Musings on Montana

We are lucky to spend the summers in Big Sky, Montana, and are constantly on the move enjoying all that the area has to offer.  Sometimes we travel into the “big city” of Bozeman for errands, and invariably test out a new place to grab a bite to eat.  I put together a post that touches upon some of the meals we had over the past two months.  It might be helpful if you are passing through.

In no particular order….

Urban Kitchen  is a contemporary American restaurant that is relatively new on the scene in Bozeman.  It is a clean and pleasant space, opening up onto the sidewalk.  We came here straight from the airport, and we were hungry! We decided on a frittata topped with a greek salad and avocado toast (gluten free) topped with arugula, a fried egg, grated cheese, and accompanied by hash browns.  The meal was nicely prepared, though the service was a tad slow.  There was only one server attending to the lunch crowd.IMG_7901.jpeg

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The food was fine.  Not great, not terrible.  The space was fun though! It might be worth another try at dinner time.

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One of our favorite spots in Bozeman is Dave’s Sushi. For a land-locked state, Montana has some great sushi.  The restaurant is always crowded, no matter what time of day.  Sometimes we are lucky enough to sit at the  counter and watch the magic happen.

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Sometimes we need a table to hold the enormous number of rolls we order.

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My favorite happens to be the Sushi salad, basically a deconstructed sushi bowl.  The prices are fair, and the servings generous.  We have never been disappointed.

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The Nova Café is a spot that has been on Main Street since 2005.  They are only open for breakfast and lunch, and have carved out a very loyal following.  I always really want to like The Nova Café, but unfortunately, I am often disappointed.

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The one thing I can’t find fault with is their special blend herbal iced tea.  It is cold and refreshing.  I was very hungry, so I ordered a hearty breakfast bowl with black rice, peppers, sweet potatoes, kale and fried eggs.  It was quite oily and heavy.  It did do the job of filling me up, I could barely make a dent in it.

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My son got a Forager Omelette with mushrooms, artichokes, roasted peppers, spinach and provolone along with a side of home fries and fruit.  The hot sauce on top of the omelette was  his own addition.

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The omelette was pretty good, but the home fries were soggy, as was the fruit.  The Nova Café has its following, but it is not my favorite.

Strangely enough, Nova Café has a sister restaurant which never disappoints. It is down the street a bit, and it is called Jam on Main .  Jam is actually always jammed!  It has a great energy, and is filled with locals, tourists, and MSU students.  The waitstaff is very professional, and the food is always satisfying.  The mocha and matcha latte we ordered when we sat down were steaming hot and tasty.

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The gluten free-coconut banana pancakes were light and scrumptious.

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We went with a special omelette that morning, filled with veggies and topped with a salsa verde.  The hash browns could’ve been a bit crisper- but the homemade strawberry jam earned some extra points.

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I’ve made mention of it before, but I think Treeline has the best coffee in Bozeman.

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Their Roasting Room is on the Northside of Bozeman, and it is a terrific place to hang out.  It is also in close proximity to Fink’s Delicatessen  and Wild Crumb – both outstanding establishments turning out food crafted  with care and high quality ingredients.  Unfortunately I was without my camera on our last stop there- but trust me, it’s worth a stop.

One of the best spots in town for breakfast and lunch happens to be Little Star Diner.  **They have just announced plans to focus their attention to dinner, only serving brunch on the weekends- no more breakfast and lunch during the week,  This makes me sad, as I always look forward to stopping here for lunch.  It is a few steps behind main street, but worth searching it out.

The restaurant is quite modern, and there is seating not only inside, but on the roof as well.  It was busy indoors, so the server asked if we would mind heading up top.  It was a hot day, so we ordered a special chamomile ginger spritzer.  It quenched our thirst.  We also got a latte, which may have been a mistake sitting as we were baking in the hot sun.  Finally, after a short while we were able to move inside once a table had cleared.

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I ordered a Kamut grain bowl with pickled cucumber and daikon, mushrooms, tahini dressing and a fried egg.  The combination of flavors and textures was perfect.

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We also shared a special buttery griddled corn muffin topped with sour cherries that looked a bit over cooked, but was delicious.

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Not photographed, but quickly devoured was falafel and pita, and eggs benedict.

Moving from Bozeman towards the heavenly town of Big Sky, The Coffee Pot Bakery  is a place worth stopping.  IMG_9393.jpeg

The baked goods (pies and bars in particular) are hard to resist.  They even have an extensive selection of gluten free goodies.  We always have a Coffee Pot pie in our freezer in case the craving strikes!

Big Sky is much smaller than Bozeman, but there are plenty of choices to keep you satisfied.

A weekly highlight in the summer is the Big Sky Farmers Market held on Wednesdays.  There are plenty of food  options, as well as locally produced crafts and produce, but a perennial favorite is the Paella stand.  It smells delicious, and tastes just as good.  It is also fun to watch it being prepared.

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After your bellies are full, be sure to grab some flowers at Kokoro .  Their flowers are stunning, and their prices very low.  They are also just about the nicest folks you could hope to meet.

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Another fun quirky stop in town is the El Pueblitio Taco bus parked outside the ACE Hardware store.  At lunch time the bus has a long line of locals, contractors, and visitors alike.  They are open 7am – 7pm, and you can even eat inside!

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I have yet to try the tacos, but my kids love them.

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As far as more traditional options, we had a good meal at Bucks T-4, a real classic spot in Big Sky.  Bucks prides themself on classic Montana cuisine, with a new age twist.  There are always plenty of tourists at Bucks, with locals mixed in.  We tend to bring visitors here to get an authentic taste of Montana. Their steaks- whether Beef, Bison, Elk, or Deer are always a hit.

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I had a new age salad of Romaine hearts topped with local cherries, candied sunflower seeds, feta and a blackened watermelon vinaigrette.  Lots of ingredients, but it worked pretty well.

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Staying healthy, I tried the Portobello Pot Roast- which was not shy with the garlic.  It was good, and I didn’t miss the meat.

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Even if you are full, please order the skillet cookie.  You wont regret it.

Big Sky welcomed a new much anticipated restaurant this summer, Blue Buddha Sushi Lounge.  This is the sister restaurant to The Blue Buddha in Arizona.  The space is large and very appealing.  There is an expansive bar space as well, which was very crowded when we checked it out on their third day  open.

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The menu includes a lot of creative rolls, most loaded up with a lot of ingredients.  To me this is Disney World Sushi, but in a town where this is the only option, many will take what they can get.  Given that it had just opened the staff was a bit overwhelmed, but remained friendly and helpful.  I will let the photos speak for themselves, the food was  colorful and smothered in loads of sauce.

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Volcano Roll

 

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We are happy to have this new addition in town, but for me, simpler is  better.  For the other folks in the restaurant- they seemed thrilled

Our perennial favorite in town is the Lotus Pad. Owner Alex Omania stresses  local and organic ingredients in her crowd pleasing Thai dishes.  We ate at the restaurant several times this summer, but also had the pleasure of having Alex cook Filipino food for us at a  friend’s home.  It was outstanding.

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We look forward to getting back to Montana at Christmas time and sampling some more delicious spots!

 

 

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