21724 E. Mission Ave., Liberty Lake
The Butcher Block sits adjacent to a gas station right off the freeway in Liberty Lake, but it has a true downtown market feel. String lights crisscross the ceiling, items are artfully scrawled on chalkboards above glass cases brimming with meats and cheeses, and pictures of old Spokane butcher shops hang on the walls.
But The Butcher Block isn't a butcher shop, but rather a meat and seafood market opened several weeks ago by the owners of Hay J's Bistro, located just two doors down.
As far as the meats go, they try to buy as Northwest as possible, says Patrick Fechser, who owns the market with his mom Rhonda Entner and her cousin Eddy Rogers. The American-style Kobe beef comes from Snake River Farms in Idaho, with selections such as rib eye ($28/lb.) and center-cut top sirloin ($11/lb.). The Washington-raised chicken is free-range, without hormones and air-chilled. And the grass-fed Montana bison comes in top sirloin ($16.50/lb.), rib eye ($22/lb.) or ground ($9/lb.).
Most of the seafood, on the other hand, hails from Alaska. Wild Alaskan halibut ($21/lb.) and king salmon ($19.50/lb.) can be found in the case, along with Hawaiian seafood flown in weekly, such as mahi-mahi ($28/lb.) and yellowfin ahi ($34/lb.).
"We focus on quality and freshness," Fechser says. "We don't have any cheap meat."
Fechser, Entner and Rogers decided to open The Butcher Block because the landlord wanted the empty space filled. They played with ideas of making it a banquet room or catering kitchen, but chose meat market when they saw a niche.
200 W. Hanley Ave., CdA
After a particularly brutal battle a thousand years ago, Danish Vikings settled into their camp to make pancakes. But without proper pans, they took their dented shields, poured in the batter and cooked over the fire what would become aebleskivers, a popular Danish treat.
Or so the legend goes.
At Aebleskivers in Coeur d'Alene's Silver Lake Mall, Ron Nelson makes the small, round Danish pancakes of the same name with an American twist, adding things like huckleberry sauce and pumpkin flavors.
"[Aebleskivers are] like the Danish answer to the funnel cake, without the grease," he says.
But they're not just pancake balls, he adds. Aebleskivers are made using a different batter, with beaten egg whites, that cause them to puff up. They're cooked in a pan with round depressions, and each aebleskiver is turned throughout the approximate four-minute cook time so they come out spherical.
Nelson, who started out in the restaurant field when he was 15, began making aebleskivers about 20 years ago when his mom gave him a family recipe. Last July, Nelson started Aebleskivers, selling at both Kootenai County Farmers Markets, then at Green Bluff's Oktoberfest. For the holidays, he opened a kiosk in the Silver Lake Mall. Only a few days after he packed up and left the mall, the manager called him and said he needed to come back.
Not only does Nelson serve plain aebleskivers ($3/3, $5.50/6, $7.50/9, $9/12) with whipped cream and your choice of huckleberry, boysenberry, blackberry or raspberry sauce, he cooks up pumpkin aebleskivers with cream cheese icing and caramel pumpkin sauce, and savory aebleskivers with sausage and havarti cheese topped with beer cheese sauce. (He also makes gluten-free aebleskivers per request.)