I had a long weekend, which entailed driving from Spokane to Coeur d'Alene, down Highway 95 to Lewiston and then east on Highway 12 to Orofino. We spent Friday night at the city's Best Western, which carries the seemingly pretentious addendum “Plus” and, further though hardly arguable, “Lodge at River's Edge.”
The place, which does have a grand feel, is definitely set on the edge of the Clearwater River. The water rushed past our third-floor room, aided no doubt by the steady drizzle that had accompanied us from Spokane (and would through our return the next day). As we were in this part of Idaho to attend a memorial service for John Clute, former dean of Gonzaga Law School, we weren't exactly on a weekend getaway. Still … we had to stay some place.
And we had to eat. So after checking in, we walked across the parking lot to the closest eatery, which carries the minimalist name — get ready — The Edge. It was somewhat late, about 8:30, so we weren't sure we would be able to get a meal. But the cheery waitress who met and quickly seated us in a mostly empty dining room, assured us that the place would be open until 10.
That, and the fact that I was able to order a decent pork chop, was the good news. The bad news? Our first wine order wasn't available. And the glass of syrah I ordered was, to be kind, undrinkable. Worse, the cheery waitress was clueless about the wine list or why one bottle of red cost $35, yet the by-glass price was $8, while another $32 bottle had a by-glass price of $8.50. And she clearly wasn't curious about finding out. Finally, yeah, I liked the pork chop — just as soon as I scraped off the “compote” that had been placed atop it.
So if you find yourself in Orofino, which really is a scenic backwoods Idaho town, you aren't doomed to a $24.99 a night motel and a burger for dinner. You really can enjoy an upscale evening.
With or without the compote.