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Easy On The Eyes 

Things aren't as ugly as they sound in Coeur d'Alene. Plus, cupcakes made with beer!

click to enlarge There's nothing ugly about this fish. - CARRIE SCOZZARO
  • Carrie Scozzaro
  • There's nothing ugly about this fish.

There's nothing unsightly about Ugly Fish, a new Asian bistro located in Coeur d’Alene’s upscale Riverstone development that serves all the treasures from the sea and then some.

The interior sets the tone. Textured white walls with undulating ripples and a bubble theme repeat throughout the wrought-iron grillwork, rounded windows and cutouts in the wall — like the one revealing a tank of live lobster. A swanky black, red and chrome bar (serving beer and wine only) flanks one wall. It and the adjacent sushi counter are framed in subtle neon lighting that shifts colors from green to blue. You’re swaying gently underwater until you land in plush red velour wing-backs and tufted booth seating that makes you feel like you’re the captain of the ship.

At your command are over 150 dishes artfully presented in a glossy, full-color, brochure-type menu. Travel to Korea for ribs ($17), China for Sweet & Sour Pork ($12) or Thailand for pad thai ($12). Some dishes specify regions, like Shanghai — soup ($4-$7) or wine-braised pork shank ($21) — while others treat geographical borders as a jumping-off point. Crab Harumaki, for example, is a Japanese egg roll with Dungeness crab, shitake mushrooms and ponzu sauce ($9).

With so many menu destinations, it’s easy to get lost, so don’t be afraid to ask for directions. Duck, we discovered, is a house specialty — served in combinations with soup and salad, and carved at your table. It’s served with pancakes for making your own duck rolls ($18-$32). And in the barbecue sampler, delectable duck is accompanied by house-moked pork ($12).

Sushi is a big draw, occupying well over a third of the menu. Look for typical offerings: sushi, sashimi, bento box. Chef signature rolls range from

the Dynamite California Roll topped with baked scallops ($14) to the Monkey Roll, a deep-fried mushroom and spicy tuna roll ($10).

As the third in a series of restaurants owned by Bin and Yi Sun (Ginger Asian Bistro, Ding How), Ugly Fish is more than just a pretty face. It’s a mustsee mark on the CdA dining map for the epicurious. (Carrie Scozzaro)

Ugly Fish • 1927 W. Riverstone, Coeur d’Alene • Open Tue-Thu 11 am-9 pm, Fri-Sat 11 am-10 pm, Sun 11:30 am-10 pm. • • (208) 667-6389

Beer and Cupcakes

Last St. Patrick’s Day, Jackie Mustard and her fiancé decided to bake some Guinness cupcakes for their family. Now, five months and hundreds of cupcakes later, the couple are building the Sweet and Stout brand of beer-filled cupcakes.

Thank goodness for drinking holidays. “At first we started making a list of flavors that would pair well with different types of beer, but then I thought, why can’t I stick the beer right into the cupcake?” says Mustard, 29. “Eventually it progressed into us visiting specialty craft beer stores and breweries to find the right flavors.”

Mustard, who says she’s a better baker when she drinks, has the taste buds for the job. And her fiancé, Dylan Waidelich, 22, well, he picks out the beer. Each Sunday, the duo make cupcakes from scratch, substituting or modifying cupcake recipes to make way for beer.

Their creations include Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company vanilla bourbon stout cupcakes with espresso frosting, Great Divide’s Rumble oak-aged chocolate raspberry IPA cupcakes, Ninkasi’s Total Domination chipotle apple pecan cupcakes, Alaskan smoked porter maple bacon cupcakes, and Boundary Bay IPA yellow cake with spicy chocolate chili frosting.

The duo is in the process of renting a commercial kitchen in hopes of selling their sinfully delicious wares to local bars and coffee shops. But until then, you can follow them on their blog and bake their recipe for Chocolate Beer Cake — which they’ve been kind enough to let us post it here at (Jordy Byrd)

Sweet and

Sweet and Stout's Chocolate Beer Cake

3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
6 tablespoons bittersweet cocoa powder
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon vinegar
1-1/4 cup Yeti Imperial Stout (or any other dark and/or bitter stout)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, beat butter and sugar until fluffy. Add eggs, chocolate, and vegetable oil. Mix well. Slowly add milk, beer and vinegar while stirring. Evenly divide batter in lined cupcake tins and bake for 20-23 minutes. Frost cupcakes, sprinkle with salt.

Chocolate Caramel Ganache

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup caramel

Heat heavy cream in a saucepan until bubbles appear. Once heavy cream has almost come to a boil, pour cream over chocolate chips and stir until smooth. Stir in caramel. Let cool for 40 minutes.

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