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Notes from the Road: Missoula, MT

14.August 2014

You know, you think about Montana and you probably think (in no particular order): 

  • Robert Redford
  • horses
  • A River Runs Through It
  • bears
  • rivers
  • Robert Redford
  • trout
  • outdoorsy-ness

What you probably don’t think right away is:

  • Good Food
  • Good Drinks

When Dan and I decided to run away for the weekend, our goal was just to get out of town for a few days, go someplace pretty and quiet and far away, and celebrate our anniversary! (6.1, for those who are counting!) What we found, though, is that Missoula is chock full of good food and drink.

Friday dinner: The Pearl Cafe

Delicious. No photos, because I’m kind of over restaurant photos (no, not always, but this weekend I was).

I had a delicious salmon special with corn risotto and we shared a beautiful cheese plate and scallops to start. Also apple ice wine. Very tasty.

Saturday breakfast: Bernice’s Bakery

We knew we were heading out on a long walk, so we stopped at Bernice’s for coffee and pastry. I had a fantastic, extremely almondy almond croissant and Dan had a pesto croissant and a blueberry muffin. Very, very tasty. They were, I think, yeasted croissants, so a bit heavier than your normal croissant, but so delicious. Apparently they have a baker who comes in and bakes croissants overnight.

Saturday lunch: Missoula Club

This is a very stripped-down, divey, delightful bar. It looks like it’s always been in business (like, always) and it’s clear that they stay that way by a) not offering much, but b) doing that little bit surprisingly well.

I had a single cheeseburger with swiss and a Moose Drool brown ale. Dan had a double and a second Moose Drool. It totaled $18. (Also, hey! No tax in MT?!)

Saturday afternoon surprise cocktail: Montgomery Distillery

We saw the sign and thought – Cool! A distillery! (I may not have mentioned that we now live in one of the top wine producing regions in the US. It’s fantastic, but it means that it’s all wine, all the time there.)

Montgomery Distillery makes three delicious liquors: Whyte Laydie Gin, Quicksilver Vodka, and Skadi Aquavit. They’re soon going to be adding whiskeys to the lineup, too!

Anyway, you walk in and it’s a delightfully sleek, but hipstery space with cushy seating and a lovely bar backed by shelves upon shelves of beautifully designed bottles. What was so exciting is that it’s not only a tasting room (yes, they do pour out dollops of their delicious wares, gratis) but also a pretty great cocktail bar. So, we tasted a couple tipples (The Aquavit was amazing. You’ll be hearing more about it.) and then had a delicious cocktail. I had a “Go gingerly” (gin, grapefruit bitters, grapefruit & lemon juice, muddled ginger & basil) and Dan had a Cucumber Saffron (cucumber, saffron, and red pepper infused vodka, honey, lemon, and soda).

Long story, short: GO TO MISSOULA AND TRY MONTGOMERY’S SPIRITS.

Saturday dinner: The Silk Road

Fantastic tapas style foods from all along the silk road (from Europe to Asia and back). Their menu changes regularly to keep it seasonal. Our favorites were a lamb garam masala curry and a middle eastern chicken dish. All wonderful. They also gave us a complimentary dessert for our anniversary! Really tasty cheesecake.

Saturday beer: KettleHouse Brewing Co.

A really cool local brewery. I had a Cold Smoke Scotch Ale (among my favorite-ever beers) and Dan had a Double Haul IPA (floral hops , ahoy). Fantastic beer. The space (their Southside location) is like a stylish garage and their logo looks more like a construction company than a brewery, but it’s shockingly great.

Sunday breakfast: Catalyst Cafe

A cozy space right downtown with a pretty extensive breakfast menu and really tasty coffee. I had a local seven-grain hot cereal and HASHBROWN CASSEROLE, oh yes. Dan had an omelette. Definitely worth a visit.

Also, should you go to Missoula, I’d recommend looking into Airbnb instead of a hotel. We found a great apartment for MUCH less than the best hotels in town and had so much space and privacy – it was wonderful.

Oh! And there’s also a great farmer’s market! Don’t miss that!

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3 Comments leave one →
  1. 18.August 2014 15:58

    Missoula is home to me so it’s nice to hear what visitors have to say about our mountain town :) Thanks for posting about some good spots in Zoo town!

    • Darby O'Shea permalink*
      19.August 2014 08:23

      Thanks for reading! We’ll definitely be back in Missoula sometime. What a great city you have!

  2. 20.August 2014 17:43

    I loved reading your blog about Missoula. I adore all of those places. Missoula has some great food spots. My blog is all about the move from Louisiana to Missoula…so far I haven’t been disappointed! Glad you enjoyed your visit!

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