Road trips are about so much more than merely traveling from Place A to Place B, and often it's the small things that linger in the memory. One of the best food memories from a recent trip comes from an early dinner at the South Fork Public House in Pullman, WA.
When dining in an unfamiliar locale you could a) randomly choose a spot by interesting name or signage, b) cruise the downtown or nearby mall and look for restaurants with full parking lots, a sign that it's popular with the locals, c) skim Yelp reviews, or d) ask the hotel's front desk staff for recommendations. We asked. We scored! South Fork Pub and its Cilantro Pesto Pasta sounded appealing for a late lunch/early dinner after our 285-mile drive and a few photo-shoot stops.
|Cilantro Pesto Pasta - Penne pasta tossed in a cilantro pesto with chicken, black beans, corn, sauted peppers & onions, and salsa fresco.|
|Lentil Chili - Thick and hearty house-made chili made with ground beef and pork, Andouille sausage, and Palouse Brand Lentils.|
I'm a committed chili fan and love to sample new recipes everywhere we travel - culinary research of a sort. Lentil Chili sounded...well, odd, beyond my experience tasting or cooking, so I cautiously ordered a small cupful. My mistake, I should have ordered a bucketful of this amazing concoction. Definitely not vegetarian, the trio of meats provided a rich, deep, background flavor for a mellow blend of spices and chiles. Beans and lentils?! Don't get me started on the Beans vs. No-Beans regional debate. Here in the Palouse Country it seems beans belong in chili and lentils are welcome additions to the pot. It works. This is damned fine chili and I'd return again for this dish alone.
When I skim the rest of the pub menu I realize, there's more than a handful of other tempting items to taste test, several new brews to sample, and that warm, friendly atmosphere to welcome us back like valued friends. South Fork Public House celebrates its fourth anniversary this month and seems certain to flourish for years to come. I'm ready to return again soon... and I think I'll start with an order of Lamb Sliders topped with tomato chutney, caramelized onions and tzatziki sauce. Meanwhile I will keep updated on SFPH happenings on their Facebook page. (link)