Contributed by Tanya S.

What a great find Italia Trattoria is!  I was lucky enough to be in the Spokane area when my friend suggested we go out for a nice meal, his treat.  Well, there is no way I was going to turn that down.

He chose Italia proclaiming it was one of the best restaurants in town—a tough proclamation to make to a snobby New Yorker who lives to eat.  We arrived around 7 to find the place packed.  The waitress retrieved the owner, Bethe Bowman, to speak with us about being seated.  As it turned out we would have to wait half an hour. Usually I would move on, but the smells coming from the kitchen kept me seated.  My friend also has some food allergies and Bethe was kind enough to go over all of the options with us about what was safe to eat and what can be adjusted.

We settled on the charred octopus appetizer and the duck breast and wild boar entries.  The octopus was amazing.  Charred slightly in a lemon parsley oil, it was cooked perfectly by Chef Anna Vogel.  It had the perfect consistency, not too toothy.  I tried to eat it slowly to figure out all of the flavors.

The duck breast had a cocoa nib rub and was covered with a cherry compote–almond green beans accompanied the duck.  Cocoa, duck and cherry seems like an odd combination but my taste buds enjoyed every bite.  I loved the salty cocoa flavor on the ducks crispy skin.  The rack of wild boar was exceptional. Also perfectly cooked, the flavor of the boar was accentuated by the huckleberry compote and caramelized onions.  A sweet buttery squash partnered with the boars earthy flavor.

Did I mention the homemade huckleberry and lavender lemonades? A definite must have (alcohol can be added as well).

Next time this snobby New Yorker visits Spokane, I’ll definitely go to Italia Trattoria to see what’s new on their intriguing menu.