It’s Crave! Time.
By Marguerite Cleveland
Visionary chefs from around the Pacific Northwest will be converging on the City of Spokane Valley for the annual Crave! Food and Drink Celebration July 11 through 13, 2019. With all this culinary talent in the area, it makes the perfect time for a foodie trip. Spokane is building a reputation as a food lovers’ paradise, and it is an exciting time to experience it. From older family loved restaurants to new and innovative places, there is something to love for everyone.
Whether you are coming from a short distance away—can you say staycation?—or driving from further afield, plan to make your base at Spokane’s grand dame, the Historic Davenport Hotel. This lovingly restored gem is just beautiful. It is a food and wine destination on its own with its renowned Sunday Brunch and two wine tasting rooms on-site. Book a Brunch package or a Sip and Stay package, which are perfect options for food and wine lovers. Insider Tip: Make sure to have a cocktail at the Peacock Room Lounge with happy hour every day (even on weekends). It has a jazz-age vibe and a stunning 5,000-piece stained glass Peacock.
This three-day festival of all things food and drink is a foodie’s Disney World. Not only will you enjoy culinary treats but you will help the less fortunate with both 2nd Harvest Foods and Wishing Star, this year’s beneficiaries. The 2019 lineup includes over 40 chefs and is at the Spokane Valley CenterPlace Regional Event Center. There are a variety of options for tickets. You can purchase for just one event or splurge for the whole weekend. Kicking the event off on Thursday, July 11, is a Seafood Bash. The Grand Tasting takes place Saturday, July 13, from noon to 4pm. You don’t want to miss this one with over 70 participants with food, wineries, artisans, craft breweries, cider makers and distillers. Visit Walla Walla will anchor the event.
The Cork District
The Cork District in Spokane is one of the most convenient areas in Washington to taste wine with tasting rooms from wineries across the state. From the Historic Davenport Hotel, just take the elevator downstairs to two tasting rooms on-site, Arbor Crest and Va Piano. Just a short walk away is Helix Wines, which are just outstanding. Also make sure to stop in Terra Blanca for a truly stunning tasting room, which is in the old Chronicle (a newspaper) building. It is a rather unique experience and a little more hopping than most tasting rooms as many of the residents in the apartments above the tasting room are wine club members. It offers a fun vibe, and the younger crowd is a great source for local favorites for restaurants and entertainment.
The food scene in Spokane has just blossomed in the past 10 years. James Beard Chef semifinalist Adam Hegsted is the creative visionary behind Crave! and serves as the culinary director for the event. His restaurants, under the Eat Good Group, are also culinary destinations while in town. Another James Beard Chef semifinalist is Jeremy Hansen and Top Chef contestant Chad White, who both own restaurants in the area. There are some great eateries in the Downtown Entertainment District. Cochinito Taqueria is an interesting take on a taco shop. All the ingredients are responsibly sourced and then paired with craft cocktails and a curated beer and wine list. There are also some of the old places still around. Luigi’s Italian Restaurant has been around for more than 30 years and is consistently voted Best Italian Restaurant in Spokane, great service and food in a historic building.
Sunday Brunch at the Historic Davenport Hotel is an epic gastronomic experience. The lavish buffet is served in one of the hotel’s legendary ballrooms. The extravaganza of food includes buffets of seafood, salads, specialty items and carved meats like prime rib. House-made desserts and a towering chocolate fountain will satisfy any sweet tooth. Champagne and mimosas are included or, for an additional charge, take a trip to the Bloody Mary Bar.
Things to Do
Head out to the Bluff. Just 15 minutes north of Spokane you’ll find more than 35 farms, which are part of the Green Bluff Growers. Endless fields of green fill a 12-miles square area of farms, country stores, farm stands, wineries and breweries. Farm to table takes on a new meaning when the restaurant is located on the farm or orchard. Well worth the drive and fits in with the theme of this trip. There is something special about getting in your car and discovering where your food comes from. Agritourism has really helped small, local, family farms. Your dollars go a long way to help these treasures stay in business.
With a weekend centered around food, shopping has to include a culinary store. Make sure to check out the locally owned Kitchen Engine, located in the old Flour Mill. Their motto is “Find Your Inner Chef.” How can you not with over 7,000 items to choose from. The store has all the tools you need to create your next culinary masterpiece. High-end cutlery, pots and pans, every kitchen gadget you can imagine, as well as spices, sauces and other culinary treats will have you yearning to get in the kitchen. They also offer cooking classes and demonstrations. Check out their calendar for more information.
After all that food, a little exercise is in order. You can easily access the Spokane Riverwalk from your hotel. It is a 1.9-mile loop trail with the highlight being Spokane Falls. The falls are so thunderous you’ll hear them before you see them. Roaring through downtown, the Spokane River has carved its way into a river gorge. In addition to the trail and artwork, plan to purchase a ticket to ride on the Skyride to have a bird’s-eye view of the Spokane Falls from a gondola. Two suspension bridges along the trail allow you to cross over the river to the other side.
Spokane really deserves its reputation as a foodie paradise. When planning your weekend, peruse the Crave! events and see which ones you want to attend. Pay attention to which local restaurants are participating. Plan your other meals around places you didn’t get to experience at Crave! or visit a favorite from the festival. There are such a variety of great places to eat you want to hit as many as you can. The Visit Spokane website is a good source of information on the area. Everything you need to know from hotels to restaurants to things to do is on the site. It is well organized and easy to find what you are looking for.
What are you waiting for? Plan a trip to Spokane for your perfect foodie weekend.
The Historic Davenport Hotel - DavenportHotelCollection.com
Crave! - CraveNW.com
Cochinito Taqueria - CochinitoTaqueria.com
Luigi’s Italian Restaurant - Luigis-Spokane.com
Eat Good Group - EatGoodGroup.com
Things To Do
The Cork District - CorkDistrict.Blog
The Green Bluff Growers - GreenBluffGrowers.com
The Kitchen Engine - TheKitchenEngine.com