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A&E >  Food

The year in food: A glimpse back at our favorite meals of 2022

Dec. 28, 2022 Updated Wed., Dec. 28, 2022 at 7:35 p.m.

By Carolyn Lamberson For The Spokesman-Review

This past summer, my family took our dream vacation, to Paris and Italy. The food in Italy especially spoke to us.

From the pasta with clams and fresh sardines served at Ristorante Marina Piccola in Manarola, along the Ligurian Sea in the Cinque Terre, to the amazing Florentine steak and potatoes at Antica Trattoria da Tito dal 1913 in Florence, we ate well in Italy. But it was in a little pizza shop in Pisa, just across the street from Roman ruins known as the Baths of Nero and a short walk from the city’s famous tourist attraction, where we had my favorite meal.

At Pizzeria Le Mura da Nonna Teta, I enjoyed an unforgettable mushroom and ham pizza, with a delicious (and ridiculously inexpensive) house white wine, all for a reasonable price. The crust was perfect and flavorful, and the view from our outdoor table was delightful. Being with my family made it even better.

As for Paris, that was more of a struggle for my family, as one child is a vegetarian and the other is a picky supertaster. The vegetarian more than once resorted to ordering the only vegetarian item on the menu – pomme frites – while the picky child struggled to find much to eat at all. Even American fare such as chicken nuggets were declared weird tasting, and the only thing I’ll say about the one hot dog we ordered is that it resulted in tears. Memorable, sure, but not in a good way.

With this in mind, I reached out to a variety of people in the Spokane region to ask what their memorable food moments of 2022 were. Here are their replies.

Ari Nordhagen

Photographer and author of “The Spokane Cookbook”

My most memorable meal this year was at a food photo shoot for Chef Peter Froese at Gander & Ryegrass, back in May, right before seeing the musical “Hamilton” at the First Interstate Center for the Arts. My son and I were both dressed up in fancy clothes to attend the musical, but I had to set up lights and a step stool for photography in a little cramped corner of the restaurant’s wine closet. We got to taste every dish I photographed, for their new menu release, and so we had our fancy dinner taken care of before our night out to the theater.

Chelsea Martin

Author, “Tell Me I’m An Artist”

Over the summer, I ordered a McDouble without toppings for Casper, my 2-year-old who had been newly prescribed a medical keto diet. Our whole family had been practicing keto for the last few months while we adjusted, and I badly missed carbs. When the burger arrived, I discarded the bun into the bag and then wrapped the dry, grey beef in buttered keto bread for Casper. The bun sat in the bag for six minutes before I reached back in and grabbed it. It was, I would never exaggerate, the best piece of baked dough I’ve ever tasted in my entire carb-filled life. Soft with a slightly crispy edge, a greasy and melty mouthfeel, pure deliciousness.

Rick Clark

Executive Director of Giving Backpacks and founder of Spokane Quaranteam

My wife and I live a very busy life and our schedule is crazy at times. In 2022 we found refuge at a small restaurant on Monroe called Elliotts an Urban Kitchen where I discovered and fell in love with their Omelette Espanola . The most delicious thing I’ve ever eaten and the staff always makes us feel like family. Our favorite place to decompress and reconnect over an amazing meal.

Kate Hudson

Visit Spokane

I am lucky because my job as public relations manager for Visit Spokane allows me to eat at some of the best restaurants in the city. I’ve had incredible meals this year at Gander & Ryegrass, Zona Blanca, Francaise, and Wooden City. Spokane has so many options. But, my best meal of 2022 was one of those perfect Spokane summer evenings around my patio table surrounded by my family and friends, eating burgers stuffed with blue cheese and caramelized onions. Watermelon salad sprinkled with feta and a cold craft beer from one of our local breweries made it all the more delicious. I’m already longing for summer.

Shari McMahan

President, Eastern Washington University

I don’t claim to be a foodie. For me, the most memorable meals are about the people we enjoy them with, sharing laughs and good conversation. But if I were to pick one memorable meal of 2022, it would have to be October’s Board of Trustees dinner, prepared by our talented EWU Dining Services. Together, we feasted on pan-seared jumbo prawns over creamy corn grits, finished with a lobster tomato stock and butter, and topped with okra pickles and fried julienned leeks. For dessert, we enjoyed a refreshing, delicious mojito crème brulee. A very memorable meal with great company.

Chad White

Chef & owner, Zona Blanca

My most memorable meal was in October this year in Merida, Mexico, at a Mayan ruin dating back to 350 BC. The event, featuring 18 chefs, and most with multiple Michelin stars, from all over the world was called Hokol Vuh.

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