guarantee you'll enjoy your experience at the store. When I visit this wondrous store I literally feel like a kid in a candy store, I just want to wander around for hours taking it all in. Be sure to pull up a seat in the cafe area of the store to re-fuel with a variety of delicious pastries and coffee available.

Image courtesy of Bruttles

Bruttles is Spokane's original soft peanut brittle maker serving "goodness 64 years in the making". If you've never tried this, you're seriously in for a treat and possibly a lifetime addiction. Their unique recipe for peanut brittle has been handed down, improved and protected over the years. Additionally they offer cookies and cream bark, butter toffee, caramels, white chocolate bark, cashew brittle, etc. There are 2 locations available with one in Spokane Valley and the other in Downtown Spokane.

 Photo taken at Sante

Photo taken at Sante

If you've scrolled through this list and you still aren't sure what to get for the foodie in your life then I'd suggest grabbing a gift card from one of the wonderful local restaurants and let your foodie friend or family member decide what sounds best.

Clover      Sante      Wild Sage      Luna      Downriver Grill      Central Food   Blackbird  Ruins

Okay friends, I hope this list has been helpful and will serve as a guide for you as you get to shopping. Happy December, ALL!