Solo dining in Spokane
My girlfriend and I were going to spend the long weekend in Spokane and Northern Idaho. However, she is stuck in Alaska for longer than planned so it's just going to be a solo trip. I'll probably be eating three breakfasts and three dinners in Spokane and lunch elsewhere.
I will eat just about anything and am willing to entertain suggestions at any price range. As a WABL member, I would like to visit a brewery or two but am fine with drinking there and eating elsewhere. My primary caveat is that I'm coming from Seattle and am not interested in Asian food in Spokane unless it's something really special. I will have a car but am staying downtown and and am happy walking.
Some places that sounded interesting during casual searching:
Is there a good place to pick up sandwiches and whatnot for a hike on Mt Spokane?
I actually stayed at the Davenport but did not eat brunch due to out-of-town commitments that morning I also passed on Pig Out in the Park. Instead, I did these things:
Wild Sage had calf's liver on the menu, so I figured I'd order it on the principle that anything that sounds weird/gross to most people ought to be good. This was mostly true - the liver was tasty but the accompanying greens and grits were unevenly seasoned. The popovers were probably the highlight.
Flying Goat is very popular, as evidenced by the parking etiquette notice at the door. I enjoyed sitting outside and really enjoyed my pizza with prosciutto, spinach, and pine nuts. They've got a really good beer list, including Black Butte XXIV on draft (as of Saturday). I'll go back.
Sante's website claimed that Sunday evening would involve the breakfast/lunch menu, but they were actually serving a dinner menu with $20+ entrees. The sous vide salmon was very good, if absurdly rich due to the accompanying risotto and beurre blanc. However, I'd come back from a 30-mile bike ride and could've eaten twice as much if I tried. Eating outside was noisy, and I'd honestly recommend against it if there is inside seating available.
In Coeur d'Alene, a Yelp search led me to Hudson's. I appreciated both the minimalism (pickles and onions are the only toppings) and convivial atmosphere. A double cheeseburger is almost too big to eat at first, but I felt suitably accomplished by the last bite. I wouldn't go out of my way to eat there again, but it seems like a better option than most places downtown. Next time I'll give the Garnet Cafe a shot.
For beer, I visited Laughing Dog (no, it's not in Spokane), No-Li, and Steam Plant. It was surprisingly difficult to find local beer at restaurants in town. Flying Goat had a house beer from No-Li but the closest thing I found to "local" at Sante or Wild Sage was Alpine Pilsner.
Laughing Dog really plays up their canine theme but the only beers that particularly impressed me (from the 8 on the taster tray) were the cream ale, the huckleberry cream ale, and the black IPA. As someone who normally tries to avoid fruit beers, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed the huckleberry cream.
Despite the silly name, No-Li's beers were serious business. I liked almost all of them that I tried, especially the crystal bitter. The chocolate dunkel would make a good dessert beer when a stout feels too heavy. The only real bust was the pretzel (think county fair style).
Steam Plant's taster is a whopping 55 ounces of beer, so I decided just to stick to the stout. They're justifiably proud of this beer. It is lighter but more complex than many, almost reminding me of a barrel-aged stout but without the overwhelming alcohol. I agree that the ambiance is much better than No-Li.
All in all, it was a good trip for eating and drinking. I'll certainly be back for more one day.
Brewpubs in Spokane that I know of.
Steam Plant - Downtown - Great setting, heard the beer is good, food is just average.
No-Li Brewhouse - Near Gonzaga - Better food than Steam plant but Steam plant has much better ambiance.
Domini's has a great local following but I am less than impressed (lots of meat very few condiments). Local places would be High Nooner or Brooklyn Deli, although I don't think Brooklyn Deli's will hold up for a hike. Another suggestion would be go for the good old Jimmy Johns or for a more local sub shop Sparky's Firehouse Subs. There is a High Nooner up north that is closer to Mt. Spokane so you could pick it up on your way.
Franks is all about the dining in a train car atmosphere, there food is average and pretty pricy for what you get. Personally if you want train car experience Knight's Diner, IMHO, offers slightly better food and atmosphere (Franks seems to commercialized).
Better value however would be at Kalico Kitchen (north of downtown) or Molly's (which is downtown). These are also greasy spoon type diner places but fun to go to.
The best breakfast in the 'area' is actually out in CDA - it's the Garnet Cafe.
Sante's and The flying Goat are very good.
A few other choices downtown would be Herbal Esscence Cafe or Mizuna
If you want to try Ethiopian, Queen of Sheba is just across the river and within walking distance of downtown and is very good.
One last shout out is a food truck - Tacos el Sol offers great street tacos (this coming from a thirty year native of So-Cal who lived in a city that was 80% Hispanic.) They are open late Friday and Saturday.
Hope this helps.