The Spokane Mini Food Tour
Spokane’s food scene holds its own, as proven by restaurants we sampled over multiple recent visits to the city. Here is a handful of recommendations.
“Hyggelig” be damned, 2023 is all about “koselig,” its closely related Norwegian cousin.
Located in Spokane’s Wonder Building food hall is Koselig Kitchen, a small kiosk specializing in Norwegian treats. Their emphasis is on the frozen variety, and I can testify that their ice cream holds a high standard. For those who’ve tried Norwegian soft-ice, you’ll know it’s just a little different than many of its ilk—creamier, with a bolder flavor. The peppermint holiday ice cream we sampled tasted like the real thing, a rarity outside of Norway.
Much respect to the dill-flavored crackerbread, too—it brought forth nostalgia with its traditional flavors. And even if you have no interest in old-timey Norwegian foods, Koselig’s quality is objectively high across the board.
The Spokane coffee scene reached critical mass a while ago, and the choice of good shops has become abundant.
Ladder Coffee is a prime example: Their mainstay drinks—the Americanos, lattes, and so on—are all excellent, but their specials are the real differentiator. Instead of the often-seen over-the-top coffees, Ladder focuses on more subtle takes on the classics, like the Tim-Tam Slam. This was a simple cappuccino served during the holidays, with a generous sprinkle of cocoa and the eponymous chocolate treat on the side. Nothing too wild, but perfectly seasonable.
Ladder has four locations: Browne’s Addition, Valley, Francis, and Monroe. Find all their addresses on their website.
Saranac Public House
Back in the day, when I ran a Spokane food blog, a reader threw down the challenge:
To the best of my knowledge, no one took home the $100.
During a recent revisit to Saranac, it was proven the spot deserved its distinction. This mac & cheese relies largely on restraint, and even with five kinds of cheese, the palate isn’t overpowering. The cavatappi is as al dente as any proper authentic Italian pasta, and even the pulled pork didn’t take away from the base dish.
And, for now, the $100 bet remains open.
I appreciate the challenge, though, and as it was never specified that the mac & cheese had to be found in Spokane, I will continue the search in the name of science.
In the name of accuracy: Both words—and the more commonly known “hygge”— are used in Denmark and Norway. Conversely, neither is properly pronounceable in English due to localized sounds. “Hoo-glee” and “kush-lee” are as close as you’ll get.