Sandpoint/Bonners Ferry, Idaho – epitome of small town(s) America

Yesterday it seems we spent half the day driving thru stunning countryside and half tasting the local fare.  Started the day at Sandpoint farmers market picking up leeks, zucchini, local jams – a spicy tomato and a roasted garlic, both were outstanding. (note to me: duplicate!) Don’t know why I didn’t pick up a jar of the roasted garlic, but I do have a recipe already for a garlic jam, so I can go from there.

The roasted garlic jam is from a company called Sweet Heat Co. from Bonners Ferry area.

Another booth  we visited, It’s What You Keep, LLC  – – we will be checking out the shop in person – goat cheese, elk, lamb, etc. An abundance of goodies to play with.

From the farmers market, we headed for Bonners Ferry where we fell into a town celebration, Kootenai River Days; streets blocked off, huge rubber slides for the kids, arm wrestling, dunking burly looking guys in a water tank, wheelchair races, the whole shebang of a carnival day in a small town.

First stop was the Kootenai River Brewing Co., LLC for a beer flight tasting. My friend, Theresa will never believe I did this!! But, I actually enjoyed their lighter offerings.
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Stopped in at Mugsys, a local hot spot right in the middle of things and sat on the patio taking everything in. Met a wonderful local couple, who have opened a fitness gym in town – – they and their old dog kept us entertained for a couple hours. And, as most of the folks we talk to, he also has a cookbook in him – 50 (100?? – can’t remember) Ways With Brown Rice.

Mugsy’s makes a mean catfish sandwich, which Roy & I shared and ended up taking the wrap he ordered home for Sunday morning breakfast!
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Left the merriment of Bonners Ferry behind and headed back to Sandpoint where the beach and sunshine beckoned us.  The dichotomy of the beach setting from when we arrived the day after the horrible windstorm that did so much damage in the area and going back yesterday, 2 days later, was amazing.
July 24 Trinity Restaurnat at RV ParkJuly 26 Sand Point BeachAs we sat lazily enjoying smoked pork nachos and a bottle of wine, and Huckleberry ice cream (telling tales on Roy Richard – he had two bowls!), a band set up for ‘our’ entertainment. Devon Wade and his band played everything from Elvis to modern day country/western/modern.  Must say he was quite the eye-candy, also…and we had a ringside seat.
July 26 Trinity Huckleberry ice creamJuly 26 Sandpoint Devon Wad band

Between the ice cream, people and boat watching and wonderful wine, it was an outstanding afternoon. Best of all, we could look out the restaurant’s window and see our travel trailer – heck, we could have had a 2nd bottle of wine and still made it home! Which we did work on after getting ‘home’ and still being able to sit outside and listen to the band!! How can you beat this kind of living?
July 25 looking at our trailer from Trinity restaurantSee the bronze pickup?? That’s us!!

First Leg of Trip Everett –> Spokane

We sold our house 3 days after listing it and had 45 days to do what we had intended to take a few months doing – putting our things in storage whle we headed out for parts unknown. Instead we worked our butts off, selling what we decided we could live without and storing the treasures we could not.

After a wonderful farewell party the Saturday before, we pulled out of our driveway with the trailer for the last time. After crashing for 3 days in Everett, WA, we headed for Spokane and as a result entered the lands of the worst fire in Washington State’s history. We were turned around on Hiway 2 (backtracking approx. 55 miles) and had to head to North Bend and Hiway 90! Another detour because of a major accident from blowing winds and ash caused us the second detour. Finally made it, got settled in for a week’s stay.

July 19, 2014

Got settled in our site and unloaded the cooking gear and chairs – first grilled dinner on the road – roasted cod & asparagus with lemon-caper sauce.Two Vine Chardonnay was a great match with the dish.

July 19th
Despite the smoke in the air, we had a wonderful day exploring Spokane. First stop a farmers market to get some fresh corn and of course picked up a few extra goodies. Confronted the first reason I’m sorry we are homeless…I can only buy consumable products – no more little goodies to store away until we get home. This is a big hurdle for me. Especially when I saw this little appetizer plate

July 19 Bruschetta dip plate

I would have bought this in a minute!

Had to satisfy myself with the corn, beautiful Yukon Gold ‘tatoes, and goat Parmesan cheese from Chatteroy Cheese Co., a local cheese maker. Another product I found is Camelina Gold cooking oil. This oil has a rich full-bodied flavor.

Also, at the farmers market found an herb completely new to me – Lettuce Basil – what a great find and I’m sure going to plant this when I have the opportunity. The leaves are large, so much easier to use in sandwiches.

July 19 Lettuce Basil

From the farmers market we headed downtown to the city library for what I thought was going to be a pictorial display of evolution in this area, but instead were some of the most beautiful pictures of this area and so worth searching for a parking space large enough for a diesel pickup!!

July 19 Library pix of falls  July 19 Library pix of Sun Lakes

wish the pictures had turned out, they were so compelling. The 2nd picture is of Sun Lakes and I’m going to try and find out where it is.

Bill & Kathy Kostelec are amazing photographers – here’s a brief description of their work.

Next stop Twigs Bistro & Martini Bar –

And a great lunch and one of the best martinis Roy has had. Learned a trick for making his martini (and those of you who know about this, why didn’t you tell Roy??) Here’s their method:

Mist the bottom of a martini glass with vermouth (they used Martini & Rossi), then shake the gin, Bombay was used and pour into the glass. And forget all those flavored olives, he has decided he just loves the simple green olive stuffed with pimento best.

July 19 Twigs Chix wrap Roy's

His lunch was – a Turkey BLT Wrap: Sliced turkey, smoked bacon, white cheddar, lettuce, tomato and basil mayo wrapped in a grilled tomato basil tortilla.

July 19 Morrocan Beef Mine

my lunch: Moroccan Beef – sauteed beef tenders with a touch of Moroccan spices served with grilled focaccia poinits, gorgonzola fondue and balsamic glaze. Just outstanding. I could have eaten the entire dish, but I kept thinking of things I could play with with the leftovers, so backed off and brough half of it home. I’m thinking a flatbread topped with the fondue, greens and the beef chopped up. (addition ideas: cilantro, melted fig jam drizzled, toasted almond…….)

More ideas from Twigs menu I want to play with –

Honey Pecan Trout: Pecan crusted rainbow trout over an apricot couscous topped with an orange-rosemary butter sauce.

Huckleberry Streusel Pizza – pizza covered with sweet cream butter, cinnamon, classic streusel topping, baked golden, then topped with confectioner’s icing, wild huckleberry coulis and finished with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Mushroom & Goat Cheese Pizza – herb-oil roasted mushroom medley, roasted garlic cloves, fire-roasted red bells, chives and Mozzarella.

About 8 more ideas……  Happy Dance

One more stop to make – Latah Creek Winery is celebrating their 32nd anniversary and we’d never had their wines. Beautiful winery and great tastings matched with their wines.

July 19 Latah Creek winery  Latah winery –

First tasting was cracker topped with Chattaroy’s Garlic Chevre and a compote matched with a Cab Franc; watermelon salad matched with Huckleberry d’Latah (“The subtle blueberry-like flavors of the huckleberry add nice complexities to the wonderfully intense spice and floral characters of our Riesling”); a pasta salad matched with Malbec; and a feather light lemon cake matched with Riesling. The winery did a superb job of matching the foods with their wines. I’ve been promised the recipe for the lemon cake from the co-owner, Elena Conway, who has 3 cookbooks under her belt. You know I had fun talking with her.

The winery is one of only a few family owned and operated wineries within the State. Mike Conway, with over 34 years of winery experience, and his wife Ellena pair together to run one of the most successful small wineries in this relatively new viticultural region. While Mike assumes the management, winemaking and vineyard tasks, Ellena takes on the accounting, fiscal, tasting room, and gift shop responsibilities. Mike & Ellena announced in 2005 that their daughter Natalie would be joining the family business as the assistant winemaker.

We didn’t taste this, but I did buy it anyway – Wildbeary Huckleberry Lemonade which we have been directed to add some vodka and just enjoy!!!!

As we were checking out with our 2 bottles (had promised ourselves only 1 bottle per winery), on the display case I spotted – a wine bottle filled with M&Ms…..had to have.

July 19 Wnes and MandMs from Latah Creek

Came home and ended the day splitting the other half of Roy’s wrap. Sigh, love these kind of days.

And so this ends the first entry of what I hope will be an interesting read for some friends, family and new friends.

On the Road

We are homeless and we are on the road for – I HOPE – a year. So, for the next 12 months I will refer to ourselves as the ‘Homeless on the Road’ with no disrespect to those really homeless, because we do have a wonderful traveling home to enjoy while we explore the U.S.

This is my first blog in a long time, so please bear with me until I relearn the ropes.