About Regional Flavor
Its position in the Pacific Northwest makes Idaho a coffee-lovers’ dream; and its mountains, once plied by shepherds, mean that it has a legacy of bountiful Basque dinner halls. Up north in the panhandle, huckleberry mania is evident in jelly, syrup, candy and, best of all, pie – the making of which is a special talent in diners and cafes of the Gem State.
Idaho Regional Specialties
Wild huckleberries are the Great Plains' treasured fruit, found only in the high mountains and only late in the summer, and the favorite snack of grizzly bears as well as of human beings. They are similar to blueberries, but not quite as sweet, their wine-purple color hinting at a depth of flavor more satisfying than the richest chocolate. You'll find them in pies, fruit salads, ice-cream topping, and jam; and huckleberry milk shakes are a big deal, especially in Idaho and Oregon.
Idaho is known for its potatoes, and if you have any doubt that the state's chefs do good things with them, have a smashed potato at restaurant Dish on Lake Pend Oreille. Chewy-skinned, cream-centered, and bursting with flavor, it is one of the nation's great spuds.
West Coast coffee culture thrives in the Idaho panhandle, where masterful brews tend to be accompanied by such hearty vittles as pancakes, big muffins, and blue-ribbon pie. Our favorite coffee 'an is Java on Sherman in Coeur d'Alene, where donuts are served still too warm to touch.