Adventures in Missoula: part 2 – the food

By: Tom Rupp
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Last week I began to relate notes from our recent brief foray north to Montana. My word limit intruded as I began telling of our dining exploits. If you will indulge me, let’s pick it up from there.

We walked to various hole-in-the-wall looking places in old-town, that, once you entered, you discovered were more spacious and nice in both food and ambiance.

I had one of the best calzones I have ever eaten at Biga’s. It was near freezing outside, and warm, toasty and packed inside, smelling of freshly cooked dough.

We walked to brunch one day at Catalyst. Again, freezing cold outside was displaced by the warm atmosphere. Thirty-minute wait? No problem. Hot soup at our table on the upstairs landing hit the spot.

We also walked to Market on Front Street for another day’s breakfast. I had beer cheese soup at The Shack. All of these places were within a couple of blocks of each other.

But we had the best, most memorable meal at a place called Plonk. It was the rehearsal dinner with 20 of us in the basement wine cellar room.

This meal had five courses and was too intricate and intense to completely relate here. Suffice it to say that it included items such as arancini, rainbow beets, eggplant roulade or wagyu sirloin, with caramelized carrot mash. In other words, food that is typically out of my league and vocabulary.

I joked about the dessert – it was a rosemary-honey cheesecake with pistachio dust. Gotta have my pistachio dust. I also jokingly asked where the fried chicken was. It was the best meal I have had this year, or more.

The weather “warmed up” for the beautiful outdoor wedding at White Raven in Alberton, 30 miles west of Missoula. The ceremony was brief and meaningful.

I put diabetes concerns aside and ate a piece of pecan and apple pie at the reception. Bradley made pickles and granola for the road.

For seven days, I did not touch a computer, listen to the radio (after Thursday morning), read a book or write anything besides these notes from the trip.

As Bradley and Alissa danced their first official dance, the Avett Brothers sang (not in person), “you set my life a-whirling...and who cares about tomorrow, what more is tomorrow than another day, when you swept me away.” Ah, yes. Goodbye for now, Montana.

Tom Rupp is a resident of Folsom and a weekly columnist in the Folsom Telegraph. You can reach him at