Stella Fong

Recent Posts

Northern Hotel’s chef brings personal touch to new role


Executive Chef Ian Anderson took the reins of the historic Northern Hotel kitchen more than a month ago, and already there is a new pulse. Some time had passed since I’d stepped into Bernie’s Diner, the Northern’s breakfast-and-lunch cafe, and it was quieter back then. On this Wednesday morning, behind the counter, staff busily filled cups of coffee and gathered plates of food for the customers who filled the seating by the west-side windows. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Stella’s BITES: The Annex Coffeehouse and Bakery


South of the tracks and around the corner from the downtown skate park is the Annex Coffeehouse and Bakery. Ben and Krystal Harman are once again doing a kickflip on the food scene here in Billings, having expanded into the space next to their Fieldhouse café on Minnesota Avenue. (more…) Continue Reading →

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New owners of City Vineyard planning move, expansion


City Vineyard is fermenting a new plan: to move into a new 5,000-square-foot space—doubling the current footprint—at the end of February. In collaboration with developer Steve Corning, new construction is underway. It is apropos that Becky Reno’s new expanded venture is located on a street named Golden Valley. Reno has proven to have the Midas touch. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Steen comes home to head up kitchen at Northern Hotel


Nick Steen has been summoned back to Billings. He has returned to his hometown to command the kitchens at the Northern Hotel. With the four-letter word—CHEF—emblazoned on the fingers of his right hand, his intentions are obvious. Soon Steen will interweave his style of fire and ice through the hotel’s food offerings for events, meetings and the restaurants TEN and Bernie’s Diner. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Popular, very busy caterer to take a much-needed break


After more than a dozen years of nurturing ceremonies and celebrations, the owner of Beyond Basil Catering is hanging up her chef’s coat, at least temporarily. For more than a decade, Marcy Tatarka has been juggling part-time work as a neonatal nurse at St. Vincent Healthcare while feeding the masses. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Off to Tuscany: Well-earned break for ‘serial entrepreneur’


Joanie Swords is dreaming of Italy. In the fall, she will seek out the discoveries that author Frances Mayes writes about in her book, “Under the Tuscan Sun.”

As Harper & Madison, the cafe, bakery and market that she has “put her heart and soul into,” enters its fourth year, she can trust her staff to operate the business while she’s away. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Revel Coffee Roasters: Brewing elusive perfection


Out of a nondescript kiosk in the parking lot of Connect Telephone and Computer Group on Central Avenue, Gary Theisen Jr. brews coffee that just barely “eludes perfection.” As barista and roast master for Revel Coffee Roasters, Theisen strives for a flawless cup of coffee, in keeping with the name of his business. “It’s revel coffee because revel means to ‘take great pleasure or delight,’ so I want to continually offer exceptional coffees that one can take great pleasure or delight in,” he says. (more…) Continue Reading →

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Lefse: Mashing, rolling and cooking holiday cheer


Down in the basement of the Lutheran Church of the Good Shepherd in Billings, holiday celebrations began with the making of lefse. Just before Thanksgiving, Kelly Kaiser Borning gathered a small group to honor the Scandinavian tradition of rolling and baking the potato-based flatbread. This two-day affair of creating lefse for the annual bazaar was a valuable “passing of the generations,” said Margit Thorndal, a member of the Church Council. But for most Scandinavians, whether they know how to make lefse or not, it embodied good old-fashioned Christmas cheer. (more…) Continue Reading →

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