Notes on food - Over the hills and far away - CycleBlaze

Notes on food

Following are a few notes on food stores and eateries I visited and would gladly do so again.  I regularly carried food for breakfast, lunch and supper, as well as snacks in between, but I also visited cafés and restaurants as well.  As you might guess, this list is selective rather than comprehensive. It’s organized north-to-south, following my route.

Food stores: 

  • I visited several family-owned supermarkets in Montana and Washington.  I liked the change of pace they offered from the big chains, which I deliberately avoid in Canada.  (Maybe there’s a novelty factor at work here?)  Examples include Smith’s, in Columbia Falls, MT; Stein’s, in Eureka, MT; Rosauer’s, in Libby, MT; and Hank’s, in Twisp, WA.  Oddly (I thought), I had trouble finding dried sausage, such as chorizo.  Only Rosauer’s offered something like that.
  • There were a couple of excellent markets-cum-farmstands on my route as well.   The Old Apple Warehouse in Kettle Falls, WA includes both a food store with local produce, several individual vendors, and an excellent café.  I passed an enjoyable couple of hours there at midday, before finding my campsite for the night before my climb up Sherman Pass.   Just SW of the small town of Okanogan, on the lower slopes of Loup Loup Pass, Smallwood Farms has an exemplary farm stand-winery-pottery shop-café.  People come east over the pass, from towns like Winthrop and Twisp, to buy stuff there, and I can see why.  The café also has a broad and covered deck on the east side of the store, which I found to be a fine spot for a mid-afternoon sandwich, coffee, and juice.

  • Cafés and such: 

These are places I’d visit again, for breakfast, lunch or supper:

  • The Twin Cities Hotel in Longview, AB, serves a conventional but well-made breakfast—large, of course—and having passed the night at the municipal campground some 500 metres further north, I was made to feel welcome.
  • The Twin Butte General Store, midway between Pincher Creek and Waterton Lakes NP, is a classic country general store sitting in splendid isolation on the side of the highway. (If there were other buildings in Twin Butte, I didn’t notice them.)  I had eaten lunch under a shady tree a couple of kms up the road, figuring that maybe Twin Butte was just a name on the map, but the store was busy, so I stopped in to say hello.  They offer excellent ice cream, so I asked for a double scoop of blueberry, and had a decent coffee too.
  • Across the border in Montana, the little town of Babb, just 15 kms or so north of St Mary on US 89, has the Glacier’s Edge Café on the east side of the highway, and the Babb General Store sits opposite. I had a good lunch at the former, and at the latter stocked up on fruit, tomatoes, tortillas, energy bars and cheese. As mentioned in the journal, the guys who staff the café also offer a welcome service, returning Sigg water bottles left by forgetful seniors who also happen to be cyclists.
  • Just a couple of doors from the Glacier Cyclery in Whitefish, MT, is LouLa’s, a busy bistro which served me an excellent burrito and coffee for lunch.
  • On Hwy 93, on the east side of the road just south of Fortine en route to Eureka, I stopped for a very good mid-morning big snack at the Eat-on-the-Fly Café. They served me a very good waffle with whipped cream (not the stuff from an aerosol can), bacon, a large fresh orange juice, and a good cappuccino.  It’s a small place, essentially a converted trailer, and the women who run it are cheerful and capable.
  • Henry’s, in Libby, is a family restaurant in the same small plaza as Rosauer’s, on the south side of US 2.  I can’t guarantee that you’ll see a ’55 Stude truck, but you can get a good and filling spaghetti bolognaise.  The grandmother who’s the maîtresse d’ was very solicitous about my welfare, making sure I was properly attended to, and recommending the lemon meringue pie (a recommendation I was happy to follow).  The coffee was standard fare, nothing special, but when I saw the small dish full of creamers, I had an “A-ha!” moment, and asked her if she could sell me a few.  No problem, she said, they’re 8¢ each, so I bought a dozen for a dollar.  No more shortages of full-cream-powdered-milk-and-sugar for my cuppa at the end of each day.  Problem solved, once and forever henceforth.
  • In Crawford Bay, BC, on Hwy 3A just near the ferry dock taking passengers across East Kootenay Lake to the Western Arm, I had an excellent mid-morning large burrito at The Hub Bistro, the last place on the right just before the hill up and out of town.  This may be out of business now—it had a “For Sale” sign when I was there in early July—but it served a very good burrito, which I needed, and an excellent cappuccino.
  • South of Nelson, in the small town of Salmo where Hwy 6 joins #3, the road east to Crowsnest Pass, the Dragonfly Café served me an excellent lunch of soup, quiche and salad.  It’s a big old wooden store with fine wooden floors and a pressed-tin ceiling.
  • On the ride across the passes of Cascadia, I found several good eateries, including those mentioned above, the Old Apple Warehouse in Kettle Falls and the Smallwood Farms café and winery outside Okanogan.  On the descent from Wauconda Pass, the Wapiti Resort on Bonaparte Lake was one of the best on my tour—a combination of my being tired, and delighted to find a good campsite near to warm showers, excellent draft beer, a good fish-and-chips supper, and an A-grade breakfast.
  • Further along the next day, in the small village of Tonasket, Shannon’s Café has a fine shaded garden and patio, and a range of first-rate ice cream and sorbet, along with very good coffee and baked goods.
  • The Market, in Sedro-Woolley, includes a very good café where I had a fine big mid-morning snack—soup, croissants, and cappuccino.
  • Probably the best coffee place was the Timbuktu Java Bar and Gallery, in Freeland, on Whidbey Island.  That’s on Hwy 525, south of the ferry to Port Townsend.  I had a late lunch of an excellent chili, followed by a strawberry/banana smoothie and a first-rate cappuccino. It’s informal and comfortable, with very good coffee and reasonable prices.
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