I love road trips.
Even ones that aren’t meant for play. Normally, I hate being stuck in a car for long periods of time, but this road trip wasn’t quite as daunting. I don’t know if it was the beautiful scenery, the low traffic on the roads, the high elevations, the forgotten towns that look as though they are stuck in time, or the fact I really needed a vacation. But it was wonderful. And I took “drive by” photos to share.
Oh how I love the Bitteroot Mountain Range.
The reason we went to Spokane was to attend the Society of American Foresters Career Fair at their annual convention (I wish I had the money to attend the actual convention!). So we decided to make a mini holiday of it and stop for a couple days in Missoula, Montana before we headed to Spokane. Can I just say I LOVE MISSOULA! What a beautiful town nestled in the mountains with forward thinking individuals. I hear they have the best farmers markets but unfortunately, it was too cold. The town was gorgeous and very walkable, which I also love.
Both Spokane and Missoula were a blast and I just wanted to share the highlights of our trip:
Tagliare Delicatessen, Missoula, MT
The best sandwiches. Ever. I love sandwiches. Real sandwiches, not subbies or quizzies, but made from scratch sandwiches. This was our first stop and hands down the best one on the entire trip. I had a pickled beet sandwich with goat cheese, carrots, arugula and a mustard vinaigrette. I am by no means a vegetarian, but that sandwich was absolute perfection. Tart, sweet, tangy. Yum. Zach had the roasted pork, wine soaked pear jam, arugula and a tamarind balsamic drizzle. It was equally delicious. We finished perfection with two mini cannoli’s: a cardamom clove and Strawberry fennel. My mouth is still watering.
Flying Goat, Spokane, WA
We were told this was a hip-hipster joint and they were right. But if there is one thing I love about the oh-so-lovable-hipster is there constant striving-to-be-different attitude applied to food. I was afraid it wasn’t going to be as good as people made it sound because as we walked in, an older couple decided to walk out as they complained to the hostess. Boy am I glad we stayed. We ordered the McLellan Dumplings which was house made sausage with roasted jalapeno and goat cheese wrapped in dough and deep fried, served with arugula pesto and chili sauce.
Seriously?!? Food should not be this good!! It is too dangerous! They were so good in fact that I almost ordered another round (thankfully I didn’t or I would have been one very sorry girl). The sauces were equally amazing and we felt less guilty asking for another round of them to dip our pizza crusts in. We also ordered the Kiernan; a pizza with Italian sausage, truffle oil tossed arugula, house cheese blend, and heavy cream topped with an over-medium egg. It was fantastic. Egg on pizza? Yes please.
Atticus Coffee & Gifts, Spokane, WA
We have a thing where we try and hit every notable coffee shop and bookstore wherever we go. I have to admit, I chose to visit this place because it is also the name of my niece, but boy am I glad I did. They had a great gift selection. Yes, it is just stuff, but I like stuff! Teapots, coffee mugs, books, woodland creatures, etc. This isn’t your grandma’s trinket shop, it’s meant for a younger crowd, like myself, who likes oddball items. So much fun! The coffee was pretty good too.
Paradise Fibers, Spokane, WA
I forgot to mention that everywhere I go, I also have to visit
at least one all yarn shops (poor Zach). I love going places where I can touch things and not worry about breaking them. Yes, I am a compulsive toucher. Although all yarn shops are awesome, this was the best of the trip. Partly because I am bias as I love old brick buildings, but mostly because of the selection. It was huge!! They are mainly an online company so they weren’t as “cute” as most yarn shops but they had soooo much to choose from! I love when I can go to a yarn shop and have the option of cheaper yarns as well as expensive. It somehow makes me feel better that I have seen all the colors and price range options before reverting back to the more expensive yarns. I am an addict. I can’t help it.
Coeur Coffeehouse, Spokane, WA
This find was not at all our style…..at first. The palette is white, almost clinical. One is surprised the aroma of rubbing alcohol doesn’t join the wafting scent of fresh ground coffee. The artwork adorning the walls is perfectly symmetrical, and perfectly ignorable. And the barista at Coeur Coffee nearly vibrates with eagerness. I began to worry this coffeshop was too pretentious for me. The barista rattled on all night to another customer about coffee, how to brew it, who makes the best, the price, the origin, he just went on and on and on. Rather than disdain the barista’s passion and snobbery, I started to admire it, for somehow he managed to be innocent and genuine in his love of coffee. They brew Portland’s local legend, Stumptown. Obsessively measured, brewed, and poured, even regular coffee is made with a french press; they don’t drip brew here. One of the night’s pleasures was watching our young earnest barista prepare a large catering order by brewing ten consecutive small french press batches without looking annoyed or impatient. The forty-five minute effort seemed almost silly, but after tasting their french press I knew it was worth it.
After a while of knitting and listening to this guy, my coffee ran dry and I decided to order another. Two girls came in and ordered foo-foo lattes (as I like to call them). He made them both with precision but I noticed there wasn’t a line of flavored syrups blockading the minimalist bar. I was curious how he flavored these drinks and looked at the menu to find they only offered three flavors; chocolate, caramel, and vanilla. Thinking this was odd, I asked him where they get their syrups. He replied that they make their own syrups. Huh!?! Make? No way! I have never heard of a coffee shop making their own flavorings. He told me their caramel was the best as it was a salty variety. I was sold. That latte was by far, the best flavored latte I have ever had. Salty, sweet, rich, but not overpowering. Perfection. Out of all the coffee shops I have been to in my life (believe me, there has been many), these people make the best flavored lattes hands down.