My French is barely passable, but does the name of this cafe mean ... 'the little other'? Oh, no -- thanks Google Translate. It's 'small addition' -- which, honestly, barely makes more sense. Le Petit, as locals call it, is the spot for coffee, breads, and treats of all kinds. The store is in what appears to be an old mechanic's shop, but don't let that food you. What's made here is great, and Le Petit bread is sold all over town. I came in for a meeting on a snowy December day and settled in with a steaming mocha and a local paper before my friend showed up. After he'd left I got another latte -- and a loaf to go.
Western Montana may be mountains, forests, and rivers, but east of the Continental Divide it's lots of rolling farmland, and a lot of that farmland is planted in wheat. Wheat Montana is based near Three Forks, along Interstate 90, but cafes and outlets have opened across the state. Missoula's first Wheat Montana is located here, just off busy Reserve Street. The fare includes sandwiches, soups, and coffee, and is good on a warm spring day when you can spread out on the patio, and great on a cold winter day, when light streams through the windows and the smell of baking bread and percolating coffee fills the room. I got a sandwich to go but ended up eating it by the windows and reading and watching traffic sail by and people come in and out. Nice.
Well, looky here -- Missoula finally has real Indian food. This just-opened spot takes the place of the former Treasure State Donuts shop, but the new tenants have spruced the place up and added nice outdoor seating. For now, the menu is limited -- real limited. For $10.99 you can get the vegetarian plate, and for a buck more you can have the meat plate, which is what we both got. The meat plate included two small servings of chicken, rice, and half a naan. Luckily there was a sauce bar, which included chutney, raita, and a cucumber salad. Overall, this is tasty food, though to me the price is on the high side and the portion is on the small side. The owner told me he will keep offering the two-option menu for a while until he understands what people are looking for in an Indian meal, and then eventually expand to a fuller menu.
Missoula's Hip Strip is seeing some movement these days, and Clyde Coffee is the newest spot to open. Clyde took the spot of a former ski and rack shop. Though Missoula is full of pull-through coffee kiosks, there are actually few places to sit and drink, so Clyde is a welcome opening. Laura and I went on a drizzly day after a visit to the DMV and before picking Cooper up from school. The standards are all on offer, though I hear the short food menu is inventive and good. The space is spare and crisp, with some odd art on the south wall and what look to be church pews along the north wall. Overall -- nice spot, though the prices are a bit on the high side.
When I moved to Missoula, my landlord gave me quick run-down on paying the rent, and said it was OK if I was late, but to be honest. "Just call me up and say, I lost my paycheck at the Ox." The Ox -- the Oxford -- is a downtown Missoula bar of some reputation; you can get a taste of what's inside just by walking by the front door. If that's not enough, you can peek in the front window to watch live poker playing. Though rough around the edges, the Ox is not as mean as it looks, and its secret is its cheap 24-hour restaurant in the back. The cook used to famously make scrambled eggs and brains, though brains was not on the menu when we where there. What was on the menu was a heaping plate of chicken fried steak, a superb Philly cheese steak, and decent steak. Pro tip: get your drink at the bar before sitting down. And bring hand sanitizer.
Order at the window means a line is always arcing across the parking lot. That's no big deal on a summer day, but come back during a snowstorm and you're sure to see the same line. This perennially busy ice cream shop has a simple offering of flavors and a few shakes thrown in. I'm not convinced this is the best ice cream in town, but would never say that in a crowded room as Missoulians take this place seriously. I like the Salvadoran chocolate; Cooper digs the bubblegum; Laura is all about peaches.