Nick Pitsilionis, owner of BLACK CYPRESS voted Best Palouse Restaurant by Inlander readers, talks about how greens from local farmers come together with talent from Palouse bakers. His face brightens as he references farmers who are "really good at tomatoes." He chats about the process of taking pieces from the community and forging food that is the face of Palouse culture.
One of those pieces is bread, the blank canvas of Greek cuisine.
"Bread is the basic starch the food is built around. So we have a relationship with bakers," Pitsilionis says.
Next come the tomatoes that local farmers are so good at. After that, the kale. The cabbage that Pitsilionis asked farmers to grow works with dishes in an expressedly Greek way.
"I've never wanted to be a place that grew everything ourselves, curated everything ourselves. I wanted it to be a network of human beings doing local products and relying on one another to survive," Pitsilionis adds. One of his daily desserts, bread pudding with salty pistachios, highlights Ferdinand's ice cream, a WSU homegrown favorite.
"You get a cuisine that's not contingent on one person's creative output, but relying on one another to create something unique that you can't replicate anywhere else."
Black Cypress serves food that is the face of the region — with drinks of the same caliber. Pitsilionis, proud of the drinks he serves at the restaurant, often is disappointed that there aren't more creative cocktails to match the delicious food.
He plans to expand Black Cypress' bar into a dance club/nightclub/karaoke venue by incorporating the building he purchased two years ago (where Nomad's was located), right above the restaurant. Pitsilionis, who hopes to open the doors of the club with a big party in around a month, encourages everyone to check Black Cypress' Facebook page for an official announcement.
THE COUG, voted Best Palouse College Hangout (21+) and Best Palouse Happy Hour, signifies a time-honored tradition of Cougar pride and the quintessential college-y experience. You know the collegiate hangout spot you wished you had during your school years? The Coug is that spot. For more than eight decades, rambunctious youth have penned their names on the tabletops and walls. Legions of wild partygoers have passed through the doors, grabbed a pint, and engaged in delightful inebriation. Go see what the fuss is all about, because it doesn't seem like the Coug is about to leave the Best Of list anytime soon.
Best Palouse Breakfast, the title awarded to THE BREAKFAST CLUB in Moscow, is a competitive award among various Palouse breakfast destinations. But there's a reason that the Breakfast Club has its own Facebook fan page and an hour-long wait list every weekend. This slice of breakfast heaven is Sunday-morning-cup-of-coffee incarnate. Stuffed biscuits and gravy. A thick stack of pancakes. Their "kitchen sink" is the bomb-diggity — think of every breakfast foodstuff thrown into a big, cheesy pile. Combine this veritable orgy of breakfast with a delicious morning mimosa, and you have the most reliably busy place in Moscow every weekend.
The WSU BOOKIE, voted Best Palouse Gifts, represents an all-aboard call to the CougarTown of gift-giving. Cougar cellphone covers. Cougar plushies. Every single piece of clothing imaginable emblazoned with the fiery crimson of the Cougar spirit. Coffee mugs. School supplies. Lanyards. Lamps. Whisky decanters. Hair scrunchies. Cougar sock monkeys. Cougar luggage tags. If you require an object that is also a piece of Cougar pride paraphernalia, this place will have it.♦ (SARAH MUNDS)
Best Palouse Restaurant
1st PLACE: Black Cypress; 2nd PLACE: Sella's Calzone & Pizza; 3rd PLACE: (tie) South Fork Public House; Green Frog Cafe, Palouse; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Sangria Grille, Moscow
Best Palouse Gifts
1st PLACE: WSU Bookie; 2nd PLACE: Crimson & Gray; Hurd Mercantile, Rockford; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: Blackbird at the Depot, Potlatch
Best Palouse College 21+ Hangout
1st PLACE: The Coug; 2nd PLACE: Rico's Public House; 3rd PLACE: Valhalla; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: John's Alley, Moscow
Best Palouse Breakfast
1st PLACE: The Breakfast Club, Moscow; 2nd PLACE: Old European, Pullman; 3rd PLACE: Tam's Place, Pullman
Best Palouse Happy Hour
1st PLACE: The Coug; 2nd PLACE: Rico's Public House; 3rd PLACE: My Office; NORTH IDAHO'S BEST: John's Alley, Moscow