Pressure is mounting on Montana’s food pantries. The demand for their food assistance is spiking as more people find themselves out of work due to the spread of COVID-19. Food banks need help and need it now.

Stella Fong

The word “sassy” exhales confidence and liveliness with irreverence sifted in. The Sassy Biscuit Co. in downtown Billings bakes up such sassiness that it has become one of the more popular places in town for brunch. Founder and owner Jilan Johnson opened the bruncherie serving breakfast  everyday and into the evenings from Wednesdays to Saturday in 2018.

Stella Fong

When stepping from Montana Avenue into Veronika’s Pastry Shop, an embrace of buttery and caramel goodness welcomes you. Once inside the bakery you cannot help but feel owner and baker Veronika Baukema’s love and attention she’s mixed into creating her French, Eastern European and Russian pastries. The space is bright and cozy, and Baukema’s enthusiastic welcome only invites you to collect a treat.

A supermarket with crates full of citrus
Alan Light / Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

A natural food retailer is closing its stores in Montana and Wyoming next month. 

Lynn Donaldson, Stella Fong, Louis Habeck

Cooking in a landlocked state, away from the coastal tides of trends, three James Beard Foundation semifinalists for Best Chef of the Northwest: Dave Wells of Chico Hot Springs Resort, Jeremy Engebretson of Lilac on Montana Avenue in Billings, and James Honaker of Bistro Enzo located in Billings’ West End stand solidly under the Big Sky.

Lynn Donaldson

In 2019 Flavors Under the Big Sky: Celebrating the Bounty of the Region had many flavorful moments. I am grateful to those who shared stories of their passions in making our foodscape more delicious, but in this show I wanted to honor those women who I believed left the biggest impression.

Stella Fong

Susan Carlson remembered the poinsettias and the flocked Christmas tree at the Northern Hotel. When she was a little girl in the early 60s, this iconic hotel held the dreams of sugar plum fairies especially during the holidays. She was always in “anticipation” when she dined there with her great grandmother Emma Evers, grandmother Dorothea Wolfe and mother Bette Lindsey. The thought of going there excited her. Being there made her happy. Thinking about returning, reignited the sensations of anticipation. In time, her daughter Emily, and son Gary joined the event so looked forward to, so anticipated.

Stella Fong

Apples and fall are synonymous in my world. As cold seeps into the air and the light of day takes on shades of orange, these signs of Mother Nature tell me it’s time to pluck ripening apples from the trees. When collected, they become the treasures to be shined with a pulled down sleeve and bitten into or peeled and sliced to be baked into pies or breads. They can be concentrated into sauce or butter, preserved for future savor. But for me, the prize of the season is fresh pressed apple juice, the nectar from “the noblest of fruits” as honored by Henry David Thoreau.

Stella Fong

Bees help food grow in our world. Their work in cross pollination bring forth the seeds to about one third the farmed crops in the world. In the last years, bee keeping has become abuzz under the Big Sky. The popularity is evident with the Yellowstone BeeKeepers with a membership evolving from a handful of members to now around 60. The group that meets at the Last Chance Cider Mill on the second Tuesday of each month is a wealth of resource for the seasoned beekeeper to the novice to someone who just wants to learn.

A steak strips next to a glass of red wine

In this Flavor Moments we find the answer to Where’s the Beef? Cuts can be found On Montana Avenue at the new Buffalo Block at The Rex. The restaurant opened in 1909 by H. Alfred Heimer and his friend Buffalo Bill Cody is going through another chapter. Rick and Nicki Larson purchased the Rex last spring. After more than a year of remodeling, Buffalo Block at the Rex is due to open October 1.