Pullman (WA) and surounding area
Pullman is a culinary blackhole--I've lived 3 borderline suicidal years here. If you drive 5 miles to Moscow Idaho, Nectar is a nice wine bar/ restaurant. They opened two months ago and are by far the best operation in the area. If you go, tell them Nikiforos recommended them online.
Patit Creek restaurant is terrific. Small, need resies, located in Dayton Washington, about an hour west of Clarkston, which is 30 mins south of Pullman.
In Moscow, Red Door is good, noisy. Breakfast Club in Moscow for best breakfasts (potato pancakes!).
There are restaurants that are good, few that you could say are great--or they closed. Haven't tried the French bistro in Moscow on Friendship Square, but others have loved it. You'll need resies there, no rush on eating there--they figure that if a table doesn't turn over at all in an evening, that table must have needed the time! That's refreshing, in a college town with many student-waitstaff.
Bakery? Wheatberries on Main in Moscow--closed on sun & mon.
Mexican? Most people eat at Patty's (6th St. near the Univ. of Idaho) or San Miguel on N. Main (sopas!) Food is quite good, just not fabulous. But better than I expected in Idaho...
It's not a TOTAL wasteland. But when you have 2 colleges, one in each town, and summer arrives, students leave and it's tough to make a restaurant a go for 12 mos. Sad, but true. Each town has about 26,000 residents, and that includes students.
Hope this helps.
When I went to WSU, we used to love Sella's (breadsticks w/their extra creamy ranch dressing, calzones and salad with a whole lot of shredded mozzerella on top), but I'm not sure we were particularly picky at that point.
However, Sella's and Pizza Pipeline are what I miss from my college days. Add in fries (with fry sauce) from Cougar Country and burgers at the Coug, and it's a college student's dream!
Nectar in Moscow has an excellent wine selection. I've tried the halibut and crabcakes, both excellent. This is a place to hang out and enjoy your company. Not too stuffy.
Also in Moscow is the Food Coop deli. Have not ventured out to try the French bistro or Red Door yet.
Agreed that Sella's and Cougar Country Drive-In are quintessential college eats. Quality ingredients.
I had gone to Swilly's for a few weeks and found the food consistently good. I prefer nectar for the atmosphere.
Try this other link for Moscow, ID http://www.chowhound.com/topics/12590
Potstickers at New Garden (Chinese) are quite good, but the rest of the menu seems to all come with the same stock sauce. There is quite a local following as the waitress seemed to know them all by name, but none of them I saw had yellow skin or black hair. Reputed one of the better Chinese places in the area. I guess I won't eat Chinese around here again.
If you want to go island style, there is a place in Moscow called Local Grines (sp?). I'm interested in trying some of their plate lunches other than the Kahlua pig, which was on the dry side.
VJs BBQ (in Moscow) is really good. Ask Vincent (the owner/BBQer) what's best that day (pulled pork, brisket, or ribs--there are other choices, but those being so consistent, there is no point in asking after them).
Again though, if you are going to one place, Nectar is great. Patit Creek is cool in that antiquated sort of way--goat cheese stuffed dates wrapped in bacon, with a water chestnut in there (I think Trader Vic's came up with those in the 50s). Nectar has a great meat loaf and chocolate soufle, but everything is good. Red door is quiter with some really nice dishes too though.
Ummm, now I'm glad this discussion began! Definitely I'll try Nectar--days open/dinner only?
Swilly's is better than good, I'll admit. My problem there is the slow service. In recent years (say, the past 2) I've been there alone and was TOTALLY ignored, as a couple we've been the victims of sitting around after we've eaten, wait, wait, waiting for the check. Maybe my bad luck.
Cougar Country is the quintessential college food place, fries that are good, usually hot, and greasy. But they have corndogs!
Moscow Food Co-op deli is a good choice for b, l, or d. Creative with the vegetarian and vegan foods, good bakery and desserts.
Haven't tried VJ's yet either. You can find some different food choices at the Saturday Farmer's Market in Moscow, Sats. 8-noon, from early May to Late October. Food carts and homemade things--the tri-tip bbq cart, the Greek-ish tent with the spanokopita, dolmas, and baklava, some other local carts. The Market is the happening place to be on Saturday a.m., take your camera!
Anyone remember the last iteration of the Combine in Pullman? The tasty gourmet experience, owned by the bio professors? Sadly, closed. How they even stayed open was a mystery to me...
Nectar: 5-10 Mon-Sat (bar's open till 11). Not fancy--just honest, solid fare really well cared for with great ingredients.
If you go to VJs, also, bring your own bread (their's sometimes problematic), if you want sandwich.
I missed the old combine place, but heard a lot about it.
Long-winded response below...
cilantro soup. Interesting wines, and a satisfying list of appetizers. Ask for Grac
In Pullman, Swilley's is the long time favourite. I have enjoyed a few nice meals there. Good beer, tomatoe bisque is lovely. If you are interested in excellent, authentic Thai food, I heartily recommend Sushada's Thai Cuisine. Pullman/Moscow may be missing the longboat on that one! And, yes, sadly the old Combine is no more...
In Moscow, Nectar is the new kid on the block.It has a nice location across from One World coffee house, a popular spot for the caffeine/internet crowd. You can watch all the traffic from both locations on the east/west thoroughfare on Sixth St. The menu and food are fine(meat loaf is a nice touch for students missing...wait a minute! Who misses the ever-popular 'meat loaf'?), but I think the jury can deliberate on that one. Worth a try, but consider, for the a more ascertained dining experience, the "tried and true", in accordance with your desired dining experience, ie:
Patty's Kitchen, for outside-near campus moments, where food is the primary concern--owners are community minded, and this is important! And, food is good.
Casa Lopez or Fiesta en Jalisco for atmosphere, but large portions and fast service with full bar. Pleasant wait staff. (Lopez has a beautiful bar....once upon a time in the old Rathskellar's south of town...very festive place) and,
Sangria--I go there for the cilantro soup. Interesting wines, and a satisfying list of appetizers. Ask for Grace Penas for a waitress--a bubbly treat!
Mikey's Gyros is a great option for lunch, beer and good non-alc. drinks.
The Moscow Food Co-op has a nice selection of light-hearty vegetarian dishes, open and large seating area, convenient when on the run/shopping during the day.
The New Peking--serene. Food is good(in my limited experience), and the service is as well. Nice place to do lunch when you want private conversation.
And last, but not least,
The Red Door--Regional delights such as the finest Alaskan salmon anywhere, Morel mushrooms in season, excellent gourmet dishes at a price that would fetch much more in the City. Bohemian atmosphere. Beer and wine, fine imported and regional. Fresh salads from local organic produce. The only place around for the perfect romantic moment, the delicate business dinner, the "impress the parents with my ability to make choices" night out, learn of local art and theatre, and connect with the creative, cosmopolitan contingent of the area. Jeanne, the owner, is another effervescent personality.
I have yet to try the BBQ, another nkotb. Sounds good. Heard mixed reviews about the French restaurant, haven't tried it, but it looks/sounds intriguing(my experience with French restaurants has left me with that stuffy, "let us put very small porTIONS on your
white PLATE, and see if you are impressed by the colOUER" concept--so, obviously, I am no judge! I will try it at some point.,.)
As your momma said, "Chew, and taste your food!"
re: de todos
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I've got to second the Red Door comments. My personal favorite in Moscow. Jeanne-Amie, the owner, and Hal, the head chef, are incredible! In the style of Chez Panisse, they really put a lot of thought and love into each and every dish, using local and sustainable ingredients whenever possible. The food is never disappointing. And most importantly, going to the Red Door is going to satisfy more than your stomach. It's an all around experience to please your many senses. If you haven't tried the lamb shank, it's a rustic and earthy meal to die for. If you're not a big meat eater but you like seafood, try the thai coconut ginger shrimp. The specials are always interesting and the prices range to make the Red Door affordable for everyone.
If you haven't taken a trip to the Red Door, make sure you get down there soon. It's a Moscow standby that has deeply enriched the quaint town I love and a special gem with some of the best food you'll ever taste- by any standards!
Had the blackened salmon at the Red Door a few nights ago. Very delicious. Staff was lukewarm at best. Not a big fan of the layout. Will give it another go. The menu has some selections that look very enticing.
Ferdinand's - now I think that the ice cream there is some of the best I have had in a while. I'm going to have to find out about the hype about Cougar Gold.
I've lived around here for quite some time, and I really enjoy all kinds of good food. The choices around here are obviously limited by the small population and America's trend for homoginized, franchized, fast food.
Swilley's & The Red Door are my favorites, but I frequent Mikey's, the Breakfast Club and the three Mexican resteraunts most often (San Miguels being the newest, the food is good but the atmosphere could be improved). Ellenore's down in Union Town has good beer and pub food. The Sage bakery in Uniontown has excellent breads and scones, but is only open Fridays & Saturdays.
I only tried Nectar's for beer and hor devours. Their speciality is wine. I wasn't too impressed with food.
What we need is a good Thai resteraunt as well as a Mexican resteraunt that serves breakfast.
I enjoyed the quality and selection of brew at the Couer D'Alene Brewhouse. Was there more for the drink than the food, so can't comment on that.
I love the smell of a bakery and will try the loaves or other baked wares at some time, but Wheatberries' portabella panini was an incompetently microwaved barely toasted disappointment - 1/2 cold 1/2 lukewarm with soggy parts to the bread and cold cheese.
I guess I don't have the palate for Thai. Keo's in Honolulu has been the best Thai that I remember, but that has been years. Suchada's was unexciting to me and being pointed to the ATM was a little surprising to me in this day and age where I haven't carried cash in my pocket for a while.
It sounds like the Red Door is one of the next stops along with Patty's. Off then to Uniontown one of these days.
The food at Swilley's is consistently very good. That is hands down the best and only place to go for dinner in Pullman. The Emerald (Chinese) in Pullman has great mandarin chicken. The Old European is the only good place within 30 miles to eat breakfast. The others are like dorm food.
Nectar in Moscow has excellent food, but a limited selection. I can't believe that most of the posts below do not mention Sangria in Moscow. Their menu is huge and the food is great, at least the 10 or so times I have been there. It is all cooked to order (no 55 gallon drums of gravy like Applebees) and the portions are large. When the ribs are "on" they match any I have had ANYWHERE.
The Red Door is dark and spendy.
I only ate VJ's food once. The BBQ sauce was great, but my sandwich contained HUGE chunks of fat.