Vintner Tim Nodland approaches blending his wines like arranging a song, which makes sense, because as a professional jazz musician he possesses an astute sense of creativity and balance. He describes his winery as being “more like a musician’s studio” and his wines as “liquid art.” Nodland's musical background inspires the names of wines such as "Bebop" and earned his winery a mention in Wine and Jazz magazine. Nodland Cellars produces only one red wine and one white wine every year, allowing the winery to focus all of its energy on refining each vintage. Nodland's meticulously selected grapes, sourced from quality Columbia Valley vineyards, are each handpicked before enjoying a gentle press in stainless steel. Each vintage, aged in 100% new french oak, uses a blend of six grapes, primarily made up of cabernet sauvignon and merlot, which recalls a classic bordeaux from the late 1700s or early 1800s. Nodland's private blend’s complex Old World flavor comes from rare carmenere grapes, which were wiped out in Europe by a phylloxera blight in the 1800s.
In 1982, Mike Conway walked away from more than a decade of large-scale wine production at E.&J. Gallo, Parducci, and Franzia Brothers to open Latah Creek Wine Cellars with his wife, Ellena. Today, with help from their daughter Natalie, they package more than 17,000 cases each year. The trio devotes much of their winemaking expertise to their most popular bottles, which include a riesling, Huckleberry L'Atah, and a chardonnay that Wine Press Northwest describes as "exotic and hedonistic." They develop each varietal with a minimal amount of processing and handling to keep flavors intact and prevent grapes from having reasons to make tell-all appearances on afternoon talk shows. The team can also swathe bottles in personalized wine labels for special occasions such as weddings and birthdays. The winery welcomes visitors to amble through its tiled walkways and arched courtyard, around the winemaking facilities, and into a gift shop teeming with trinkets and a well-stocked wine-tasting bar.
Though it’s not uncommon to hear lip smacking at Smacky’s on Broadway, that’s not how the eatery got its name. It was named after owner Mike’s childhood pet monkey. But despite its playful name, Smacky’s is serious about sandwich making. Its menu includes french dips, crispy paninis, and twice-baked hoagies. All of these handheld meals are made with fresh-baked bread, save for the selection of wraps, and top-choice black forest ham, roast beef, and slow-roasted turkey.
In 2009, Smacky’s moved into a roomy, newly renovated space with wood-paneled walls and an eclectic collection of furniture. Above a big fuzzy green sofa hang an assortment of frying pans, windowpanes, and a map of North America. These seemingly random decorations help create a casual atmosphere, not unlike when a corporation insists its employees wear footed pajamas to the office.
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.
Although visitors to Chattee's Cafe and Drive-thru have the option of remaining inside their cars, the eatery's menu bears little resemblance to that of a fast food restaurant. Cooks prepare each dish to order, griddling huckleberry waffles and layering breakfast sandwiches with fresh eggs, bacon, and hash browns. Later in the day, they grill burgers and dress teriyaki chicken sandwiches with ham and pineapple. The restaurant hosts Car Cruise on Friday nights, which consists of classic cars and their owners hanging out around picnic tables, and patrons can dine on an outdoor patio decorated with potted plants.
Even though Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory has locations throughout the world, it still maintains the small-town candy-store feel envisioned by its creator and CEO, Frank Crail. Crail founded the original location in his adopted hometown of Durango, Colorado, filling the sweet-smelling space with homey accents, such as candy-making demonstrations and games of Pin the Tail on the Chocolatier. Behind the counter, staffers roll fresh granny smith apples in dense caramel and mold lumps of rich fudge on old-style marble slabs. Other fresh confections include mint bark, chocolate-dipped pretzels, and boxed chocolates.