The Spokane Mini Food Tour: Chapter II
Another entry from our Spokane food tour diaries over the last few months.
Fun-adjacent fact: After taking a 23andMe DNA test, I learned that I was part Native American. Granted, that fraction of a percent was within the margin of error, but I still found it both amusing and implausible—none of my ancestors lived in the US.
That’s a roundabout segue into Indigenous Eats, a Native eatery specializing in frybread. It’s an unassuming spot with a walk-up ordering process: Pick your legumes—pinto, black, or chili—and your protein—beef, bison, chicken, or vegetarian—and decide if you want to forego the frybread and opt for a salad or rice bowl instead. Don’t do that, though: The flavorful frybread is not too greasy and has a soft bite to it. It’s one of those breads I could gladly eat without toppings.
Still, the stash isn’t anything to scoff at either, and the bison is flavorful and juicy, not dry as often can be the case with this type of meat.
The only caveat I can think of is the size of the frybreads: They are huge. So huge that you get provided a to-go box right up front. While I could squabble and say smaller options would be welcomed—like what Sweeto Burrito offers—it is hard to argue against quality leftovers. The flatbread manages to stay impressively un-soggy.
Kismet is a Latin-inspired restaurant and one of a handful of new places leading the Hillyard neighborhood’s revitalization. It’s a casual spot, promising creative and fresh takes on classic dishes. “Gastropub” isn’t an often-used term anymore, but it is how many would have described Kismet ten years ago.
Its food fully lives up to its fresh promise. The flavors are clean, even with the use of heavier ingredients like a molé sauce, and I’d wholeheartedly recommend the delicately smoked pork in a simple reduction.
With Kismet and other newly opened spots, Hillyard is rapidly gaining legitimacy. Do head up there and see what’s going on. If nothing else, Kismet will serve you a good meal.
Kismet is located at 3020 E Queen Ave. Their website is kismetspokane.com.
Baba is a Mediterranean/Middle Eastern eatery from the people behind De España and a legit contender for “best restaurant in Spokane.” I don’t say that lightly, as I tend to be fairly uppity when it comes to this style of cuisine.
Take the “Whipped Feta with Honey,” a creamy, semi-sweet dipping sauce served with house pitas. There’s just a pinch of zestiness to its palate, and the dukkah introduces a light smokiness. A lot of flavors, but none of them overwhelming.
And as with Indigenous Eats: The bread passes the “gladly something I’d eat by itself” litmus test.
The lamb-sausage shakshuka makes for a flavorful main course, particularly if you enjoy a bit of a kick to your flavors. It’s not overpoweringly spicy, but the sauce adds a heaping of heat.
For something lighter, the fattoush salad is fresh and loaded with piquancy. It’s a good choice for those looking for something meat-free, though few of Baba’s dishes really require animal proteins. Going vegetarian should not be an issue here.
Each of our visits to Baba has been a chef-d’oeuvre. I’d highly recommend it to anyone who visits Spokane.