Missoula: A mountain gem where the discoveries never end
Someday, I’m afraid, the world will discover my favorite Rockies getaway, said Dina Mishev in The Washington Post. Until then, Montana’s second-largest city (population 70,000) will remain a college town full of wonderful secrets, including in-town trout fishing, mountain trails all around, and happy dining surprises like these.
Scotty’s Table may beckon loudest at brunch hour, when the fare includes shakshuka (poached eggs in a peppery onion-tomato sauce) and confit pork shoulder served with mole, polenta cake, and two eggs over easy. But don’t miss any chance the weather allows for a meal on the patio. You’ll be within listening range of the organ music played by the carousel at adjacent Caras Park. 131 S. Higgins Ave., (406) 549-2790
Dinosaur Cafe at Charlie B.’s You can’t pass through Missoula without seeing Charlie B’s, a legendary and lively all-day dive bar whose windowless walls are covered by photo portraits of grizzled regulars. “Think Cheers but with ranchers, loggers, former miners and railroad workers, cowboys, and writers.” Fortunately, the tiny café in back serves Creole and Cajun cuisine, including a mash-up of jambalaya and gumbo that’s worthy of multiple visits. 428 N. Higgins Ave., (406) 549-3589
The Dram Shop There’s no better place to sample Missoula’s many craft beers than at this self-described growler fill station, and once you’ve settled in, you’re welcome to order in any food. Nearby Wally & Buck, a former food truck, makes an excellent burger. And right next door sits Pearl Café, one of the city’s best fine-dining restaurants. Chef-owner Pearl Cash has created a greatest-hits version of her French-inspired menu just to cater to the Dram crowd. 229 E. Front St., (406) 540-4303 ■