Way back in the 1990s, before Starbuck's was everywhere, we spent a week in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, and started every morning with wake-up drinks at a little eatery named Java on Sherman. It is still thriving, bigger and better than ever (it is reviewed here at Roadfood.com); and the Pacific Northwest's burgeoning coffee consciousness, of which Java on Sherman was an Idaho Panhandle spearhead, has spread throughout the northwest plateau.
An hour north of Coeur d'Alene at the edge of Lake Pond Oreille, the settlement of Sandpoint is a beguiling mixture of wilderness and artiness, of thrift shops and chic boutiques, of chefs and short-order hash slingers, and of three artisan coffee roasters and several very agreeable places to drink coffee (plus a couple of Starbuck's, of course). One enterprise where it is especially nice to partake of caffeinated beverages is the Pine Street Bakery. That's because, as its name says, it specializes in baked goods, so many of which go so well with coffee and espresso drinks. Beyond whole, handsome cakes, hand-crafted breads, and lunchtime pizzas, the shelves are crowded with a vast assortment of coffee-friendly cookies, cream puffs, croissants, cupcakes, and scones (the apricot scone is a doozy!),. Danishes are particularly excellent, made with light, flaky dough and bright fruit filling.
The Pine Street Bakery is a laid-back place with a lighthearted vibe. A sign on the wall asks hippies to use the side door; counter stools are painted in rainbow colors; a flower-bedecked patio is a welcoming place for al fresco eaters, sippers, conversationalists, newspaper readers, and meditators.
And by the way, if coffee does not happen to be your drink, don't necessarily scratch this place off your itinerary. Pine Street Bakery offers high-quality Tea Forté teas and is also a wine bar as much as it is a coffee house.