Locals Helping Locals

Field Report No. 20160926RC

Topic: perfect day, perfect chai
Conditions: uniquely spiced, tranquil


COMMENTS: I almost expect someone to start giving me a massage, but not in a weird way. I'm just that relaxed. It's a September day and I've made my way to Gaiwan Tea House in Coeur d'Alene Idaho. It's a day in which that fall crispness gives way to a perfect breeze-tempered sunshine. Approaching the counter, I ask about the Masala Chai. Matt describes it, and I'm convinced. Leaning back in my chair at a sandalwood table outside, I enjoy a rare moment of solitude. A leaf floats down and actually comes to rest on my lap. They recently hosted their first wedding in the space I'm sitting in. I can see why someone would want to have a moment here, because I'm sort of having one now.

KEY FEATURES: A quick conversation with Matt, who owns the place, makes it clear that he is all about partnerships. "It's locals helping locals," he says, and when I look around, I can see he's not kidding. Displaying the well-crafted goods of local artisans, offering the space to live musicians who are just starting out, hosting a dollar drive for a local child with cancer... this midtown CdA shop is carving out a real space in the community.

RECOMMENDATIONS: The chai is, as I expected, the best I've tasted. There are some places where the design and feel of the space signals an attention to detail that will also reward your tastebuds. Not disappointed one bit. Also: gourmet avocado toast is the best possible snack or light lunch.