– for a weekend at least
When I told my peeps that I am going to Missoula, their first reactions were “Where is Missoula? And why on earth would you want to go to a place that is between the Rocky Mountains and the Great Plains? Lastly, what is in Missoula?” Well, after my first post about my experience arriving in Missoula, it looks like people are very curious about what this place has to offer. Since you asked, here are some of my but there are a couple of great hidden gems locals are quite fond of.
Now Lets Eat:
As a solo traveler/professional foodie, I learned how to eat back to back to back to back in order to hit all the good stuff. It took me years to completely develop my 6th stomach. With love and dedication, I present to you the Food Extravaganza of Missoula!
Caffe Dolce have 2 locations, and I went to the one on 500 Brooks. I picked this place because it is close to the University of Montana, within a quite residential area, and a short bike ride away from my Airbnb. Additional to the great location, I enjoyed the architect design. It reminded me of a somewhat prettier and smaller version of the Kane Hall at University of Washington.
When you walk into the restaurant, immediately you will notice the grand ceiling, which is painted in orange, light yellow and baby blue. Squared windows shine in just enough light to open up the space even more. There are about close to 20 tables and couple bar seats available (do get there early or make reservations. Weekends will be very packed). This place serves great brunch, lunch and Italian style dinner.
I got here just in time for brunch. This might sound weird but I often judge how well a brunch place by the quality of the chocolate milk. Some places’ chocolate milk taste either too sweet or got a powdery taste to it, or there is an oily aftertaste (you get the struggle). The chocolate milk at Café Dolce was just perfect! If the place is great, the chocolate milk will not taste too sweet, but just a great complement flavor to your food (if you enjoy salty and sweet at the same time). I had the Dungeness crab benedict (they only have 1 kind of benedict, so no cheap alternatives) just perfect. Cubed potatoes were roasted perfectly crispy with just enough salt and pepper (I am very picky with my cubed potatoes). Wonder why there isn’t a picture of the benefict? Because I ATE IT! It was so visually appealing my mind, it said “I have to have you now!”
Located right along the streets of downtown Missoula, The Catalyst is extremely easy to find. It has a tighter and cozier space (AKA you need to camp outside to get a seat up in herrr!).
I ordered THE HEAP and chocolate milk.
Maybe because of the lack of meat in this dish, and the quantity of the cubed potatoes was a bit overwhelming for me, was not really feeling the dish. I do have to say, one dish doesn’t fit with me doesn’t mean the whole place is not worth a visit. Its a great place to “hangout” with locals (AKA mostly creeping on them). If you are into more flavorful dish and need some component of meat, you should try something else.
I ordered 12 inches pizza half with Prosciutto & Fig; the other half is Sweet Potato, Bacon & Maple Chipotle sauce. LET ME TELL YOU! I was blown away by the taste of these 2. The sweet potato has very tiny saluted potato cubes, the bacon did not hurt a bit. And you add walnuts and the sauce. Ohhhhh dat boss sauceee doeeeeeee!
Not too strong but it gives the pizza a flavor kick. The prosciutto with fig – salty and sweet. Although the fig texture can be mushy like, overall with the crriby texture of the toasted almonds, it is the Bomb.com!
Of course, I was the only Asian in the room. I felt like I had a major responsibility to represent my people. That WE CAN EAT PIZZA WITHOUT CHOPSTICKS! We can eat in a very classy way. So to break that Asian stereotype, I used fork and knife the WHOLE WAY. That’s right, I was classy AF. Look at me go. I am a grown ass Asian adult who eats with fork and knife. I got my southern hospitality please and thank you going on. Pretty proud of my pizza etiquette. I hope I made some long lasting impressions for these people. I didn’t do double stack or eating it like a watermelon slice. This is not my living room and I am not in my PJs. THIS IS WHAT DONE LOOKS LIKE…
After finishing first round of dinner, I took an hour or so recess time to capture some amazing views and wait for my second dinner.
7:30pm my second dinner This was fancy time. The lady in the front up and downed my outfit, especially my sneakers. Well sorry lady, aint nobody got time to change, I am here to make it rain (well more like a few drops) in this establishment, don’t chu judge me!
Now Lets Play:
Biking and walking were my preferred transportation options. Which also means I can’t really go anywhere too far. Here are all the places I was able to reach without going 60miles per hour.
My amazing host had a stand with tea and coffee ready for me. A bag of “Easy Does It” sounded like just what I need after a lonely night at the airport. As a tea enthusiast, instantly got hooked. The next day, I hit the tea stores like my life depends on it. I am pretty sure I sniffed every single tea jar in the store. Listening to the meditation music and drinking Kenya purple tea, what is stress? I felt the tea goodness is telling me to drink all these teas and I will find the meaning of life. So after spend over $60 on multiple bags of tea, I am ready to get my zen on.
University of Montana
I took the bike to University of Montana. Very good looking campus, with residential areas next to it. (do some fact search about U of M)
Missoula Art Museum (free entry)
The M Trail
I realized my fear of hight, and fear of falling and dying. As long as I keep my ass on the ground I will be mostly fine.
Every single steps I take up to the mountain I think how in the world am I gonna get down? Going up it’s a bit easier. It took me about 40 min to get up to a mile hike.
After reaching to the M sign, I sat on the peak. I figured I might have hit my limits. If I got higher I am not sure if I can get down. My whole upper body was in a 30 degree towards the mountain side, and my legs are 40 degree bent to ensure maximum closeness to the ground. I walk down slow and statle. Some of the hills going down, when I first see it, I was like FUUUU how am I gonna go down like that! I kept telling myself, you got dis gur, slow and down look to far ahead, one step at a time. Slowly I got more used to the slope, I even got a little sprint in it.
After I got down from the hill, I felt very proud for my accomplishment. I am really pushing my boundires, challenge my fear to achieve something great.
Travel Tip #1: If you are afraid of height. The M sign is probably a good place to stop. How do I know, I ask myself on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 is I will DIE right now), how do you feel if you have to walk down that hill. I said 10. Don’t push yourself too far and have to ask a chopper to fly you down.
After that I got Big Dapper Ice cream to make up for the lost calories. Obviously!
Missoula Farmer’s Market
*Travel Tip #2: Before you book your Airbnb, you get to see the general area of where your host is located. Another amazing feature is the local recommendation. As you can see, my host has pinned some great recommendations. If the local recommends them and they are close by, then you ought give it a try. This makes travel planning way more easier. You don’t have to spend hours searching on Yelp or Trip advisor for local flavor, it is all right here on this map.