Thirty years ago, the Mielke family shifted its trade from cherry packing to growing, harvesting, and aging the grapes at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars, which has won CityVoter's award for Best Winery for the last three years. The winery encompasses a warm-toned tasting room downtown as well as a 1924 Florentine-style estate perched on a cliff overlooking the Spokane River. The estate, registered as a National Historic Landmark, is home to a stone gazebo, 4 acres of gardens, and a gigantic checkers board for trees bored with feigning stillness. At each tasting room, knowledgeable oenophiles introduce palates to more than 15 handcrafted vintages to taste and take home. In addition to fermenting wines from its own grapes, the Mielke family sources grapes from mature vineyards around Washington.
When topological surveys uncovered a richly flowing chocolate vein under Spokane, a sure-footed band of chocolatiers set to work building a premium confectionarium on site. That passionate team of gastronomes and sweet tooths synthesize the succulent sustenance at The French Quarter, their products lovingly infused with locally sourced and handcrafted ingredients wherever possible. Rich Guittard chocolate populates each of the hand-rolled and hand-mixed truffles, which are made in small batches and trained in aikido fortnightly. Each chocolate comes energized by its natural beginnings from genuine plants, herbs, and fruits, while also being happily sheltered from the meddling influence of artificial flavors. Choose from a variety of confections for your 18-piece package, with flavors including burnt-caramel truffle, the citrus smooch of cloved orange, and the coffee kick of Vietnamese moka bean espresso. Purchasers can keep the 18-count container of The French Quarter's chocolate concoctions all to themselves, or gift them to the chocoholic in their life, further feeding a tragic dependency on candy bars and cereal box vampires.
Demonstrating a passion for culinary exploration, fine wines, and clever intoxicants, Vin Rouge appeals to foodies with an ever-changing menu and vibrant, neighborhood charm. The dinner menu encourages eaters to mix sipping and sharing with an international list of small plates. Entrees such as a roasted half-duck ($21.95), a plank of sea bass ($22.95), or a top-sirloin steak ($22.95) invite solo salivators to poke a new notch in their belts. A crack-team of specialized eats for social hour (2 p.m.–5:30 p.m. and 9 p.m. to close), weekend brunch, and weekday lunch helps patrons combat the metallic aftertaste of daily nutrient capsules with fresh salads, gourmet paninis, omelets, and more. House-made lemonades and artisan cocktails top off the experience, flooding bio-aqueducts with rivers of live-sustaining, judgment-clouding nectar.
Litz's Bar and Grill is a fun-filled and friendly drinkery that conveniently doubles as an eatery. The menu raises the curtain with appeteasers such as seasoned house or sweet potato fries ($5) and cheese quesadillas ($7) before testing taste buds with flamin' hot wings ($9) and challenging cheek capacity with Litz's colossal burgers—two patties loaded with ham, cheese, and all the fixings on a hoagie bun ($10). Indecisive imbibers can vet their options beforehand with a sample paddle ($8) showcasing a bevy of Litz's seasonal brews on tap, such as Laughing Dog Cream Ale, Big Sky Heavy Horse Scotch Ale, and Sierra Nevada Tumbler. If you're an al fresco enthusiast, supplement your meal with a little people watching or zombie shooting from Litz's bustling outdoor patio and beer garden.
Open late every night, The Blue Spark sops patrons with 26 tasty on-tap beers, a collection of cocktails, and delicious bar fare. Stop in for happy hour from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and enjoy $3 pints of Spaten Optimator, Samuel Adams, New Castle, and more (pints are normally $3.50–$5). Cheer up your melancholy stomach by snacking on tri-color tortilla chips and salsa (regularly $4.50, $2.50 during happy hour) or untangle a web of lies about your baseball career over a soft stadium pretzel ($3). For cheesier choosers, The Blue Spark offers a double cheese calzone with extra-extra cheese ($8), as well as a pizza stuffed with Italian sausage, pepperoni, onions, and jalapeños ($11). Wine by the glass ($6–$6.50) is available for unparching palates; gargle Red Diamond merlot or Chateau Ste. Michelle Riesling for a mouthful of fruity fun.