Tag Archives: food

Interview with Beet and Basil… Story by Leah Roth

Sandpoint has had its cornerstone restaurants around for decades, serving their trademark dishes and family comfort food for as long as locals can remember. However, when coming up with the idea for their restaurant, owners Jeremy and Jessica Holzapfel wanted to do something unique.

“There [were] a lot of different people that wanted to come into this space but…what it came down to was they were all high end fine dining restaurants again…they do higher end food, but we aren’t that …we prefer to bring alternative food into town and to fill a niche that never existed, or fill a niche that existed but that no one ever attempted to fill.”

After working for a variety of different restaurants both here and in Seattle, Jessica began to experiment with different exotic ingredients and spices.

“…we would leave town to find Indian food, to go get Pho, to go get Malaysian fried rice. We’d go to the international district in Seattle and walk around and try random things that we have no idea what it is because it’s not in English and then decipher what it is once we’re eating it…as we went to spice stores, she (Jessica) would open the different spices and smell them. She bought endless spices just to try, to experiment. So…for the last decade our house was like a constant array of different smells. You felt like you were in a different country every other day when you walked in our house just because of how intense the spice aromas were, because she’d be stewing something or something would be brining. She’s not afraid of spice, but she also learned how to balance it, and that’s really great for these dishes that she does here.”

While living in Seattle, they had an idea for a restaurant.

“So Beet and Basil was an idea that we’d had when we were a little bit younger in Seattle. Jessica had been bouncing around kitchens in Seattle, kind of learning on the fly… she started working at a bunch of different restaurants in Seattle, and she worked at this one ‘Poppy’ up on Capitol Hill, and it was an Indian fusion restaurant. The [chef] of the restaurant was (also) the chef at a really famous restaurant called ‘The Herb Farm’ (which) has a farm on premises, (and the restaurant is located) outside of Seattle. They harvest all of their own herbs and all these different things so they can integrate them into the dishes, and the dishes are very high end, fine dining. So as she was working for him in Seattle…they had people that just brought them strawberries, and they had…several people that brought them mushrooms and that foraged for them in the mountains.

Goblet of Fire… the spicy Chicken Vindaloo Bowl features a myriad of Indian spices
Goblet of Fire… the spicy Chicken Vindaloo Bowl features a myriad of Indian spices

So Jessica would receive all of this food and then it would become dishes and specials that the chef would come up with, and Jessica was a line cook at the time and so she would just make whatever she was told to and…it was super inspiring for her, but even there it was like she wanted to learn more. She just kept moving to different restaurants around the city and learned from all of these different chefs that happened to be in Seattle. While we were there we started to develop a concept, and we wanted to do a food truck. Then as we were developing this food truck…about 6 years, maybe even 7 or 8 years ago now, we also were like, ‘Wouldn’t it be amazing to bring all these flavors back to Sandpoint?’”

A few years later, they did just that and launched the Beet and Basil Bus in 2016. Parked in front of Evan’s Brother’s, the food truck was wildly successful and soon gained a local reputation. They sold food from May to October, and had planned to open for another season this year. However, fate had something better in mind.

“…we did the food truck and we weren’t sure how that was going to be received, so we did a lot of social media before we opened, we had a lot of friends in Sandpoint, because we’re from here, and we both moved here. She moved here when she was 15 and I moved here when I was 16, so we kind of grew up here in our 20’s and we’ve made endless roots here. So the truck did amazing like it was shocking how many people – we only survived on locals because we were parked in front of Evan’s Brother’s in the parking lot, kind of away from everything, didn’t have money to advertise so we used social media and word of mouth. I was still running the Starbucks store, between the two stores at the time, and so trying to support her and the truck, and then Jessica was also the chef at Spud’s when she opened the truck, so she would run the truck service and be open from 11 o’clock to 4 o’clock at the truck and go and open Spud’s for dinner at 5. She was working like 13 to 14 hours like 5 to 6 days a week and it was really crazy and really trying, but we were basically taking as much money as we could and putting it into creating this concept.”

Unlike typical restaurants, their diverse menu is ever changing.

“She never went to culinary school. She started as a dishwasher, actually at where Trinity is now, it was called The Beach House and that was in like 2000 or 1999. At the same time she started working at Spud’s and was a sandwich girl…At that time, Jessica hated tomatoes and sprouts and mushrooms and any seafood, like endless things, it was crazy. We started dating back then. Then she started working her way through kitchens here and quickly became a line cook at Spud’s…She would get bored over time doing the same food. Restaurants in Sandpoint tend to be very static, as far as like the food that they make…but I’m a super foodie and I have been since I was young. My mom was a pastry chef and I’ve been exposed to a lot of food from everywhere my whole life. So when Jessica and I started dating, I cooked mostly and so it was like whatever I felt like cooking and then she’d try it and we’d be kind of falling in love with all kinds of foods, and as she was kind of moving around, basically we ended up moving to Seattle because certain circumstances brought us there.”

Little Bowl of Asia… Vietnamese Pho Chay noodle soup
Little Bowl of Asia… Vietnamese Pho Chay noodle soup

Today you can explore the flavors of the world right from their dining room. North African Harrisa Shakshuka, Indian Chicken Vindaloo, Vietnamese Pho Chay, Malaysian Rendang Beef Curry, Cuban Press Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Korean Chicken Fried Steak Sandwiches–one of my personal favorites–and more are available for under $25.

“Our customers are accepting of our menu. They’ve learned it, they have their favorites. And we’ve kept what we call the five favorites from the bus and they’re on the menu always, so you can get them at lunch or dinner, they’re always there. But the rest of the menu changes, and now that everybody’s kind of gotten used to our menu, we’re actually going to expand it coming up here. Every month there’ll be a menu that has four or six different items on it, and they’ll stay on the menu for a month at a time so that the kitchen gets used to making those items and it isn’t a constant game of retraining and retraining everybody that’s working every shift. For our customers it’ll be a lot more exciting because for that whole month they can be sure that we’ll have those items, and they’ll actually be able to count on that fact. But we’re also going to use the larger menu template so we can showcase local farms [and] businesses that we work with.”

Not only is it delicious, many of the ingredients are organic and locally sourced.

“At home we eat mostly organic produce, we try not to eat very much processed food whatsoever… What we believe in is that our dollar is our vote. Yes, we had to pay more for the organic food. Yes, we had to pay more for this beef because it came from a local ranch. Yes, we had to do these different things and it cut into our budget, and it was more expensive, but it was also our vote… So here we are on a larger stage, and we buy thousands of dollars in food. We get to make that vote with a larger dollar, and we make our food purveyors find us these things or we search them out and we find the locals that will grow us different crops…It reminds me of what ‘The Herb Farm’ was and what ‘Poppy’ that Jessica worked for, the same chef, where he would go out and harvest the herbs from out back.”

Everything is done with the customer in mind.

“What we’ve learned is that people really like our food, and we get rave reviews on our food. We have opportunity with our service sometimes and with our hosting, and getting people set. But what that teaches me is those are high expectations, and I… don’t want to fail those expectations when people are telling their friends to come here.

So the only thing we can do is to not rest on our laurels and to continuously work to get better. To look for every single problem and make it be an opportunity to fix it, and have an open mind and not try to get caught up and frustrated in the day to day stresses of the restaurant, like customer flow and all these things. We have to come back to center and be like “How do we make this fun?” every day. [Sic]

But I like taking care of problems and problem solving. That’s probably my favorite thing…we have these compostable little plastic containers that we do to-go Pho soup in, and the Pho is really hot, like extremely hot to the point that it starts to melt the [plastic]. So we actually had to re-source and we found a new container that has a honey wax in it so it’ll actually break down that will actually preserve that paper. So it’s pretty awesome, I’m like “Okay. Yup. There we go. There it is right there, this is exactly what we’ve been looking for.” It’ll eliminate the spill for the customer, which elevates that customer experience, and makes it so that they don’t question ever ordering that item because they’re afraid that it’s going to spill in their car like it has in mine.

Come Visit!... Beet and Basil is located at 105 S 1st Ave in Sandpoint, ID
Come Visit!… Beet and Basil is located at 105 S 1st Ave in Sandpoint, ID

So just problem solving little things like that makes the customer experience better, makes them able to trust everything about the product. It seems so little, but when you are doing that all day every day, evaluating and fixing all these little things, it becomes a huge thing.”

 

He’ll even refer them to other restaurants in the area.

“…it’s amazing what word of mouth does. The businesses on this strip alone, sending people here this summer, is where everyone came from. They’d be like, “Where should we go eat?” and they’d be like, “Go to Beet and Basil.” The pizza place was telling people to come here! If you didn’t want pizza, they were like, “Oh, go over [there].” Even Ivano’s was doing it, they were sending people here. And we would send people [there]. I’d have people come in here so shocked by the menu, like it scares them, and if I can tell I’m not going to win them, I’ll instantly refer them to our sister restaurants. If it’s lunchtime, I’ll send them down to [City Beach] Organics, and I’ll send them to Spud’s, and I’ll send them down to McDuff’s Brewery. At dinnertime I’ll send them over to Ivano’s and be like, “They have Italian food here…” and I’ll explain the menus of each of the restaurants because that’s another huge thing.

I am not jealous of any restaurant, and I’m not trying to compete with any restaurant. I’m trying to fill a niche that isn’t filled, and be the other option.

Our number one mission is to stick to our values and also deliver on our concept, and to fill that niche that’s missing—or that’s there. So, to actually bring exciting new flavors and ethically source those ingredients, and figure out ways that we can do this using sustainable products.

And also, if I could give one piece of advice that I’ve learned through all my time…is never burn a bridge. Never burn a bridge…and always make sure you have good work ethic. Those are so important, and they have opened up so many opportunities for us because we hold true to those different values and it’s amazing what it does.”

Beet and Basil is a great restaurant run by even greater people. The next time you’re looking to eat something new, stop by in downtown Sandpoint for a unique dining experience.

All Photos by Lauren Roth

Picture 1: Goblet of Fire… the spicy Chicken Vindaloo Bowl features a myriad of Indian spices. Photo by Lauren Roth

Picture 2:

Picture 3: Come Visit!… Beet and Basil is located at 105 S 1st Ave Sandpoint, ID. Photo by Lauren Roth

Cover Photo by Lauren Roth

Winter is Coming… Story by Catherine Ross

Winters in Northern Idaho aren’t something to make light of, especially not in Sandpoint. The average amount of snowfall in Sandpoint, Idaho is 57.7 inches. That’s almost five feet of snow. However recently our winters have been filled with less snow, but rather lower temperatures and even more rain than snow. The winter of 2017-2018 is predicted to have lower temperature and wetter weather, as stated by EarthSky. The reason for this is because of La Niña, which is a phase of El Niño and brings in cooler than average sea surface temperatures in the central and eastern tropical pacific ocean.

Due to the fact La Niña is supposed to hit Northern Idaho this year, it’s causing some concern. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) is worried about La Niña, due to it being the “biggest wildcard” for this year’s winter. NOAA also pointed out that fact that La Niña has a 55% to 56% of developing before our winter even officially begins. Which means everyone should prepare for what this weather will bring.

1940 Winter... Sandpoint has been getting heavy snow for decades. Photo By: sandpoint.com
1940 Winter… Sandpoint has been getting heavy snow for decades. Photo By: sandpoint.com

In Northern Idaho, power outages aren’t an uncommon appearance, so being prepared for a possible storm is a must. However, these power outages can last much longer than a couple of days, which is why North Idaho residences should be prepared for a maximum of three weeks without power. Below will be a list of supplies you and your family will need for staying home during a winter storm, and tips on to be the most comfortable when doing so.

Food and water are essential, meaning they should be the first things for you to think about. You need to rationally ask yourself ‘could I survive three weeks off of this?’ and if you say no, then you should go shopping. Water is very important, not only for drinking but also for cleaning dishes and flushing your toilet. The average amount of water used is 80 to 100 gallons of water per day. So if you rule out showering, the amount of gallons used drop considerably, but you still need enough water to last you and your family for a maximum of three weeks and prevent dehydration.

This means you should fill up a minimum of two six gallon jugs of water, four clean, five gallon buckets, which will be used for flushing your toilet. The current environmentally friendly toilets will take about one gallon in order to flush. If you find yourself running out of water, see how much water your hot water tank has and drain it out using a garden hose. Taking care of your food is very important as it has to last you just like water. Transferring any refrigerated or frozen foods into a large cooler and placing them in an easily accessible place out in the snow is ideal to keep your food fresh.

Warm Interior... A Kerosene Heater such as this can warm up your house during the winter. Photo By: Space Heater Reviews
Warm Interior… A Kerosene Heater such as this can warm up your house during the winter. Photo By: Space Heater Reviews

Camping gear is extremely useful in these situations. Purchasing things such as lanterns and propane cooking stove will make life much more comfortable for you. If you do invest in a propane cooking stove or a table top gas grill, make sure they aren’t electric, you will need around half a dozen (6) propane bottles in order to last you throughout the period of the power outage. However you must make sure that there is ventilation in the room that you are using these stoves in or else the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning increases tenfold. Opening a window slightly will create enough ventilation for you though.

For heating, make sure that the first thing you do is close off any unneeded rooms, in order to conserve heat. Stuff any towels or rags into cracks underneath doors to keep as much heat inside of the home as you can. Hanging black curtains on windows can also help as black absorbs the heat from the sun. Using a wood stove or fireplace are some of the most effective ways to heat your home. However a kerosene heater is another option, just make sure that it isn’t electric. Having warm and soft blankets are important as well for a comfortable night, but down sleeping bags can also be used.

However the most expensive thing you should definitely consider purchasing is a generator. Now, you will have to ask yourself if you do in fact need one and if you do, then you will need to plan on not using the generator too often. This is so that you will only be using non-ethanol gas and a fuel stabilizer, which makes it much easier for the generator to start. Make sure that you choose a generator that fits you the best, both in terms of needs and price. There are more expensive types, such as Honda generators which are quiet, making it more comfortable to be around. However, there are so many types, so it’s best that you go and see which one will suit you and your situation the best. Being comfortable and safe in your own home is one of the most important things after all.

So, will you be prepared for this winter?

 

In-Depth Look at Arby’s… Story by Leah Roth

Arby’s has been an integral part of our Sandpoint community ever since it opened back in 1987. This restaurant has always held a special place in the heart of Journalism teacher Mark Webber, who used to go there as a kid:

“There’s just this feeling of nostalgia going back in there, like a time machine back to 1984. I do miss the old look before the remodel, but I understand that the solarium leaked and they needed to update the interior. However, I just wish they stayed more retro with the décor.”

Our journalism staff recently visited Arby’s during their ‘Happy Hour’ which is from 2 to 5 PM and offers certain small menu items for $1 each. Lolisa, the supervisor, talked to us about the history of the restaurant and her experience working there. She said she loved meeting all the people who come in, and that it is a pleasure working for Pierre and Denise Huguenin, the owners. Denise was kind enough to take time out of her vacation and answer a few of my questions:

A Cornerstone of the Community… Arby’s has been in Sandpoint for 30 years.
A Cornerstone of the Community… Arby’s has been in Sandpoint for 30 years.

Leah: “Why did you decide to buy this restaurant?”

Denise: “We had a restaurant called RAX from 1991 to 1994 in the same location. RAX, as a national franchise company, was failing nationwide and we felt it was time to make a change. Arby’s was expanding its franchise locations at the time, so it was a logical move to buy an Arby’s franchise. We opened Arby’s in July, 1994.”

Leah: “How are you connected to Lost in the 50’s?”

Denise: “We love Lost in the 50’s! Carolyn Gleason is a good friend and we are happy to support her in any way we can. We started “Locals Nite” about 10 years ago to give our local car club, The Injectors, the opportunity to show off their cars before the 50’s car show. It has become a tradition between Arby’s and The Injectors and a kickoff for the 50’s activities.”

Leah: “Why did you decide to remodel?”

Denise: “We remodeled Arby’s because our license as an Arby’s franchisee was expiring after 23 years and Arby’s wanted us to update our building inside and out in order to continue as an Arby’s franchise for the next 20 years. We are very excited about the changes in the building…it’s great to have a fresh, new look!”

Leah: “What is your favorite part about owning Arby’s?”

Denise: “My favorite part about owning Arby’s is working with so many wonderful people in our community…our guests, our suppliers and most of all our crew members!

Friendly Service… Lolisa and the Journalism staff stand behind the counter at Arby’s.
Friendly Service… Lolisa and the Journalism staff stand behind the counter at Arby’s.

Our manager, Stacy Johnson has been with me at Arby’s for 20 years…her Mom, Alena Zantow, worked with me for 23 years before she retired last year. I love teaching young people how to be responsible employees. My philosophy for young workers is…if you can succeed at Arby’s, you will succeed at any career you pursue! It’s all about the people!”

Leah: “Which sandwich would you personally recommend to someone who has never eaten at Arby’s?”

Denise: “That’s a difficult question! I personally like every one of our sandwiches! I’d say our two signature sandwiches are the Classic…simply roast beef on a sesame seed bun, or the Beef and Cheddar…roast beef, cheese sauce, red ranch sauce on an onion bun.”

Our Arby’s is a family owned and operated restaurant that provides jobs for many local high school students, including 3 of our very own Forrest Bird High School students. If you haven’t been into Arby’s in a while head on down during Happy Hour and see the new remodel!

All Photos by Kai Eagley

Night of Culture… Story By: Alistair King

Night of Culture… Story By: Alistair King

 

 

Artwork... with the culture theme of Japanese the art classes were able to do quite a bit.
Artwork… with the culture theme of Japanese the art classes were able to do quite a bit.

Night of culture is truly one to remember. Whether it was the music, the food, or the activities, fun was had by all. Some of the most memorable events included the large middle school rock band, the improv put on by Wendy’s class, and the Hula-Hooping competition.

 

This was the 6th annual Night of Culture and by far a great success. Paul’s music classes put on a great performance ranging from pop music to Elvis. The raffles were pretty great with gift cards from local businesses such as Nieman’s Floral and Evan’s Brothers Coffee. Our FBCS Catering team even put in a lunch for 8 and some lunch swipe cards.

 

Outfits... Many students involved witht the acting classes dressed up in cultural outfits.
Outfits… Many students involved witht the acting classes dressed up in cultural outfits.

The artwork was brilliant at the event. Each art class submitted their own designs in the form of Japanese artwork. Some of the Koi Fish were especially good and the drawing anime class even created their own comic book. However, other classes such as the middle school art classes had other cultures for the night.

 

Overall the night was exciting, but some students believe that this year was worse than the medieval themed night before. This year was a mix of many cultures and people were obviously confused. One student Dabrinya Gould states that “This year seemed slower than last year’s.” A couple students even ditched to hang out with their friends, leaving their teammates to perform alone.

 

Activites... Junior student Ericka Moore attempts to teach Jack Meier how to draw... unsuccessfully.
Activites… Junior student Ericka Moore attempts to teach Jack Meier how to draw… unsuccessfully.

The activities seemed to vary. The rooms closest to the music got more activity while the rooms on the far end had very few community members at a time in them. In the art room some of Holly’s students were teaching people to draw anime faces while in Kubuntu competitions for the Hula Hooping record were underway.

 

One of the newest innovations this year that not many people realized were the QR or quick response codes hidden around. Once scanned these would give students a view of the artwork in the area. While this wasn’t announced or publicized, it provided a pleasant change for those who participated.

Will next year follow in the footsteps of previous years and have a consolidated theme or will they just continue with independent themes for different classes? We will just have to find out next year…