Flavors Under the Big Sky

Stella Fong

A Flying Burger. A Bayou Wrap. Chicken Fried Steak. These good eats can be found in Billings for under $10. At King’s Hat, Muzzle Loader Café, and Rockets Gourmet Wraps and Sodas, food can be had for less than one Hamilton bill or ten Washingtons.  Like these recognizable and time-honored leaders on the face of our dollar bills, the three eateries are dining establishments in Montana’s Trailhead’s foodscape.  King’s Hat has been in the Billings for over 70 years while the Muzzle Loader Cafe for more than 60, and Rockets Gourmet Wraps and Sodas for close to two decades.

Stella Fong

One of the most memorable images I have of Paris is one with a baguette. From my hotel window I saw a man in a blue chapeau with a plaid scarf wrapped around his neck carrying a long baguette leaving the bakery across the way. There was something romantic about securing a freshly baked loaf of bread, and even more when I realized it was my husband. 

Stella Fong

The dark chocolate cake edged with perfectly piped ribbons on a bright white cake stand.  The auburn browned turkey on a silver platter garnished with glistening identical cuts of carrot.  These are images on the cover of food magazines. You are mesmerized, and then say “I can do that.” So you challenge yourself and spend the hours securing the right ingredients, and then preparing and cooking in the kitchen. At the very end, your cake and turkey vaguely resembles the photo. Furthermore, you are not all that sure the tastes warranted the effort.

Stella Fong

The Thanksgiving season focuses our awareness on food and volunteerism. Food represents abundance, the blessings we have in our lives and the bounty we want to share with those close to us, and to make connections with others.
 

Stella Fong

Back in April, my husband Joe Dillard had the privilege of learning how to make French Bread from Greg Patent. I gifted him a weekend where he could have hands on experience with an award winning cookbook author. Patent’s book Baking in America won him the James Beard Cookbook Award and finalist recognition for the International Association of Culinary Professionals Best Baking Book. Greg has become a mentor and has provided me invaluable support and advice in the culinary arena over the years.

Stella Fong

Veronika’s Pastry Shop is easy to walk by. From the sidewalk, the small storefront is unassuming.  White outline sketches of France’s Eiffel Tower and Russia’s Basil Cathedral mark the front window. However from the street when driving by, a red awning emblazoned with the shop’s name marks its location on Montana Avenue.

Stella Fong

As I write this post for the next Flavors Under the Big Sky, I send strength and hope to those in California, especially in Sonoma, Napa, Mendocino, and Lake Counties. Mother Nature has not been kind, but I know the human spirit perseveres. May time heal all the damage that has been done. May Mother Nature grant a reprieve for repair and renewal.

Flavor Moments: MoAv Coffee

Sep 25, 2017
Stella Fong / YPR

A cup of java jolts those who enter MoAv Coffee at the corner of N 25th Street and Montana Avenue in the historic Carlin Hotel built in 1913.  Jeff Hosa, co-owner of MoAv coffee confessed, “We always say we are nerds about coffee.” From dawn to beyond dusk, this gathering space offers caffeine to bring pulse to life in the mornings or calm through wine and beer later in the day.

Stella Fong

Raghavan Iyer and James Dodge taught cooking class Savory Sweet: Tater Love for the 25th MSU Billings Foundation Wine and Food Festival.

The two, James Beard and IACP (International Association of Culinary Professionals) recognized cookbook authors and teachers returned to Montana to help raise scholarships. The class, based on Iyer’s latest book - Smashed Mashed Boiled and Baked-and Fried, Too! paid tribute to potatoes from around the world.

Stella Fong

Emblazoned on Chef Josh Cannon’s knuckles are the words “COOK THIS.” As the Executive Chef at the recently opened SEVA Kitchen in downtown Billings, he had obviously declared his passion for food. Together with Owners Harvey Singh and Schuyler Budde, he hoped to bring “globally inspired flavors” to his guests. 

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