- Fudge from Saranac Public House
FOR MEAT LOVERS
Iron Goat Brewing Co. Taproom
Menu says: "Goatmeal Stout braised beef cheeks, pea purèe, Parmesan polenta, roasted veggies and watercress."
We say: For the uninitiated, beef cheeks are, indeed, the muscles from the inside of a cow's mouth. Slow-cooking this cut provides a delectable piece of meat that Iron Goat says you should pair with their Imperial saison.
Menu says: "Dried apple-stuffed, mustard-rubbed pork tenderloin, wrapped in puff pastry with demi-glace."
We say: There's a bevy of pork main courses on this year's menu, and this one shouldn't be overlooked. If you like the combination of sweet and savory, this is a great choice — there are dried apples inside of this thing, for crying out loud.
BRAISED SHORTRIB STROGANOFF
The Gilded Unicorn
Menu says: "Wild mushroom sauce, whipped crème fraiche, green onion, egg noodles."
We say: Remember the beef Stroganoff your mom would make using the chunks of randomly sized beef bits off the supermarket shelf? This is not that. It's made with braised shortribs and employs crème fraiche and wild mushroom sauce for what's sure to be a rich and filling main course.
Saranac Public House
Menu says: "Alternating layers of chocolate and white fudges topped with a raspberry coulis and mint chiffonade."
We say: You could break down this dish into its various components and flavors, and any one of them on their own would make for a sweet treat at the end of the meal. The combination of them all makes this a must-try.
Menu says: "Housemade cannoli shells filled with a ricotta whipped cream and dipped in dark chocolate chips. Covered in powdered sugar."
We say: After enjoying a hearty Italian meal and leaning back for some coffee in a post-meal daze, something sweet is required. The chocolate, powdered sugar and whipped cream in this classic Italian pastry does the trick.
PEANUT BUTTER PIE IN A JAR
Menu says: "Creamy peanut butter mousse, vanilla whipped cream, peanut butter cookie crumbles."
We say: Hello, it's delicious creamy peanut butter mixed with whipped cream and cookie bits? You could throw Nutter Butters in a jar and we'd be on board.
WILD MUSHROOM PASTA
Menu says: "Hedgehog mushroom, walnut sauce, herb bread crumbs."
We say: It might be a vegan-friendly dish, but there's no denying the meaty goodness of the hedgehog mushrooms at the center of this entrée.
- Raviolo Al Uovo from Ruins
KALE AND RISOTTO BALLS
Geno's Traditional Food & Ales
Menu says: "Two hand-formed risotto balls featuring kale, roasted garlic and ricotta cheese, then deep fried and served with our rustic marinara and basil pesto."
We say: You don't think you like kale? Trust me, you'll like it deep-fried inside a couple of risotto balls alongside delicious garlic and cheese.
Durkin's Liquor Bar
Menu says: " Smoked cheddar, pickled egg, radish sprouts, Pomelo vinaigrette."
We say: Anyone who's sampled the Durkin's carrots and Brussels sprouts is aware that the place knows its way around delicious vegetables. The combination of smoky cheese and other flavors make this a go-to beets dish.
FILET OF SIRLOIN AND LOBSTER
Menu says: "Six-ounce Snake River Farms Kobe beef sirloin, with four-ounce butter-poached half lobster tail, Yukon whipped potato, broccoli rabe, Cabernet demi-glace, bearnaise, and warm butter."
We say: Surf-and-turf to your heart's content with this hearty entree combining the best of Beverly's worlds, and all the savory side fixin's you could want.
BACKYARD FISH TACOS
The Backyard Public House
Menu says: "Blackened mahi mahi, tropical slaw, avocado cream, cilantro, white corn tortillas, chips and salsa."
We say: If you're looking for a new local twist on this street food classic, the Backyard's version should be on your list.
CRAB MAC & CHEESE
Menu says: "Fresh pasta tossed with our house four-cheese sauce and Dungeness crab."
We say: At a place that's been doing seafood in Spokane for decades (this spot used to be the S.S. Beryl, and has been a restaurant staple since the late '60s), you can never go wrong with this comfort food classic that adds fresh crab to balance out all that rich cheese.
The Blackbird Tavern + Kitchen
Menu says: "Udon noodles, pork, pickled vegetables, sweet and spicy bean sauce."
We say: At a local spot that's well-known for its amazing burgers and Southern-inspired comfort fare, the Blackbird takes a stab at this savory ramen dish (udon, by the way, is the thick Japanese noodle used in ramen). It's a good bet they've nailed it, too.
RAVIOLO AL UOVO
Menu says: "Raviolo al Uovo, braised beef, ricotta, caramelized celery root, créme fraîche."
We say: For those who didn't know, until now, what this dish is (and it's totally OK if you didn't; we had to Google it, too), raviolo al uovo is basically a large noodle pocket with a runny egg yolk inside. Have no doubt that Ruins' version of this decadent dish will be impressive to both see and taste.
Lantern Tap House
Menu says: "A burrito version of the traditional Vietnamese noodle soup with steak, brisket, onions and cilantro on a bed of housemade slaw, drizzled with Sriracha and hoisin sauce, wrapped in a garlic herb tortilla. Served with pho broth for dipping."
We say: Like another contemporary American counterpart on this list, the Lantern is getting creative with its own take on pho, the popular Asian noodle dish we all know and love. And it makes total sense! ♦