"We had a customer, a good friend, who lost 100 pounds." Laura Heikkila beams as she tells the story. "She promised herself as soon as she got to that goal weight, she'd get a whole new wardrobe from the boutique as a reward," Laura says. "When she came in, we could see how excited she was. It was awesome." When Laura says "we," she's referring to her co-owner and best friend, Melissa Valdovinos. It was their mutual love of fashion that started the Smitten Clothing Boutique ball rolling. "We'd travel to California and go shopping, and our friends would be jealous," Laura explains. "So we were rollerblading and talking one day. We decided right there to bring some of Los Angeles here." Within the week, Laura and Melissa signed a lease on a place, but there was still one important thing left to do. "I was looking for a name, something catchy and one word. And then, I thought of smitten. It means, ‘to be in love with something.’" Smitten owes some of its success and foot traffic to its attachment to The Coeur d'Alene Resort, which boasts numerous awards including a spot on Travel + Leisure's list of 500 World's Best Hotels in 2009 and a five-star resort rating from Golf Digest. The other key to their success is their loyal clientele. "My mom shops here, and she's 72. But it's really all the regulars, stopping in weekly for the new styles." Laura's referring to the items she ships in from LA, including pieces from Rock Revival, Billabong, and LA Idol, a popular brand which often sells out within a week. During winter months, the duo helms shopping parties, such as Women Who Wine, and hosts fashion shows that benefit local charities. The two love helping people, both on and off the clock. "Taking someone who has no idea what to wear and helping them find their fashion, it's amazing. But the main thing is that Melissa and I love each other. And we have a lot of fun."
The menu at Bonsai Bistro and Sushi Bar draws on culinary traditions from a broad swath of East Asia, but many of its flavors get their start closer to home. Familiar recipes from Japan, China, Thailand, Vietnam, and Korea get a regional twist as chefs incorporate organic produce, sustainably sourced ingredients, and locally made tofu into each dish. This widens the scope of the already expansive menu to include such nontraditional items as sushi rolls with heirloom tomato or garlic-citrus sauce. To accommodate diets or personal tastes, the chefs can tailor the spice of virtually any entree, and they can modify many dishes to be vegan-friendly, vegetarian, or gluten-free.
In contrast to the eclectic menu, the restaurant's dining area embraces a spare-and-simple vibe. Concave windows overlook the waters of Lake Coeur d'Alene, and a creek-like indoor koi pond brings the natural world even closer as it wends between wooden tables and dawdling rays of sunshine.
Located in the Davenport district, in the same refurbished brick building as the Montvale Hotel, Scratch Restaurant & Lounge blends contemporary cooking with a refined atmosphere. Fresh aromas waft out of the open kitchen, where, true to the restaurant's name, chefs craft inventive dishes entirely from scratch. They draw on caches of seasonal ingredients such as herbs that only grow in a groundhog's shadow in February. Their USDA prime Angus steaks soak up flavors of smoked bacon and rosemary compound butter, while flaky halibut filets grill over flames.
Within the dining room, servers draw Washington and California wines from the rack that lines one exposed-brick wall. To further compliment the fresh fare, bartenders can shake or stir 32 specialty martinis.
Grooveberries Frozen Yogurt is located near a movie theater. So, after seeing a new blockbuster, patrons might stop by for 1 of 10 flavors of frozen yogurt as well as an abundant selection of toppings. Flavors might include cookies and cream, cake batter, georgia peach, pumpkin, and watermelon sorbet.
When most little boys were hoping to unwrap G.I. Joes or dirt bikes on Christmas morning, Michael DePasquale had his fingers crossed for a Suzy Homemaker oven. From this iconoclastic start, Michael advanced from his toy oven to a job as a dishwasher, then prep cook, then lead cook—and then honed his developing skills at the Culinary Institute of America in New York. In his spare time, he adopted a loyal pet rhode island red chicken and taught it to chase frisbees. After graduating, he honed his craft as head and executive chef at several different restaurants before launching his own eatery.
Fifteen years later, Michael is still cracking eggs and sizzling sausage for the breakfast dishes his eatery serves all day long. Omelets—which convert to scramblers upon request—can be packed with fresh jalapeños, bacon, and sour cream. For sweeter creations, he slathers honey butter onto pancakes, as well as custard-style sourdough french toast. At midday, hand-pressed burgers enter the lists and don cloaks of spicy habanero or barbecue sauce. Diners can lounge on an outdoor patio on summery afternoons, and on colder evenings, they can savor chicken marsala and roasted tri-tip steak amid the dining room’s wood-paneled walls.
The first IHOP—the dream of founders Al and Jerry Lapin—opened in 1958 in Toluca Lake, California, and was originally dubbed the International House of Pancakes. Since then, rapid expansion has led to myriad milestones across the company's colorful history, from introducing its modern IHOP acronym in 1973 to its 1,000th restaurant opening in Layton, Utah, in 2001.
Today, the company stands strong with around 1,500 locations across North and Central America, each one an enthusiastic dispenser of pancakes, french toast, and tables constructed entirely out of bacon. Though IHOP is known as a bastion of breakfast, it also stays open during the day and into the evening, delivering lunch and dinner as well.