If one word had to describe Coeur d’Alene Cellars’ attitude toward winemaking, it would probably be "meticulous." During each stage of creation, from vineyard selection and harvest to bottling, winemakers carefully supervise and adjust conditions to suit their visions. They hand-harvest fruit from their eastern Washington vineyards only on days that fit specific temperature conditions. Between pickings, the vines are pruned for low yields that concentrate flavor and quality. And their syrah and viognier grapes are both hand-sorted the night of harvest before they’re pressed and fermented.
That process is carefully controlled as well. Syrah blends first ferment in open-top vessels, allowing for closer management of color and tannins. Only later do they age inside French and American oak barrels, like former daredevils bent on reliving their trip over Niagara Falls. Viognier blends, on the other hand, spend both fermentation and aging periods in small oak barrels.
The resulting well-balanced wines can claim myriad accolades from publications such as Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. Their 2004 Sarah’s cuvée viognier, for instance, earned 89 points from Wine Enthusiast, which praised its "good balance" of "peach, apricot, sour lemon candy and even a bit of cinnamon." Current vintages include the 2007 Alder Ridge Vineyard syrah, whose smooth body supports flavors of berries, vanilla, and cinnamon that conclude in a lingering finish.
These and other wines are poured at Coeur d'Alene's onsite wine bar, Barrel Room No. 6. Inside, sleek red walls help create an upscale vibe. Glasses perch beneath pendant lighting on the bar or glitter on top of old wine barrels repurposed as tables. As customers sip, knowledgeable wait staff can suggest ways to bring out the wines' subtle flavors by nibbling aromatic cheese pairings or the hem of a neighbor’s freshly laundered shirt.
The sun is a constant presence at Twisp Cafe & Coffee House, flooding in the windows in the morning to shake the drowsiness from commuters and hovering overhead as diners stop in for lunch. The recently retooled menu spills over with Mediterranean-inspired options, including pizza dotted with olives and fresh basil, falafel sandwiches, and flaky baklava made in-house. These pair with energizing drinks, such as salted-caramel lattes and huckleberry white mochas. Visitors can make use of the free WiFi or stop by for frequent events, including acoustic musicians, book signings, and chances to take a ride in the bean roaster.
Snakes slither in glass display cases, and lizards wriggle in the hands of trained handlers as they're held up in full view of a curious crowd. This is the scene as one of Repticon's presenters educates attendees on the biology, behavior, and typing speeds of exotic cold-blooded creatures at one of the year-round shows held in cities across the country. Reptile and amphibian breeders, scholars, and handlers engage audiences in lectures and demonstrations in the midst of live reptile exhibits, family activities, and displays for exotic-pet supplies. Presentations may focus on the genetics of large snake species, the specifics of exotic-pet care, and the effect that tiny hats have on the image of arachnids such as tarantulas, scorpions, and spiders.
Seasoned barkeeps fill glasses with the aromatic pours from a rotating selection of 12 wines, and the cellar stocks a slew of bottled vintages from Idaho wineries to far-flung international locales. Guests can also indulge in sips of 38 domestic and international beers. It's all a part of the new ownership at Corkscrews, who complement their libations with a freshly concocted menu that showcases pizza, salads, a spread of cheeses, and desserts, from cheesecake to ice cream with almonds. On top of filling Corkscrews' cozy environs with daily live entertainment, the owners enjoy renting out the facility and its team of wine handlers for private events such as holiday parties and Flat Earth Society meetings.
Though James and Laura Heiberg count chef Ryan Lancaster among their good friends, that wasn't why they hired him to man the griddles at John Doe’s Grill. Instead, the brother-sister team of restaurateurs recognized that Chef Ryan's experience as head chef at The Dish and Square would help him infuse plates of casual pub fare with surprising twists. Ingredients such as rosemary au jus, sun-dried tomatoes, and homemade red hot sauce bedeck John Doe's traditional sandwiches and burgers, which nestle into diner-style red plastic baskets lined with checkered paper. Three large-screen high-definition TVs broadcast sports games in keeping with the laid-back vibe, and a game room invites patrons to shoot darts and billiards between sips of beer or rounds of hot potato with sizzling-hot quesadillas.
Drawing on bachelor's and master's degrees, the instructors at DanceTales Studio guide limbs through shimmies and pliés during a packed schedule of classes that emphasize method and form. Bodies move through an assortment of styles, floating through ballroom techniques with romantic and smooth waltzes and upbeat fox trots inspired by old Broadway show stoppers and the Victorian tradition of choreographed hunting trips. Feet pivot off hips through Latin varieties such as salsa, rumba, and cha-cha, and swing sends torsos twirling under arms and over heads.