Tag Archives: Food

McCroskey State Park/Skyline Drive (Idaho)

On a recent Sunday we decided to go on an exploratory drive.  We chose the 18 mile Skyline Drive of the Mary Minerva McCrosky State Park in Idaho.

Skyline Drive offers beautiful views of the Palouse, even on a slightly rainy day like the one we had. It is very interesting in that it takes you through a typically western forest to a typically eastern one.

From the website:

“This 5300-acre ridgeline park is dedicated to pioneer women. McCroskey State Park’s highlight is an 18-mile skyline drive through the park on unimproved roads provides spectacular views of the rolling Palouse country and access to 32 miles of multi-purpose trails. Facilities include a group day use shelter, primitive camping areas and picnic areas along the road. The road is not recommended for large RVs and may be too rough for your family car.”

We did the road in our light SUV, and it was fine.  Here is a photo of the typical road condition:

It is free.  It has campsites, parking, restrooms, and vault toilets (whatever that is!). I think I saw hiking trails, but we did not do any hiking around.  It is open all year.




We bookended our drive with some snacks, of course.  On the way there we went to Potlatch, Idaho and visited the Wagon Wheel Bar & Grille and Laundromat.

Yes, laundromat.  Meaning there are two washers and dryers in the front part of the establishment, next to the pool table and video games (you eat in the rear part).  Kind of kooky, but fun, friendly, good burgers, open on Sunday, and they allowed kids.

Wagon Wheel Bar & Grille
220 6th St

Potlatch, ID 83855

Phone:  (208) 875-1067

At the end of our journey we went to Garfield and had ice cream and beer at Smokin’ Papas BBQ Cafe.  I have been told the BBQ is very good, and I hope to get back to try it.  They also have pizza. We were really thankful to find another place open on Sunday.

Smokin’ Papas

(509) 635-1290

216 W California St, Garfield, WA

It was a nice way to spend a rainy Sunday, and we got to see some nooks and crannies, and sweeping vistas, of the lovely Palouse.

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Filed under Food, Free, Idaho, Nature and Outdoors, Things to Do

The Green Frog Cafe (Restaurant, Palouse WA)

If you have not been to The Green Frog Cafe, make plans and get there!  Everything about it is great:  the food is amazing, the decor is fun, the prices are right, the people are friendly, and kids are welcome.

The Green Frog Cafe is located 15 miles/20 minutes north of Pullman in Palouse, Washington (which is a very charming little town).  In the morning they have pastries/baked goods and coffee/espresso/drinks.  It opens at 7 a.m., so we have gone for early morning cinnamon rolls after early morning swimming lessons.  Lovely.

I have been many times for lunch, and the sandwiches are definitely worth the drive.  They have hot grilled sandwiches, cold sandwiches, wraps, pitas, soups and salads. The sandwiches are made on bread from Wheatberries Bakery, sliced THICK.  All the food is made from scratch and everything is simply excellent.  I usually have the grilled sandwiches – they are so good, and big enough to share with kids. They also have beer and wine.

They do live music, open mic nights and other special evening activities.  I have never made one of these, but I have heard they are great , family-friendly, and very popular.  I think they are Thursdays and Fridays, but obviously call and check before driving up there!

The vitals:

100 East Main Street
Palouse, WA 99161

Tue – Wed:
7am – 3pm
Thur – Fri:
7am – 8pm
8am – 4pm

Photos from The City of Palouse


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South Fork Public House (Pullman- Restaurant)

Ahhh, beer!

Pullman has a new restaurant and bar:  the South Fork Public House.  I have been here about five times now, and I really recommend it.

It was only empty because it was very early

It is a rare place you can take kids but yet it still feels like a grow-up establishment.  I have gone for happy hour, lunch and dinner – each time the service was excellent and the food was good. I like that you can substitute any meat with falafel or veggie burger, so if you want to go veggie you don’t end up eating just steamed rice and vegetables.

Full bar

The atmosphere is relaxed but contemporary, as is the decor.

The prices are reasonable (around $10 for salads, around $9 for sandwiches, and around $10 – $20 for entrees).  The location is unexpected- between the Ace Hardware and the Dollar Tree – but who cares?  It has tons of parking, and it is especially convenient for Pioneer Hill and Sunnyside Hill people.

Exterior Sign

Address: 1680 S. Grand Ave, Pullman, WA, 99163
Phone: 509-332-3675
Hours:  Monday – Sunday, 11:30 am to close (which I think means late night if there are customers)

Check out the Facebook page and the website!



Filed under Food, Pullman Washington, Things to Do, Things to do without kids, Uncategorized

Swilly’s Restaurant: Lunch Date

Exterior of Swilly's Restaurant

A week or so ago I had a lunch with a girl friend at Swilly’s, one of Pullman’s nicer restaurants.  Swilly’s was actually the only nice restaurant here when I moved here two and a half years ago, and it still holds its own against its newer competitors.

Swilly's Cozy Interior

Swilly’s decor is sunny and warm, with real art and exposed brick.   The front patio is a wonderful place for lunch in the summer.  The bar is small but perfect for a mini-date (that is, a glass of wine squeezed in between the end of work and the close of daycare).  It is not a happy hour type bar, so only go with one or two people.

Swilly's Bar

I have always had excellent food here.  The soups are very good (my favorites are the roasted tomato and the shrimp bisque served only on Fridays), as are the sandwiches (I have had the Black Bean Burger, the Grilled Cheese, and the Roast Turkey), and the desserts (they have a few different huge cookie bar type things that are fantastic).  I have only had dinner here once or twice, and the only thing I recall was the Sage-Chipotle Pork Tenderloin, which was very good.  If you sit at the bar, the bartender will help you make some good wine selections, and will let you taste before you order.

Swilly's Interior

Lunch items are around $10, and dinner items are around $25.  The service is usually quite good, but can be spotty (but not so much so that I don’t keep going back.)

200 NE Kamiaken St ·

Pullman, WA 99163

(509) 334-3395


Swilly's Hours

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Indoor Play Places

Pullman McDonald's Play Area

It’s too cold to go outside, and the kids are bored.  More to the point, YOU need to get them out of the house, or you will all go crazy.  Enter the indoor play area.

Longer View, Pullman McDonald's Play Area

The only indoor play area I know of in Pullman itself is McDonald’s.  (If there are others, PLEASE let me know!)  Even if you would never have stepped foot in a McDonald’s before moving to Pullman, you will do it once you live here.  And it is actually quite pleasant- it is clean and bright, and is the nicest of the area McDonald’s and McDonald’s play areas.  Order some coffee if you are anti-McD’s food, and let the kids run wild.

1620 GRAND AVE S – PULLMAN, WA 99163-4905 – (509)332-6725

Pullman McD's

Other McD locations with play areas:

Lewiston McDonald's Play Area

Lewiston:  This is the second best.  It is the largest, and it can help make the drive to Lewiston worth it for kids.  There is a sign that says Mondays are Family Nights, which I think means the whole family can play on it.  Like all these McD play structures, if your kid gets stuck/scared or just refuses to come out, extracting him or her would be basically impossible.

119 THAIN ROAD – LEWISTON, ID 83501 – (208)746-3032

(The McDonald’s website indicates there is also one in Clarkston, WA with a play area, but I have never been there.  Address: 350 BRIDGE ST – CLARKSTON, WA 99403-1929 – (509)758-9603)

Moscow, Idaho McDonald's Play Area

Moscow, Idaho:  This one is my least favorite, as it seems like the least clean of the three (just my take on it from looking!).  But it is still not bad, and you know, it is something to do.

1404 MOSCOW-PULLMAN HIGHWAY – MOSCOW, ID 83843 – (208)882-2900


Eastside Marketplace, Play Area

The Eastside Marketplace in Moscow has a nice indoor play area.  It is in front of the movie theater.  It is clean and free.  You can even have a birthday party there.  I highly recommend this play area.

Eastside Marketplace Rules

The play area is also in front of Wild At Art, the paint-your-own pottery place, which is an excellent thing to do with kids (maybe I’ll do an entry on that too).

Eastside Marketplace

1420 South Blaine Street
Moscow, ID 83843-3973
(208) 882-1533


Eastside Marketplace

And then, there is Bumpers.

Bumpers, Palouse Mall, Moscow, Idaho

Bumpers is in the Palouse Mall in Moscow, Idaho.  It is kind of notorious around here because it truly appears to never have been cleaned.  [Note, I do not mean to libel Bumpers.  This is just my opinion, which I have formed from going there and from hearing stories of other parents who have gone there.]  It is obnoxious and way overpriced, and of course, kids LOVE it.  I walked by many times without relenting.  Finally I had to use it as a bribe to get the kids through a particularly long Bed, Bath and Beyond trip, and I lived to tell about it.  I doubt I will ever again get through a trip to the mall with the boys without going there.

Bumpers, Palouse Mall, Moscow, Idaho

Bumpers has arcade games, air hockey, Foosball, etc. for bigger kids (which the little kids will want to do) and a play area for small kids.  You will not want to let your kids play in the play area because it seems so gross.  But over time, you will probably do it!  (Full disclosure:  I have not let my kids on the play area yet.  I have let them do the arcade games and skeeball.  I am sure this winter we’ll finally go on the play structure!)  There are also bumper cars, but I have not seen anyone on them.

Bottom line is that the kids are really thrilled by this place.  And it is pretty cool to impart so much joy for a hand full of quarters and some Purell.

Bumpers Small Kids Play Area

Right outside Bumpers is the coin centrifuge.  It is cool.  It will make you feel a little better about going to Bumpers.

Palouse Mall

1850 West Pullman Road
Moscow, ID 83843-4014
(208) 882-8893


Palouse Mall Coin Centrifuge

I know Pullman parks and Rec opens the Sunnyside Elementary gym sometimes over winter break, and I have heard there is a Moscow rec center (?) that has something similar.  You may also be able to play at Gladdish Community Center and the Pioneer Center (both in Pullman) but I have not done it.


Filed under Food, Free, Idaho, Moscow Idaho, Pullman Washington, Things to Do, What to do if it is snowing

Black Cypress: Date Night!

Black Cypress is Pullman’s newest restaurant, and it makes a lovely night out without the wee ones.  Get a sitter and have a date!

Black Cypress Interior

I have been here a few times – three times for drinks and once for a full dinner.  I have had a great experience each time.

The Bar at Black Cypress

First the bar:  It seats about eight to ten people and has a very cozy feel.  The bartenders have been perfect – attentive but not overly chatty.  This places gets a tad noisy, so sitting at the bar works best if you either go early or just plan to talk to the person next to you.  I went for drinks and light appetizers with a group of ladies and they let us sit at a table.  The selection of wines was fine, and the prices were generally moderate.  (I think about $7-10 per glass.)  There is a beer selection, too, but I did not pay much attention!

The Decor:  The “theme” of the decor is antique mirrors.  With the candles on the tables reflecting off the mirrors, it creates a very nice atmosphere.  The ceiling is draped with lengths of a rough material (burlap?) which gives it a pretty, tent-like feel. (Note these photos were taken during the day, through the window.  At night is has a more romantic feeling.)

The food:  The menu is small but the food is excellent.  The menu has a Mediterranean influence (as you would expect from the name) but this is by no means a “Mediterranean” restaurant.

The Special Board

Black Cypress seems to really excel at the meat dishes.  I had the lamb chops (so good, and actually cooked the way I ordered, which is a rarity).  My dining companions gave rave reviews to the beef, the pork chops, and the scallops.  I have had the beet salad and the cheese plate, which were both good (though perhaps not the best versions of these dishes I had ever had).  For dessert, the apple spice cake and the smores both got high marks.  In fact, no one had a bad thing to say about the food.

The cost is on the high side for Pullman, but it is not out of line with what you would pay at a similar restaurant in a bigger city.  Dinner for five (three salads, five entrees, two desserts, and two bottles of the cheaper wine) came to around $50 per person.

The service has always been very good, also.  I am not sure who does the hiring, but it seems like the wait staff is made up mostly of very good-looking twenty-something guys, who also happen to be professional and attentive.  This does not hurt the overall experience!

The hours are as shown above.  The address and phone:

215 East Main Street
Pullman, WA 99163-2769
(509) 334-5800

It is located next to Prune Orchard, which is open until 6, giving you one hour of overlap to do a combined shopping and wine drinking excursion!

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Filed under Food, Pullman Washington, Things to Do, Things to do without kids

Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe (WSU Creamery)


Last week we made a trip to Ferdinand’s, the ice cream shop of the WSU Creamery, which is a good spot any time of year.

Running to the entrance of Ferdinand's

Running to the entrance of Ferdinand's

Ferdinand's sign

Ferdinand's sign

One of the best things to get is a latte, which uses milk from the creamery and is really cheap (I think around $1.50).

Ferdinand's Front Door

Ferdinand's Front Door

From the website: “Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe, Washington State University’s gourmet ice cream shop, features old-fashioned ice cream and soda fountain treats, exclusive ice cream flavors, gourmet coffee and espresso drinks and of course, award winning Cougar Cheese.”

Fresh ice cream

Fresh ice cream

My favorite: Apple Cup Crisp!

My favorite: Apple Cup Crisp!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl in A Waffle Cone = Heaven

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl in A Waffle Cone = Heaven

The cheese counter

The cheese counter

Cougar Cheese is made at WSU and is surprisingly good (I am surprised mainly because it comes in a can, which is not usually the mark of a fine cheese – but really, it is excellent).  You can buy cans around town, but I think Ferdinand’s is the only place you can buy the smaller portions, the curd, and the cooking cheese.  This is good because the cans have 2 pounds of cheese – which is a LOT of cheese!

Cougar gold cheese and cured

Cougar gold cheese and curds

The Cheese Cooler

The Cheese Cooler

You can also buy WSU Honey, and Cougar Gold nachos.

WSU-Produced Honey

WSU-Produced Honey

Cougar Gold Nachos!

Cougar Gold Nachos!

After you have your ice cream, go up to the Observation Room where you can see the cheese and ice cream being made.


Looking over the Cheese-making floor


The WSU Creamery offers educational tours, and a cheesemaking shortcourse.


Door to the Observation Room

Door to the Observation Room

Ferdinand’s is located in the Food Quality Building on the WSU Campus, 2 blocks east of the New Biotech/Life Sciences building. It is across from the Indoor Practice Facility.

It has a bathroom with changing table, a highchair, and a water fountain.  It also has an outdoor seating area.

Park at the parking meters.  Do not park on the street unless you want a ticket (trust me on this one!)

Outdoor seating area

On the wall is the illustrated story of Ferdinand the Bull:


Part of the story of Ferdinand

The website gives this version of how Ferdinand’s was named:  “The most popular story is that in 1938, the Washington State College Dairy Products Judging Team was trying to earn money for competitions. There was a student on that team, Rune Goranson, whose middle name happened to be Ferdinand. Also in 1938, the Disney short film “Ferdinand the Bull” was released. All this was too much to ignore and the judging team sold ice cream sundaes to raise funds and named their sales booth “Ferdinand’s”. Ferdinand’s Ice Cream Shoppe opened its doors on September 24, 1948 in Troy Hall and remained there until 1992, before moving to its current location in the Food Quality Building.”

Ferdinand’s is open Monday through Friday, 9:30 to 4:30, but check for special hours (like holidays and game days), check the website:


Cans of Cougar Gold
Cans of Cougar Gold


Filed under Food, Pullman Washington, Things to Do, Uncategorized, Washington State University, What to do if it is snowing