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Fresh & amp;amp; Tasty 

by SUSAN HAMILTON and ANN COLFORD & r & & r &


CASUAL A Bigger Scoop





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & L & lt;/span & ocal ice cream aficionados have anxiously awaited the return of THE SCOOP ever since it moved from the South Perry district late last summer. Finally, in early December, the shop opened in a mid-South Hill neighborhood and has recently rolled out a full menu. Paninis, soup, salad, pastries and coffee now accompany the handmade ice cream.





"It's a caf & eacute; now rather than just an ice cream shop," says co-owner Patrick Sullivan. "Still, you'd be surprised how many people get ice cream even this


time of year."





Actually, it's not surprising, since the Scoop's Brain Freeze ice cream is a high-quality product. With flavors ranging from soft cashew brittle (from Bruttle's Candy Shop) and peppermint candy to Mexican chocolate with almonds and vanilla caramel with pralines, it's a delicious treat even in cold weather. Milk shakes are made with real ice cream and whole milk, and local old-fashioned sodas are featured in the Scoop's root beer and soda floats.


Breakfast offerings include pastries and bagels from locals Sweetwater Bakery and Anvil Coffee, which customers rave over. Lattes, mochas, Americanos, chai lattes and cappuccinos are available as well as tea, hot chocolate and Italian sodas.





Now that the Scoop has more room in its shop -- with tables and a window-side bar surrounded by sorbet-colored walls in lime, lemon and bright persimmon -- it's got space for customers to sit awhile and linger over lunch. Sandwiches are mostly grilled panini-style ($2-$6). The roasted pepper panini includes Swiss cheese and onions on Bouzies Bakery focaccia. The portabello melt on focaccia is another vegetarian offering. Meat lovers will appreciate the French dip panini and the Black Forest ham sandwich on asiago cheese sourdough. Kids can chow down on grilled cheese.





Soup selections rotate daily (tomato basil with ravioli was the variety when I stopped by). Organic garden salads are also offered, as well as soup/salad/sandwich combinations.





Outdoor seating will appear when the weather warms up. Until then, the Scoop is a fun place for breakfast, lunch and ice cream.





"You can't go wrong with ice cream," Sullivan says. "It's the easiest way to make people happy."


-- SUSAN HAMILTON





The Scoop, 1001 W. 25th Ave., is open Mon-Sat 7 am-7 pm, Sun 7 am-4 pm. Call 535-7171.





FAST FUSION Burrito Junction





& lt;span class= "dropcap " & I & lt;/span & t's been a decade since SLICK ROCK BURRITO first opened on Spokane's South Hill, but there's something new going on inside -- long-time employees Jeff Maupin and Jozey Fischer are now the owners of the store at 30th and Grand. Inside, patrons will find warmer colors on the walls, cheery new chair coverings and spruced-up tables, but regulars can rest assured that their favorite combos will still be on the menu.





"We're not going to mess with a good thing," says Maupin. "All of the salsas and marinades are the same [as before]. We've broadened the quesadilla menu, aiming it towards adults."





They've also added two new burritos: the Hungry Man (steak, roasted red potatoes, pinto beans and cheese, with roasted chili-corn salsa and sour cream) and the Chili Burrito (rice, ground beef, black beans, pinto beans and cheese, with chipotle sour cream and their own red chili sauce). The Thai chicken burrito remains the most popular item, and it's worthy of the title -- chunks of chicken with rice, black beans and a piquant peanut sauce, cooled by crunchy lettuce and soothing sour cream. If none of the combos suits your fancy, pick and choose your ingredients to build your own burrito, and top it with your choice of salsa: fresh tomato, chili verde, roasted chili-corn, tomatillo or the fiery habanero.





One specialty is carnitas, a sort of south-of-the-border version of pulled pork, deeply marinated then coaxed to spicy fall-apart tenderness. "The carnitas are the most time-consuming meat to make," says Maupin. "We use a tequila marinade, then slow roast them for five hours."





Maupin is on a first-name basis with many customers and can tell you when they'll come in, what they'll order, and what kind of music they like -- he always has tunes pumping out, whether it's vintage Springsteen or DragonForce.





For those who may not feel ready for the spiciest items on the menu, Maupin says, "I encourage people to get something safe in the burrito, and then get the spicy stuff on the side." Sounds like good advice for the musical selections, as well.


-- ANN M. COLFORD





Slick Rock Burrito, at 2926 S. Grand Blvd., is open Mon-Fri 11 am-9 pm, Sat 11 am-7:30 pm. Call 747-6041.

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